2019 was a brilliant year for mobile games. We witnessed some fantastic titles coming out every month, full to the brim with fresh ideas, vibrant stories, new mechanics, stunning art, and more. We’re now on to a new year of gaming, but before we start looking at what 2020 will bring, let’s round-up the year with some of the best games released in December.

With so much free time over the Christmas break, I’ve spent hours trying out so many titles (old and new). But to keep things consistent, I’ve trimmed my list down and delved into what I think are the top 5 games released last month, while explaining what exactly made them stand out.

Let’s get to it!

1. Necrosphere

  • Developer: Cat Nigiri
  • Launch date: December 2nd, 2019
  • Price: $2.99 / £5.79
  • Available on: iOS & Steam

Necrosphere from Cat Nigiri has been on PC for quite some time, but it recently traveled over to mobile. This exciting transition made it a much better game on mobile than on PC, in my opinion, due to how Cat Nigiri created the controls. For those of you who haven’t played this game yet, Necrosphere is a brilliant example of a two-button, action platformer.

Two buttons that don’t feel restrictive

When developing this game, Cat Nigiri limited the controls in Necrosphere to two actions: Jump, and move left or right. Not that this is a bad thing (it’s brilliant for mobile games), but this can sometimes limit and make the game feel restrictive (and almost dull), due to the lack of controls.

But what the developers did well was create an epic and exciting environment around these controls. Platforms, bubbles, and even jetpacks kept the game fresh and challenging, without it feeling overwhelming. That said, I wouldn’t recommend playing this game on the go; it does require a bit of concentration, which can sometimes be a mobile game’s downfall.

But in my opinion, Necrosphere is one of the best platformer games I’ve played in a while. You should check it out if you need some fresh inspiration for your title.

2. Dream Detective

  • Developer: FunPlus
  • Launch date: December 4th, 2019
  • Price: Free, with in-app purchases
  • Available on: iOS

FunPlus’ Dream Detective is a hidden object game with a bunch of different themes, scenes, and environments. At the bottom of the screen, you can find the objects or people you need to locate within the area that you have chosen. Some areas have timers; others only require you to find a few of the objects.

It’s a well-rounded game with a set number of energy points (which refresh over time) that you can use to play.

Don’t be afraid to layer on meta-features

This is what made this game stand out for me. The core concept of the game is to ‘find hidden objects’. But FunPlus has taken this a step further and layered on meta-features and elements to make the game all the more addictive and captivating. Players can zoom into areas, move their character from left to right, and even interact with other characters (they help you find clues, which is a nice touch) and makes you want to explore.

Between that and the beautiful art style (many characters have small animations, which I enjoyed), I would easily give this game 10/10. Well done, FunPlus.

3. My Winter Album

  • Developer: Tepes Ovidiu
  • Launch date: December 6th, 2019
  • Price: £0.99 / £1.09
  • Available on: iOS & Android

In December, there is an uptick in winter or holiday-themed games, so it felt fair to include one of these types of games in my top favorites. My Winter Album is a simple puzzle game with a very heartwarming story; an old lady has a book of memories that have been knocked on the floor, and she needs you to put these memories back in place for her.

Sometimes all you need is a good idea

My Winter Album won first place in one of BuildBox’s game jams – BuildBox being the engine that the game was made in. The gameplay is pretty simple: players need to rotate a broken puzzle around until they find an angle that puts all of the pieces together. We’ve seen many games that are like this on the AppStore, so what made this one so different?

For me, it was the theme.

My Winter Album is a simple yet heart-warming game, enrapturing the festive feeling, and making it a joy to play. The game is still relatively simple with limited features (which is impressive considering Tepes Ovidiu created it within 72 hours during the game jam, with only a couple of weeks to polish). But honestly, it didn’t feel like adding more to the game was needed, as bites of story and simple puzzles are enough in this case.

That said, I do think this game needs work if it wants to keep players coming back now that the holiday season is over. The background work is there, and I am sure that Tepes Ovidiu will continue to bring forward more great ideas and games to play.

4. Oddman

  • Developer: JoyPac
  • Launch date: December 2nd, 2019
  • Price: Free, with in-app purchases
  • Available on: iOS & Android

Oddman by JoyPac is a game full of chaos and fast actions. While each level requires you to swipe around to move, you need to also make sure your character is knocking enemies down, fighting bosses, collecting coins (for upgrades), and not falling off the island.

Unpredictable enemies

The best thing that JoyPac did with Oddman is how unpredictable enemies act on each level. These enemies almost seem like different real-life players, fighting and eliminating each other or charging towards you in hopes of knocking you off. They don’t always look the same and can mimic both humanistic creatures and animals. Apart from the in-game enemies, JoyPac also has features that allow you to play against your friends. This is perfect for those looking for a more competitive challenge or simply have the desire to just play with them. Being able to play with friends and compete adds a lot of replay value to a game.

Since the player has to go back at the start of the world’s level when he dies, having characters that attack each other and work in unpredictable ways adds more fun and interest to the game. It also adds more replay value and keeps the game interesting, without having a set ‘endgame’.

5. Sausage Swing Club

 

  • Developer: Floppy Club
  • Launch date: November 30th, 2019
  • Price: Free, with in-app purchases
  • Available on: iOS

Landing right at the end of November (I know I snuck this one in, but it deserves a big up) Floppy Club’s Sausage Swing Club is a pretty simple game. A sausage falls from the sky and you are able to tap and drag it, launching it into the direction of a pot of boiling water. When you select the sausage, the game goes into slow-motion, showing you the trajectory. It’s basically like swinging a golf club, but you’re swinging a sausage instead.

A bit of absurdity makes it refreshing

Golf-inspired games have been appearing on and off for the last year, but what Asger Strandby from Floppy Club does best is twist the golf theme to be something completely different visually. Instead of having a golf course, holes, flags – anything related to golf – you just have a pot, strange angles, and a sausage.

The viewpoint of Sausage Swing Club also adds an interesting element, as the game isn’t flat and instead uses gravity pulling the sausage downwards to control it. These subtle changes, along with quirky graphics, really help Sausage Swing Club stand out on the app store when compared to other games in the same category.

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