The 10 coolest mobile games we saw at GDC 2019

GDC's expo floor was clotted with PC and console games, but mobile games had a presence as well -- these were our faves.

Clifford Colby Managing Editor
Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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Space Janitor was one of the most creative games we saw on the show floor.


PC and console developers were showing off their AAA games in giant booths from Microsoft, Sony , Epic Games and others on the show floor at this week's Game Developer Conference. Not to be left out, casual games for mobile devices played a key role at GDC, too. 

We found a bucket of engaging games that have just shipped or are about to. These 10 were our favorites.


An iOS-only game expected to release this year, Sky is a captivating social-adventure game where you fly through a desolate sky kingdom and seek to restore it through compassion. It's produced by That Game Company -- the studio that made the award-winning Journey. The stunning Sky offers a positive message and is meant to be played with friends and family.

That Game Company


While it looks like a cooking game where you rush to prepare a feast before your guests arrive to celebrate Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the game Tet -- from the Swiss developer Charlotte Broccard, who is half Vietnamese -- is also about recovering a family's heritage.

Charlotte Broccard


From Raincrow Studios, Covens is a location-based game available on Android now, with an iOS version coming soon. You play as a witch and move through the real-world map capturing spirits, claiming places of power and battling other players in real time.

Raincrow Studios


A chat-based game with a steampunk feel, this French mobile game for Android and iOS takes you into an alternative past where you play as one of three characters and unravel why Nikola Tesla's greatest discovery never made it to your time.


Mila Moment

Based on an animated short, Mila, about a little girl who lives through World War II, Mila Moment is an interactive mobile game available for preorder from MomentSQ. Play as Mila and uncover the events of her adventurous life, from a 16-year-old girl in her village in Italy during the war to the present day.



Ava is an interactive game set up as a fairytale book, in which you flip pages and solve puzzles in the pictures to advance. As you work out the puzzles, you also collect cards that may come in handy later in the game.



For kids, Wonderscope uses AR to turn the world around you into interactive stories. The collection of stories include one about a ringmaster in a world of wonder and another about a Red Riding Hood-like character who is an inventor.



In this charming interactive storybook game, 25-year-old office worker Florence finds her first love. Even better, it was named this week as mobile game of the year and best debut of the year at the Annual Game Developers Choice Awards event at GDC.

Mountains Games

Alto's Odyssey

A runner-up for Game Developers Choice Awards mobile game of the year, Alto's Odyssey is the follow-on to the beautiful Alto's Adventure. It builds on everything we love about the first snowboarding endless runner and moves Alto off his mountaintop home to the desert.

Team Alto

Space Janitor

I'm holding my breath until Google releases this mobile game. Designed to show off the terrain-elevation and biome-data tools in the Google Maps  platform, Space Janitor lets you become a Godzilla-like monster, striding the globe with your canister vacuum, thoughtfully cleaning up after people.