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5 indie classics you can't play on your smartphone

But really should be able to
Product: Big Indie Pitch | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad
It's indie month here on Pocket Gamer. Over the next 30 days or so we'll be celebrating all things small scale and carefully crafted in the world of portable gaming.

Earlier this week we ran through some of the bone fide indie classics that you can play on your iOS and (in some cases) Android smartphone. But what about the ones that you can't?

There are some indie hits that we continue to pine for on mobile. In many cases we kind of know why they haven't made the switch. Sometimes it's down to priorities - indie developers are generally pretty stretched as it is. At other times it's down to doubts over whether mobile would be a good fit for the game.

We're not here to make judgements on such things. The following piece merely highlights some of the brilliant indie games that you can't (yet) play on mobile, and which we'd rather like to see.

Which indie game classics would you like to see on mobile? Let us know in the comments below.


#1 Spelunky

Derek Yu's masterpiece inspires a crazy amount of fevered enthusiasm and grim determination some six years on from its ultimate iteration. Religions have been founded on less.

Would the game's peerlessly tight 2D platformer gameplay be compromised by a trip to mobile? Probably. I'd much rather it appeared on Switch than smartphone, quite frankly.

But you simply can't make a list of high profile indie games missing from the App Store without mentioning Spelunky. You just can't. It's the daddy.

#2 Rogue Legacy

Here's one of the earliest and best examples of a post-Spelunky rogue-lite platformer that manages to stand on its own two feet.

Rogue Legacy offers procedurally generated levels, tough gameplay, and a permadeath system on one hand. On the other, it innovates with a clever legacy system that sees each run subtly altered by fresh status modifiers and a gradually developing roster of default abilities.

We're not holding our breath for a mobile version - again, a Switch version would surely need to come first - but maybe one day.

#3 Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon is a truly brilliant rogue-lite twin stick shooter. You can play it on Switch (and you really should), but not on mobile.

I'm a little conflicted over the idea of bringing this one to mobile. Part of me thinks that the sheer number of buttons involved (you'd need a dedicated dodge button as well as move and aim controls) would make for a cluttered and imprecise experience on touchscreen devices.

Another part of me looks at other twin stick shooters that have worked on smartphone (like Binding of Isaac) and thinks, 'why the hell not?'.

#4 Celeste

Celeste has been out for less than a year, but it arguably already deserves the title 'indie classic,' such has been the level of praise lavished on it by the indie gaming community.

Besides, it would be way better suited to mobile than the developer's previous game (also fellow indie classic contender) TowerFall: Ascension.

This is a single-player platform-puzzler of rare poise, with a surprisingly moving story to accompany the precision jumping.

#5 Undertale

Undertale launched in 2015 as a the passion project of one-man-band Toby Fox. It's pretty wonderful stuff.

It's a charming JRPG with a cheekily self-aware sense of humour, somewhat reminiscent of Nintendo's Mother/Earthbound series, with a little Mario & Luigi in there as well. It's also another indie game that packs a surprisingly potent emotional punch.

Undertale has already come to PS Vita, and it's on its way to Switch too. But we reckon it would work beautifully on mobile too.


Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy 10 August 2018
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