Mobile games in 2018 hit new heights in graphics and creativity. These four games, chosen by editors at Google Play’s app store as best of the year, are also available for iOS. Next week: Best 2018 games as selected by editors at Apple’s App Store.
(iOS, Android; free)
Selected Best Game of 2018 by Google Play’s editors, the wildly popular battle royal game raised the bar on gameplay and graphics. Google said PUBG sparked “a worldwide craze” for “massively fun, survival-of-the-fittest showdowns.” PUBG was also chosen by Android gamers as the Fan Favorite Game of 2018.
(iOS, Android; free)
Many mobile games today feature gameplay that is so complicated, you feel as if you have to take a course before you can compete. But Sims Mobile, the latest in the series that dates to 2000 when it was a PC gaming sensation, is an exception. Google Play editors named it Best Casual Game of 2018. What does that mean: Google says it is “easy for anyone to pick up and play — anytime, anywhere.”
(iOS, Android; $4.99)
Independent developers continue to carve out a strong niche with creative and inventive games, and this new take on a classic puzzle game from Copenhagen-based Fantastic, Yes is a perfect example. As you solve the puzzles, you are also getting close to discovering the truth about an alien invasion. In naming Returner 77 Best Indie Game of 2018, Google Play editors said it “caught our eyes and captured our imagination.”
(iOS, $4.99; Android, free)
Another indie delight singled out by Google Play editors, Alto’s Odyssey is a follow-up to the successful Alto’s Adventure, which was one of the best games of 2015. In Alto’s Odyssey, you sandboard across beautifully rendered desert landscapes where you try to complete nearly 200 goals. The game also features an immersive soundtrack. In addition to being lauded by Google, Alto’s Odyssey was named the Apple TV Game of the Year.
Ready to start on your 2019 holiday gift list? The annual four-day Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas on Tuesday. The big buzz this year is expected to center on 5G smartphones, 8K TVs, self-driving car technology, tons of “smart” home devices and the latest in computer processors and graphics cards. About 4,500 companies will be displaying new products.
– PETER KING
“The Bachelor” didn’t make Nielsen’s top 10 most popular 2018 TV shows, but it was No. 1 on another Nielsen list: Most Social TV Series. The list is compiled by adding the number of discussions about a show on Facebook and Twitter three hours before and after the telecast. The rest of the top 5: “WWE Monday Night RAW,” “America's Got Talent,” “American Idol” and “WWE SmackDown!”
— PETER KING
Instagram reverses on sideways
Instagram inadvertently rolled out a test for horizontal scrolling — and the plan almost immediately went sideways. Instead of scrolling through posts vertically, some people were forced to swipe and tap left and right through their feeds. Users went berserk on social media, with #instagramupdate trending on Twitter. Instagram, calling the implementation “a bug,” quickly reverted to the original top-to-bottom scrolling feature.