Some of our favourite mobile games are those that can be played for a minute or for hours and hours. Obtaining a high score or defeating a friend to obtain a higher score? Those are some of the most fulfilling encounters. And these games are among the best available. We attempted to be cautious with these – games with auto-running that aren’t strictly high-score focused runners aren’t mentioned here, and games that play more like Flappy Bird or Crossy Road are omitted and considered for inclusion on other outstanding lists.
1. Temple Run 2
The endless runner who inspired a million other endless runners. While the original is still excellent, the sequel adds several useful new tricks as well as a fascinating cast of characters, including some interesting celebrities. Isn’t Usain Bolt the ideal type of character for a runner? This game’s fundamentals – changing between lanes, collecting coins for improvements, gems to revive, and more – lay the groundwork for countless other games to follow.
If you were to trace the origins of the endless runner genre in mobile games, Canabalt is the logical starting point.
This was the first huge endless runner, ported from Flash to mobile and featuring the music of Danny Baranowsky (who went on to do the soundtracks for Super Meat Boy, Crypt of the Necrodancer, and more). The initial leap through the glass window remains one of the most memorable moments in mobile gaming history. Since then, the game has been upgraded with new modes to add some new twists to the experience, such as the aforementioned window-jumping option.
Before creating the wonderful Hopiko, Laser Dog Games created this fantastic high-speed space flying runner.
You must avoid the dangerous surroundings and debris that is flying at you at breakneck speed. Because of your protection, flying things won’t hurt you much, but colliding with the top or bottom of the planet would. The five separate modes offer a variety of tasks, and you have a lot to tackle in one go.
4. Alto’s Adventure
Alto’s Adventure refined the genre of endless runner where you do backflips as you go, which Ski Safari arguably invented. One approach was to give the game a stylish artistic flair that makes it look sharp and stylish in a post-Monument Valley mobile gaming era. The other difference is that the wingsuit you earn completely transforms everything, offering you a new flying dimension to explore as you go around this beautiful planet. The game went free-to-play on Android, which was unsurprising but is still a fantastic fit for the game’s money collection.
5. Touchdown Hero
Cherrypick Games combines American football with endless runners, challenging you to evade approaching tacklers while attempting to reach each consecutive endzone. It’s fascinating how the whole thing works since there’s a football aspect to it where you have to avoid out of bounds lines and juke out defenders. It’s a wonderful mix that’s also recreated in the same developer’s zombie-fied game, Must Deliver.
6. Spider-Man Unlimited
In this game, Gameloft took on the lane-based endless runner in an unusual way. It would have been simple to create a simple endless runner with some perfunctory Spider-Man references, but Gameloft went above and beyond to please Spider-Man fans with this game. Spider-Mans from the comic’s history, including but not limited to Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, and Spider-Ham, are all present. Yes, Spider-Ham, the spider who got bitten by a radioactive pig and turned into a super-hero, is playable in this game. Nothing will persuade you to play this endless runner if that doesn’t convince you.
7. Jetpack Joyride
Many millennials may remember the Flash game in which you had to click to make a helicopter ascend and fly through caves. Halfbrick drew inspiration from that game for Jetpack Joyride, which stars Age of Zombies’ recurring protagonist Barry Steakfries. They added bizarre new obstacles, exotic vehicles to ride in, and a slew of crazy customizations to unlock in exchange for the countless pennies you gather. Halfbrick just manages to expand on the core gameplay for a timeless game.
8. Subway Surfers
With this game, Kiloo pioneered the lane-based runner, simplifying Temple Run’s configuration of switching between lanes by tilting down to simply swiping to flip between three different lanes. The game’s vibrant graphics and attractive premise were just enough to distinguish it as a standout title that many other products have replicated in order to be successful themselves. It just had that special touch, that lucky streak that allowed it stand out as a remarkable mobile game.
9. Time Surfer
Andreas Illiger’s Tiny Wings never made it to Android, but many of games based on it have. Kumobius’ Time Surfer is one of the best and most noteworthy. You ride the waves, tapping to land on the downhills and releasing to fly aloft. The key twist here is that you can reverse time to some extent in order to save yourself from imminent disaster or to rectify your timing, which may save you in the long run. There are numerous characters and pets that can influence your gameplay and unlock.
10. Robot Unicorn Attack 2
Adult Swim’s take on the endless runner is especially ludicrous because of its concept, which riffs on Lisa Frank designs that reigned folders in the 1990s and sets the tone with the cheese of Erasure’s “Always.” But the game wouldn’t be so popular if it wasn’t enjoyable to play, and its unicorn-dashing endless runner stands out thanks in part to its three-attempts structure, which encourages you to strive and improve rather than rewarding you for one exceptionally lucky run. However, the bizarre customizations and various music tracks (including the wonderful power metal of Blind Guardian) contribute to this being a great experience.