From Super Mario Run to Pac-Man, 8 mobile games that deliver a retro experience

We had forgotten some of the old gaming classics. But powerful smartphones have ushered in their return


Galaga Wars is the game in which you were in charge of a spaceship, your task being to keep shooting at wave after wave of enemy ships that were dropping bombs at you.
Galaga Wars is the game in which you were in charge of a spaceship, your task being to keep shooting at wave after wave of enemy ships that were dropping bombs at you.

Did the world of gaming just step into a time machine? That does seem to be the case. For, even as diehard gamers talk of better graphics and processors, recent times have seen a number of old classic games returning on smartphones and tablets. 

Yes, they might not look as sleek or visually cutting-edge as the newer titles, but only a heart of stone will not be moved by their return. After all, so many of us have played them, more often than not on computers with monochrome displays. So if you are in the mood to revisit your early gaming days, here are some games that deliver the retro experience. 

Galaga Wars

iOS, Android

Free

This is the game in which you were in charge of a spaceship, your task being to keep shooting at wave after wave of enemy ships that were dropping bombs at you. There have been many clones of the game for a while, but now game developers Bandai Namco have reworked the original classic, allowing you to shoot away at aliens for hours and hours. It is still very addictive.

The ‘Mario’ series has been restyled into a smartphone game called ‘Super Mario Run’ by Nintendo.
The ‘Mario’ series has been restyled into a smartphone game called ‘Super Mario Run’ by Nintendo.

Super Mario Run

iOS,Android

Free

One of the best-selling video games from the 1990s, the ‘Mario’ series has been restyled into a smartphone game called ‘Super Mario Run’ by Nintendo. This follows the same side-facing running layout but has better graphics and background sound. The controls are simple and easy to remember—one tap results in a jump, a double tap in a longer jump. However, that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing. The game is challenging but addictive, like the original ‘Mario’ series. It works offline and can be played in the portrait mode with just one hand.

Prince of Persia Classic

iOS, Android

Rs 160 (iOS)/Rs 120 (Android)

Jordan Mechner’s classic title of a prince running through a dungeon, hurtling over traps in his path and duelling with guards, was an “action” game. It is back now with better graphics and sound. The gameplay essentially remains the same—you have to run out of the dungeon, beat the guards and leap around obstacles to stop the evil vizier from marrying your love, the princess.

Pac-Man is the game in which you are literally a running mouth whose job is to keep munching away at fruits lined up in front of you.
Pac-Man is the game in which you are literally a running mouth whose job is to keep munching away at fruits lined up in front of you.

Pac-Man

iOS, Android

Free

Oh yes, this is the game in which you are literally a running mouth whose job is to keep munching away at fruits lined up in front of you, even as you dodge the attentions of those ghosts Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde. Yes, there are a number of mazes to navigate and the music, which might strike some as tinny, will bring a tear to the eyes of gaming veterans. Hours and hours of gobbling here.

‘Snake ’97’ is based on the classic ‘Snake’ game.
‘Snake ’97’ is based on the classic ‘Snake’ game.

Snake ’97

iOS, Android

Free

‘Snake ’97’ is based on the classic ‘Snake’ game in which you had to keep moving a snake-like creature across the screen to grab dots (fruit, creatures, whatever you choose to call them). The new game looks as minimalistic and comes with just as clunky a sound as the original Snake did. Not everyone’s cup of tea on a touchscreen, we suspect, but old-time Nokia phone users will love it.

‘Tetris’—the puzzle game in which bricks of different shapes keep dropping from the top of the display, your task being to ensure that everything falls into place.
‘Tetris’—the puzzle game in which bricks of different shapes keep dropping from the top of the display, your task being to ensure that everything falls into place.

Tetris

iOS, Android

Free

This is the original ‘Tetris’, the puzzle game in which bricks of different shapes keep dropping from the top of the display, your task being to ensure that everything falls into place. Think of it as a massive Lego set-up where you have no idea which block is going to pop next but which you nevertheless have to fit into an existing formation. It was simple and a truckload of fun—and it still is.

Realmyst game remains as compelling as ever.
Realmyst game remains as compelling as ever.

Realmyst

iOS, Android

Rs550 (iOS)/Rs470 (Android)

The game that made history by being the first to ever come on to a CD (hey, those were rare in the mid-1990s), is now available on your phone. Yes, the graphics have been tweaked and improved, and at close to 1 GB, it’s a hefty download. But the game remains as compelling as ever—you are alone on a beautiful island, something has gone wrong, there is no one to talk to, only the sound of the waves in the ocean…and books you can travel through. Adventure gaming seldom got better than this.

The original ‘Tomb Raider’ might look a little archaic, but the puzzles are still challenging.
The original ‘Tomb Raider’ might look a little archaic, but the puzzles are still challenging.

Tomb Raider 1

iOS, Android

Rs80 (iOS)/Rs60 (Android)

Yes, she looks far more blocky than the Angelina Jolie version, but this is the original Lara Croft. And she is doing what she is best at—unlocking ancient mysteries, jumping through the air, and unleashing hell with those guns in her holsters. The original ‘Tomb Raider’ might look a little archaic, but the puzzles are still challenging and, truth be told, the game remains insanely fun if you are a Lara Croft loyalist.

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