Today, smartphones have hardware that matches gaming PCs and consoles from a while ago. Just look at the specifications of the Xbox One: an octa-core CPU running at 1.75GHz, 8GB of RAM, and an 800MHz GPU, surprisingly similar to the hardware crammed under the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus’s slim and elegant hood. Of course, there is no reason comparing apples and oranges – smartphones are not built with gaming as a singular purpose in mind, like gaming consoles. Still, these pocket-sized supercomputers can pack a surprising punch. Which, considering how demanding some of today’s games can be, isn’t the overkill some make it out to be.
There are quite a few hardware-intensive games available for mobile players today that would put an older gaming PC to shame. Here are some that will make even the latest flagships do some serious work for their pay.
One might assume sports games, especially soccer games, are very demanding on the CPU and the GPU of a smartphone, considering the fast-paced action on the screen and the many objects (virtual players) moving around. The pressure on soccer games to perform great on all phones is, in turn, pretty high. After all, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and the one with the most fans (with most of them probably running at least a few soccer games on their phones). Thus, pretty much all soccer-inspired mobile games are well-optimized and running smoothly on most hardware.
Racing games, in turn, are all about the experience – and the looks. There are already quite a few amazing and hardware-hungry games out there but there is one that will likely stand out: Forza Street, currently under development for Android. One of the famous and beautiful “Forza” series, it will finally bring high-profile racing simulators into our pockets, amazing us at the same time with its visuals. The PC and console version of the game was released this April, with the mobile versions coming later this year. If it will be anything close to the desktop version, it will blow every player away – and it will put the hardware of the phones to the text. And those who don’t want to wait to put your phones’ hardware to the test you can download Asphalt 9: Legends, a game that will truly be a feast for your eyes. Your phone will, in turn, probably hate you for it.
I think we can all agree that smartphones were not exactly built with first-person shooters in mind. This doesn’t stop developers to release such games on them – and smartphone gamers to play them. There are quite a few of these to go around, most of them with graphics that are at least decent. There are a few, in turn, that will put even the most advanced smartphone hardware to the test.
One of these is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a popular “Battle Royale” type game that’s played across all major gaming platforms today. The game’s visual settings can be adjusted in-game (this is why it can be played on phones with a variety of smartphones) but those who want to play it on “High” would better have a gaming-focused handset – or a flagship.
Another graphics-intensive mobile game you can use to test the capabilities and stamina of your phone is ARK: Survival Evolved. The game is beautiful, enjoyable, and extremely hardware-hungry: it will only run decently on a handset with at least a Snapdragon 835 SoC and it will be playable on Snapdragon 821 or newer, too, although with a few glitches along the way.
Role-playing and adventure games
Back in the day, we could easily play role-playing games with pixelated graphics in 16 colors – but a better look doesn’t hurt, does it? Role-playing games with amazing graphics are not a rarity on PC and consoles but there is just a handful on mobile that truly deserves this name. And those that do are pretty harsh on the phones’ hardware.
One of them, called “Nimian Legends: BrightRidge”, is a game that puts many desktop games to shame. It is an open-world adventure made by a single developer that will only show its true beauty on a high-end smartphone. “Darkness Rises” is another RPG-style game (not very deep but pretty enjoyable) where you can customize every single detail of your character. And “Lineage II: Revolution”, the mobile remake of the legendary South Korean RPG, is a massive, 100-battle story with visual elements that are guaranteed to put your phone’s hardware to the test.