Disclaimer: IMGA paid for my travel to France so I could serve as a judge. My coverage remains objective.

2015 was a good year for mobile gaming. If you need convincing, just look at the list of nominees for the 2016 International Mobile Game Awards below.

The IMGAs honor the best mobile experiences based on categories like gameplay, innovation, and storytelling. This year also introduced a category for virtual reality, an industry that could be worth a projected $120 billion. Mobile will be a big part of that thanks to devices like the Samsung Gear VR. A group of international judges (Disclaimer: I served on this panel) picked the nominees together during some intense playing and debating in Marseilles, France last month. Not only was the mobile industry worth $34.8 billion in 2015 according to Newzoo, but these nominees show that it was also an excellent year for quality.

We’ll discover who wins each award on March 15. You can also vote for the People’s Choice Award now here.


Excellence in Gameplay

The games whose core mechanics were the best of the bunch.

  • The Last Ninja Twins
  • Smashy Road: Wanted
  • Furdemption — A Quest For Wings
  • Lara Croft GO
  • Magenta Arcade
  • Badland 2
  • Divide By Sheep
  • Dungeon of the Endless
  • Particle Mace
  • Don’t Starve

Excellence in Innovation

Games with innovative gameplay.

  • Test Chamber
  • Wuwu & Co
  • SPL-T
  • Lifeline…
  • Dark Echo
  • Does not Commute
  • Please, Don’t Touch Anything
  • Plug & Play
  • Land Sliders
  • Her Story

Best Multiplayer Game

The best games to play with friends.

  • Tactile Wars
  • World Zombination
  • Finger Derpy
  • FlipChamps
  • Game of Dice
  • King of Thieves
  • Afterpulse
  • Subterfuge
  • DomiNations
  • Agar.io

Best Quickplay Game

The games to pick up in a few minutes.

  • Super Sharp
  • Trick Shot
  • Smove
  • Smashy Road: Wanted
  • Lines The Game
  • Four Letters
  • Angry Birds 2
  • Downwell
  • Planet Quest
  • Particle Mace

Guilty Pleasure

Games no one wants to admit their addictions for.

  • Finger Derpy
  • Fallout Shelter
  • Fishy Meal – A Tail out of Water
  • King Tongue
  • Agar.io
  • Century City
  • CivCrafter
  • Minions Paradise
  • Skyward
  • Alphabear

Best Meaningful Play

The games that make a difference or teach something.

  • Story Warriors: Fairy Tales
  • This War of Mine
  • LongStory
  • OPUS: The Day We Found Earth
  • Wuwu & Co.
  • Prune

Excellence in Storytelling

The games whose stories pulled us in and never let go.

  • Transistor
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Her Story
  • Knights of Pen & Paper 2
  • Lifeline…
  • LongStory
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  • Story Warriors: Fairy Tales
  • Tales from the Borderlands
  • The Trace: Murder Mystery Game

Best Technical Achievement

The games that pushed technology to the limits.

  • Lost Within
  • AG Drive
  • Afterpulse
  • Dungeon Hunter 5
  • Shadowmatic
  • Need for Speed: No Limits

Excellence in Audio, Visual Art & Design

The games whose design was a cut above the rest.

  • The Room Three
  • The Whispered World Special Edition
  • Transistor
  • Wuwu & Co
  • Lumino City
  • Lara Croft GO
  • Badland 2
  • Prune
  • Shadowmatic
  • Angry Birds 2

Best VR Game

The games that bring a new dimension to mobile.

  • Land’s End
  • Evil Robot Traffic Jam
  • Dead Secret
  • Omega Agent
  • Bazaar
  • Anshar Wars 2
  • Daydream Blue VR
  • Neuralgia VR
  • Galaxy Grapple
  • Bait!

Best Upcoming Game

The games that bring the most excitement for 2016.

  • _PRISM
  • Love You To Bits
  • Crashlands
  • Circa Infinity
  • Cerulean Moon
  • Clash Royale
  • WarFriends
  • The Sandbox 2
  • Quiz Tales
  • Leon!