Smartphone gaming has seen a huge surge in popularity in the past few years, and with the release of Apple Arcade and many other hotly anticipated games in recent months, it's safe to say 2019 has been a big year for the industry.

While Fortnight, Pokémon Go, PUBG Mobile and the likes of Candy Crush Saga remain some of the most popular games on the App Store and Google Play Store, we've also seen plenty of exciting new releases in 2019. Let's take a look at some of the best below.

Journey

Available on: iOS
Price: £4.99

Originally released in 2012 for PlayStation 3, Journey made its smartphone debut in August 2019. An adventure game at its core, Journey stands out for its beautiful graphics - it really is hard not to admire the artwork and musical score of this game.

journey

Journey is set in a mysterious, ancient world where a now forgotten civilisation once lived. Surrounded by vast deserts, you'll be able to explore at your leisure, coming across unusual ruins, strange beasts and even other travellers. If you do bump into others on your quest, you'll only be able to communicate with them with special in-game sounds - there's no speech or text to be seen throughout the entire game.

The experience of playing Journey is sure to be unique to each player. However, the main goal is to reach a mountain that looms far away in the distance, and discover your purpose along the way.

Witcheye

Available on: iOS and Android
Price: £0.99 on iOS or £2.79 on Android

With a charming old-school feel, Witcheye is a colourful and lively adventure game that players of all ages will love. You'll be the main character - a witch, who can transform into something known as the "flying eyeball of vengeance". Gameplay starts after a knight and dastardly wizard steal the witch's ingredients, that she needs for her spells, and using touchscreen controls you'll have to guide the witch through a series of 50+ levels to retrieve what was wrongfully taken from her.

witcheye

You'll face new enemies, new environments and loads of new puzzles along the way, and there are a number of bonus levels and a challenging hard mode to mix up gameplay. The retro graphics will take you back, and the soundtrack is great as well.

Call of Duty Mobile

Available on: iOS and Android
Price: Free with in-app purchases

A big name in the gaming industry, Call of Duty Mobile was one of the most exciting launches in 2019. Praised by many gaming critics upon its release, this blockbuster game has been adapted perfectly for mobile.

cod-mob

Call of Duty: Mobile had over 148 million downloads in its first month alone - making it the largest ever launch for a smartphone game. If you're a fan of the original, downloading this is a must - you'll find HD gaming, multiplayer maps, special events and so much more with this mobile adaptation.

Minecraft Earth

Available on: Android and iOS
Price: Free with in-app purchases

Another famous name in the gaming world, Minecraft Earth is developer Mojan's latest addition to the Minecraft universe. With the original Minecraft dubbed as the best-selling video game of all time, it's no surprise the announcement of Minecraft Earth caused a huge stir in the smartphone gaming world - especially since it’s Minecraft's first ever step into the world of augmented reality.

minecraft

Early access to the game was released in October 2019, with the game now available in the UK on both Android and iOS. Adding a whole new dimension to the game, you'll be able to build, gather resources, craft and explore with AR, either alone or with friends. Once you've finished creating your structures - known as Buildplates - in build mode, you can enter play mode and collect items, complete various adventures and even defeat enemies.

The premise of this Minecraft spin-off is to add a whole new dimension to the game, and spark creativity in mobile gamers. It's an ambitious and exciting step for Mojang, and just like other AR games, it's great for encouraging players to head outside and explore on foot.

Mario Kart Tour

Available on: iOS and Android
Price: Free with in-app purchases

Mario and friends are going global in Mario Kart Tour, which was released at the end of September 2019. The ninth game in the Mario Kart series, and the third mobile Mario game overall, Mario fans both old and new are sure to love the latest instalment.

mario

You'll find all your favourite characters on Mario Kart Tour, and courses inspired by real-world locations including New York, London and Tokyo. Players can access many alternate courses as well as those listed - if you spot an 'R' next to a course it means you can experience it in reverse, and a 'T' means you can drive around a 'Trick' variant of the course, where you'll be up against extra ramps and obstacles.

A beta for Mario Kart Tour was released for select devices in December 2019, so you can expect this feature to officially arrive in the game in early 2020.

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