It’s pretty apparent that fighting games are in steady decline on consoles, reducing themselves to a few popular titles. We’d rather not mention arcades since it’s too sad of a story to tell. Mobile-wise, fighting games are usually the derivation from already established popular games or direct ports of older arcade games. Due to the shortcomings in precision controls, these games are usually oversimplified in terms of execution and freedom of movement, which kind of undermines the greatest quality of fighting games, which are fluidity and strategies based on positioning and timing. The purpose of this article is to show you the best fighting games in a bunch, which could provide you hours of fun despite the initial limits of the devices you play them on.
Tekken Mobile was a highly anticipated title for many months, but when it finally arrived, fans of the long-running fighting game series were faced with a very different game from what they were expecting.
Bandai Namco basically offered a typical mobile fighting game, meaning it’s a micro-transaction heavy grind-fest with enough different kinds of in-game currency and stats that you’d want to hire an accountant to play this game for you.
The sophisticated controls, which are the highlight of Tekken series have been shed down to a limited repertoire of taps and swipes along a 2D plane. Yes, this is a Tekken game with no sidestepping. Let that sink in.
Nonetheless, there’s no denying that Tekken Mobile is beautiful to look at. The characters look great, movements are fluid and the graphics overall really take advantage of what modern high-end phones have to offer.
Lacking the depth that the Tekken series flaunts, Tekken Mobile really relies on the strength of its brand. Do you want to see your favorite characters rendered gorgeously on your mobile device? This is the one for you. But if you’re looking for more tactics or challenge in your fights, you’d be better off trying some other games from this list.
Shadow Fight 3
The latest entry in the silky smooth fighting series, Shadow Fight 3 is a huge step up in quality — and that’s saying something because Shadow Fight 2 was pretty great in its own right. Shadow Fight 3 delivers 3D-rendered arenas packed with a surprising amount of detail. Your fighters have emerged from the shadows, so to speak, and look great.
Shadow Fight has always had buttery-smooth controls and animation, and those return here. The physics are spot-on, too, as a well-timed heavy attack with a sword can make your enemy drop their sword and send them flying. There’s a full campaign to play through and a ton of weapons, armor, and special attacks to unlock and customize your fighter with. Best of all, this game is free, although there’s in-game currency that you’ll need to manage to buy new weapons and other upgrades, along with in-app purchases available if you need an influx of coins.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is an award-winning fighting game that puts you in control of the greatest and most famous DC characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Arrow and even villains such as the Joker.
The game uses touch screen controls which aren’t ideal, but work well enough here. You swipe and tap to attack and link combos together. If it sounds very similar to Mortal Kombat X, that’s because both games were developed by Warner Bros., so you basically get one great core game with different coats of paint to satisfy two different fan bases. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing at all, but considering the file sizes for both of these games, you’re probably best off picking your preferred franchise. If you’re a huge fan of comic book heroes, this game is for you.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the extremely popular UFC Mobile title from EA Sports which brings the ultra-competitive world of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to our mobile devices. UFC Mobile has realistic graphics, awesome touch controls, and multiple game modes. You can also create and build your own fighter and play him through the career, just like in The Ultimate Fighter TV Show, win different events and defend your belt as you become the champion. It certainly isn’t a revolutionary game, but still worth downloading. It’s also free but has in-app purchases.
Street Fighter IV Champion Edition
Street Fighter series has been the iconic fighting game ever since the early 90s, and the mobile offering in the venerable franchise doesn’t disappoint. Street Fighter IV suffered a graphical downgrade during the port process, but the good news is that the sophisticated fighting system stays intact, with all the characters and moves you know from the big screen.
The game uses a virtual on-screen gamepad by default (though you can add your own controller), and Street Fighter veterans will find it fits like Ryu’s worn red gloves. There’s also an optional button just for special moves to make it easier for those who find touch controls awkward.
Unlike many fighting games on mobile, there’s no login for daily rewards, no grinding for in-game currencies to level up your fighters punches, no gambling-style random unlocks of characters, moves or features.
The free version of the game is akin to a demo, where you can play as Ryu against three classic characters. One in-app purchase of $5 unlocks all the other fighters and several game modes including arcade, survival and online versus.
All in all, the successful port of Street Fighter’s mechanics and lack of pay-to-win BS elevate this game over prettier but more predatory offerings out there. Somewhat frustratingly, the game is online-only, even if you’re playing solo, and even after you’ve paid. But so long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, this is the most satisfying fighting game on mobile.
Fighting games are a genre in decline, with a gradually weaker presence on the market, save the few most popular franchises. This mirrors mobile games too, so the best mobile fighting games are mostly simplified versions, both graphics and gameplay wise, of the popular console games. There are worthy exclusions of that rule, of course, but mobile devices have limitations in the control timing and precision, making it pretty hard to achieve the level of gameplay quality akin to those on consoles or PC. There are games that use that restricted setting to the fullest, providing games that can give the gamers a fun and engaging experience.