Japan has always been a bit of a mystery to the rest of the world. It has an incredibly long and fascinating history, interesting culture, and a language that is very difficult to master by an outsider.
Its uniqueness extends to the digital sphere as well, where the Japanese are rocking it in creating exceptionally entertaining and unusual video and audio content, as well as mobile, PC, and console games.
Since we’re focused on all things mobile, I was curious to learn which mobile games made in Japan are the best and most popular today. So here are 10 awesome games I encountered you might want to try yourself:
#1 Super Mario Run
CPM or cost per mille (“mille” = “thousand” in Latin) is a pricing model that defines how much specific ad space will cost. It refers to the price paid by the advertiser to the app publisher for every 1,000 ad impressions. In other words, it is the price of a thousand views of an advertiser’s ad by the users in a publisher’s mobile app (where the ad is shown).
Published: 2016 for iOS, 2017 for Android
About the game: Princess Peach is in trouble again and it’s up to Super Mario to save her from Bowser’s clutches, running and jumping through plains, caverns, and castles. This side-scrolling auto-running platformer features four game modes.
In the core mode you control Mario or other characters as they automatically run across the screen, in Remix 10 you complete altered versions of core game levels, in Toad Rally you compete against ghosts or other players, or you can grow your Mushroom Kingdom using collectibles from other modes.
#2 Beatmania IIDX ULTIMATE MOBILE
Another helpful metric that goes in hand with CPM (or rather, includes CPM) is the “effective cost per mille” or eCPM. It is used to measure the cost of every thousandth ad impression in a campaign whose pricing model is based on performance, regardless of the buying method.
About the game: Beatmania IIDX ULTIMATE MOBILE is the mobile version of a popular rhythm game that started out as an arcade. There are three options available: Main Mode, Game View for practicing, and a Music Play where you can access all the music from the entire Bemani series. Free players can only access the Main Mode, limited to up to 100 songs, increasing this number to 1,000 once they pay for a subscription.
Now that you know exactly what CPM is and what its role in your app’s success is, you can tailor your CPM monetization strategies and, as a result, boost your app ad revenue and earn more money.
Developer: ZigZaGame Inc.
About the game: The world of Erden is in danger from the ancient and deadly Pandemonium curse which descends upon it every 100 years. The only way to save it is to collect, train, and evolve whichever of the 180 creatures and warriors you can find, and then have them fight against monsters.
Evertale allows you to explore the sprawling world in the single-player offline story mode or develop your team and test your skills against other players online, participate in PvP leagues and form guilds to get gear and power-ups.
#4 Mario Kart Tour
Offered by: Nintendo
About the game: Another one from Nintendo’s stack, Mario Kart Tour brings the fun of global racing to your smart device as you finish races in locations inspired by real-world cities, in addition to the classic Mario Kart courses.
Steer and drift with ease and sling powerful items at other players as you participate in tours that rotate every two weeks. Collect drivers, karts, badges, and more by completing in-game challenges.
#5 Romancing SaGa3
Developer: Square Enix
About the game: Originally released in Japan in 1995, Romancing SaGa 3 has finally reached the West, in its remastered, mobile-suitable form. The game lets you choose one of the eight characters and set on an adventure defined by your own choices, and fight against the threat of the Rise of Morastrum.
Additional characters can be recruited throughout the game and everyone’s stats can be increased individually, depending on their participation in battles, learning new fighting techniques and defense abilities.
Published: 2015 for iOS, 2016 for Android
Genre: Action, Platform
About the game: Combining the elements of a traditional Japanese shooter with the classic Japanese platformer, Downwell wraps it all up in a robust, vertically-scrolling package. Your character is a young boy on a quest for vast treasures with only his trusty Gunboots to protect him.
The main objective is to collect red gems, while battling monsters, uncovering hidden caves, and upgrading your weapons. Every level is procedurally generated, so every trip down the well is different.
#7 Final Fantasy IX
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: Adventure, Role-playing
About the game: The ninth part of the famous saga brings all the excitement to your mobile device as you accompany Zidane and his crew on their adventures. Lead them in uncovering the secrets about themselves and the Crystal, along with meeting memorable characters.
Help them learn new abilities by equipping items and entering Trance mode, combine pieces of equipment, or simply play minigames like Chocobo Hot and Cold.
#8 Dragon Quest VIII
Developer: Square Enix
About the game: In Dragon Quest VIII, the player is taken into a fully detailed 3D world leading Yangus, Jessica, and Angelo on an adventure to save the kingdom from a malicious magician wielding an ancient scepter of fearsome power.
The game also includes options like learning new spells and abilities, combining items to create new ones, or creating teams of monsters to fight on your side. Add simple and accessible controls into the mix, and you won’t be able to drop this game for hours.
#9 Space Invaders Infinity Gene
Developer: Taito Corporation
Published: 2009 for iOS, 2011 for Android
Genre: Retro, Action
About the game: Revamping the legendary series, Space InvadersInfinity Gene is a shooter that allows you to kill alien crab enemies and earn ‘genes’ as you progress, blending the franchise’s classic characters and gameplay with the concept of evolution. These evolutions allow you to unlock new weapons, music, and bonus stages, as well as increase your life limit.
There are several modes – Normal Mode, where the player travels and evolves, Challenge Mode with 99 challenge stages, Bonus Mode with levels unlocked through evolving, and Music Mode, with levels generated from music tracks found on your device.
#10 Part Time UFO
Developer: HAL Egg
Published: 2017 for Android, 2018 for iOS
About the game: In Part Time UFO, you take on the role of an odd-job worker that helps out at a farm, cooks desserts at a restaurant, supports cheerleaders, builds castles, and more, all the while flying around in a UFO.
Doing these tasks by moving, and stacking objects with the UFO’s special claw crane will get you money to spend on classy outfits with special abilities. You’ll also meet a ton of different characters along the way, who will show different reactions to your successes, although not all of them will be friendly.
Keep having fun
And there you have it folks, those were some of the best games coming to us from the beautiful and mysterious land of Japan, for which I believe will get you hours of endless fun.
If you’ve developed a great product of your own and want to see it on your country’s top list one day, make sure to enlist the help of the best monetization assistants on the market and together we can conquer the world (of mobile games)!