Japan is famous for a lot of things, which is why – if you ask different people about the Land of the Rising Sun, you will get different answers. However, there’s one thing everyone will admit about Japan – it doesn’t seem like that country is on the same planet as the rest of us.
The unique culture Japan has – from art, music to television and movies, has also spilled into digital arts and digital entertainment – mobile games that are among the most popular in the country are rarely seen elsewhere, and the number of downloads on, for example, Google Play Store, can confirm such claims. The games are by no means of lesser quality – but their popularity is limited to the far, far East.
Popularity of #Japanese #mobilegames rarely spills to the rest of the world. Click To Tweet
That is why finding the most popular mobile games in Japan was a specific and quite a challenging task. Nevertheless, we’ve come up with the list of Top 10 mobile games made in Japan, and the results are as follows:
BlazeGames is a game development studio located in Tokyo. It was established in July 2014, and runs with a 300-million-yen capital. Its mobile game, Ritoru Noa, translates to “Little Noah”.
Genre: Kawaii / Simulation
About the game: The Ritoru Noa game revolves around a female alchemist character named Noah and her airship adventures. The gameplay is similar to Clash of Clans but with a much cuter theme to it.
Aniplex is a game development studio formed back in 1995. It was created out of Sony Pictures Entertainment Music Publishing, and also has offices in the United States. It changed its name to Aniplex in 2001, and in 2005 it established its American affiliate company Aniplex of America.
About the game: As one might have imagined, the Japanese are crazy about RPG games, and they have a specific style to the way they create those games. One of the best examples for it is Fate/Grand Order – a huge, masterfully crafted RPG game, but one which is also hard to imagine as a mobile game. Fate/Grand Order is an RPG for Android and iOS platforms which lets players take on the role of a fledgling master on a quest to save time and space.
Translimit is a game development studio located in Tokyo. Formed by Hiroki Takaba and Takuma Kudo, a duo that has previously worked together on a number of game projects. It was launched in January 2015 and currently employs 14 people.
About the game: Brain Dots is an insanely creative puzzle game which forces the player to use his / her imagination, together with real-life physics to pass various obstacles and complete increasingly difficult levels. The brain-training app is available on both Android and iOS.
Wonderplanet is a game development studio located in Nagoya, well-known in the country thanks to games such as Siren Fantasia, Panic Farm or Slash of the Dragoon. It currently employs 39 people which build games for both Android and the iOS platforms.
About the game: Crash Fever is a hybrid game, combining a colour-matching puzzle game and an RPG fighting game. In the game, in order to defeat the opponent in the RPG phase of the game, the player must first play a colour-matching mini-game which then determines the strength of the fighter, its defence and various power-ups.
About the game: Brain Wars is a multiplayer puzzle game which pits two players against each other in real-time puzzle battles. Highly rated by players who enjoy puzzles crosswords, Sudoku, and other brain teasers, the game will train the player’s intellect, without the need of specialized knowledge.
Level-5 is both a game developer and a publisher, working solely on Japanese soil. It was founded in 2010 by Akihiro Hino who is both President and CEO, and has since developed many games, including Just Dance, Fantasy Life 2, The Snack World or Layton 7. All games are recognizable by the unique visual style featuring bright colors and cute characters.
About the game: Quite similar to Crash Fever, Specter Watch PuniPuni also combines RPG elements with color-matching mini-games. The game also taps into a very popular franchise, similar to the Pokémon universe. It’s free to play, but offers in-game purchases if you’re willing to spend extra money.
Colopl is a Japanese game developer which builds games only for the domestic market. It’s well-known for games such as the White Cat Project or Quiz RPG: The World of Mystic Wiz – very colorful games – which is something we couldn’t say for the company website. The company is headquartered in Tokyo, and was founded in 2008 by Naruatsu Baba.
About the game: The White Cat Project is an action RPG game with a unique game design – it is played only with a thumb, and has had the Japanese going completely crazy last year. The game will control movement and fighting by having players simply “stretch” their thumb press or tapping rapidly. Special skills can be activated by swiping in the area and direction set for them. According to media, it was downloaded more than 12 million times in the first two and a half months.
DeNA is a mobile game developer which owns Mobage, one of the most popular cellphone gaming platforms in Japan. It also operates many other services, including a popular e-commerce website DeNA Shopping, and is headquartered in Tokyo.
Genre: Card game
About the game: Moving into the number three position, we have the first card game on the list, Hellfire: The Summoning. This is one of those rare Japanese games which are also very popular in the West as well, as this one, for example, has more than 10 million downloads on Google Play Store, with an average rating of 4.3. It features a simple flick mechanic, and eye-catching artwork.
Even though it has created one of the best Japanese games we’ve come across, Mixi is not really a game development studio. In fact, Mix is an online Japanese social networking service. It was founded in 2004, and as of 2008 has more than 21 million users. It is headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo.
Genre: Puzzle / RPG
About the game: Just like almost every other Japanese game, Monster Strike features monsters, spells, bright colors and cute characters. It is considered one of the best mobile games in the country, gaining praise not only domestically, but globally as well. Monster Strike has you collecting and powering up anime-stylized battling monsters. It also features RPG qualities like turn-based combat and buffs.
Developer: GungHo Online Entertainment
GungHo Online Entertainment is primarily known for hosting the Japanese server of Ragnarok Online, as well as their development of Ragnarok DS for the Nintendo DS, but in more recent times, it’s a mobile game that’s grabbing all the attention. The company has reported huge financial success thanks to Puzzle & Dragons, which, in 2013, was reportedly responsible for 91 percent of the company’s $1.6 billion revenue for the year.
Genre: Puzzle, RPG
About the game: Puzzle & Dragons is a puzzle video game with elements of RPGs and strategy games, built for the iOS, Android and Kindle platforms. In Japan, the title is often shortened to Pazudora, while in English it is shortened to PAD. In core, it’s a color-matching game, with the success of the game determining which of the six monsters on the player’s team attack the waves of enemy monsters and how much damage they do.