Top 5 Mobile MOBA Games in 2020
There are many different mobile MOBA games available on the market, but not all are created equal. Some will blow you away with their attention to detail and level of craftsmanship; others, however, are so bad you’ll wonder why they were ever created in the first place. The gap between the two is immense, so let’s go over the best mobile MOBA games in 2020 to help you navigate iOS and Android app stores.
First of all, have in mind that adapting such a visually complex genre to mobile phones (of all things) was always going to be a tall order, no matter who was tasked with doing it. The games listed below are, at their core, inherently flawed in no small part because they had to accommodate a billion different commands, hotkeys, in-game options, and a complex control scheme all within the confines of a small phone screen. But the way the developers handled such a tremendous undertaking varies wildly, and some have found more success than others. While they all look the same at first glance, the differences — while relatively miniscule — often make or break the whole deal.
Secondly, the fact that actual MOBAs are even remotely playable on mobile phones is a small miracle. Even though they’ve existed for a couple of years, they are by no means streamlined, polished products. Developers are continually ironing stuff out, and most of these products are still rough around the edges in one way or another. Some just aren’t functional enough, whereas others will overwhelm you with content, daily quests, roulettes, rewards, limited-time offers and everything in between — but more on that below.
Regardless, even with these glaring problems, these games are well worth your time! They also provide slightly different aesthetics and overall gameplay, which means you’re bound to find something to your liking! To better aid you, we’ll mostly focus on the overall experience and what each title brings to the table.
Finally, before we delve deeper, we have in mind that some of these parameters are entirely subjective. For example, what someone might deem visually attractive regarding champion or overall UI design might not inspire the same reaction from someone else. The same can be said for basically any aspect of any game, but fortunately certain parameters are universal in nature and therefore fully objective so we’ll focus on those the most.
A Universal Pitfall
Mobile MOBA games offer micro-transactions, a metric ton of pop-ups, offers, limited-time bonuses and unlocks, and everything in between. The sheer amount of content screaming at your face is overwhelming in every sense of the word. It’s beyond good taste. But it’s not just that they’re trying to sell you something with each click or screen tap you make but rather the fact that you don’t know what’s offered. Every game has a scroll, a gem, a medal, some gold, some esoteric tool that can be used to boost or improve something else, and so on. It’s absolute chaos on all fronts.
That’s mobile MOBAs in a nutshell. If you’re looking for clean, well-designed, and streamlined experiences, you’d be wise to look elsewhere. This is like the Wild West, and with ads being the main source of revenue in these games (other than those oh-so-alluring in-game cosmetics and boosts), it’s not like things will change any time soon, if ever.
Still, having a flawed product that plays well without paying a dime is better than the alternative, so no one should be complaining too much.
The Core Of it All
The foundation of these games is identical. They all offer pretty much the same game modes. They all have a ton of content you’re never going to look at, along with things like player profiles, ranked play, in-depth statistics, charts, match histories, cosmetic items, customizable pre-game item builds, and so on.
When we strip them down to their core, they’re all pretty much the same thing. Still, despite their obvious similarities, the way they handle the core MOBA elements vary wildly. Some games are more successful in this than others, and we’ll go over each in the best mobile MOBA games of 2020 list below.
1. Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor is arguably the most polished of all mobile MOBA games. That’s what happens when Tencent finances it; this is what you get when you combine a seemingly endless budget and a dozen exquisite designers and programmers. It’s balanced visually from start to finish. The user interface is thought-out and consistent, and even though there’s an insane amount of information on the screen it’s not as overwhelming as in some other titles.
Furthermore, Arena of Valor feels like a full-fledged MOBA. You can view each champion and skin model, there’s a ton of amazing artwork, you can test each hero out before making the plunge, and pretty much anything you might want is present here as well. It’s insane that they could cram in so much stuff into a fairly small mobile MOBA. The champions and gameplay are fairly original and unique by design. No 1:1 knock-offs here, although there is a slight overlap champion-design wise, as expected. There’s a ton of lore; the map is vast and beautiful. It creates the sense that you’re a part of a much larger world, much like in League or Dota. It’s not just a random game with champions that look alike, but rather something unique and distinct. You can see that a fair bit of time and effort went into every nook and cranny of Arena of Valor, and that’s a big reason it became such a big hit.
And the graphics? Insane. The champion models are incredibly detailed, the effects and textures are fantastic, and all of this goes hand-in-hand to create a world that lives and breathes in every way, shape, and form.
Make no mistake: You’ll have a ton of pop-ups in Arena of Valor as well, but at least they’re consistent in design and look nice. That’s pretty much the leitmotif of the whole game, too. It’s beautiful, well-designed, and even though there’s some bloat here and there, it’s well worth your time.
If you’re after the full MOBA experience on the go, Arena of Valor is your best bet.
2. Heroes Evolved
Heroes Evolved is certainly flawed, but its fantastic gameplay manages to even things out. Once you open the game, you’ll almost always be greeted with up to six new pop-up screens. That wasn’t a typo. And the “X” that closes the whole thing is placed in a different location so that you have to invest more time reading into what’s offered. By the time you’re able to queue up, there’s a good chance you’ve lost the urge to play.
Still, if you survive this early onslaught, things improve a lot. Heroes Evolved is like Arena of Valor, but somewhat less polished. It does, however, have most of the things that make AoV such an alluring option. It’s visually consistent, the gameplay is pretty darn great (and insanely fast), there’s a wide variety of unique champions that are available for you to play, along with multiple game modes and things to do.
Heroes Evolved does, however, highlight a big problem almost every mobile MOBA has. It’s not layered or particularly complex gameplay-wise. All the MOBA hallmarks are there, but you can just ignore them and charge head-first into battle and still find a ton of success. Games are often insanely quick (less than 10 minutes), and once you start rolling and snowballing, there’s very little your opponents can do to stop you. In that sense, this is more of a button-masher than anything else. You can dominate beyond measure without really doing anything extraordinary — just land a couple of abilities, and you’re good to go.
Then again, depending on your personal preference, maybe this isn’t such a bad thing.
Games are fast-paced and action-packed. You have all the MOBA bells and whistles like hero-specific gear and setups, kill effects, ward skins, battle emotes, downloadable replays. You don’t have to play like a maniac to unlock new champions. You can even share your in-game accomplishments and records, an excellent way to tell your friends “I’m better than you at this” or, conversely, “I wasted another 10 minutes playing this game.”
There are times when Heroes Evolved is a mess, but there are moments when you feel like you’re playing an actual MOBA. Most of it boils down to your rank and whether you’re playing a casual game mode something a bit more competitive.
In that regard, ranked feels good. Though short and sweet, games are competitive, and everything you do in standard MOBAs mostly applies here. Jungling for bonus gold, life-stealing off of minions after skirmishing, warding, making TP plays, recalling back to base, etc. There’s quite a big difference between casual and competitive play, but at least there’s a mode in which you can try hard, should you feel so inclined.
Overall, it’s a fantastic game that’s a joy to play if you can overcome some of its flaws and imperfections.
3. Mobile Legends Bang Bang
Mobile Legends is, without a doubt, one of the most popular mobile MOBA games globally in 2020, but it’s not exactly the best one out there or the most polished. Still, it does many things well, and the games are relatively quick but also pretty fun. If you’re after a solid albeit flawed experience, then MLBB is the way to go. Furthermore, seeing how it’s the OG mobile MOBA, it has a dedicated player base (upwards of 75 million) and is frequently updated.
Still, it’s not as visually attractive as Heroes Evolved, the graphics aren’t as good, and the same can be said for the way information is laid out and the entire control scheme. It fully encapsulates the mobile MOBA experience. That means it has all the pros and cons we’ve become accustomed to. Whether you can live with its laundry list of flaws is entirely subjective, but it is no longer the most enticing option.
4. Heroes Arena
Heroes Arena is a pretty standard take on the mobile MOBA formula. It carries both the good and the bad, which is to say that it looks reasonably solid but lacks depth and long-term potential; once you get to the menus, you’re not quite sure which of the fifty buttons you need to press to advance further. Once you manage to decipher and navigate through all the chaos, you’ll find that it is pretty solid overall. It looks good, sounds good, but it’s not excelling in any way. There’s just nothing overly impressive about it. The biggest problem with Heroes Arena is that almost every title listed here is better in one way or another.
It’s riddled with bad English. There’s a ton of content you don’t need along with an overwhelming amount of daily quests, bonuses, rewards, and the like. It’s absolute insanity, really, but at least the gameplay itself is fairly entertaining.
All in all, this is a severely flawed game with a bit of potential that doesn’t have the same allure as most competitors.
Vainglory is a strange mix of good and bad. There’s just no other way to put it. On the one hand, the user interface is fairly clear and minimalistic, but certain elements are either unpolished or downright unattractive. It looks less like a generic mobile MOBA than any other game on this list, which is certainly a plus. On the other, the different things aren’t exactly in tune with the genre itself, which makes them stand out in a pretty negative way. The studio behind Vainglory decided to go against some “age-old” MOBA conventions. They should be commended for their approach, but whether or not they delivered a viable alternative is very much up for debate.
Still, most in-game elements are streamlined and thought out. There aren’t any annoying pop-ups, you’re not being bombarded with long-winded messages and bits of information. The interface is fairly unique from a visual standpoint, but when compared to some mobile MOBA alternatives, it does leave a lot to be desired. The gameplay itself is also pretty straight-forward and somewhat lacking, especially if you’ve first played any of the games listed above.
Still, it’s an interesting take. While it might not be the best mobile MOBA of the bunch, it does evade many of the aforementioned pitfalls that are so entrenched in the genre itself. It’s a somewhat refreshing take, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Bad art, iffy sound effects, and an overly simplistic design language make Vainglory a pretty underwhelming option.
That’s it for our list of best mobile MOBA games in 2020! These are all enjoyable games, but it’s fair to say that once League of Legends Wild Rift is released that most of these titles will quickly fade into obscurity. Hopefully, it’ll live up to everyone’s expectations as there’s a ton of potential and it’d be a shame to see it squandered!