With 120Hz Screens, Mobile Games Are Going To Get A Lot Better

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With 120Hz Screens, Mobile Games Are Going To Get A Lot Better
Image: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

High refresh rate screens are pretty common for PC gaming, and support for 4K/120Hz gameplay will be a standard feature for the PS5 and new Xboxes. But high refresh rates on mobile screens are still pretty rare, limited to a few phones like the latest Pixel (which caps out at 90Hz) or specialist gaming phones like the Razer Phone 2 and the ASUS ROG Phone 2.

As a result, there’s a ton of mobile games that just aren’t built to take advantage of the smoother displays. But with Samsung making 120Hz support standard across their whole S20 range, and rumours that this year’s iPhones will have 120Hz OLED displays, mobile gaming across the board is about to get a hell of a lot better.

The benefits of improved refresh rates are immediately apparent in any twitch shooter, battle royale where you’re tracking objects at distance, or any game with a lot of high speed motion (like racing games).

As phones have started to include better screens, support for higher frame rates – and refresh rates – has improved. Games like DOTA Underlords, Evoland, Don’t Starve, World of Tanks Blitz, Skullgirls and Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition are miles better with it turned on, if your device supports it.

Here’s a list of games that can supports higher frame rate (and, consequently, higher refresh rate screens).

All The Games That Support 120Hz On Phones

  • 1945 Air Forces
  • Ace Force: Joint Combat
  • Airline Commander
  • Alto’s Adventure
  • Alto’s Odyssey
  • Arena of Valor
  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • Arma Mobile Ops
  • Armajet
  • Assassins Creed Rebellion
  • Auto Chess
  • Badland Brawl
  • Ballz
  • Batman: The Enemy Within
  • Battlejack: Blackjack RPG
  • Battlelands Royale
  • Bendy in Nightmare Run
  • Big Shot Boxing
  • Blade Bound
  • Bleach Brave Souls
  • Boggle With Friends: Word Game
  • Bomb Squad
  • Bombastic Brothers
  • Breakneck
  • Bullet Force
  • Bullet League
  • Bust-A-Move Journey
  • Card Thief
  • Caterzillar
  • CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars
  • Call of Duty Mobile
  • Chameleon Run
  • Chilly Snow
  • Cover Fire
  • CSR Racing 2
  • DARIUSBURST -SP-
  • Darkness Rises
  • Dead Trigger 2
  • Deer Hunter 2018
  • Deus Ex Go
  • Dokdo
  • Don’t Starve
  • Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked
  • DOTA Underlords
  • Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle
  • Dragon Ball Legends
  • Dub Dash
  • Durango: Wild Lands
  • Epic Battle Simulator
  • Epic Battle Simulator 2
  • Eternium
  • Evoland
  • Evoland 2
  • Falling Ballz
  • Far Tin Bandits
  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
  • Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
  • Fire Emblem Heroes
  • Flaming Core
  • Flippy Knife
  • Frag Pro Shooter
  • FZ9 Timeshift
  • Gear.Club – True Racing
  • Golf Clash
  • Golf Star
  • Grimvalor
  • Groove Coaster 2
  • Grow Kingdom
  • H3H3: Ball Rider
  • Hill Climb 2
  • Hitman Go
  • Hitman Sniper
  • Hungry Dragon
  • I Love Hue
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Injustice 2
  • Into the Dead
  • Lara Croft Go
  • Lara Croft: Relic Run
  • Legendary: Game of Heroes
  • Lemmings – Puzzle Adventure
  • Lineage 2: Revolution
  • Man or Vampire
  • Marvel Contest of Champions
  • MARVEL Future Fight
  • Marvel Strike Force
  • MaskGun Multiplayer FPS
  • Matchville
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of War
  • Minecraft
  • Mini DAYZ: Zombie Survival
  • Mini Metro
  • Modern OPS
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Need for Speed No Limits
  • Nonstop Knight 2
  • Oceanhorn
  • Oddmar
  • OK Golf
  • Old School Runescape
  • Onirim
  • Pac-Man
  • Pac-Man 256
  • PAC-MAN Pop
  • Payback 2 – The Battle Sandbox
  • Perfect Slices
  • Pixel Gun 3D
  • Plague Inc.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2
  • Pokémon GO
  • Pumped BMX 3
  • Rayman Adventures
  • Raystorm
  • RC Soccer
  • Real Racing 3
  • Rebel Inc
  • Riptide GP: Renegade
  • Rocket Sky
  • Rope Hero
  • Rules of Survival
  • Runescape
  • Sandballs
  • Sandbox 3D
  • Shadow Fight 2
  • Shadow Fight 3
  • Shadowgun: Legends
  • Shadowmatic
  • Shining Force Classics
  • Shooting Stars!
  • Skullgirls
  • Smashing Rush
  • Sonic Dash
  • Sonic Dash 2
  • Sonic Forces: Speed Battle
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Classic
  • Soul Knight
  • South Park: Phone Destroyer
  • Space Armada: Galaxy Wars
  • Space Commander
  • Space Jet
  • Space Rangers: Legacy
  • Star Vikings Forever
  • Stick War: Legacy
  • Streets of Rage 2 Classic
  • Subdivision Infinity
  • Subway Surfers
  • Summoners War
  • Super Mario Run
  • Super Samurai Rampage
  • Tacticool
  • Temple Run 2
  • Tekken Mobile
  • The Bug Butcher
  • The Simpsons: Tapped Out
  • The Wolf Among Us
  • Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery
  • Toon Blast
  • Traffic Rider
  • Trials Frontier
  • UNKILLED – Zombie FPS Shooting
  • Vainglory
  • Vendetta Online
  • Walking Dead: Road to Survival
  • Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf
  • Warfair
  • Wonder Tactics
  • World of Tanks: Blitz
  • WWE: Champions 2019

Fortnite and PUBG Mobile are the biggest absences on that list, although that’s only a matter of time: the game was patched on iPad to run at 120fps for iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 2018 tablets earlier this year. You’ll have to change the graphical settings to medium, otherwise you’ll be playing the game at 60fps (on high) or 30fps (on epic settings).

Support for higher refresh rate phones was always going to come. The question was when, and, more importantly, when the big brands would start implementing 120Hz screens in their devices. Samsung, Apple or Google making 120Hz screens the default is a whole different ballpark from Razer, Sony, Oppo, ASUS, OnePlus or the other major Chinese brands implementing 120Hz. The Big Three and their flagships aren’t always the absolute top of the pack in terms of specs or what they offer – companies like Huawei, OnePlus and even companies like Oppo have repeatedly punched above their weight in the last two years – but their sheer volume and brand recognition does set the standard for what developers follow. Samsung and Apple had more than half of the world’s market share in smartphones over the last year, and in Australia the two conglomerates command more than two-thirds of the mobile market.

So what those two decide becomes the default for everyone. And that’s a good thing looking out at the future of games, particularly competitive ones like League of Legends: Wild Rift, Riot’s port of League to phones, EA’s upcoming mobile release of Apex Legends, and even ARPGs like Diablo Immortal. 4K/120fps support was one of Google’s headline features for Stadia Pro subscribers, and while Stadia is fizzling out something hard – and it’s not even in Australia yet! – having that high frame rate and refresh rate support on a phone will still be useful for eliminating every possible millisecond of lag.

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There’s also the other reality: smartphone vendors generally get their screen panels from the same manufacturers. So now that at least one of the biggest brands are on the high refresh rate train for their phones, expect everyone else – developers included – to follow suit over the next 12 to 18 months. Buttery smooth Might & Magic: Chess Royale, here I come.

Comments

  • Want to know what doesn’t get better with 120hz?

    Your battery life.

    Phone makers need to stop making thinner phones with every generation

    Battery capacity > Reducing thickness of phone.

    • This! Samsung phones are good for letting you pick the resolution, I drop mine to FHD+ to save battery, hopefully you can drop these down to 60hz or whatever the norm is too.

      • Samsung has bigger batteries this year – but it’s also been a default option in every supported phone that you can lower the refresh rate to save battery if you want. So if you want absolute guaranteed two day battery life, then tank the Hz to 60Hz and carry on. The Razer phones, ASUS Rog, Nubia Magic all had this, and it’d be very weird if Samsung didn’t because it was an option within Android and not some custom OS.

  • I say this as an owner of a 120Hz phone (long story, but basically it was incidental to the reason I have this particular phone). The reason I don’t play many games on my android phone has nothing to do with, and wouldn’t be improved by, refresh rate.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like there’s nothing out there. But I’m old and cynical enough that the freemium model would never have appealed to me, and Android still lags behind iOS in quality of games available – tho it has improved in the last 5 years I’ll readily admit.

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