The Top Ten Australian Android Game Developers

These developers from down under have produced some wonderful mobile games.

Australia might be relatively isolated on the global scale, and their internet isn't all that fast, but still, the rise of digital distribution and the App Store era of gaming has made it possible for developers from this region to not only contribute to the gaming industry with greater ease, but to thrive. And in fact, the modern era of mobile gaming has allowed for Australian game studios to thrive, and have a massive influence on mobile gaming, with some Android gaming classics having come from this great country. Here are ten influential studios you need to know about:

1
Halfbrick

Jetpack Joyride
Halfbrick

 You probably know this Brisbane company's games Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, two of the best casual mobile games of all time. The studio has seen some talent leave in recent years, but their overall track record so far is unquestionable, with not only their popular games but others like the fun dual-stick shooter Age of Zombies, action-runner Monster Dash, and some lesser-known fun games such as Radical Rappelling and Bears vs. Art.

2
Hipster Whale

Ben, Andy, and Matt of Hipster Whale
Hipster Whale's initial three proprietors from left to right: Ben Weatherall, Andy Sum, and Matt Hall. Hipster Whale

 The trio of Matt Hall, Andy Sum, and Ben Weatherall came together to make Crossy Road, which has been one of the most influential mobile games ever, with its player-friendly business model striking a balance between feeling fair for free players, while having the potential for profit for creators. Since then, the studio has also helped bring forth Pac-Man 256, which was a genius endless version of Pac-Man, worked with Disney to make Disney Crossy Road, and two-thirds of the team formed Mighty Games Group to create Shooty Skies. This studio is cranking out hits, and it'll be interesting to see what future publishing endeavors do for them.

3
Prettygreat

Land Sliders
Prettygreat

 One of the other reasons why Halfbrick is so influential on the Australian games scene is that some of the great talent has gone on to do some killer games after Halfbrick. Prettygreat is one of those studios, with several ex-Halfbrick employees collaborating (and getting funding from Crossy Road makers Hipster Whale) to make the incredibly fun Land Sliders, followed up by the challenging Slide the Shakes. Time will tell what else this talented crew has to offer mobile gaming.

4
SMG Studio

One More Dash
SMG Studio

 These folks saw their first mega-popular game hit with One More Line, a stylistic endless grappler, where you have to spin around various points to launch yourself forward without going too far off to one side. With a well-defined visual style, simple-yet-challenging gameplay, and even some neat Easter Eggs, this was a great sign for future success from the studio. One More Dash was another solid game in the series, but their next big game, Thumb Drift, showed they could really branch out. The endless drift-driving game was perfect for one-handed high-score chasing, with tons of great vehicles to unlock in the Crossy Road tradition. Their first published game One More Jump promises to live up to what they've done before. While the studio is far from mobile-only – OTTTD released on mobile and desktop, and future game Death Squared is set for console and PC – mobile has been where they've seen the most success with some fun games.

5
Firemonkeys

Real Racing 3 Nascar
Screenshot of a Nascar stock car race in Real Racing 3. EA/Firemonkeys

 Not all the great Australian mobile gaming studios are indies, necessarily. This EA-owned subsidiary has cranked out some great games under EA ownership, including the expansive and gorgeous racing game Real Racing 3, and the popular The Sims FreePlay, which has been an ednudingly popular take on the life simulator franchise. But the studio's origins before the merger of Firemint and IronMonkey Studios shows that there is a great track record for this studio. There's the first 2 Real Racing games, of course. But Flight Control came from this studio, and that was one of the most popular games in the very early era of what I define as the App Store era of modern gaming. IronMonkey also had the impressive Dead Space and Mass Effect Infiltrator games to their name before joining up with Firemint.

6
Spunge Games

Faily Brakes
Phil Faily goes flying in a car crash in Faily Brakes. Spunge Games

 This relative newcomer to the Australian mobile gaming scene in Brisbane had a solid debut in Cartoon Survivor, an isometric auto-runner that drew inspiration from games like Crash Bandicoot. But it's been their third title, Faily Brakes, that really put them on the map – this game about surviving as long as possible while driving a car with no brakes provides plenty of challenge to get high scores. But it's the hilarious crashes that happen where your driver flies through air that have helped make this game get over 10 million downloads, and provide a foundation for this studio to have some enduring success. 

7
Kumobius

Duet
Kumobius

 This studio found themselves on the map with Time Surfer, a clever take on Tiny Wings that added in a time-reversal mechanic that was used to great effect to add a unique feel to what could have felt like a me-too experience. Then Duet hit, and it showed that the team had some real chops to make something with a more original core concept, that has also balanced out casual appeal with an artsy flavor to it in a way that few other games have done to this point. But it was when Kumobius made a sequel to one of their earliest games with Bean Dreams that they showed just how far they had come along, as a solid bouncing platformer got refined into a masterpiece with the additional experience Kumobius had.

8
Tin Man Games

Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be
Tin Man Games

When you think of interactive fiction, this is a name that you should know. This studio has an incredibly prolific output, from their Gamebook Adventures series to adaptations of novels by Ryan North and Zack Weinersmith, to Miellyn Barrows' Strange Loves titles, adaptations of titles from legendary gamebook author Steve Jackson, and more. Their output of high-quality interactive fiction is peerless. Their upcoming adaptation of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is well worth keeping an eye on, too.

9
Defiant Development

Ski Safari
Screenshot of Ski Safari. Defiant Development

This team should be best known to mobile players for Ski Safari, their endless runner featuring skiing that spawned plenty of knockoffs, along with an Adventure Time spinoff, and a sequel made by another team. But don't forget their other titles – Heroes Call is a fun free-to-play RPG, and Rocket Bunnies was a fun planet-hopping game back when it released. Their latest work sees them working on console and PC with Hand of Fate, but its card-based structure would make it a great fit for a mobile adaptation someday.

10
The Voxel Agents

Train Conductor World
Screenshot of Train Conductor World for Android. The Voxel Agents

This studio is most known for their Train Conductor trilogy, which turns the arduous work of train track laying and planning into fun games. The series has gotten bigger and better with each new entry since  the original game. But what I'm curious to see is their branching out with The Gardens Between. I have seen a very early build of that game, and it looked gorgeous and had some promise to it.

New Zealand Deserves Some Love, Too

New Zealand is a separate country and I'm sure they would want you to be sure to know that. But Australia's neighbor is well worth mentioning themselves, as there's some great studios from the area as well, with PikPok producing a large number of games with amazing production values such as Monsters Ate My Condo. Bloons TD developer Ninja Kiwi calls Auckland home. And The Blockheads creator David Frampton is from Hawkes Bay.