Three better ways to download mobile games

Downloading games on impulse from your mobile phone could cost more than you expect. Find good values on games for your cell phone or PDA.

Enigma in the Wine Cellar is a freeware adventure game for Palm that saves you cash. (Credit: Palm Addicts)

You've got to applaud mobile carriers for knowing how to make a buck. Additional text-messaging and data-transfer services are one way to pad the bill for basic calling, and capitalizing on your boredom and curiosity is another. It's common for cell phone carriers such as Sprint and Verizon to lease games in addition to or instead of selling them. But fees add up, and you still won't own them.

1) Instead, go for game packs such as Hot Games Pack for Palm and Mastersoft Games Pack for Windows Mobile, which generally cut you a bulk deal. Rather than paying $5 to $15 for one game, a pack might net you 10 games for $40.

2) Free games may not always have the graphical quality or plot complexity of the mobile games that are developed by hordes of overworked CG artists and programmers, but they do have the advantage of being, um, free. If you've got the space and the possibility you'll need to kill some time, the venerable freebie is a convenient way to go. Kevtris, Glyph, and Enigma in the Wine Cellar are all mobile freeware options.

3) Most commercial games come with demos that run, with or without some feature limitations, for a time span or a period of gameplay; for instance, fourteen days or 90 minutes. Many graphically engaging adventure, puzzle, classic, and gambling games, such as Real Dice Video Poker for Symbian, take permanent residence this way.

Games are like potato salad; everyone's got a favorite standard that beats the competition. What are your must-have mobile games? Make your mark in the comments below.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.