Recently, there has been an increased volume of pedagogical research and practice of mobile learning (m-learning) and gameplay in education. This paper presents the findings of a study that examined the effect on achievement and explored student perception towards quiz-game play prior to an anatomy assessment in first year Higher Education students. Achievement data was collected over two academic years at all module assessment (A1–A4) points. A1 was used as a baseline, showing no difference between groups or years, A2 and A3 were comparable online assessments done on the lower and upper limbs that followed the same format; A4 was a viva–voce to assess the whole module learning. The optional 15-minute quiz-gameplay intervention (G) using a mobile application was initiated prior to A3, those students who chose not to participate performed their traditional study routine; no other changes to assessments were made resulting in a Gameplay and non-gameplay (G, NG) group for each year. Students were invited to participate in an online focus group (N = 84) and a sample undertook in-depth interviews (N = 9) to gain qualitative data on their perceptions of the intervention. Students who participated in the gameplay (G) group (N = 87) demonstrated a significant improvement in A3 compared to A2, and the non-game play (NG) group (N = 164) a significant decrease. A thematic analysis was undertaken on the focus group and interview data revealing key aspects of quiz-gameplay as a learning tool. This paper offers insight into the potential benefit of encouraging m-learning gameplay as part of revision or learning for anatomy students. This information could help educators and study support facilitate efficient revision methods as well as initiate further research into the use of anatomy gameplay to enhance the student learning experience. Practitioner Notes What is already known about this topic Repeated and formative quizzing can help memory or knowledge retention. Gameplay can help student engagement, learning and flow depending on the game in question. What this paper adds Using mobile app-based quiz-games prior to an anatomy assessment can improve student achievement. Students tend to play mobile app-based quiz-games whilst commuting on public transport, in their free time at home and at university. Elements of mobile app-based quiz-games students identified as important are that they are interactive, allow competition, are visually appealing, provide instant feedback, are user friendly and are facilitated by the teacher. Implications for practice Educators should encourage mobile app-based quiz-games to increase short-term learning or revision. Educators should facilitate mobile learning quiz-game opportunities to encourage learning outside of the classroom. Educators wanting to integrate mobile app-based quiz-games in their classes should use the game attributes identified in this study.