Top ten Android games without IAPs

Skip the IAPs with these outstanding Android games

Are you tired of being nickeled-and-dimed by freemium Android games? Had enough of gems and timers and boosts? That's certainly the impression we get when we talk about freemium, so we've rounded up our favorite titles that do away with all of that, and provides the absolute maximum of product up-front. There's a healthy mix here of action, puzzle, strategy, RPG, so go ahead, dive in, and let us know what you think.

Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns is an old-school role-playing game set in a gritty sci-fi setting. In the first campaign, players are hot on the trail of a series of murders, and have to uncover who the murderer is and his grisly purpose. The game is full of important dialog decisions, traditional turn-based combat, and a signature mix of technology and magic. Shadowrun Returns does a beloved franchise justice with solid RPG mechanics and fresh, riveting visuals.


The best Android games without IAPs

Splice is a gorgeous puzzle game with a serene soundtrack. Players move branches of cells into outlined formations in as few moves (or splices) as possible. Every cell only branches to two other cells, though you can drag any cell you want to another, and undo or redo moves with a simple gesture. Things get complicated when you're presented with cells that shoot out another one after it, split into two, or delete all other cells further down the branch. You have to use all of those, and you can't have too many or too few cells to make the blueprint. Splice is a meditative and polished experience with an amazing soundtrack. Sometimes Splice shows up in the Humble Bundle, so keep an eye out.


The best Android games without IAPs

By sliding a board of numbered cards in four directions, players in Threes! aim to get adjacent and identically-numbered cards to stack on top of one another. Every turn introduces a new tile on the board, which means you've got to keep stacking to make room for the next. When the board fills up and you can't slide anywhere else, you're given a score based on the value of the cards left, which in turn gets posted on the Play Games leaderboards. Without a doubt, Threes! is one of the most elegant, fun, and challenging games on mobile right now.

Contre Jour

The best Android games without IAPs

Contre Jour is a beautiful puzzle game with an enchanting soundtrack. Gameplay is best described as an amalgam of World of Goo, Cut the Rope, and Portal. Players have to use various bizarre mechanism to move a small blob with one eye around an otherworldly landscape to gather orbs scattered around the level without falling prey to various dangers, including spikes and predatory flora. The visuals are both dark and cute, and will leave a definite lasting impression. Overall, Contre Jour is a great mix of thoughtful and reflex gameplay.


Osmos at first feels fairly slow and plodding, but its tenuous pace demands a lot of intuition. Players control a cell that drifts through an organic soup, absorbing cells. The catch is that propelling yourself in a given direction ejects mass in the process, which in turn makes you smaller, and more susceptible to getting absorbed by larger cells. Things get particularly interesting when you try your hand at multiplayer mode. If you're interested in picking up a thinking man's action game, Osmos is it.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery

The best Android games without IAPs

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery is a point-and-click adventure game with the occasional reflex-driven mini-game thrown in. The the signature retro pixel art used throughout will immediately strike you, but remains very smoothly animated. The classic fantasy setting is contrasted by modern dialogue language and a bizarre pseudo-scientific meta-narrative. You'll also be dealing with real-world lunar cycles to solve certain puzzles, which is particularly interesting. Sword & Sworcery is an altogether different role-playing game that you should try out at least once.

The Room Two

The best Android games without IAPs

The Room Two is a highly polished, award-winning puzzle game. Players are presented with various types of elaborate puzzle boxes, and must figure out how to open them to get from one room to the next. To that end, you're provided a lens which can see things that the naked eye can't and a few scraps of text from other wary souls that tried to uncover the same mysteries as you. Solving puzzles in The Room Two will often require shifts in perspective, noticing minute details, and good old-fashioned logic muscles. Trust us that The Room Two is a haunting and unique experience on mobile.

Minecraft - Pocket Edition

Minecraft - Pocket Edition is near-flawless mobile iteration of the hugely famous sandbox game. Players are plonked in the middle of a blocky 3D world, where they need to harvest resources and assemble them into various objects. You'll want to build shelter quickly, since zombies will come shambling out to eat your brains, though the main fun is just building whatever you like. Shared servers allow players to build collaboratively. If you spent way too much time playing with Lego as a kid, Minecraft will surely keep you entertained.

Super Hexagon

The best Android games without IAPs

Super Hexagon is an absurdly difficult action game where players have to navigate through a geometric maze that's continually spinning and collapsing in on itself. Simply put: get hit by a wall and you lose. The pulsing rhythm and constant spinning of the play area are a huge challenge, and an outstanding soundtrack will keep you on the edge of your seat. There are three stages plus alternate, insanely hard versions of each level after hitting certain goal times. Super Hexagon is a fantastic game for gluttons of punishment.

World of Goo

World of Goo is a charming and original physics puzzle game where players have to build wobbly structures that reach from point A to point B. They do this by using various types of sentient goo balls and tools, such as balloons, to keep structures upright enough to get any remaining goo into a suction pipe. Players are scored based on how much goo they transfer from the beginning to the end via this structure, though that gets progressively more difficult as levels themselves begin moving and goo becomes shorter in supply. World of Goo's odd and colorful premise is charming, but also affords very challenging gameplay.

Your favorite Android games without in-app purchases?

Those are our picks, but there are a bunch out there, and many more on the way. Which IAP-less Android games have you really enjoyed? Leave a comment! Be sure to swing by Honest Android Games for a healthy selection if you're looking for more. More importantly, we have a whole series of game round-ups that include awesome premium and freemium titles alike. Take a look!


Reader comments

The best Android games without in-app purchases


Osmos HD is a must have on a tablet. Throw on some decent headphones and zone out for a while.

Posted via Android Central App

Couldn't agree more. Back when the Transformer Prime was released, it and Princess Punt were almost all I played.

Or better yet, hook it to your bluetooth speakers in your car and get 'er done! Just make sure you aren't in a closed garage when you do!

Super Hexagon may not have in-app purchases, but you are going to end up having to spend a lot of extra money on blood pressure medication.

Look again, says right on the app page that there ARE in app purchases.

Posted via Android Central App on my Republic Wireless Moto X

Ah, you're right, it's a (fairly) recent addition. It isn't actually purchasing anything though, there's no benefit to it, it's a "donate" option on the title screen and you get nothing in return except for feeling good about helping the developer.

Yeah, it's a recent addition although it doesn't really have much impact on game play. For a long time, Pixel Dungeon was notable for not having any permissions. Still a fantastic free game, even if it is rather frustrating, and the developer is constantly adding stuff to it.

As far as I'm aware, this game has no in app purchases, just a donate option. I didn't donate until I completed the whole game. Supposedly they're working on episode 2, but it technically doesn't exist yet.

The Shadowrun franchise has always intrigued me. So here I am buying Shadowrun Returns. Thanks for the recommend. I'll probably check out Superbrothers, too.

Posted from my Motorola Moto G

Does anyone know why Shadowrun crashes when I click New Game? I can't get any further than the main menu...

Posted from my Motorola Moto G

Many of these are missing one key element to make them truly great in my book: CLOUD SAVES (some of them I got from Humble Bundle, so don't really know if they update those versions as well as the Play Store ones, so maaaaybe some of them already support Cloud Saves). So frustrating to have to be in different levels when using my tablet or phone...

My own game is free and without any IAPs :)
Ads are included but to a very minimum. A single pop-up when you exit to the main menu.
Care to try?

Nice! I actually have all but three of these via Humble Bundles, and I bought The Room Two directly because I loved the first one from Humble Bundle.

Besides a warning of In-App Purchases. There should be a label for how much Percentage of the app can played or accessed without forcing a purchase. I know this will only make matters perhaps even more complicated in the end, but I think potentially this could work for the most part.

Kudos for posting a review of non IAP infested games! I think bringing this aspect of games into plain view will eventually result in separate game categories, and will let the market decide which model succeeds.

Posted via Android Central App

Through either Google Play or Humble Bundle I have all but Shadowrun and Threes!. All of them are well worth the money. Sometimes I'll see a new Humble Bundle that has one or more games I already bought, and I say "if only I would have waited!". Then I buy the bundle anyways because I like supporting good developers, as well as charity.

Those minecraft fans need to try survival craft - Electrics, infinite world's, community content and HD texture packs. The best clone there is, it surpasses minecraft, and I am a minecraft fan...

Posted via Android Central App

I would love to see a Top 10 list of games that work with an off-the-shelf BT controller. Dead Trigger 1/2 are the only ones I've found that are configurable to the degree necessary. (Though, admittedly, I haven't looked too hard.)

OK, good for you. Most people would rather just fork out the 2 bucks and not get a virus on their phone and play the game without a freeze and glitch every 30 seconds. Thanks for trolling.

Hello, creator of honest Android Games here. I would like to thank AC for the shout out and helping to point to the kind of games that deserve press and attention.

I think these should be added to the list... (not counting pay-to-unlock new stages... no other in-app purchases.. the way games are meant to be made! NO IN-APP PURCHASES!!)

Ok, I like World of Goo, but how does no one mind that:

1- The game hasn't been updated in years
2- It's the same port on every single platform
3- It's still five freakin bucks?! (I know about humble bundle, that's how I got it too)

It's a quality game that deserves a quality price.

Why do all games need to be updated? Why should the developer give you content for free. The point of this article are games that are stand-alone and work great as is and don't require additional content.

Who said anything about free? They can sell me extra levels, I just want development. That seems like a pretty reasonable/common desire in mobile apps...

Love the nature of this article. So many games now that even with an initial purchase still only make available a fraction of the game. Can't stand that trend and would much rather just pay for what the game is worth to the developer and not get nickled and dimed to death. Can't stand that trend when it peaked on consoles either. Glad to see this topic on AC.

To me, this puzzle game is the best. Flow /store/apps/details?id=com.kappa.flowmath) Looks simple but hard enough when playing, which make us addictive. Vietnam games is showing the world.