Gaming is simply better with a controller in your hands.
Gaming on Android typically requires you to settle for using touchscreen controls. However, some gracious game developers do take the time and effort to include support for Bluetooth gamepad.
If you're constantly on the lookout for games that support Bluetooth controller, you can check out Gamepad Games, which is an app that's compiled a fairly comprehensive list of games with gamepad support. Unfortunately, when you actually start browsing through the apps you quickly discover that many are… not so good.
So, to save you some time, we've compiled some of the best games that support Bluetooth controllers. And if you're looking for a quality Bluetooth controller recommendation, consider the SteelSeries Stratus XL, which is the controller I used to vet these selections.
Modern Combat 5 Blackout
Years after its initial release, Modern Combat 5 Blackout remains one of the best first-person shooters available for Android. With dazzling graphics and options to play through the solo campaign or take it online, you can get an edge on your competition with a proper controller in your hand.
If the name doesn't already give it away, this is very similar to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, so if you're a fan of that series and looking for a fun option to play on the go, you'll definitely want to give this a look if you haven't yet.
Unkilled is another very polished first-person shooter that fully supports Bluetooth controllers and offers over 150 missions in the single player campaign, along with multiple online multiplayer modes to choose from. As you play online, you're able to choose a preferred character class, and then upgrade your skills and weapon load-outs.
And again, using the Bluetooth controller should give you a distinct advantage against the AI zombies as well as your online opponents. Simply sync your controller with your phone and it'll automatically work when you load up Unkilled.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Boy, do we wish there were more awesome ports of classics like Sonic on Android. Both Sonic the Hedgehog as well as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are fantastic on Android, and are compatible with Bluetooth controllers.
Now, I'm not sure what needs to be said about these games — they're absolute classics from the 16-bit era of gaming. All the speed and action you remember form the original Sega Genesis games are perfectly preserved, with Tails and Knuckles available as playable characters once you've beaten the game. If you've never played the original Sonic games, you'll get a fantastic experience playing them on Android.
There are several free Sonic games available in the Google Play Store, but in our opinion you're better off spending some coin for the real deal rather than the other buggy and lame Sonic adaptations.
Skate Party 3
Do you find yourself staring longingly out the window thinking about how great Tony Hawk Pro Skater was back in the day? Me too.
While it's almost criminal that no one has ported any of those classic games to Android, Skate Party 3 offers a comparable experience that's also compatible with Bluetooth controllers. It's a little finicky and takes some time to get used to, but if you've been jonesing for a great skateboarding game to play on the go, Skate Party 3 is it. The full version is available for $1.99, but if you'd prefer to try before you buy, you can try out the lite version to see if it's worth investing in the full game.
Do you remember the final scene in the 2001 Jet Li movie The One? Something tells me the developers of Only One did, as the game basically plays like the final scene in that mostly forgettable action flick.
The premise is pretty simple: you stand alone on the top of a tall column with a magical sword as you fight off wave after wave after wave of enemies. The graphics are delightfully retro and the difficulty progressively as you progress through the levels. Best of all, you can connect your Bluetooth gamepad and play with more precise control. It's a free game, but you will be pestered to cheat upgrade via in-app purchases.
Keeping with the retro theme, Pew Pew is a classic-looking top-down multidirectional shoot 'em up that's a great pick up and play option. There are five unique game modes to play: Pandemonium, Dodge This, Assault, Chromatic Conflict, and Asteroids.
The game plays well enough with touch screen controls, but playing with two physical thumbsticks really makes a big difference for a game like this that demands precise controls to dodge and destroy wave after wave of enemies.
Gaming is always more fun with friends, and BombSquad is an action-packed collection of mini games with multiple ways to join the game. With fun and cartoony graphics, you'll be able to choose from eight different game modes.
Bluetooth controllers are supported, or you can get your friends to download the BombSquad Remote app and use their phones to control their character. This game is available for most Android devices, including Android TV, which means you and your friends won't need to crowd around a tablet or — even worse — smartphone to play.
Got any great game recommendations that we missed?
Sadly, support for Bluetooth controllers is not as widespread as it could be, but there are some gems that we may have missed. Let us know in the comments!