There are a lot of good games on the Google Play Store — literally, thousands — so how do you choose what to play first on your shiny new phone? We've gone through the best games on Android and hand-picked 15 of our favorites. It's a smattering from all genres and price points — some are paid, some are free, but all are tons of fun.
These games, in particular, sport a graphical edge that's sure to make you appreciate all the new tech inside of your shiny new black mirror. Whether it's incredible lighting, realistic physics, tons of on-screen action, or something fast to show off the ultra-high refresh rates on the best Android phones, all of these games will make you say wow and keep you coming back for more. These are the top 15 games for your new phone!
Genshin Impact: Talk about making an impact! Awful dad jokes aside, this game seemingly exploded overnight thanks to its free-to-play nature and the ease at which new players can jump in and feel like they're achieving progress. Visually, there are plenty of similarities to draw between Genshin Impact and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The gameplay, too, can certainly draw some comparisons but, outside of some surface-level things, Genshin Impact isn't the Breath of the Wild clone people assumed it would be. In fact, it's a lot deeper than you might assume.
This open-world action-adventure title has plenty of RPG elements and a metric ton of places to explore. It's a gorgeous game that plays as well as it looks and its "gacha" mechanics don't feel cheap or over-used. Players can certainly buy in-game currency to earn new playable characters, but this isn't a requirement and players with patience can subvert the system with enough time. Exploring everything currently available and leveling up your items will take you hours upon hours, which is perfect for people who have commutes or downtime in places where you can't play on a console or PC.
The game is available on several platforms, including consoles like the PS4, which means it's being developed as a title that feels deeper than most mobile experiences. The story isn't complete yet, but it's being actively developed and built-upon on a regular basis. All of these things, including the free-to-play design, make it easy to give Genshin Impact a try and continually come back for more.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades
It's pretty much guaranteed that your jaw is going to drop the first time you fire up The Elder Scrolls: Blades. I've heard countless people ask "how is this running on a phone?" While many wrote it off as a lame attempt at bringing The Elder Scrolls to a mobile platform, the game has proven it's worth time and time again since its launch. Initially, it was quite geared toward loot crates and other freemium nonsense, but months of tweaking have brought significant balance to that formula.
Combat in Blades feels straight out of The Elder Scrolls universe, but the game parts ways with the overall structure of the series. Instead of a vast open-world, players will find themselves in a desecrated town dearly in need of rebuilding. By accepting missions and other special events, you'll earn the money and materials necessary to rebuild the town into a place of beauty and glory.
This structure gives the game a more mobile-friendly design that can be played in bite-sized chunks, all without feeling restrictive or boring. Whether you're exploring forests or tombs, competing in the multiplayer gladiator arena, or chatting with Saashi in town, The Elder Scrolls universe is but a click away.
Call of Duty Mobile
I know what you're thinking. Call of Duty? On a phone? While the ultra-precise gunplay that you might be used to on a PC or console isn't a key component of the mobile experience, all the fun of sitting atop the leaderboards certainly is.
Call of Duty Mobile is a battle royale title — that means your job is to outlast every other player on the map — but the game sets itself apart by offering more gameplay modes than just battle royale, as well as dropping regular content monthly. Call of Duty Mobile developers TiMi Studios rebooted the concept of seasons in 2021 and are promising to deliver bigger, better, and more varied content than ever before. It's also free-to-play and doesn't harass you about constantly buying stuff, which is particularly excellent if you just spent a pretty penny on that new phone.
It didn't support controllers at launch, but players can now snap their phones into the best phone mounts and get to gaming like they were playing a console title. If you're a multiplayer shooter aficionado, this game is sure to keep you coming back for at least a few days every month just to try out the new content.
The First Tree
If you're not a fan of crying in public, this might not be a game you want to play on your commute. The First Tree is a third-person adventure title that tells two stories in parallel. The experience will take about two hours if you're just running from the beginning to the end, but The First Tree is about taking in the world around you and the deeper meaning behind the action that unfolds.
The First Tree isn't a game where you'll be attacking enemies or trying to survive the wilderness as a fox. It's not even necessarily about the fox itself, but the way a simple journey as a simple animal can beautifully parallel the complex and often heartbreaking stories we encounter in life. The colorful visuals will certainly pop on that phone screen, and the importance of a waterproof device will become readily apparent as the waterworks from your eyes descend upon your screen.
Tesla vs Lovecraft
There's nothing quite like a good twin-stick shooter to get the blood flowing first thing in the morning. Tesla vs Lovecraft will keep your eyes glued to your phone's screen as you plow through thousands of horrid monsters straight from Lovecraftian novels. As the title suggests, famed inventor Nikola Tesla stars as the scientist who must send vicious beasts back to the fictional world whence they came.
You'll be piloting the Tesla-Mech with its rotating Gatling guns and sending ultra-glowy projectiles straight to the hearts of thousands of beasts that would surely have brought your previous phone to a crawl. Its $10 buy-in price is a bit steep, but if you're someone who loves lots of action and inventive worlds with equally creative characters, there are few titles that will deliver such a stellar experience. You're definitely going to want to grab one of the best Android controllers for this one too, as having those physical twin joysticks makes all the difference.
Ever wonder what happened to the part of the donut that's missing? That hole in the middle is a sign that something was removed, but was that part trash or just a special treasure? The raccoons in Donut County certainly think it falls in the latter category, as they've assembled special remote-control holes that can be used to swallow up everything in their path. Part Katamari Damacy, part The Last Campfire, playing through Donut County reveals the epic plot of thieving raccoons and how one tiny mistake created a huge problem.
Donut County is a puzzle game at heart with a goofy narrative wrapped around it. Moving the hole around the screen is not only intuitively-designed, but it's also a clever way to make players think about what could happen if you were to combine items. Cook up concoctions, breed animals, and even set off fireworks as you gobble up more and more of the town. But what happens when you, yourself, get sucked up inside? Just wait until you have to explain what happened to everyone you meet inside.
The Room: Old Sins
Some people like to start their day off with a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle, but how about being thrown into the midst of a murder mystery? Or is it a missing person's case? Either way, there's certainly something foul afoot in the thrilling fourth installment of the much-lauded The Room series. Waldegrave Manor is the perfect setpiece for a story that's both deep and complex enough to keep you guessing at what the next clue means. Is that dollhouse actually a dollhouse, or is it a portal to another dimension? Your grip on reality will certainly wane as time goes on.
Each room you enter is filled with puzzles to solve and clues to uncover. Each solution changes the mansion in some way, revealing more of the mystery. It's like an escape room within an escape room, inception for puzzle lovers and mystery-solvers alike. It also has insanely beautiful visuals that'll make you wonder why other mobile games don't look this good.
Thumper: Pocket Edition
Thumper describes itself as a "rhythm violence" game. Now, if you're a VR gamer, you might immediately think of something like Pistol Whip, especially given that Thumper is also available in VR, but the gameplay couldn't be any different.
Overall, Thumper is a bit difficult to describe. It's an on-rails shooter that's also a rhythm game — maybe a tiny bit like Rez but with greater consequences for your lack of timing — where you play a "space beetle" flying through the void in an effort to destroy a giant floating head. It can get trippy while also eliciting a sense of dread that I'm not sure I've felt with any other game.
This is a game that will put your best headphones — and that fancy new audio chip inside your phone — to use as it creates a spatial wave of horror in your mind that your eyes simply cannot perceive. Plus, the Pocket Edition means that you can play it one-handed. That's perfect for using the other to hold on to life while Thumper simultaneously drains you of it.
GRIS is what happens when platformers "grow up." From the art style — which looks like a moving work of art — to the gorgeous movements, delicately simple controls, and thoughtfully deep storyline, GRIS is a masterpiece in just about every category. It's not a game that's here to challenge your sense of timing or your ability to press the right button at the right time. There are optional challenges in the game for that, but the main storyline is designed to flex your range of emotions rather than your fingers' range of movement.
The dichotomy between GRIS and most of the titles that Devolver Digital publishes is pretty stark. While many of Devolver's games revolve around ultra-violence or a similar motif, GRIS has no enemies, no death, and almost no text. It's a sensory experience that's challenging in a unique way.
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery
Is there really room for two games with room in the title — which also both feature "escape room"-type mechanics — on the same list? Surprisingly, yes. While The Room: Old Sins puts you inside a dollhouse to explore other dimensions, Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery fits rooms into a diorama-sized box for you to explore. Rotate, pivot, pinch, and zoom through each area to find clues about what happened.
Each room and area are deceptively simple on the surface. Once you begin clicking around, you'll understand just how interactive each of the areas are. Can't find the next clue? Just rotate the map and you'll have a whole new perspective on things. Why not enter that room or break into the attic? The entire city mysteriously vanished, so it's not like there's anybody to tell you "no". Can you solve the mystery?
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is, at its heart, a deck-building game. If you're not a fan of card games, don't let that description turn you off. Slay the Spire's deck-building component is just part of the formula that makes it so addictive. The other part is the endless roguelite mechanics that have you playing until you die, only to respawn back at the beginning and do it all over again. It's more tactical than a typical turn-based RPG but not as complicated, making it a mythical chimera of game design.
Like many roguelites, the purpose of Slay the Spire is to see how far you can get in a single run through the dungeon. The difference here is that its procedurally-generated nature is directly affected by the deck of cards and the character you build. Each battle nets you bigger and better cards, allowing you to toss older ones and replace them with something that'll get you further the next go-around. This consistent progression on a small scale is what makes Slay the Spire so darn addictive, and so perfect for the mobile format.
Bad North: Jotunn Edition
In a way, Bad North: Jotunn Edition doesn't quite fit with the visual theme of many games on this list. The visuals aren't super complex or particularly "next-generation" looking, but they are incredibly crisp, which shines on newer phone screens. You'll likely find yourself marveling at Bad North's stunningly clean visual style for hours.
Bad North: Jotunn Edition sees players defending their proceedurally-generated island from Viking invaders. You'll need to regularly deploy new strategies and pay close attention to every part of the island to be successful, as the AI in Bad north is exceedingly smart. One small hole in your defenses could see your village burning to the ground. Each island can be fully rotated — a strategic move that shouldn't be ignored — and units can be deployed at any place by simply tapping the screen. It's a particularly great way to use those larger touch screens!
The Jotunn Edition is a free content expansion or the strategy game, which was originally released in late 2019. It builds upon the highly-strategic and varied gameplay in Bad North in substantial ways. Four new items can be found, commanders all have one of 13 special traits, checkpoints and new islands can be found, and new enemies will attempt to lay waste to your kingdom. It's a truly glorious way to pass the time!
If you've played any of Peter Molyneux's games — Populous, Dungeon Keeper, and the Fable series — you'll know what to expect from Godus. Molyneux is the inventor of the "god game" as we know it, and Godus follows in the footsteps of many of those titles. As a god, you'll terraform land and help your followers build a grand and beautiful civilization, all while amassing more power by gaining more followers. Godus sports an absolutely gorgeous visual look, complete with a unique touch-building system.
Godus is, thankfully, a free title because it's no longer updated or supported. That doesn't mean it's not worth playing since the game is sure to hold your attention and provide a compelling experience that's both accessible and easy to make progress in short bursts. It's also just plain fun, as you'll know if you've played any of Molyneux's other god games in the past.
Asphalt 9: Legends
For years now, the Asphalt series has been one of the benchmarks of mobile gaming visuals. I can't remember the last time I got a new phone and didn't have a new Asphalt game to put on it, and Asphalt 9 continues the series' pedigree of mind-blowing graphics. The visuals, along with real-time destruction, epic crashes, and ultra-fast races will keep your eyes and hands glued to the screen.
Asphalt 9 lets players choose the high-class sports car of their dreams, whether that's one made by Ferrari, Porsche, or tons of other brands — totaling 60 cars in all. Tracks can be found all over the world, from sandy beaches to dense cities and everything in between. But Asphalt 9 isn't a "racing sim" like Gran Turismo, despite the realistic graphics. It's a fun arcade journey dedicated to blinding speed, crazy tricks, and nitro-fast races.
Riptide GP: Renegade
Did you ever play Hydro Thunder in arcades? Remember the gorgeous water effects, the crazy tricks, amazing hidden paths, and the break-neck speeds as you raced alongside your friends? The soul of Hydro Thunder lives on in Riptide GP: Renegade, a game that eschews temporary power-ups in favor of character creation and stat building, keeping you coming back for more so you can keep winning.
Alongside the stunningly-beautiful graphics and console-quality gameplay is a multiplayer mode that sees up to eight players racing against each other, as well as a full-fledged campaign mode. These hydrojets aren't any old jet ski though; they're fully transformable machines that can be upgraded and customized to your liking. Each environment holds tons of secrets and impressive scenery to behold, leaving you with one question: When are you getting out there?
Minecraft has been around for over a decade now and while it was certainly one of the biggest proponents for the new-retro voxel style that permeates so many games these days, it has evolved significantly over the past half-decade alone. If you haven't played Minecraft in a few years — or have never played it at all — you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. This survival sim has a lot more going for it than ever before.
Once upon a time, the "Pocket Edition" of Minecraft had reduced functionality when compared to the PC version, but developer Mojang used it as a way to create the "Bedrock" version of Minecraft — the same version you'll now find on the PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and countless other platforms. That means what you'll find on your phone is exactly what you'll find on all of those other versions.
Last year we saw an absolutely massive revamp of The Nether in the appropriately-named The Nether Update. That added four new fantastic biomes to The Nether — now totalling five biomes in hellscape-dimension of Minecraft — and the upcoming Caves and Cliffs update is revamping the cave and mountain systems of Minecraft in the same way. Players can find dozens of new blocks, resource types, weapons and armor, and even mobs to fight and build alongside, with plenty to come.