There are so many awesome action games in the Google Play Store so it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. But we've done the heavy lifting for you and after hundreds of hours of playing, we've rounded up the best action-packed games for Android that are worth checking out.
Many of the games on this list are paid apps, which might give you pause, so you'll need to trust us when we say these games are well worth the investment. Plus, it's always good to support those teams developing great games for Android!
Ailment is a top-down sci-fi shooter with tons of movie references and horror elements. There are a lot of guns and enemies to kill, a solo campaign to complete, and PvP to hone your skills. It's a brutal and graphic game, so it's not the most family-friendly. Even so, it's a great time.
The campaign has you wake up on a strange ship floating in space. The crew has all turned evil, and you must slaughter them to get out. It's not all dark, with plenty of humor and references to pop culture and media that'll have you chuckling. The retro pixel art is fantastic, too.
The PvP side lets you battle friends or strangers in a fight to the death. You can earn a variety of guns and skins to customize your gameplay.
Here's another ARPG for you loot fanatics out there (hey!). Unlike Titan Quest, which sets itself apart from Diablo with its setting and build diversity, AnimA pays heavy homage to Blizzard's franchise. And you know what? We're fine with that because the game is awesome on its own merits.
Sure, the fonts may look familiar, but any Diablo fan will appreciate the gameplay loop, the dark and foreboding atmosphere, and all of the enemies to kill. I lost many hours in AnimA, just hoping to earn some more loot. Yes, it's free-to-play and therefore comes with microtransactions, but they're not too bad.
AnimA is an isometric ARPG that features a fun gameplay/loot loop, pretty visuals, and a dark storyline. It's perfect for Diablo fans. It's also free with minimal microtransactions.
Download from: Google Play Store
Candies 'n Curses
If non-stop action is what you're looking for, look no further than Candies 'n Curses. It's a rock solid arcade rogue-lite that's light on story, heavy on the action, and occasionally brutal with its punishment, making it a perfect must-play and one of the better Android games available. You play as Molly, a bold young girl who has entered the town's haunted mansion on a dare. Unfortunately for her, once inside, she becomes trapped by the mansion's hordes of undead denizens!
Armed with her trusty flashlight, Molly must make her way through the mansion, taking out any ghosts and ghouls who stand in her way if she hopes to escape. The fun comes not only from the action itself — made possible by its excellent touchscreen controls — but from the rogue-lite aspects. You're expected to fail a lot and come back armed with new equipment and charms to enhance your abilities. These charms are the titular candies and curses and they can either help you immensely or give you an edge for a hefty price.
Candies 'n Curses continues to receive support from its developer, Takoboy Studios, and even launched a meaty new DLC a little while back. The free version is great, incentivized through occasional ads. The ads can be a bit much at times, but they're not horrible. You can also pay to unlock the ad-free version along with a few other in-app purchases for cosmetics or in-game currency.
Candies n' Curses
Guide Molly through a mansion infested with ghosts and ghouls in Candies 'n Curses. Arm yourself to the teeth with charms and use your own playstyle to make it out alive.
Download from: Google Play Store
Dandara is a fantastic and beautiful Metroidvania that was quite well-received for its PC and console releases.
One thing that I think helps Dandara stand out from other modern Metroidvanias like Dead Cells and Hollow Knight is that it plays at a much faster pace. Sure, it lacks the perma-death of Dead Cells or Hollow Knight's strange subterranean setting, but I found the overall speed of the game to be closer to other platformers like Celeste. The gist here is you can manipulate gravity to jump off walls and ceilings, so it's also unique in that respect.
This version of the game comes with the Trials of Fear update, which adds three new areas, another boss, power-ups, and more. It's quite an awesome game and I think you'll like it. It also comes with controller support.
Dead Cells was released on Android a little while ago after being available on other platforms, and it was worth the wait. This game is one of the best indies of the last decade. It mixes tough, brutal combat that many compare to Dark Souls with a roguelike to ensure every death hurts. Each time you fail, you get back up again from your cell, start over, learn from your mistakes, and try to do better the next time around.
The port itself is incredibly well-done and it supports controllers if you'd prefer that route. The touchscreen controls are really top-notch, but it's hard to beat an external controller.
If you're up for a steep challenge filled with dangerous enemies, loot, and build diversity, Dead Cells is an absolute must-play. It's one of the best games on the Play Store right now.
Rhythm games have some of the most furious action you can find on mobile, often requiring super-human reflexes to truly master. Deemo II is yet another stellar rhythm game from Rayark, the team behind the equally phenomenal Cytus II.
However, where Cytus II builds a fascinating world in its high-tech dystopian future, Deemo II takes you to another world entirely, one where music has the potential to save the world.
Play as a young girl on a quest to dispel the Hollow Rain and save herself and her friends from annihilation. Play a huge roster of music charts using two-touch piano controls that are easy to pick up but very hard to master. This a great experience for new and seasoned rhythm fans alike and it's completely free without ads (it includes in-app purchases for additional music packs and optional in-game currency).
Genshin Impact is an open-world action-adventure title that became a surprise hit. It takes a lot of inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and that's more than OK because the story is quite engaging on its own and the game is gorgeous. It's easy to lose hours in Genshin Impact, and you'll see why if you try it out.
Overall, I'd say the game's biggest weakness is monetization. It's free to play on mobile, PC, and PS4 (with cross-save between PC and mobile), but with that comes hefty in-app purchases and an abrupt stop when it comes to the endgame grind. It can be downright frustrating.
Despite the monetization, we love Genshin Impact a lot. The gacha mechanics for new characters and weapons aren't too bad, and the game itself is good enough that you might feel enough goodwill toward the developer to fork over some cash. If you opt not to pay anything, get ready for a hefty grind.
Genshin Impact is a gacha open-world action-adventure game that takes a lot of cues from Breath of the Wild. Despite some misgivings with monetization, it's a great game.
Download from: Google Play Store
Grimvalor is a side-scrolling action RPG that features tight controls, excellent movement abilities, an interesting albeit familiar story, and pretty graphics. Until I got hooked on other games, this was my go-to whenever I had a free moment.
You need to be tactical about how you approach enemies and level your character. There's plenty to explore, too, with secrets hidden throughout the map. All told, the world is hellbent on seeing you fail, but take up your sword and fight on anyway. Most of the time, the odds are against you and it's up to your skill to see yourself through.
You get the first act for free, after which you need to fork over $7 for the full game. I like this tactic since it lets you experience the game as it is and then you have the choice to pay to continue. Go ahead and give it a try to see if you like it.
The future is looking pretty darn grim in the cities of Huntdown. Gang leaders rule the streets, and their lackeys wreak havoc and terror wherever they go. As a bounty hunter, your job is to take them all down one by one and restore some semblance of order to this warped world. Armed to the teeth with every weapon you can imagine (guns, chainsaws, a guitar, among others), you'll need to platform your way to each level's boss and successfully take them out to proceed.
Levels are short but challenging, and the satisfaction you'll get from acing them is one of Huntdown's biggest draws. This is pure action-platforming with a shiny '80s veneer splashed over it.
The soundtrack is awesome, the 16-bit graphics are retro fun, and the game's got attitude and style coming out the wazoo. Huntdown is ad-free and the game's only in-app purchase of $8.49 comes after you've completed the first two demo stages.
At its core, ICEY is a 2D side-scrolling action game where you play as the titular character, a mysterious cybernetic warrior that kicks serious ass. The game plays flawlessly, with tight controls and new skills to be unlocked and upgraded as you progress through the game.
If that's all ICEY was — a kick-ass side-scrolling action game — it would still find a spot on this list. But that's just the beginning; there's also an entire meta-narrative at play here exploring the relationship between the player and the narrator. It's pretty awesome and certainly unique among games as a whole, but especially mobile games.
Injustice 2 is the sequel to the award-winning Injustice: Gods Among Us, which is also one of the best fighting games for Android. If you've played and enjoyed the first game, you're sure to enjoy the sequel which features more fantasy fight match-ups between your favorite heroes and villains from the DC Universe.
Unlock new heroes and build your ultimate team as you battle in 3 vs 3 fights with the ability to swap out fighters as needed. The usual suspects are here — Batman, Superman, Joker, Harley Quinn — as well as a whole slew of new heroes and villains which you'll discover and unlock as you play.
I would argue that the best action games tend to be ones that toss you straight into the fray with little to no story. Ninja Chowdown does an incredible job of setting up a truly absurd premise — your Doughjo's fanciest donut has been stolen by rival restaurateurs — to support a very fun game.
An endless runner at its core, Ninja Chowdown features simple, responsive touch controls and challenging levels to put your reaction times to the test. The story mode features different themed levels and bosses, while endless mode will cycle you through the various stages in seamless transitions.
It's free-to-play, but I would highly recommend paying the $3.49 one-time IAP to buy the ad-free version.
Pascal's Wager is an interesting game. Called by some a Dark Souls for Android, it's an action RPG with several Souls-like hallmarks. It's set in a moody medieval setting, combat is difficult, and it respawns enemies when you stop at a checkpoint.
Where it sets itself apart is with the playable characters. You don't create a character and lock yourself into a build. Instead, you can choose a character and change between the ones you've unlocked any time outside of combat. So no, you don't spec points into your build because you get to try some wildly different play styles on the fly.
So yes, Pascal's Wager tries really hard to be Dark Souls and that's fine. I highly recommend that you use a controller, though, because you'll die a lot more than you need to with the touchscreen controls. It's also a premium purchase with no nonsense.
Penarium is a tough-as-nails platformer created by Team17, who you probably remember best from the Worms franchise. Whereas Worms was a slow-paced strategy game, Penarium is on the opposite end of the spectrum, featuring fast-paced action and requiring quick reflexes to survive.
It tells the tale of a Willy, a portly farm boy who's always longed for adventure. One day, a circus show rolls into town and Willy decides to run away for a bit of fun and excitement. Unfortunately, this is no ordinary circus — it's Penarium, the sadistic circus extravaganza! It's simultaneously dark and quite light-hearted.
With fantastic hits like Dead Cells and Hades, it's not a stretch to say that roguelikes have been having a resurgence in popularity the past few years. All that action isn't just reserved for consoles though and Android has some awesome contenders in the genre. Enter Redungeon, an endless dungeon-crawler featuring randomized dungeons, increasing levels of difficulty, and some adorable pixel art.
Redungeon isn't complicated, but staying alive through its gauntlet of traps is no easy task. Playing like a brutal obstacle course, your goal is to collect treasures and make it as far as you can in one piece.
You can choose between on-screen button controls or touchscreen swipe controls to maneuver your characters and in either case, I've found that the controls are intuitive and responsive. There are also different characters to unlock, each of whom has their own abilities.
Redungeon is free to play with ads and in-app purchases. There is an optional one-time in-app purchase to remove ads and additional in-app purchases to buy more coins, but coins can also be acquired by just playing the game, so the monetization is refreshingly fair. If you've missed the boat on this excellent action-packed game, there's no time like the present to give Redungeon a try!
Redungeon is an endless dungeon-crawling obstacle course with multiple characters to unlock, a great soundtrack, and challenging gameplay that will keep you coming back for more.
Download from: Google Play Store
Witcheye is a wonderful retro-styled game that looks and sounds like it's ripped from the 90s, but also happens to be a near-perfect mobile platformer that makes excellent use of touch controls. You play as a witch who transforms herself into a bouncing eyeball as she heads off on a quest to retrieve her stolen magical ingredients.
There are over 50 levels to enjoy that each features amazingly colorful graphics and a very memorable soundtrack. There's plenty to unlock, including a hard mode that completely revamps the whole game to up the challenge. There are even speedrunning tools if you're into that!
These are the best action-packed games for Android
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There's no shortage of great games on the Google Play Store, particularly if you're willing to spend a couple of dollars upfront. Free-to-play or paid, each game here is worth your time and investment, but a few truly stand out.
As a diehard rhythm game fan, I have to give it up for Deemo II. The graphics, gameplay, and most importantly, the music, are all on point. Considering that this game is free without ads, it's incredible how flawlessly executed the total package is.
Another game that I adore is Penarium, which is a tough-as-nails platformer where you play as a hapless boy who's been tricked into fighting for his life in an evil circus. There are a ton of challenging levels to play through and it's an unrelenting experience that plays surprisingly well with the simple touchscreen controls.
And finally, I have to recommend Ninja Chowdown. It's a wonderfully challenging runner that makes the genre fun again.
Updated May 2022: Added Deemo II and Ninja Chowdown to our list!
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A lifelong gamer, Mogan has had a controller in hand since the PlayStation 1 ruled the world and Neopets seemed eternal. She loves to play new and old games alike, especially if it's something weird and charming. Puzzlers, JRPGs, adventure, and rhythm games are her favorites.