There are so many awesome action games in the Google Play Store, 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 initial investment. Plus, it's always good to support those teams developing great games for Android!
When you're done here, be sure to check out our best Android games roundup!
Death Road to Canada
When you're going to be dropping money on a game, you're going to want to be sure it has good replay value. In that regard, Death Road To Canada is an outstanding choice. Facing a zombie apocalypse, you must lead a scrappy squad of somewhat interesting characters on a deadly mission to the relative safety of Canada.
Along the way, you'll need to explore and loot places for supplies, while also managing your team's health and morale. Everything in Death Road to Canada is randomly generated, making every playthrough a unique experience in this road trip action-RPG.
Death Road to Canada also supports controllers, which is always a win in my book. A custom character creator lets you have some additional fun and you can even meet them in your journey (for good or for ill). There's just a ton of stuff in this game and it's so worth the $10. There's a lot to say for practically infinite replayability.
Penarium is a tough-as-nails platformer created by Team 17, 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.
Suzy Cube is a fun adventure that spans many levels, each one a new challenge to master. With gamepad support, Suzy Cube promises many hours of platforming fun. Locate power-ups and master the levels in order to recover your castle's stolen gold.
Suzy Cube is a game that's been in the works for many years. Developed by an indie game developer, this action-packed platformer is a must-play game on mobile with touch controls that have no right being as good as they are. It's easiest to compare the graphics and gameplay to Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS and is far superior to Mario's mobile debut, Super Mario Run.
It's a cutesy adventure for 3D platformer fans and I personally love this game to death. It really is a lot of fun.
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 whole, but especially mobile games.
Downwell is a retro-style rogue-like game where the goal is fairly simple — you jump down the well and see how far you can fall. Easy, right? Well, not quite — the well is filled with enemies. But don't worry, you're able to shoot down as you go, which also helps you kind of float.
Story? Who needs a story when all you're looking for is action, baby! From the cool graphics, excellent music, and simple controls, this is a game that's easy to jump into but hard to master. Each time you play is unique, with new weapon upgrades popping up randomly. At the end of each stage, you also get to choose an additional power-up to help you along.
Battlelands Royale is a made-for-mobile battle royale game that combines cartoony graphics and a top-down perspective with a simple last-man-standing gameplay format that works well. This game offers a fairly unique take on the battle royale formula that is absolutely for casual gaming sessions as a match takes only a few minutes to complete.
Just like PUBG or Fortnite, you parachute down onto a map with a bunch of other players — 32 total players in this case — and must scavenge for weapons, ammo, and armor while staying in the safety circle and eliminating your enemies. You can go it alone or play in Duos, depending on which you'd prefer.
There's plenty of variety to keep each match interesting. Of course, there are microtransactions for things like cosmetics and emotes, but that's quite typical for this sort of thing. Even so, Battlelands Royale is quite the fun game.
JYDGE is a gritty and violent top-down twin-stick shooter that is an absolute blast to play. You are the JYDGE, a cybernetic enforcement officer who uses his Gavel (see: BIG freaking gun) to dole out RoboCop-style justice. Each level features different challenges that are required to progress but never feel like a slogging chore.
Confiscating illegal cash along the way, you're able to upgrade JYDGE and his gavel with a deep selection of accessories. In that way, JYDGE retains the rogue-like element from its predecessor Neon Chrome by encouraging you to replay levels with different upgrade combinations until you complete all the challenges.
With a game that has you replay levels over and over again, it's imperative for a game to find that mix of great gameplay with an interesting soundtrack that isn't super annoying or repetitive — and JYDGE absolutely delivers.
Tesla vs Lovecraft
Tesla vs Lovecraft is another spectacular game from Finnish developers 10tons Ltd and it's a real treat. The game pits Nikola Tesla and his hi-tech inventions against a vengeful H.P. Lovecraft who has unleashed endless waves of nightmarish monsters.
This is an incredibly polished game that uses twin-stick controls for moving and shooting. The campaign gradually increases in difficulty with well over 200 enemies capable of spawning on screen at one time so you must be fast with your trigger finger. Fortunately, there are power-ups and perks aplenty, which are accessible in rogue-like fashion.
The touchscreen controls feel comfortable and the game also offers great support for Bluetooth controllers which is always fantastic to see in a premium game. There's a ton of content built into the base game, along with some DLC available that offers new monsters, weapons, and much more. Don't be worry, the game feels polished without needing to shell out more money, but once you've finally made it through everything that Tesla vs Lovecraft has to offer you might be glad there's a little bit more to explore.
Stranger Things: The Game
Set in the town of Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things: The Game starts you out playing as Police Chief Jim Hopper as he heads out to search for a missing kid, but soon discovers much more than he bargained for. The gameplay has a classic Zelda vibe to it, and the mix of puzzles and action sections keep things feeling fresh.
As you explore the town, you'll find other characters from the show who join your party and have special abilities which allow you to reach new areas of the world. What was essentially a playable ad for Season 2 of the show still manages to be one of the best free-to-play games for Android.
Witcheye is a wonderfully retro game that looks and sounds like it's ripped from the 90s era, 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!
Death Point is as polished a game as you'll find on Android. It's a top-down stealth shooter in which you play a captured spy in a post-apocalyptic world. Your goal is to meet up with the only other member of your team who has survived, an operator who can communicate with you through technology implanted in your brain.
She's there to give you tips and info on upcoming sections, and provide some lighthearted banter and story as you get down to the business of sneaking through enemy compounds, taking out guards and sabotaging their systems. This game has a lot to offer and it's worth checking out if you enjoy top-down shooters.
Island Delta was published by the fine folks at Noodlecake Studios, which alone makes it worth checking out. Developed by Mantisbite out of Finland, Island Delta brings unique top-down action-adventure-puzzler fun to Android. You're tasked with exploring a mysterious retro-futuristic island with your heroes, Zoe and Baxter, as you try to take down the evil Doctor Gunderson and his army of henchmen.
At your disposal, you have an anti-gravity gun, which allows you to overcome obstacles, puzzles, and enemies alike. There are over 30 levels to enjoy, hidden areas, collectibles, a great art style, and some good music. For a mere $1, you get a premium game free of ads and in-app purchases. That's a steal.
Injustice 2 is the sequel to the award-winning game 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.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto is one of those iconic video game franchises that continues to influence other games. Chances are you've played a GTA title before on PC or console, but they also play just as nicely on Android, too, with support for Bluetooth controllers.
Rockstar Games has released five great GTA titles to the Google Play Store, but I'm highlighting San Andreas because it has a massive map and introduced a ton of awesome features to the series that remain to this day. This is the game that spawned the meme we can all relate to: "Aw s***, here we go again." All these years later and it's still apt.
San Andreas is worth every penny, not only because it's a truly great game, but also because it's a massive one. This game will take you a long time to finish, even if you power through it without taking the time to enjoy all the humor and such it has to offer. Do yourself a favor and pick this up.
Dead Cells released on Android a little while ago 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 rogue-like 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 this 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, for sure. Dead Cells is so good that I highlighted it in my Game of the Week series. I adore this game, without a doubt.
If you're up for a steep challenge filled with dangerous enemies, loot, and build diversity, Dead Cells is an absolute must-play. In my opinion, it's one of the best games on the Play Store right now.
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 have turned evil and you have to 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.
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 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; 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.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
And here we have a game many of us know and love. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, aka KOTOR, is legendary not only as one of the best Star Wars games ever made, but also as one of the best RPGs ever. I'd argue that KOTOR 2 is better in every regard, but that's not the point. Originally created by BioWare in its heyday, KOTOR is a fantastic story.
Going beyond that, I fear I'll get into spoilers, so I'll leave it at that. Ported to Android thanks to the folks at Aspyr, KOTOR has new life on mobile and though it might be a costly price to entry, it's worth every penny. From the story to the combat, this is a must-play for any Star Wars fan.
There's gamepad support, achievements, and a revamped UI designed specifically for touchscreens. It's an excellent port and I haven't encountered any bugs in the years I've been playing this. If you like Star Wars, do yourself a favor and check out KOTOR. Like with San Andreas above, KOTOR will have you playing for hours upon hours on end; it's got a lot to offer.
Dandara is a fantastic and beautiful metroidvania that was quite well-received on the PC and console releases. The gist here is you can manipulate gravity to jump off walls and ceilings.
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.
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.
If you want action, then look no further than this ARPG. Titan Quest is one of my favorite games of all time, a true gem from my childhood in the 2000s. It was the game I needed after finishing Diablo II and despite being well over a decade old at this point, I'm featuring it here. A while ago, it got an Android port that, while imperfect, brought the game back to life (the THQ Nordic's Anniversary Edition also helped).
Unfortunately, this port is of the original game and lacks all of the content and updates that the Anniversary Edition brought. Still, it was good enough for us back in 2006 and it's still good for several hours worth of gameplay today. Seriously, there's a lot of game here.
Titan Quest clocks in at $8 on the Play Store and it's definitely worth that cash. You get a really long ARPG for your money complete with hundreds (if not thousands) of items to find, a sprawling list of builds to create, and a ton of mythological creatures to slay. The boss battles can be hair-raising with their intensity, especially in the late game, too.
Here's another ARPG for you loot fanatics out there (hey!). Unlike Titan Quest, which set 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.
Genshin Impact is an open-world action-adventure title and it's become 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 the 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, but that's just what you'll deal with.
I 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 good will toward the developer to fork over some cash. If you opt to not pay anything, get ready for a hefty grind.
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. You get the idea.
Where it sets itself apart is 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.
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 to offer up. Enter Redungeon, an endless dungeon-crawler featuring randomized dungeons, increasing levels of difficulty, and some adorable pixel art.
Redungeon's gameplay isn't complicated, but staying alive through its gauntlet of traps is no easy task. Playing like a brutal obstacle course, your main 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 touch-screen 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. Creep A. Crow, for example, is an extremely cute scarecrow whose passive ability allows it to jump over single space gaps with the greatest of ease.
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!
These are the best action-packed games for Android
There's no shortage of great games on the Google Play Store, as long as you're willing to spend a couple of dollars upfront.
Death Road to Canada is probably one of my favorite mobile games, so that gets a big recommendation from me. There's a ton of customization (and randomization) available for creating your own characters, and each playthrough is unique in terms of the weapons and extra characters you'll run into on your journey through the zombie apocalypse up to Canada.
Another game that I absolutely 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's a ton of challenging levels to play through and it's an unrelenting experience that plays surprisingly well with the simple touchscreen controls.
Last but not least, give Tesla vs Lovecraft a go. It's a top-down twin-stick shooter that looks great and features some of the craziest action you'll ever see in a mobile game. It's a rogue-like shooter that will literally throw hundreds of enemies at you to the point where they completely fill the screen. Luckily, you get a ton of weapons and power-ups to help keep them back.
Of course, each game here is well worth your time and investment.
Updated June 2021: Added Redungeon to our list!