There are hundreds of thousands of apps on the Google Play Store, and many of them are games. In fact, games are so popular that it's the first tab you see when you open the app.
If you're looking for the best games available on the Google Play Store, you've come to the right place. To make it easy to find, we've divided this list into nine categories, which you can find in a handy jumplist that will take you directly to the page of your choice, from RPGs to Shooters to Strategy Games, Sports Games, and lots more!
Whether you're new to Android and need some fresh, new games to start building out your Google Play library, or simply looking for the latest trendy games that are worthy of your time and attention, these are the best Android games you can find right now.
We update this list whenever a new game comes out that's worthy of being added to this list, so you'll always know about the latest and greatest games. It was last updated on September 20 with Among Us.
The best RPGs
Though mobile doesn't have the impressive backlog and history of RPGs that PC and consoles do, there are still quite a few notably good ones that you can play right on your phone. Some are classics ported over to the touchscreen while others are unique to this platform. These are time sinks, make no mistake, and are well worth the cost to entry.
If you liked Diablo II, then there's a clone on Android for you. AnimA is an action RPG hack-n-slash that evokes many memories of Diablo, right down to the font. It features the classic isometric camera angle, loot, and dark fantasy setting.
I just started playing this week, but I'm already hooked; this suggestion came from our own Daniel Bader and I jumped on it immediately. This is a free-to-play game with microtransactions, but it seems to be similar to Path of Exile where they're not in your face and you can play through the game on your own terms. Like I said, I'm still pretty early on this game, but I like what I see so far.
I love ARPGs, so AnimA is right my up my alley. It helps me get in that fix when I'm away from my PC (and thus Grim Dawn). Give it a try and see if you like it; you have nothing to lose.
An excellent ARPG experience for Android, AnimA takes obvious cues from the Diablo franchise while free-to-play. It's a really fun time if you like this kind of game.
Battle Chasers: Night War
BattleChasers: NightWar is an award-winning JRPG that offers one of the most complete mobile RPG experiences you'll play — and that's complete in the sense that there's no in-app purchases or paid DLC to worry about. Hallelujah!
Everything about this game is polished and complete, and it starts with a robust overworld that's filled with hidden dungeons to explore, epic bosses to take down, and other surprises along the way.
The turn-based combat is inspired by all the favorites you remember from the JRPG genre and is a real treat even for a casual fan like myself. Along with the dense and sprawling world to explore that's teeming with enemies to do battle with, there's also deep crafting elements as well for upgrading your team's weapons, armors, and magical jewelry. An RPG is only as good as its story and characters and given that this game is based on a graphic novel of the same name we're given fully developed characters and a compelling story.
The narrative focuses on the story of a young girl, Gully, as she takes up the quest of finding her long lost father, Aramus. He was a hero to the local village who never returned after setting off into the Grey Line, a near-impenetrable wall of mist that borders their homeland of which nothing has returned from once entering. Aramus had left behind a set of magical gauntlets rumored to grant untold powers to the wearer. Gully must learn to wield her father's gauntlets as she embarks on her own epic adventure past the Grey Line to uncover the truth behind her father's final mission.
Gully is joined by a supporting cast that includes Knowlan the wise old mage who always travels with Calibretto, an ancient war golem built for battle that developed his own sentience and emotions but who can still kick ass to defend his friends.
There's Garrison, a paladin who was friends with Aramus and feels compelled to protect Gully along her journey and lastly Red Monika, a rogue outlaw who manages to toe the line between good and evil. This game is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of either BattleChasers or simply looking for a new JRPG to dive into.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a game specifically designed to appeal to fans of turn-based role-playing title, with a JRPG influence in all the aspects of the game. Best of all, there are no microtransactions of any kind - buy the game and you're all set.
Death Road to Canada
Death Road to Canada is a $10 game — I want to open with that just to get the sticker shock out of the way before I talk about how awesome this freaking game is.
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 play-through a unique experience in this dynamic road trip action-RPG. You can randomly generate your character and buddy or custom design your starting characters with different attributes to help them stay alive, but you probably don't want to get too attached unless you're a really good shot.
The controls admittedly take some getting used to, and there's a pretty steep learning curve as you learn which weapons are most effective and which times it's better to fight or run. And you will die, early and often, although that's part of the fun of a zombie apocalypse, right?
There's a ridiculous amount of depth in this game, including 10 different game modes to unlock. The price might seem a little steep, but if you're a fan of rogue-like zombie games, it's well worth the investment!
Everything in Death Road to Canada is randomly generated, making every play-through a unique experience in this road trip action-RPG.
Evoland 1 & 2
Yes, I know I'm cheating here, but both Evoland titles are such excellent games that I had to include them in one entry. Other than classic RPGs, the Evolands account for some of the most time I've put into mobile games. They each take you through the history of gaming, expanding and evolving as you go through them. It's a unique way to present an action-adventure, for sure.
There's plenty of humor, easter eggs, and general references to the great games of the past that helped define this entertainment medium. You'll go from 2D monochrome to 3D real-time combat as you progress, unlocking new gaming technologies that change how you play. You'll be hard-pressed to find something as unique as these.
For $0.99 and $3.99, respectively, Evoland and Evoland 2 should definitely be a part of your library if you: 1. want something to pour a ton of time into, and 2. love video games as an art form and want to play something that appreciates its roots.
Travel through the history of gaming in Evoland, an action-adventure RPG that is a blast. Unlock new technologies that change how you play.
Take what you learned with Evoland and have more of it! Evoland 2 follows the same concept as its predecessor: travel through the history of gaming as you embark on a content-rich story.
Sky is a gorgeous adventure made by the developers of Journey. Despite some of the usual free-to-play pitfalls, it's a very worthwhile experience.
From the ever strange but brilliant mind of Yoko Taro, of Drakengard and NieR fame, comes SINoALICE, a mobile RPG with a dark fairytale spin. Published by Square Enix, SINoALICE is a mobile gotcha game, similar to Fire Emblem Heroes, with gorgeous art and lots to collect. This being an RPG, there are different classes, weapons, armors, and items that each character can equip, and some they cannot if their class doesn't match up.
The music is absolutely top-notch. The haunting tones will remind you of NieR Automata (if you played it) and that's because it's the same composer! Seriously, I just love sitting at the main menu and listening to the soundtrack. I really haven't done that since the original Halo way back in the OG Xbox days.
Combat is an intense sprint. I like to think of them as time trials, where you have to think on the fly. You don't get to pause to strategize, but you'll improve as you go along. Having good reflexes is helpful, too. Again, like Fire Emblem, there's a system of elemental and weapon weaknesses that you have to play to experience.
Each character is someone well-known from fairytales, like Alice, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and so on. Those characters each have their own stories that you progress through, with the goal being to revive the author of each character's story.
Of course, this being a free-to-play game published by Square Enix, there are copious amounts of microtransactions for in-game currency to go around. They're not as in your face as other games on this list, but you've been warned.
Oh, and there's a NieR Automata cross-over event coming up and a RepliCant one coming later this year.
SINoALICE is free-to-play RPG with beautiful art, interesting and thought-provoking stories, incredible music, and a fun combat system. The only downside is the microtransactions.
Sky: Children of the Light
We don't often see staggered releases between Android and iOS these days, but Sky: Children of the Light took almost a year to arrive on the former. Good thing, too, because it's a really fun game. It's worth installing if nothing else but to enjoy the gorgeous art style, beautiful world, and relaxing adventure.
It's difficult to describe Sky, but I'll try to be concise. After some time with the game, it's obvious that the focus is on exploration and socializing. Your goal is to find lost stars and guide them home to their constellations; in return, they teach you new things. There is no combat in Sky, so anyone can feel free to hop in and enjoy without any stress. It's a very relaxing game with plenty to do for completionists and plenty to see for casual gamers.
Sky's biggest draw is its art style, world design, and gameplay, all of which are simply stunning. Your character possesses a winged cape sort of thing that you use to fly, glide, and get to places your simple jump can't. The set pieces on display here are second to none on Android and evoke such a feeling of awe that I almost forgot to grab screenshots. It has a few different graphical options, too, but I chose to run it at 60fps to make sure what I saw moved as smooth as possible.
Overall, I'd say the biggest fault with Sky is that it's very taxing on your phone. My OnePlus 6 heated up like crazy and my Pixel 4 XL wasn't much better off. There are also microtransactions to buy Candles, which are a key in-game item. There's also an in-game currency called Hearts, which is how you buy cosmetics for your character. I've put in a few hours already and I haven't spent a cent, so they're not necessary or in your face whatsoever.
Sky is a gorgeous adventure made by the developers of Journey. Despite some of the usual free-to-play pitfalls, it's a very worthwhile experience.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
I had trouble picking just one classic RPG for this list, since we have several to choose from. Ultimately, I went with Knights of the Old Republic, better known as KOTOR, for this list. For one, Star Wars is a hugely popular franchise and I think this is a game worth playing if you enjoy that universe. 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. KOTOR is considered one of the best RPGs of all time and I would be hard-pressed to disagree. 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 and its sequel are definitely the best Star Wars games ever made.
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.
A classic RPG that is considered one of the best of all time, KOTOR is a great game reimagined for mobile. It's well worth the asking price to get a fantastic story and excellent gameplay.
Titan Quest originally came out back in 2006 and helped fill the long void left by Diablo II before III came out. It's an isometric ARPG with tons of loot, monsters to kill, and beautiful vistas to see. And while there's still a community around it over on PC thanks to THQ Nordic's Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, Android users can experience this gem of gaming courtesy of a port from a few years ago.
You are a nameless hero, freshly landed on the shores of Helos in Greece, a village currently besieged by wild beasts and monsters from fairytales and folklore. Once you save the village, you set off in search of the famed Leonidas and I'll leave the rest for you to discover. Spoiler: you're going to see a lot of the ancient world.
This game is many hours long, action-packed, and full of loot to find. Within a couple of hours of starting, you'll have a hero powerful enough to slay anything in your way, all while looking completely awesome. Titan Quest features a dual specialty build system, meaning that you can combine any two of the disciplines to create your own demi-god. If loot is half the fun of Titan Quest, the other is definitely finding the build to suit your playstyle.
I'd say that this port of Titan Quest has two major downsides. For starters, it's not a port of the Anniversary Edition and so lacks all of the new content (extra specialties and expansions) and quality of life improvements. Secondly, there's no controller support and the touch controls can feel a bit wonky at points. Still, it's a mostly good port of one of my favorite games of all time and it definitely deserves a spot in this list.
This classic ARPG was ported to Android a few years ago and it's worth every penny. If you like ancient mythology, hack-and-slash ARPG gameplay, and tons of loot, this game is definitely one you should pick up.
Sometimes, your opinion just doesn't line up with everyone else's and that's fine at times. Such is the case here with V4, I game I really enjoy, but has a ton of angry 1-star reviews in the Play Store at time of writing. I've dumped almost 10 hours into this game at this point and I disagree with a lot of the disparagement since most of it seem to be due to technical launch issues, like server and character creation problems.
Published by Nexon, I was on guard and somewhat suspicious going into V4. I ended up pleasantly surprised. V4 is a dark fantasy MMO that has beautiful art, nice graphics, a decent character creator, 6 classes to choose from, and your choice between auto-play (a la idle clickers) or manual play, like a traditional MMO. However, the voice acting and dialogue are both pretty cringey and I don't enjoy most of the sound effects. My Gunslinger's dual pistols and rifle should be booming, not sounding like they're slapping the enemies, for example.
Otherwise, it's your typical MMO fare. You have a character level that determines your stats, levels for additional stats that you can sacrifice gear to increase, and various daily missions and feats to complete. There are different mounts for you to show off and assorted pets that offer extra bonuses, like XP boosts.
I wouldn't say V4 is groundbreaking as an MMO, but for being mobile and free-to-play, I quite like it. With it having just launched, some teething issues are to be expected. Some players have reported (via 1-star reviews) login issues, full servers, and problems getting the character creator to spin up. In my playtime, I never had a single issue.
Despite a name that would imply a sci-fi setting, V4 is actually a dark fantasy MMO. Though there have been launch issues, V4 features 6 classes to choose from, a beautiful world to explore, and plenty of MMO grinding to do.
The Best Shooters
Like shooting stuff? Then this category is just for you. From first-person immersion to third-person top-down, these games are filled with action and bullets. What else do I need to say?
Call of Duty Mobile
There was a ton of hype surrounding Call of Duty Mobile throughout the beta and ahead of its global launch, and to the credit of Activision and TiMi Studios (a subsidiary of Tencent Games) the game is phenomenal and was rightfully selected as one of the best mobile games released in 2019 — and it just continues to get better in 2020. In the latest update, it's now offering an outstanding new 20 vs. 20 Battle Royale mode called Warfare.
A huge reason why the game plays so well can be credited to Tencent Games. It owns the mobile shooter space with PUBG Mobile, another game that's featured on this list, and fans of that game will recognize the familiar user interface and surprising gameplay performance that's been perfectly optimized for mobile. CoD Mobile makes use of the many iconic multiplayer maps from the Call of Duty franchise and really does a great job translating the fast-paced action that makes the game so fun to play on other platforms.
Call of Duty Mobile features the core team deathmatch modes that Call of Duty is known for along with the Battle Royale mode that was introduced in the main franchise with CoD: Black Ops 4. They could have easily just stuck with the team deathmatch and still had a great game on their hands, but the inclusion of a 100-player battle royale (along with the fan-favorite zombie mode) just adds more value to the total package.
I've been playing CoD Mobile since the beta and it has been one of my go-to games whenever I've got a couple of minutes to kill. Because the game is so damn popular, it's super quick to jump into a match, whether you want to play with casuals or go up against more veteran players in a ranked match.
Because it's a free-to-play game, there are the usual trappings including in-app purchases for buying in-game currency, which can then be spent on battle crates filled with random rewards, and a tiered progression path with premium subscriptions available to net more rewards. Considering the console or PC versions of Call of Duty will set you back at least $60 upfront, along with all the eventual paid DLC and inevitable microtransactions for cosmetic upgrades, the mobile version ends up feels superior in terms of up-front value. You don't need to bust out your credit card to thoroughly enjoy this game — which is a big reason why Call of Duty Mobile demands the top spot on our list.
Call of Duty has won Game of the Year awards for 2019 for good reason. It's a surprisingly complete version of Call of Duty for phones that's entirely free to play.
Doom & Doom II
That's right, it's the grandaddy of the first-person shooter and its awesome and equally as powerful sequel. Both of these games more than deserve a spot on this list not only for their timelessness, but because the Android ports are really quite good. Bethesda has fixed a lot of the early issues, including removing the Bethesda.net account requirement and tweaking the touchscreen controls, and now I can heartily recommend both games. I still suggest using a controller if you can, however.
Doom is almost 30 years old and boy, it's withstood the test of time. Like other 90s classics, Doom and Doom II were true passion projects, games that pushed the technological envelope at the time. While not technically impressive today — Doom can run on a pregnancy test — they maintain their charm, character, and near-flawless gameplay.
Top all of this off with an update that brought support for 16:9 resolutions and 90-120 frames per second and you got yourself a very fine duology of shooters. Though others in this section push what possible on mobile today, Doom and Doom II just chug along, providing joyful nostalgia to those of us who played them in our younger years or giving younger gamers a chance to experience video game history.
The king of classic first-person shooters, Doom introduced us to Doom Guy, a badass many of us have loved since. Kill demons as you collect different weapons and trudge your way through the base levels, additional content, and challenges.
The sequel to the iconic Doom, Doom II sees you take up the mantle of Doom Guy once again as he goes demon hunting. Like Doom, there's plenty to do and see, and lots of enemies to take down.
Needing no introduction, one of the most popular games in the world is available in the Play Store. Love it or hate it, Fortnite is now easier for everyone to jump into on their phones without having to enable third-party installations. So even though you've been able to play Fortnite on Android for over a year, we thought it belonged here on this list now more than ever.
Odds are you either know of Fortnite on your own or you know someone who's into it. Though many have tried to unseat it, it remains a juggernaut in the gaming world. Its free-to-play nature combined with its cartoonish graphics and simple gameplay loop help explain why it's so popular; its easy-to-play, yet difficult-to-master approach is why so many find it enjoyable.
Of course, Fortnite is also infamous for its microtransactions, which you can expect here in the Android version. Overall, I hear they're handled pretty well. That being said, keep in mind that this isn't just a mobile version of Fortnite, it's the full experience on mobile, complete with every update and goody. You can access all of your account stuff, too, including unlocking progress on your Battle Pass.
My experience with Fortnite is limited, but I know there are plenty of people who are excited that it finally came to the Play Store after being out on its own for so long.
Though not new to Android, Fortnite is available in the Play Store, making it easier for anyone to try out on their own. Now's your chance to join in the battle royale fun.
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.
Check out my full review if you need more convincing.
JYDGE is straight-up one of the most badass shooter games you'll find in the Google Play Store. This is a twin-stick top-down shooter that features a ton of ways to upgrade your weapons as you dole out justice with your Gavel.
It's incredible how well PUBG Mobile plays on Android. What started out as a massive 100-player battle royale game has continued to grow and evolve into the all-time best action shooter game for mobile. Drop into massive maps loaded with weapons, ammo, tactical gear, and vehicles in classic battle royale modes. You drop in as a solo player or as part of a team and must use all your best skills to take down your opponents until you're the last man standing.
It's not unheard of for a popular PC or console release to find its way to Android, but you'll be surprised at how well PUBG plays on a smartphone. It's the best game available for Android despite some of the more frustrating aspects of the way the coolest loot is hidden in exploitive loot boxes that are simply should not exist. Nonetheless, the game is free-to-play and accessible for so many gamers.
I like to play with maxed-out graphics, but the game also lets you scale back the graphical detail so you can enjoy smooth gameplay even playing on an older device. If you've got a newer device, crank those settings to the max and enjoy one of the best looking mobile games I've played in a long while. Got an older phone with limited specs, but still want to get in the game? Check out PUBG Mobile Lite which is specifically designed to take up less space on your phone and run smoothly on phones with less RAM.
PUBG Mobile somehow delivers all the epic moments you'd expect the PC game scaled down perfectly for mobile devices, and they've truly embraced the success by continuing to add new EvoGround game modes including a dedicated zombie Battle Royale mode, multiple team deathmatch modes, explosive new vehicular assault RageGear modes, and Payload mode, which introduced helicopters, miniguns, and a rocket launcher. Get your squad together and I'll see you on the battleground!
PUBG Mobile is a free-to-play battle royale shooter that pits you against up to 99 other players. With an ever-growing list of maps and game modes to choose from, it's one of the best games available to play on Android.
Tesla vs Lovecraft
Tesla vs Lovecraft is the latest 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 that will quickly swarm around you unless you fight back.
This is an incredibly polished game that twin-stick controls for moving and shooting. The campaign gradually increases in difficulty with well over 200 enemies spawning on screen at one time if you aren't fast with your trigger finger. Fortunately, there are power-ups and perks aplenty which are accessible in rogue-like fashion. You collect XP as you slay monsters and get a new perk every time you level up. Power-ups and weapons randomly spawn on the map and you'll also want to collect the six pieces required to build Tesla's mech which can cut down any horde in short order.
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.
Tesla vs Lovecraft is the latest 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.
The Best Puzzle Games
Perfect for when you want to kill some time, puzzle games are a dime a dozen on the Play Store and some of them are even good. Some make you think or work to get your mind around their core concepts. Puzzle games keep you interested and entertained by forcing you to pay attention, even it's just something as simple as noticing which color is coming next. It's not hard to see why they're so popular with many mobile gamers.
Published by the fine folks at Noodlecake Games, Chameleon Run is an auto-runner that tests your reaction time in ways that may hurt your brain a bit.
The name of the game is speed as you jump and dash across colored platforms. You have special jump skills and the ability to change color, and you've got to make it through each course but you're only allowed to touch objects that match your color. Seem easy enough? Well, think again!
As pretty as the game looks when it's running at full frame rate the real joy comes from the precise input on the two-touch controls. If you time a color switch just when you touch the platform you get a quick dash boost. Jump controls are equally precise and allow you to nail tricky double jumps with ease. Each level is designed to be non-linear, meaning there are multiple paths to take to make it to the finish, however, there are also three special objectives to complete for each level which will keep you coming back for more.
Overall, the game is pretty short, but it's designed to be one of those games that's ideal for speedrunning — although there's already some stiff competition out there. I feel like the game is missing one knock out feature — a course editor that allows players to upload their own levels. Or simply more levels perhaps with platforms of even more different colors to swap between. Still, for $2 it's one hell of a fun game.
Chameleon Run is a colorful endless runner that challenges you with precise jumps and quick reflexes to be sure you don't touch the wrong platform and blow yourself up.
It's hard to find a fun puzzle game that doesn't try to sell you on power-ups or extra lives or something.
That's just one of the reasons why Holedown is a standout game in 2018. Holedown will have you strategically blasting through to the core of celestial bodies — starting with asteroids and working your way up to the Sun — using the classic gaming formula of bouncing balls off blocks. Each brick has a number that represents the number of hits needed to destroy it, or you can destroying a supporting block clear out everything above it.
This is a pick-up-and-play game that's an easy concept to grasp but you quickly learn there's an amount of strategy and skill involved. All the bricks are curved, allowing you to set up tricky bank shots to clear out massive sections of blocks in one go. This will become quite important as the screen move up one row after every shot. If the blocks reach the top of the screen, it's game over.
Along the way, you will collect crystals which you spend on upgrades that give you more balls per shot, and more shots per round. These upgrades are crucial to completing the later planets but also let the earlier levels become more of a mindless distraction for your subway commute. All told, it won't take you too long to max out all your stats in Holedown, but that's mostly because it's so hard to stop playing this game once you start.
If you're a fan of physics-based puzzle games and are looking for a new obsession, Holedown is well worth your money!
Holedown is a clever take on the ball and brick genre where you launch balls to excavate down to the core of asteroids, planets and stars. It offers simple gameplay while delivering an endless challenge mode.
Monument Valley 1 & 2
Yep, I'm cheating again, but only because I adore both of these games so much. I'd be hard-pressed to say which is my favorite: the original or the one that expanded upon the core concepts? Since I can't decide, you get both of them here.
Odds are, you've at least heard of Monument Valley before. It's popular for a reason with its timeless gameplay, beautiful art design (that's frequently copied), and minimalist story. Rearrange the fantastical architecture, enjoy the surrealism and ambiance, and immerse yourself in guiding the silent princess to her goal. In the sequel, do more of the same, but on a larger scale.
I don't find that's much more to say. If you're a fan of puzzles and you haven't tried out Monument Valley, then I highly recommend that you do so.
Considered now to be one of the best puzzle games around, Monument Valley forces you to think outside of the box to reach your goal.
Expanding on the concepts presented by its predecessor, Monument Valley 2 returns with the same gameplay that many loved with the original. Guide a mother and her daughter through the valley as you take on new puzzles.
The Room: Old Sins
The Room: Old Sins is the latest epic puzzle game from Fireproof Games and the 4th in the award-winning 'The Room' puzzle game series. You are exploring the home of an ambitious engineer who has gone missing when you find a rather peculiar dollhouse in the attic.
Using a sophisticated eyepiece you're able to explore different rooms in the dollhouse that are filled with incredibly sophisticated puzzle boxes and contraptions. There's something really weird going on here, so maybe if you can solve all the puzzles you'll figure out what happened to the missing engineer and his wife.
If you've never played a game from "The Room" series before, just get ready for one of the more engrossing games you'll ever play on a mobile phone. The graphics and audio come together to create a wonderfully creepy vibe as you carefully inspect intricate objects and unlock secrets to help you on your journey.
The Room series offers some of the most beautiful gaming experiences on mobile. Solve intricate puzzles and unlock the secrets hidden within these mysterious contraptions.
Thumper: Pocket Edition
Another excellent game that made its way to Android, Thumper: Pocket Edition is one of the weirdest gaming experiences you can have on your phone. It's a rhythm game, or "rhythm violence" as the developers call it, filled with intense speed and grueling boss battles.
Thumper also contains elements of fear, a constant sense of impending dread, as you hurtle forward and trust in your reflexes. With the incredible soundtrack pounding in your ears, Thumper is sure to give a euphoria unlike any other. Despite the creepy and sometimes eldritch set pieces, Thumper's premise is simple: you're a space beetle trying to destroy a floating head.
There are nine levels for you to enjoy, a new game+ mode that increases the challenge and speed, and the original soundtrack I mentioned. It's $5 well-spent, complete with a constant and smooth framerate. The developers do warn that wireless headphones add significant audio latency, so use your phone's or tablet's speakers or wired headphones if you can.
Hurtle forward at blistering speed as you take on the role of a space beetle. Enjoy the gorgeous design, excellent soundtrack, and addicting gameplay while you're at it.
Transmission is a wonderful puzzle game that is calming while still being complex and difficult at times. It's almost always installed on my phone at any given moment for when I'm bored somewhere and want something to fill the brief window I might have.
The goal of Transmission is to create various networks that get increasingly more involved as you go along. It's beautiful in its simplicity, both in its art style and its overall premise. Each puzzle is a visual representation of a network. You start with a basic one, and your goal is to make connections. The different puzzles will challenge you to make these connections in different ways and configurations, including avoiding obstacles.
The other awesome thing about Transmission is that it is 100% free without any gimmicks, just good ol' logic puzzle fun to get you through a tough or boring day. The visuals are gorgeous and the music is amazing. This is a game you have to try.
Transmission is a puzzle game about connecting different networks. You'll be faced with more and more complexity as you go along, but nothing ever gets stressful.
I love finding the quirky indie titles that always manage to fall into the cracks of the Google Play Store, not receiving the promotion and attention that they rightfully deserve. Vectronom falls into that category, delivering a captivating experience that merges level design and music together to create a puzzle platformer that you play as much with your ears as you do with your fingertips.
Vectronom is, at times, a psychedelic experience given the flashing colors and thumping electronic soundtrack designed to entrance you as you play. Each level changes to the beat of the music, and the game grades you on how well your cube's movement follows the rhythm. The game was previously released on Steam and for the Nintendo Switch, and while the game no doubt controls way better with a keyboard or controller D-pad I've had no issues with the touch screen controls that rely on swipes and taps.
As straight forward as the concept is here, you will be challenged by the complexity of the levels as you progress through the game. There are currently 31 levels available to play through, each with their own theme introducing new traps to dodge and level mechanics to master. The indie developers behind the game hope to continue to build out the game's content by taking music submitted by users and designing new levels around those tracks. While the game does incentivize you to revisit levels and try and beat them clean in one try or better sync your moves to the beat of the music, I'd absolutely love to see a community build around Vectronom that delivers more puzzles which are perfect for mobile play.
Vectronom is a psychedelic puzzle platformer where you'll need to stick with the beat if you want to succeed and solve each colorful level.
The Best Platformers
A very generic category, even more so than RPGs, platformers are generally 2D, but "platformer" just tells you how the game plays. There are action RPG platformers, metroidvanias, and so on. It's a classic style of game for a reason and it translates extremely well to mobile.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Coming out of left field, Konami's classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night launched on mobile in early March to the joy and surprise of many. I purchased it immediately and you can read my thoughts on it here. It's one of the best $3 I've ever spent in the Play Store. Despite having a massive backlog of other games to get to, I spent a fair chunk of time reliving my childhood.
Besides just the charm and nostalgia, Symphony of the Night plays excellently on Android. The touchscreen controls are fine and certainly workable, but I found the game to be best played with a controller. The team behind the port did a great job with translating a very old game to a new platform and, while I had some gripes with them, the touchscreen controls let anyone hop in. Otherwise, any gamepad that works with Android should do just fine here (I used the Xbox One controller). Those of you with high refresh rate displays may notice some weirdness with the game and the developers advise using 60Hz — though they only specifically mention the Pixel 4 and Smooth Display.
Symphony of the Night is a classic, having helped define a whole new genre of game that we still see to this day. You follow Alucard, the son of Dracula, as he looks for the missing Richter. Wander the mysterious and dangerous castle as you find new abilities, unlock shortcuts, and become more powerful. You can also play as Richter himself (up until you meet a certain character) and Maria by entering their names when starting a new save. Add that to the achievement system and you have a bunch of content to work through. Seriously, this is $3 well-spent.
All we need now is Super Metroid on Android. Come on, Nintendo.
There's a lot of hubbub around the mobile release of Symphony of the Night for good reason. A lot more people can now experience this fantastic game in its revised glory.
Coming back to the last decade, we have a game that took some of the core concepts from Symphony of the Night and put its own spin on it. Meet Dandara, a beautiful and incredibly engaging metroidvania. As you might expect from the genre, there's plenty of solitary exploration as you work to make our heroine more powerful for the trials ahead.
Dandara tells the story of a woman who fight to stave off her world's impending collapse. Travel throughout it, meet interesting characters, and survive against the challenges that await you. Defy gravity as you explore a unique world and discover its mysteries. It's a fantastic game.
Better yet, it just got a free expansion called the Trials of Fear which adds a new boss, areas, and power-ups. It's a lot of game for $6 and worth it if you like metroidvanias.
A fantastic metroidvania, Dandara is well worth the time and investment if you're looking for a great game to play on your phone.
I've been looking forward to this release since the news first dropped. Dead Cells is one of my favorite indie games to come out in recent years, and it's now available on Android. A brutally challenging roguelike metroidvania, Dead Cells is an amalgam of several different types of games and it's glorious.
The Android port is excellent with tight controls (though they take some getting used to). Best of all, if you don't like the touch controls, there's controller support. It's the same experience as on any other platform and there's not much else to say, but that's a good thing. Dead Cells is worth every penny.
Dead Cells features permadeath, but don't let that deter you. You'll need to learn your enemies' patterns to best them in the crazy combat. The combat itself is varied and there are tons of different builds to suit every player. Dead Cells is a premium title that is albeit pricey for a mobile game, but like I said above, it's worth every cent.
The amazing Dead Cells has come to Android and it's awesome. This is one of the best games available on the Play Store right now.
Stepping away from metroidvanias, we have Grimvalor, an action RPG platformer. This is my go-to game right now because of its addicting gameplay and interesting premise. Combat is slick, movement is excellent, and it just works so well. Seriously, I play this game all the time when I'm out and about.
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. I really enjoy the combat and it feels so good and satisfying, especially when you dodge just right and your character does an awesome flip.
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.
Grimvalor fills that action RPG itch while being a fun platformer. Enjoy the excellent combat and exploration. You even get a trial demo before purchasing.
Gris is an emotional journey through a young girl's personal trauma. It's a calming game meant to make you feel something, whether that's through the gameplay itself, the incredible art design, or the wonderful soundtrack. Combine all of those together and you get one powerful experience.
The story isn't told through text, dialogue, or cutscenes. Instead, you're left to ponder and to figure out what's going on using your own viewpoint; everyone gets something different out of Gris. Almost everything about this game is a masterpiece, even down to the animations. You'll be solving some simple puzzles, tackling some platforming, and other challenges to guide Gris through her journey.
There isn't any combat or death in this game. It's a $5 well-spent and one I highly recommend to anyone looking for an evocative experience. Like I said, everyone gets something different out of this game. I personally was blown away by the art and music — your experience will be completely different than mine.
Enjoy a game that ticks a lot of boxes: beautiful art, smooth gameplay, great soundtrack. There's a lot to get out of Gris, and I think anyone can find something to like.
Human: Fall Flat
Sometimes, you just need a little whimsy in your life. Such is the case with Human: Fall Flat, a hilarious physics puzzle platformer! You play as a wobbly humanoid as you explore 12 levels filled with challenging puzzles. You can go it alone, with friends, or complete strangers.
The draw of Human: Fall Flat is that you can grab just about anything. You can climb anything, throw anything, carry anything as you move forward in a manner that we'll loosely call "straight." While you may be aiming for the goal, your companions may instead be plotting some nefarious mayhem to sow chaos. Whatever the outcome, it's a really fun time.
Human: Fall Flat is a one-time purchase with no ads or microtransactions. It's wonderfully fun and worth the $5, especially if you join up with others.
Enjoy this hilariously fun puzzle platformer. It's got tons of puzzles and wonky physics to keep entertained for quite a while.
If you're looking for a fun and yet incredibly creepy platformer, then Limbo is a must. This shadowy game will give you the heebie-jeebies more than once. With such wonderful quirks, Limbo is delightfully weird. If you've played it before, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
The art style alone is worth picking up the game for. It's something we've seen other indie games try to replicate, but like other trendsetters, Limbo is in a league of its own. The shadowy and minimalist aesthetic is beautiful and really lends to the otherwordly feeling you get from the game (thus the name Limbo).
The story is also minimalistic, where you play the role of a nameless boy caught on the edge of hell. Arachnophobes, beware! The boy seeks his lost sister, but the journey is the fun part. Limbo is desolate, with few friendly human characters. It's really quite the experience. You can try out a free demo before you purchase, which I advise doing.
Limbo made a name for itself with its creepy and disturbing atmosphere, notably disturbing arachnophobes. It can be downright horrifying and lonely, but it's worth it, even if the ending is polarizing.
Of all the games I've played in 2019, Oddmar stands out as one of my absolute favorites in part because it's absolutely gorgeous from its opening sequence through its beautifully animated levels that show a depth of detail you rarely see in a mobile game. I'm also somewhat biased because I absolutely adore well-crafted indie platformers but Oddmar still stands out for having a great protagonist and excellent story to tell.
You play as Oddmar, an exiled Viking who never quite lived up to his warrior ancestor who is granted special powers by a magical fairy. The timing is just right, as Oddmar has an opportunity to redeem himself by going on a journey of redemption.
Overall, the level design is pretty linear but never feels stale thanks to the good variety of enemies to bounce off of and the unique obstacles and some quick puzzles to solve to progress. On top of all that, Oddmar also comes across these hallucination-like Valhalla challenges that are mixed into most levels. These challenge you with a quick scrolling bonus level that add some really nice gameplay variety.
Touchscreen controls for platforming games are notoriously difficult to get right on mobile, but then a game like Oddmar comes along and shows the industry just how it's done. Everything feels just right with the left side of the screen controlling your horizontal movement and the right side dedicated to jumping, attacking, ground-pounding, and dash attacks.
You're able to play the first section of the game for free with the rest of the game unlocked with a one-time in-app payment of $5 — well worth it for one of the best games you'll play on your phone.
Oddmar is a beautiful game that plays like a living comic book. You can play through the first chapter for free and then, once you've fallen in love with it, unlock the rest of the game for $5.
If the 2D platformers don't do it for you, then might I interest you in a 3D one? 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.
It reminds me of the 3D Mario games in spirit, though I had some trouble getting used to the touchscreen controls. Moving to a controller, however, made me enjoy this game a whole lot more. While this sort of thing doesn't capture my attention for too long, I had fun. It's certainly a light-hearted adventure.
Enjoy a bright 3D platforming adventure in Suzy Cube. Reclaim your castle's stolen riches as you master each level and collect new power-ups.
The Best Strategy Games
Similar to puzzle games, strategy games require your attention and willpower to succeed. Whether managing a kingdom or battling seemingly impossible odds, strategy games can certainly push you. Approach cautiously and you'll be just fine.
To say that Among Us has exploded in popularity recently would be underselling the game. I see tons of memes that originated from it and a lot of people looking for others who also play. It's a cute, fun, and interesting multiplayer game that supports 5-10 players where not everyone is as they seem.
Your group is meant to complete various space-y tasks, but amongst you is an imposter hell-bent on killing everyone. He or she will use sabotage things to sow chaos and throw you off. This chaos can mask the murders and/or create alibis for the imposter.
To win in Among Us depends on if you're a regular crewmate or the imposter. For the former, all you need to do is complete the tasks at hand or figure out the imposter and vote them off the ship. If you're the imposter, you need to successfully kill everyone undetected. Among Us is a ton of fun to play, though the very deceptive nature of it might strain some friendships!
This co-op/competitive game is a blast. Survive the imposter who's determined to kill the entire crew; or, use stealth and chaos to slaughter everyone without being caught.
Bad North: Jotunn Edition
Bad North is a real-time roguelike strategy game where you're protecting your little island kingdom from the Norse horde. All of that to say, it's a fresh challenge each time you pick it up and man, is it a fun game. I'm not usually one for this type of thing, but I love Bad North on PC and it's an excellent addition to the Play Store.
These evil Vikings will come at you fast and they'll hit you hard. The AI is really clever, too, so it will often sneak by your defenses. The Vikings will burn and pillage, and get more advanced the more successful you are. Just wait until the long-range Norsemen appear. The goal is to survive each encounter, ensuring that commander of each troop unit lives to see another battle. Squads who are completely wiped out are dead for the rest of the campaign.
Bad North is a fantastic game and it looks great, too, with its minimalist, cutesy art style. I think it's well worth the $5 to get in, because it's practically endless fun since things are changed up each time you play. It's a one-time upfront cost with no additional ads or microtransactions, just good, old-fashioned fun.
Survive the Viking onslaught in this procedurally-generated, real-time strategy roguelike. There's something new every time.
There are some truly ridiculous games in this world, but few can top the hilarity of Exploding Kittens. Just the name alone makes me chuckle. It's an over-the-top multiplayer card game with some funny art and plenty of laughs for you and your friends. What else do you need?
Okay, fine. Exploding Kittens is all about luck. You and the other players draw cards until someone, hopefully not you, draws the Exploding Kitten card. From that point on, that player's time is limited until he or she can Defuse the angry feline. Defuse cards come in a variety of distractions; regardless, you don't want the kitten to blow up because that'll knock you out of the game.
Otherwise, you're just playing on borrowed time. It's a great time and fun for the whole family — I love Cards Against Humanity, but it isn't exactly the most kid-friendly game out there. Exploding Kittens is a mere $2 purchase and it's yours for good. You can also play online with strangers.
Draw cards until someone pulls the Exploding Kitten card. Hopefully it's not you, otherwise you need to defuse the cat before you're knocked out the game!
Gwent has been around for a few years now. First starting as a mini-game in the incredible masterpiece The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Gwent became a favorite pastime for many players. CD Projekt Red eventually spun Gwent out into its own thing, complete with some nice visual overhauls and online matchmaking. And now it's available on Android. Although it's a substantial download from the Play Store, boy howdy is it worth it.
Card games could technically be classed as their own thing, but one could also make an argument that most of them involve a lot of strategy. Gwent is one such example, requiring you to pay attention to your cards, their abilities, their placement on the game mat, and your score. That's not to mention keeping in mind what your opponent is doing and what they've played. All told, Gwent has a lot going on and requires your utmost attention.
Here's how it works. You go against another player using your chosen deck, from which you draw cards at the beginning of a round. You have the option to redraw up to three cards. Each match consists of three rounds and the player who wins two of them is the victor. Success is determined by having the highest score, which comes from the point values assigned to each card in play. Some cards also have unique abilities that can help you or hinder your opponent. And sometimes, victory requires you to throw a round to be ready for the next one. There's a lot more to it than that, but the nuance is simply too much for this list.
This is one of those great free-to-play games that I highly recommend you try out. There are microtransactions, sure, but CD Projekt Red has built enough of a good reputation with the gaming community that I don't think many people mind. Overall, it's an excellent and very addicting game. The Android version also has cross-play with iOS and PC players, greatly expanding the pool of people against whom you can play.
Gwent is a fun and addicting card game that recently landed on Android. Best two out of three wins, but it takes a lot of strategy to get there.
Legends of Runeterra
Legends of Runeterra is to League of Legends as Hearthstone is to Warcraft. It's another turn-based card game based on a wildly popular universe. Though I've never played League of Legends myself, I can understand and appreciate the excitement behind the launch of this game.
Like its Warcraft and Witcher counterparts, Legends of Runeterra centers around your deck. Defeating your opponent requires you to whittle down their main health pool while defending your own. It's quite simple and isn't a best-two-out-of-three situation like Gwent. Each player gets an attack turn while the opposing person gets a chance to defend themselves as best they can. Each card has its own attack and health stat, and many have special abilities. There are also spell cards that have varying levels of speed (some are instant, others take a turn or two). These can be healing spells, barrier spells, and so on.
Cards break down into offense, defense, and support. The latter buff nearby allies with barriers, boosts to health/attack, etc. You have a mana system that determines what cards you can play. It builds up with each turn and some cards take several mana units to play.
Even if you're not into League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra is a nice break from Hearthstone while still feeling familiar. The tutorial introduces the game well, so give it like half an hour and you'll be good to go.
Dive into Riot Games' answer to Hearthstone, set in the League of Legends universe. Outwit your opponent to claim victory.
Half sim, half real-time strategy, Majesty is one of my favorite time-waster games. You're in charge of a small kingdom and it's up to you to keep it safe, explore for resources, manage an economy, and deal with all of the other weirdness. Majesty is an eclectic game, to be sure, but it's also quite fun.
Of course, you can't talk about Majesty and forget about The Nothern Expansion. It's a bit extra, but it adds a new location and new problems to contend with, including dragons. You have more heroes, more resources, and changeable weather, too. For an extra $3, it's a nice expansion, especially if you like Majesty.
They're no Starcraft, but Majesty and The Northern Expansion are both great for killing time on the metro/bus, while you wait at the doctor's office, or what have you. Enjoy its fun gameplay and watch the hours fly by.
Take up the mantle of a small kingdom's ruler as you try to make the best decision for your people. Battle monsters, explore, and build.
Adding more Majesty to your life is worth the $3, in my opinion, and The Northern Expansion certainly delivers. It adds a new area, new enemies, and new challenges.
Tower defense games are a dime a dozen in the Play Store, but few offer the depth and strategy that is on display with Mindustry. It's a sandbox-style game that is straight-up intimidating when you first start out since it gives you all the tools you need for success but makes it entirely up to you to use them in the most efficient and strategic way.
Not only do you need to concern yourself with mining resources to build up your defenses, but you also need to maintain and protect your supply lines — conveyor belts that deliver your mined resources from the drill to your core base and defense turrets. It took me the entire tutorial to get a handle on the build controls and core game mechanics, and another hour of playing the game before I started unlocking new technologies on the tech tree. It wasn't long until I started developing some rudimentary strategies that worked for a while, but soon the AI enemies figured my tactics, managed to bypass my defenses, and absolutely wrecked my base.
The solo mode only scratches the surface of everything that Mindustry has to offer. You can set up a multiplayer game with custom servers or over local area network, create your own map with the included map editor, or create a custom game with the player given full control over pretty much every aspect of the game. Best of all, you get this in a free-to-play game with no ads.
Mindustry is an incredible open-ended sandbox tower defense game that will blow you away with the level of depth and customization available to the player. Better still, it's free-to-play with no ads or in-app purchases.
Living in the Washington, D.C. area, I'm quite familiar with the metro system here — it's frankly one of the best ways to get in and out of the city in my experience (especially since you can avoid the parking nightmare). So when I discovered Mini Metro in the Play Store, I grabbed it and had a lot of fun with it.
The basic premise is to design a metro system for a growing city by creating lines and stations. The goal is to keep going as long as you can with your limited resources. It's quite fun and each playthrough is a new approach. You have to strategize on how you want your system to function. Can you improve a line you already created and make it more efficient?
This is another one of those time-waster strategy games that is quite fun, funnily enough, while riding the metro. It's only a buck, too.
You're the metro engineer and it's your job to design a system for your growing city. Use your limited resources wisely and try to make things as efficient as they can be.
Reigns: Her Majesty
In Reigns, you play as the monarch of the land and make decisions that affect four aspects of the kingdom: the church, the people, the army, and the royal wealth. Your goal is to keep all four in balance — if any meter fills to the max or is entirely depleted your reign is over… and a new reign begins!
The sequel plays nearly identically to the first game, except this time you play as the Queen instead of the King, complete with new characters to interact with and multiple branching storylines to discover. The gameplay is as easy as swiping left or right on cards and if it's anything like the first game there's a ton of great easter eggs to find along the way!
I would hate to spoil anything for this new game, but if you played the first one and are afraid that it's going to be too similar, I can assure you there are plenty of new mechanics to make this still one of the best games on Google Play.
Step into the role of regal leader of your own and parlay with your advisors and send out royal decrees just by swiping left or right. Just be sure not to let things get out of hand or it's your head on the chopping block.
XCOM: Enemy Within
XCOM achieved legendary status with its in-depth gameplay, challenge, and interesting style. That same spirit arrived on Android some time back with Enemy Within, the sequel to Enemy Unknonw, which adds on the iconic forumla. There are new soldiers, maps, enemies, abilities, and more for you to try out.
Once again, you're defending earth from aliens and victory is not guaranteed. You have to build the right squad for the circumstances as you head into the turn-based combat. New threats will challenge your tactics and your skills, pushing you to work hard for success.
Take on the classic XCOM gameplay with new soldiers, abilities, maps, and enemies. Fans of the franchise should find a lot to like here, especially since the port is fairly well done.
The Best Sims
Much like the puzzle and platformer games, sim defines a wide variety of titles. The gist is that you're simulating something, be you god or farmer. For the most part, these types of games are relaxing and enjoyable as time-wasters or time-sinks.
Ever wanted to play god? Godus offers you that chance, giving you power over the very earth itself. You have worshippers who will praise your benevolent name as you teach them how to improve their civilization. Of course, you can also be a terrible god and sometimes you'll have to be.
Watch as the world evolves around to you and you continue to shape it to your whim. Use your godly powers to create structures for your humans, send loving or destructive miracles, and sculpt things to your personal liking. It's quite the addicting game once you figure out the gameplay.
Godus is free to play, but it contains in-app purchases for Gems.
Literally play god in Godus, a simulator where you guide a human civilization through its infancy. Sculpt the land to your liking, earn your followers' worship, and become a god.
Graveyard Keeper is a cemetery management sim that you can easily sink hours into while enjoying the dark humor of the rather grim subject matter. You may think a game that has you play the role of a town's gravedigger would be depressing and drab, but Graveyard Keeper's bright and colorful art style coupled with the open world and deep crafting mechanics keep things really interesting. You're also rewarded for cutting corners and getting creative. For example, you can start selling ground-up dead bodies to the local butcher, host witch-burning parties, or try and poison some of the local townsfolk to drive in more business.
That's the difference between a premium mobile title like Graveyard Keeper and most other free-to-play mobile sim games — collecting resources isn't time-restricted for hours and you're able to craft anything you need in the game just by foraging, completing quests, and maintaining your graveyard. You'll enjoy the extended play of exploring dungeons and completing quests to find rare supplies and other treasures.
As you can see from the trailer, this game is absolutely gorgeous with a concise and detailed art style and beautiful animations. Because this is a direct port of a PC/console game, you should prepare to sink many many hours into this game, which may include just figuring out the different menus and controls as you work out how to be the best Graveyard Keeper you can be!
Graveyard Keeper is a gravedigger simulator with a dark sense of humor where you've got to come up with creative ways to drum up new business.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Another classic game brought to us on Android, Grand Theft Auto (GTA): San Andreas is just what you would expect. It's an open-world sandbox, where you're free to do what you want. Unlike later GTA games that take place in specific cities, San Andreas spans an entire state in three cities. Suffice to say, there's a lot of game here.
You play as Carl Johnson as he returns to Los Santos to save his failing family and friends. Upon your return, you're framed for murder and you have to escape "justice" and take back the streets. All in all, it's a fun game and Rockstar says you can expect 70 hours of gameplay. That's crazy.
70 hours of gameplay for $7 is even crazier. The GTA experience is pretty well-known by now, so you probably know what you can expect.
Grand Theft Auto needs no introduction and San Andreas is a great entry. You can expect plenty of shenanigans and freedom, plus tons of game time.
Minecraft is one of those cultural phenomenons. Utterly recognizable even by many non-gamers, Minecraft built a reputation for itself based on simplistic yet complex gameplay, a unique visual style, and endless replayability. Though many years old at this point, it's a game that's still going strong and it's an obvious addition to this list.
Feature-rich and fully-supported, the Android version of Minecraft is as complete as any other. It sports full cross-play with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, Windows 10, and iOS. It also gets the latest updates so that you can enjoy everything your friends on other platforms can. Controllers are also an available option. And with over 3 million reviews on the Play Store alone, with an average of 4.5 stars, Minecraft is definitely a worthy purchase.
You can unleash your creativity in Creative Mode; or go hardcore in Survival Mode where you're forced to delve deep for resources to craft protections for yourself. Minecraft truly is a mind-boggling game in its scope and execution. At $7, it feels a bit on the pricey side for an Android game, but our resident Minecraft expert assures me that it's so worth it.
Minecraft's Android version is as complete as any other platform variant. Explore, dig, build, craft in this wildly popular sandbox.
One of the best things about sim games is that they can be unusually relaxing. Sometimes, they can also be cute and there's not a whole lot cuter than penguins. So what happens when you combine something super chill and those adorable flightless birds? You get Penguin Isle.
This is one of those idle games meant to be ultimately relaxing while keeping you just slightly busy creating the perfect habitats for your penguins. The music is super easy-going and fantastic to listen to while you mindlessly play. You can collect a nice variety of penguins (and other arctic animals) as you build out your habitats for them.
Everything about this game is just to chillax. The animations are super fun to watch, I love the music and the sound of the waves, and the mindlessness lets you enjoy the adorable penguins. The art design is great, too, and it's super satisfying to build everything out.
Penguin Isle is the perfect game for relaxing and enjoying cute penguins. It's a fun game that's solely designed to help you chill out (pun intended).
If you've never heard of or played Stardew Valley before, it's basically a farming simulator built atop a robust 16-bit open-ended RPG that lets you play and develop your character and farm as you choose. The story begins with your character's arrival in Pelican Town, where you have decided to take over your grandfather's simple family farm.
What makes Stardew Valley such a joy to play is the freedom granted to the player to make the game your own. If you focus on building up your farm, the game is mostly about crop and resource management, which will certainly scratch a certain itch for mobile gamers given how popular that genre of RPG is on mobile — but with Stardew Valley, there's so much more for the player to explore.
Between planting and harvesting your fields, you can work to level up your character's skills with different tools by going fishing or foraging in the woods, head to town to socialize and build relationships with the townsfolk (and even get married, if you choose), or go off on a more traditional combat-based RPG adventure complete with quests to complete and monster-infested mines to explore.
One of the most celebrated RPGs of the last decade has been optimized for mobile and is a must-play for gamers of all ages.
Whispers of a Machine
If you played games from the 90's, then you'll probably remember the old point-and-click adventures. Some stand out after all these years, like Beneath a Steel Sky, Myst, and many others. Since the mobile gaming revolution, however, we've seen less point-and-clicks than I initially thought we would. After all, the touchscreen is as perfect a medium for this type of game as a mouse is.
So that's why I'm happy to present Whispers of a Machine, a point-and-click Nordic noir adventure. If you like low-scale cyberpunk and detective mysteries all in a convenient mobile package, then Whispers of a Machine was made for you. It features a gripping murder mystery to solve, interesting characters to meet, an awesome protagonist, and beautiful art to enjoy. This is a game that will keep you clasped within its claws for a long time.
It's also available on PC if you'd rather go really old school with the point-and-click stuff, but I actually prefer the mobile version. It's definitely a time investment, but it's well worth the money, even for just the setting alone. It just oozes futurism and discusses the impacts of AI technology. It's quite the treat.
Embark on a Nordic noir point-and-click adventure with Whispers of a Machine. It's a stellar game all around and grips you the entire time you play.
The Best Racing Games
Racing games are pretty self-explanatory. Drive some kind of vehicle (or character) and beat the computer or other players to the finish line. Simple enough. There are some great options out there, since this is another genre that translates well to mobile.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Aspahlt, a long-standing mobile racing title, hit its 9th iteration, if you can believe it. Considered one of the go-to racing games, Asphalt does a great job at pushing modern phones with its repertoire of jaw-dropping hypercars. The ultimate goal is to become a street racing legend, so hopefully you've got the adrenaline addiction to see yourself through to that end. You'll be limited only by the freemium mechanics at play that encourages you to spend more.
It does feature gorgeous graphics, awesome driving sequences, and other eye candy. Asphalt 9 is quite the looker, especially if you have a great display on your phone. There's also plenty of cars to choose from and you can customize them, too! There are races against AI and other players to keep you interested and entertained.
It's also free to play and it contains microtransactions. It's what you'd expect, all told, and no one should be surprised. Still, Asphalt 9 is fine in bursts.
Experience high-octane action as you race the streets with your choice of car. Get ready for an intense thrill ride.
Data Wing is a fun, simple racing adventure with a story, gorgeous Tron-inspired visuals, and a simple premise. It's basically perfect for any 80s/retrowave fan, myself included, but I think anyone can get a lot of fun out of it. That soundtrack is pretty great, too.
The story focuses on you navigating your data wing through different racing courses at the behest of the Mother, an AI who doesn't seem quite right. Your main purpose in "life" is to ferry data from one point to the next and you're highly disposable. It's not exactly the most uplifting story, but it'll do.
Touch controls are on point and the levels are awesome to look at. You'll probably finish Data Wing pretty quick, but it's really fun to go back and do it all over again. There's high replay value here. Data Wing is, frankly, awesome and absolutely worth picking up. Best of all, it's completely free with no ads or IAPs in sight. So race away and try out this game.
Another excellent freebie, Data Wing is a gorgeous racing adventure that takes obvious cues from Tron's neonscape. It's a brilliant little game and worth playing.
Taking things a bit further than Asphalt 9 is GRID Autosport. A console port done by the fantastic folks at Feral Interactive (well known in the Linux gaming community), Grid features jaw-dropping graphics, intense driving gameplay, and amazing thrills.
A high cost to entry, perhaps, but it's a buy once and done deal. You even get all of the DLCs included. For your $10, you'll have access to 100 cars and 100 maps with multiple control and difficulty options to suit your play style. It's a graphically intense game and Feral only supports a few phones. If it's not available to you in the Play Store, your phone probably can't handle it.
Grid is meant for racing game enthusiasts, especially those who are tired of the freemium tactics, like those you'd find in Asphalt 9. There's something to be said for a high initial price tag.
Check out this mobile port of a AAA console racing game and be amazed. Not only is it beautiful, but it packs in a ton of a value for $10. Race to your heart's content.
Mario Kart Tour
No list of racing games would be complete without Mario Kart Tour, for better or for worse. A household name when it comes to racing games, Mario Kart is the long-standing king of the genre. When it finally came to mobile not too long ago, there was much joy. That was later soured by some of Nintendo's mobile practices, but that's for another time.
There's not too much to say about Tour other than it's Mario Kart. Race with your favorite character in maps inspired by real-world cities and earn new drivers, karts, and badges. It is free to play with microtransactions, though.
Mario Kart Tour is the mobile version of the venerable, long-standing racing franchise. It's more of what you would expect with mobile monetization thrown in for good measure.
Riptide GP: Renegade
Say you like racing games, but cars and cartoon characters aren't your thing. Then maybe you'll find Riptide GP: Renegade to your liking. Where it differs from other racing games is that you're on futuristic, high-speed hydrojets. Instead of a road or something similar, the waterways are your track. Sign me up.
In Renegade, you've been ousted from the Riptide GP league and instead have to make your living illegally racing. Power through city waterways, flooded ruins, and more all while avoiding cops. You'll unlock new vehicles the longer you play, plus new customization options. Take on fun bosses and build your crew.
There's also online 8-man multiplayer races for you to put your skills to the test. You can engage in leaderboard activities, too, and even local split-screen. It's a lot of game for $3 and it's great for all fans of racing games.
Experience the fun of illicit water racing with Riptide GP: Renegade. Go rogue and make your own career, or go online to race others.
I'm a bit biased here, but I grew up with Sonic the Hedgehog. So when I saw Sonic Forces, I was immediately intrigued. While I never quite got into Team Sonic Racing or Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing, I was interested in Forces because it takes the anthropomorphized animals out of go karts and onto their own two feet.
While it's ridiculous to see Big the Cat keep up with Shadow, it's still a fun game that lets you play your favorite character (once you unlock them) and race other people. There's more to it than just racing, though. Much like you'd find in Mario Kart, you can offset your opponents with traps, dodge the ones they leave for you, aall while you try to make it to the finish line first.
The whole cast of characters is here, but most have to be unlocked first. This is where I tell you that the game is free to play, but features microtransactions to unlock new characters and abilities. It's sad to see Sonic monetized like this, but I enjoy the core gameplay.
Sonic and friends come to mobile again, this time to duke it out in a contest of speed. Do your best to derail your opponents because they'll be doing the same to you.
The Best Sports Games
The true heyday of sports games on Android has long gone. Most nowadays aren't worth your time. However, there are a few shining examples that stand out amongst the crowd, even if they include the usual freemium nonsense.
Australian Open Game
This is the best tennis game I've found for Android. Developed by Big Ant Studios for Tennis Australia to help promote the Australian Open, this free title delivers a surprisingly robust number of gameplay options. You can play a quick match, beat the AO tournament to unlock the other Grand Slam events, or play career mode with your customized player.
The default controls automatically position your player to return shots with swipes used to perform different techniques, but there are also settings for more advanced controls. But the better your timing, the better your shot will be. Difficulty increases as you go on, which is typical of tournament-style games.
Enjoy one of the best tennis games on Android with this free title. Create your own player and take on the AO tournament or just play a quick match.
eFootball PES 2020
Konami's celebrated football (soccer) franchise is back for 2020 with enhanced dribble controls and options for local and real-time online matches against friends or strangers. It's all part of the developer's focus on taking this mobile soccer game into the eSports realm with competitive online play that's responsive and rewarding.
Of course, there's more. The Inspire system lets you, well, inspire and/or influence how your teammates play, adding new levels of complexity. All of this focus on a quality gaming experience is meant to provide you with a game that tailors itself to you and your playstyle. I'd say the biggest downside with eFootball PES 2020 is that it's another freemium sports game.
If you like soccer, then Konami has you covered. Enjoy new dribble controls, the Inspire system, online matches, and more.
Madden NFL Mobile Football
Though it may not be the most lovable example, Madden is the hallmark football game series, even on Android. The mobile version is free to play, but it contains every bit of freemium garbage that EA could throw at it. We're talking loot boxes, ads, microtransactions, and the like.
Unfortunately, there's not much else when it comes to football on Android. This is the only way to play as or with your favorite players and teams. For your time, you get competitive play, dynamic football seasons, and new strategies to build your gameplay style around. There's also a co-op mode for you to help out your friends in their seasons or for them to help you.
Madden NFL Mobile Football reigns supreme among the few playable American Football games available for Android. It comes with the usual freemium caveats, though.
MLB Nine Innings 2020
MLB Nine Innings saw a 2020 refresh over the 2019 version. If you're into baseball, this is the game for you (on Android, anyway). It features all 30 MLB teams with 1,700 players and the roster was updated for all the 2019 season players. You can expect full 3D graphics and smooth gameplay for the best experience.
There's also an option for one-handed controls to make playing on your phone even easier. Not only is there autoplay, but you can choose to just play offense or defense, whichever suits your preference. You can go against other players across the world in the Ranked Battle, Clutch Hits, and Club Battle modes. Or stick to the League Mode, whichever appeals to you. MLB Nine Innings 2020 is free with in-app purchases.
The go-to baseball game for Android, MLB Nine Innings 2020 features all the stuff from the 2019 version, but updated for 2020. Challenge yourself or others in a variety of modes.
Motorball puts you in control of an RC car as you try to score on your opponent. You use your car to push a large soccer ball into the other player's goal. If that sounds familiar, that's because it's basically the same premise as Rocket League, except on mobile and on a smaller scale. Sounds cool, right?
Unlike Rocket League, it's just you against another player instead of a team. And the camera is top-down instead of over the "shoulder." The graphics are also a bit cartoony, but that makes it a bit cuter. On its own merit, however, Motorball is a lot of fun, despite the presence of microtransactions.
The player who scores three goals wins the match. You can boost to get that extra bit of speed and pick up random power-ups to help (or hinder) you from scoring on your opponent. Be careful of scoring on yourself, too! Overall, Motorball is a ton of fun. The microtransactions aren't super invasive and there's a lot of stuff to earn. If you want a Rocket League-like experience on your phone, then check out Motorball.
Kind of like Rocket League, Motorball is a smaller scale version of the popular RC car soccer. You play 1v1 matches and try to push a giant soccer ball into your opponent's goal.
NBA 2K20 is a rare premium sports title for Android that doesn't rely on microtransactions and loot crates, which automatically makes it a great game, in my opinion. The graphics and presentation are top-notch and compare nicely to the console versions.
NBA 2K20 offers multiple game modes, such as the MyCareer Run story mode, the new Run The Streets, and expanded NBA Stories for reliving some of the greatest moments in NBA History. You can also take on the role of a GM and manage a team, including scouting and rosters. There's also online multiplayer through LAN or Google Play Games for 5-on-5 matches. You even get a new soundtrack and full support for Bluetooth controllers.
NBA 2K20 is one of the best sports games on Android. For a mere $6, you get a lot of game modes.
The Best Augmented Reality (AR) Games
A relatively new form of game, AR takes unique advantage of the hardware built into our phones to give us new means of entertainment. This is possible on other platforms, but the extra hardware required puts off a lot of people, myself included, off. However, with the little powerhouse in your pocket, you can experience the world of augmented reality gaming.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
I'm sure you've heard of Harry Potter in some capacity. It's a media phenomenon, no doubt, but fans have been starved for good games that let them enter the wizarding world. Sure, the Lego Harry Potter games were fun, but this franchise lacks any meaningful gaming experiences.
Wizards Unite flips that on its head. While some fans are waiting for a proper Potter RPG or something like that, at least this game can tide them over. Think of Pokémon Go, but with wizards and the like. That's basically what's going on here. It requires some physical effort from you, but at least it has Adventure Sync now.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is free to play with in-app purchases. It might not have the clout that Pokémon Go has just yet, but it certainly has the minds of many.
Take what you liked about Pokémon Go and put a Harry Potter coat of paint on it. Get up, go for a walk, and explore the hidden mysteries all around us.
Back when Pokémon Go first launched in 2016, I jumped right on the bandwagon along with millions of others. Since then, we've seen the format copied by other brands hoping to cash in on the mobile AR gaming craze that Niantic has perfected, but nothing has come close to matching Pokémon Go's cultural impact or staying power. To this day, I still frequently come across Pokémon Go players out in the wild catching and grinding to level up and evolve their Pokémon, and that's impressive.
Even though I've personally stopped playing the game, the community appears as strong as ever with the game developers constantly adding new content, and gameplay features supported by in-game and real-life events for players to participate in.
For example, last December Niantic finally added a PvP battling system that added the ability to battle against friends, which they teased in the early trailers for the game. The latest in-game event this summer involved Team Rocket Grunts popping up all over the place and challenging you to battle against their Shadow Pokémon — which can also be caught using Raid Balls.
It's just nice to see this phenomenal game continue to grow and expand and that's why we've re-added it to our list of the best games for Android. Pokémon Go is still one of those rare games that is entirely free to play as long as you're willing to put in the physical work, with in-app purchases if you need a little boost along the way. Despite challengers from other brands trying to cash in on this unique mobile gaming genre, it feels the most authentic to its source material and continues to outpace the competition in terms of gameplay variety, scope, and popularity.
For the best Pokémon Go coverage on the internet hit up or friends over at iMore for the latest news, tips, tricks, and other great guides to help you out on your Pokémon Go journey.
Pokémon Go was the first game to truly usher in location-based augmented reality games to the mainstream. It remains the most fleshed out and fun-to-play game from the genre 3+ years on.
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