Best Arcade Games for Android

For all the great new games that are released on Android, sometimes you want to play something ... familiar. Maybe something a little retro that reminds you of those arcade days spent plugging quarters into standalone machines for hours on end.

You can relive those moments on your Android phone with these great arcade games available in the Google Play Store.

PinOut

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PinOut is a brilliant reimagining of the classic pinball action we're all familiar with into an endless arcade format, created by the award-winning developers behind Smash Hit (opens in new tab). The game features sharp, futuristic graphics and smooth controls as it pits you in a race against the clock to see how far you can make it on one ball.

Unlike other pinball games that give you a set number of balls and have you focused on racking up combos and bonuses by strategically hitting bumpers and other features on the table, PinOut instead offers an infinite race against the clock on a seemingly neverending table. Tap to use the left and right flippers and strategically work the ball up through rails and onto the next section. Some rails feature a trail of dots which add time to the countdown clock at the top, so you'll need to master your flipper control and focus on hitting the ball through the time bonus rails. If you fail to hit the ball and it falls between your flippers, the only penalty imposed is the time you waste getting the ball back up to where it once was. If the time runs out, it's game over.

PinOut is a free download from the Google Play Store, but you might want to spend $2.99 on the one-time upgrade to premium to unlock the ability to start from previous checkpoints you've reached.

Download: PinOut (free with in-app purchases) (opens in new tab)

PAC-MAN

The quintessential arcade classic has been ported to Android over and over again, with a dozen of different twists on the tried and true gaming formula. But if you're looking for a pure Pac-Man experience, Bandai-Namco's free PAC-MAN app is everything you'll need.

In Classic Mode, you'll find everything looks and plays as you remember — minus the need for a stack of quarters. Once you've had your fill of the classic mazes, check out the collection of new mazes which add a new layer of strategy.

Tournament mode adds another layer of replay. Try and set the high score in regularly occurring tournaments against players from around the world.

PAC-MAN is a free download in the Google Play Store, and includes in-app purchases for different maze packs.

Download: PAC-MAN (free) (opens in new tab)

Galactic Nemesis

Galactic Nemesis is an updated version of arcade classics like Galaga and Galaxian for your Android phone. Blast your way through wave after wave of alien invaders, upgrading your ship as you go.

Controls are dead simple. Tap and drag your finger around the screen to move and shoot at the same time. Power-ups collect along the right side of the screen, so simply tap them when you need a little help. You get the first world for free but will have to pay $1.99 to unlock 3 other worlds. You'll also get 10 ships to unlock, over 50 in-game challenges, and no ads. With great pixel art, simple controls, and a winning gameplay formula, you can't go wrong with Galactic Nemesis if you're into classic arcade games.

Download: Galactic Nemesis (free with in-app purchases) (opens in new tab)

Metal Slug 3

A classic run-and-gun arcade title, Metal Slug 3 has been perfectly ported over to the Google Play Store and is worth checking out if you're a fan of the original games or simply enjoy action arcade shooting games.

The Android version gives you multiple ways to play.There's a single player campaign, which you can play in classic Arcade Mode or Mission Mode, which allows you to play your favorite mission or practice a particularly tough mission.

If your friends have the game, you can connect up via Bluetooth and play co-op modes. Metal Slug is always more fun with friends, so the addition of wireless local multiplayer greatly enhances the replay value.

Download: Metal Slug 3 ($2.99) (opens in new tab)

R-Type

Fans of R-Type will enjoy how smooth this classic side-scrolling shoot-em-up game plays on Android. Man your ship and take down the alien invasion one level at a time.

The game lets you control your ship directly via touch or using an on-screen joystick (Bluetooth controller support would have been nice here) and has a toggle for autofire. We've found the touch control to be the best compromise for allowing full control for evading enemies without obstructing too much of the screen.

Having reliable controls is important because this game is as tough as you remember it being. With wave after wave of enemies, tough boss battles, and one-hit deaths, you're in for a real challenge with R-Type.

Download: R-Type ($1.99) (opens in new tab)

SoulCalibur

We'd be remiss to have a list of best arcade games without at least one fighting game making the cut. This port of Soul Calibur is one of the nicest direct ports we've seen, featuring (thankfully) updated graphics from the 1998 original.

Beyond the classic Arcade Mode, there are multiple game modes to enjoy: Time Attack challenges you to beat all characters as fast as you can, Survival sees how far you can go in sudden-death battles, and Extreme Survival cranks things up to see how far you can go without being hit.

Before you click your heels and jump into the Google Play Store to get this one, here's the bad news: the price. At $13.99, this is priced more along the lines of a console download than a mobile offering. But this is essentially a full-fledged console game on your phone. This might be strictly for the hardcore SoulCalibur fans, but if you're looking for a quality fighting game for your Android device, SoulCalibur is as good as you'll find.

The only other downside besides the price is its lack of controller support; however, the virtual gamepad is surprisingly responsive and fully customizable.

Download: SoulCalibur ($13.99) (opens in new tab)

Crazy Taxi Classic

Hop in! The classic arcade driving game Crazy Taxi has been ported to Android by Sega and it's just as fun as you remember.

For those who might be unfamiliar with the concept, the game is a wicked-fast game where you play the raddest taxi driver in San Francisco as you break all the traffic stops to get your passengers to where they need to be as fast as possible. Featuring the classic punk sounds of The Offspring and Bad Religion, this game is a total throwback to the old arcade machines, or perhaps you remember the game best from the Sega Dreamcast.

You can play by classic arcade rules where you're always working to extend the countdown timer, or see how much money you can rake in over a set amount of time. The game is free to play with ads, or you can remove the non-Sega ads via an in-app purchase.

Download: Crazy Taxi Classic (Free w/ads, $1.99 to unlock full game) (opens in new tab)

Pinball Arcade

For fans of pinball, nothing will quite replicate the experience of playing on a glass-top pinball cabinet. Pinball Arcade for Android might just be the next best thing, featuring 70 classic pinball tables.

Each table is faithfully reproduced with all original features and graphics in rather stunning 3D graphics.

You get the full Arabian Nights table for free and are able to play free versions of all of the other tables included in the game, but you must plop down some serious cash to get full access to the other tables, which are sold individually ($5-$9 per table) or as part of a Season Pack ($35-$42 per season pack).

These prices are going to be way too steep for most, but if you're a hardcore Pinball fan who collects pinball cabinets, you'll appreciate the ability to test and play classic tables for a fraction of the cost of owning one in real life.

Download: Pinball Arcade (free with in-app purchases) (opens in new tab)

NBA Jam

NBA Jam has been available on Android since October 2010, and yet it still remains one of the most polished and fun sports arcade games you can play on the platform.

This remake of the 90s classic features all the fast-paced two-on-two action you remember from back in the day, with upgraded graphics including hilarious big head animations for every player in the game. Touch controls are simple and responsive, making it super easy to set up an epic alley-oop, or sink three shots in a row and hear Tim Kitzrow — the original NBA JAM commentator — yell his infamous line, "HE'S ON FIRE!"

There are four modes of play and no in-app purchases or currencies to deal with, so you can jump into a game right away. On top of quick matches and a Classic Campaign where you can unlock legendary players and other goodies, you can play online (but good luck finding a random opponent) or with a friend over local Wi-Fi.

If you're an NBA fan or a fan of the original game, NBA Jam should be a mainstay on your Android device.

Download: NBA Jam ($4.99) (opens in new tab)

Any arcade games we missed?

What are your favorite arcade-style games for Android? Any that should be added to our list? Let us know in the comments!

Update December 2017: Added Crazy Taxi Classic and NBA JAM to our list.

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.

20 Comments
  • You can get R-Type II for free on Amazon underground. Wish more of these games were on AndroidTV. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same for Pinball Arcade. I think there are still a few tables missing from that version but most of them are there. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Didn't seem to work for me. Downloaded from the Amazon Underground app and still only had full access to the Arabian Nights table. All others I'd have to pay for to unlock completely. .... Edit - looks like you it's only available in the US (or at least not Canada)
    Also, you just get season 1 tables for free. :( Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Just" season one for free? That is an amazing deal. The real versions of these machines would cost you $3000- $5000 EACH. So no one should be complaining about getting only one season free. Most platforms don't get ANY seasons free. And considering that it takes them a full month to digitize each table properly and that all takes time and money, why should they be free anyway? I spent more in quarters playing these tables back in the day then what they cost now! :)
  • Wish Donkey Kong was available! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes. This a thousand times. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Soul Calibur is a port of the Dreamcast version...doesn't really count as an arcade game. But if you want to play arcade games on your Android (including Android TV...especially Android TV), then MAME4droid is your friend.
  • Needed: Zaxxon, Qbert, and a good Defender port.
  • Yes, all of those. There's a good version of Defender I had on the Palm T3, and it had real buttons! No Zaxxon on the Palm, but they did have Zap!2000 which was it's own game, but with similar play.
  • Soul Calibur does have game pad support. Nit sure if it just applies to running it on Android TV, as I haven't tried it on a phone/tablet. However, I have played it on the Nvidia Shield TV with the game pad. It does seem to have an issue hitting multiple buttons at once (such as for a throw) which may be related to how it is originally built for on screen controls. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Blazing star which can be played with or without controller the game is now free. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It says in the play store R-type works with the moga pocket controller. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Looks like some of the games aren't working. Moto X Pure
  • R-Type is my 2nd favorite arcade port to mobile, only superseded by Dodonpachi Resurrection (Daifukkatsu) which is no longer available in the play store or anywhere and doesn't work on android versions beyond KitKat.
  • What about "Mr.Do" and "DigDug"? would love those...
  • Space War Z is now available for free on android. If you liked r-type, you should like this too!
  • I paid for the soul calibur game as I had it on my dreamcast and loved it, plays just as well on my HTC phones as it ever did, I consider the game worth getting in android. Also bought nba jam since getting it on every console I've had since the megadrive, again a well worthwhile purchase, :)
  • Galactic Nemesis says not available in my country (USA)...
  • I've tried various versions of Pac Man, including the one in the article, and the controls always were the downside.
  • 'PinOut' looks awesome. Nice art style! Like the way they have created a pinball game that amplifies the original experience. Huge fan of pinball since the 80`s. Cant wait to play it!