Fighting games have kind of fallen to the wayside on the latest consoles, and the less said about the state of arcades the better.

But for a long while, fighting games reigned supreme in the video game world, and were often the battleground where gamers showed off their skills in arcade tournaments or huddled around a TV with your best pals. Fortunately, the genre is still well-represented on mobile devices, with a great mix of ports and original titles to satisfy fans of fisticuffs.

Here's hoping we see more ports of classic fighting titles but until then, enjoy these great fighters.

Shadow Fight 3

The latest entry in the silky smooth fighting series for Android, Shadow Fight 3 is a huge step up in quality — and that's saying something because Shadow Fight 2 was pretty incredible in its own right.

Where as the second game had a stylish 2D art style where you controlled a silhouette shadow fighter, Shadow Fight 3 delivers 3D-rendered arenas packed with a surprising amount of detail and your fighters have emerged from the shadows, so to speak, and look great.

Shadow Fight has always had buttery-smooth controls and animation and those return here. The physics are spot-on, too, as a well-timed heavy attack with a sword can make your enemy drop their sword and send them flying. There's a full campaign to play through and a ton of weapons, armor, and special attacks to unlock and customize your fighter with. There's no multiplayer here, but the focus on delivering outstanding graphics and smooth gameplay really paid off.

Best of all, this game is free, although there's in-game currency that you'll need to manage to buy new weapons and other upgrades, along with in-app purchases available if you need an influx of coins.

Download: Shadow Fight 3 (Free)

The King of Fighters '97

Hardcore fans of fighting games already know the name King of Fighters. It's up there alongside Street Fighter as one of those revered arcade fighting games that has stood the test of time. This is a fairly complete port of the game from the Neo Geo home arcade console which — most important of all for a ported fighting game — has support for Bluetooth controllers. You can choose from 34 different characters from the original game and create your dream team of fighters to take on either an AI opponent or a friend via local multiplayer.

There's a good amount of customization available for the controls and again and the gameplay is exactly what you'd want from a ported fighting game. I really can't recommend playing this game without a bluetooth controller, though, because the on-screen touch controls are just too challenging when you're battling the tough AI.

Download: The King of Fighters '97 ($2.99)

Mortal Kombat X


Mortal Kombat X takes the gruesome action of the well-received console edition and scales it down and optimizes it for your Android phone. All your favorite Mortal Kombat characters are here, along with some new ones thrown into the mix. And if you love ultra-violence, you'll love what this game has in store. To that point, this game is definitely not recommended for younger kids, as the mature rating would imply.

The game employs touch screen controls that don't actually feel like they inhibit you at all from having full control over your characters. You predominately fight in 3 vs. 3 battles, so you can strategically tag in different fighters as needed. The graphics here are basically console-quality, but that comes at a price for your storage — this game takes up nearly 2GB of space. If you're a huge fan of Mortal Kombat, I'm sure you'll be able to make room on your phone for this glorious, gory game.

Download: Mortal Kombat X (Free w/IAPs)

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice: Gods Among Us is an award-winning fighting game that puts you in control of the most powerful and exciting characters the DC Universe has to offer. We're talking Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Arrow and even villains such as the Joker.

The game uses touch screen controls which aren't ideal, but work well enough here. You swipe and tap to attack and link combos together. If it sounds very similar to Mortal Kombat X, that's because both games were developed by Warner Bros., so you basically get one great core game with different coats of paint to satisfy two different fan bases. We're not saying that's a bad thing at all, but considering the file sizes for both of these games, you're probably best off picking your preferred franchise. If you're a huge fan of comic book heroes, this game is for you!

Download: Injustice: Gods Among Us (Free w/IAPs)

Real Boxing 2 Rocky

Shadow Fight 2 is an absolutely gorgeous game with fighting animations that are smooth as butter. The game gets its name from the art style — you only see the fighters as a shadowy silhouettes, battling in front of beautiful backdrops.

This game mixes elements from the RPG and fighting genres to deliver fantastic replayability. There are tournaments and a story mode to play through, which helps you to unlock new weapons, armor, and martial arts skills to help you take down your next opponent. The animations are just outstanding here, with a great amount of diversity and good hit detection so that you can counter your opponent in mid air and send them flying.

The game also plays wonderfully on the NVIDIA Shield TV, especially with a controller in your hand. Why there isn't Bluetooth controller support for the mobile version is a damned shame.

Download: Real Boxing 2 ROCKY (Free w/IAPs)

Pixel Punchers

Remember the game Punch Out for the NES? Remember how awesome that game was? Well Pixel Punchers is like an updated version of that retro classic that's been perfectly optimized for Android.

The controls are spot-on — tap the gloves to punch and tap the arrows to dodge your opponent's punches. In Career mode, you'll lay waste to the lower level boxers as you work your way up to the fight against the champion. While you're pretty much able to stand in one place and practise your combos in those earlier rounds, you'll need to learn how to bob and weave effectively to move up the rankings.

Each match consists of four 30-second rounds, so you really gotta impress the judges or knock your opponent out if you want to collect the purse and advance to the next circuit. Do you have what it takes to be the world champ?

Download: Pixel Punchers (Free w/IAPs)

What's your favorite fighter?

Did we miss your favorite game on our list? Was it Soul Calibur? Because it's been removed from the Google Play Store for some reason! I know, I was bummed out to see that too. Either way, let us know what you think of our picks, or what we may have missed, in the comments.

Updated December 2017: Added Shadow Fight 3 and Pixel Punchers to our list!

Get the most out of your Android gaming experience

SteelSeries Stratus Duo ($60 at Amazon)

A great Bluetooth controller for use with Android games that offer gamepad support that also includes a wireless USB dongle for gaming on PCs. Highly recommended!

Ventev Powercell 6010+ Portable USB-C Charger ($37 at Amazon)

This battery pack from Ventev is recommended so often because it's so compact and convenient. You get a built-in USB-C cord, built-in AC prong for charging the unit, and 6000mAh battery capacity.

Spigen Style Ring ($13 at Amazon)

Of all the phone mounts and kickstands we've tested, the most consistently reliable and sturdy is the original Spigen Style Ring. It also has a minimalist hook mount for your car's dashboard.

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