Professional and/or competitive shooter games are fast becoming a sustainable industry trend for mobile gaming with both game development and smartphone hardware reaching the point where phones can absolutely deliver top-notch gaming experiences — even for first-person shooters.

This still probably sounds like crazy talk to traditional PC gamers but the facts are that mobile shooters have cut out a nice niche within the pro gaming community — franchises such as PUBG Mobile and Guns of Boom have competitive eSports leagues that can be advantageous to people who love to stream or try playing for cash in tournament. Just like other online games for console or PC, mobile games reward teams who can practice and train together — or you can just jump into the game and have some fun on your phone.

PUBG Mobile

PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battleground) is the latest epic shooter to land in the Google Play Store. There's been a lot of hype surrounding this game which still seems to be straddling the line between beta and full release.

This core game is based around battle royale which drops 100 players onto the map with no supplies or weapons. Each player must fend for themselves and quickly loot nearby buildings for gear. Once you're ready to fight, you have the freedom to play how you want — go in guns blazing like #TeamForce, or sneak around like #TeamShadow.

Those hashtags are related to the theme of Season 5 of the PUBG Mobile Royale Pass campaign. The more you play the higher your level and rank over the 8-week season — and the more you pay into the game, the more customization is made available to you via various loot crates that unlock new gear for your character. to wear The good news is that PUBG Mobile is entirely free to play and cosmetic upgrades have no effect on in-game skill or abilities — they just look cool and way better than how your character starts in their underwear.

PUBG Mobile has grown substantially since its initial release last spring. There are now four uniquely-designed maps that are populated with stretches of wilderness, deserted small towns, military complexes and tunnels to explore, vehicles and weapons to loot, and many other secrets to discover. You can choose between playing with a third-person perspective or playing from a first-person perspective, and also between the classic 100 player mode or shorter arcade modes that offer a different pace of gameplay.

Dive into PUBG Mobile by yourself in Solo mode or team up with some friends for Duo or Squad mode.

Download: PUBG Mobile (Free)

Critical Ops

Critical Ops is still in beta, but it's still worth checking out. Right now, there are three game modes to choose from: bomb defusing, team deathmatch, and gun game where you cycle through different weapons every time you kill an opponent. Despite still being in, this game is really good.

It's kind of got that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare vibe to it, mixed with a healthy dose of CounterStrike to create a best-of-both-worlds scenario that offers great graphics and really solid controls. It's free to play with in-app purchases available but you can only buy skins for your guns and the developers have assured players that this game will never be pay-to-win. If that remains the case, then Critical Ops is absolutely one of the best shooters available for Android!

Download: Critical Ops (Free w/IAPs)

Modern Strike Online

Not interested in anything other than the thrill of online multiplayer? Modern Strike Online offers just that: a pure online FPS experience packed with features and game modes we've come to expect from the genre. Once you've leveled up some you unlock all six game modes, which include the standard fare you'd expect — free-for-all, team deathmatch, seek and destroy, and a hardcore mode. In-game currency can be bought via in-app purchases or earned via daily rewards, crates and generally kicking ass. Spend your gold and credits on new weapons, armor, and accessories for your character. There's a decent amount of customization available for kitting, with over 30 types of weapons available to rent or buy.

It's as complete an FPS as you'll find on Android. You'll want to head into the settings first to customize your controls and screen layout and tweak the graphics quality to optimize gameplay on your device. By default, your gun will auto-fire as soon as an enemy enters your crosshairs — you can switch this off in the settings, but it's actually a pretty handy feature to have when you're already using your thumbs to move and look around. Yes, there's the occasional in-game ad and constant pressure to invest real cash, as is the case with most mobile games these days, but it's not terribly invasive and there's plenty of fun and loot to be had relying on the free crates and daily rewards.

Download: Modern Strike Online (Free)

Guns of Boom

Guns of Boom is a bright and colorful cartoony first-person shooter that doesn't take itself too seriously while still delivering one of the purest competitive online shooter games for Android. The game gets all the basics right that you want from a good FPS — quick and responsive controls that are customizable, well-designed maps and weapons that allow for adaptive gameplay, and a healthy community of players.

Matches are 4-vs-4 deathmatches which take place in vibrant and colorful maps that allow for a mix of rush assaults, close quarters combat, and long-range sniping. One of Guns of Boom's biggest strengths is how easy it is to load up the app and jump right into the game. Alternatively, you can spend time in the menus connecting with friends or organizing with a clan, or dive into the Arsenal to buy and upgrade new weapons and health kits using in-game cash and gold. To that end, Guns of Boom may give you the feeling that it's pay-to-win and that might be the case once you get up to Level 30 with the hardcore players who may have invested up to $100 or more into the game. But the game is super generous with cash and powerups if you work towards completing daily challenges and grind away.

If you can work your way up to Level 22, you are able to try and qualify for the relatively new Guns of Boom esports tournament. The second season of competitive play has just started so there may still be time to get into a regional qualifier tournament.

Download: Guns of Boom (Free w/IAPs)

N.O.V.A. 3: Freedom Edition

N.O.V.A. 3 picks up the story of former N.O.V.A. commander Kal Wardin as he crashlands in San Francisco amid an ongoing battle. Gameplay is mixed with cutscenes that tell the fairly in-depth story — it might, in fact, be the reason you keep coming back to N.O.V.A. 3.

Play against enemy A.I. units or play multiplayer over local Wi-Fi or the internet. Gameloft implements some measures against cheaters and boosters, namely encouraging players to record or document the actions of said cheaters.

Controls are responsive and targeting is aided by tapping a button to aim down sights, a nice feature for those with big fingers. There are some ads displayed on the menu screens and a popup once in awhile when you die, but nothing the experienced mobile gamer can't handle.

Download: N.O.V.A. 3 (Free)

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Bullet Force

Looking for nothing more than solid online FPS action? Look no further than Bullet Force!

This game supports 20-player battles and includes popular game modes including Team Deathmatch, Conquest, Free-For-All, and Gun Game. The graphics are pretty great for mobile and the on-screen controls can be tweaked as needed. There are over 20 weapons to unlock and customize and if you're out of service range, don't fret! You can play offline matches against bots and keep your skills sharp.

Download: Bullet Force (Free w/IAPs)

JYDGE

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 you must complete to progress through the different stages, but it never drags on or feels like a chore to play. Confiscating illegal cash along the way, you're able to upgrade JYDGE and his gavel with a deep selection of accessories and upgrades. In that way, JYDGE retains the rogue-like element from its predecessor Neon Chrome by encouraging players to revisit 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 there, too.

Check out my full review if you need more convincing.

Download: JYDGE ($5.99)

Hitman: Sniper

Hitman: Sniper finds you, Agent 47, stationed with a sniper rifle outside an estate filled with rich people, bodyguards, and a certain high-priority target. Your job is to take your time, plan a course of action, and begin removing enemies any way you see fit (as long as it's through a scope). Each mission has different objectives you can complete for extra money, which you can then spend on weapon upgrades and new sniper rifles. If you're especially proud of a mission, use the Share Replay function to share gameplay footage with your friends.

This game has nice graphics and great mechanics: you must lead enemies who are on the move and must account for their sometimes unforeseen actions. They will not shoot back but will take cover and move around the map attempting to help your prime target escape. Controls are easy and responsive, meaning you won't have too much trouble lining up the shot. The music is great, especially when you miss a couple of shots and set off some alarms, and the voice acting is also above par for mobile games. Get your heart beating with this great shooter, and enjoy no ads or in-app purchases.

Download: Hitman: Sniper ($0.99)

Combat Squad

Tired of mobile first-person shooters that feel too familiar — almost cookie-cutter? Combat Squad brings an extra layer of tactical strategy to the table by having you control your own squad in one-on-one battles against online opponents. It works by letting you "dive" in and out of controlling your squad members, while the remaining teammates follow your lead via A.I. control.

You'll need to build up a diverse squad and strategically control each member of your team to achieve victory. The gameplay and controls here are great, so if you're looking for a fresh take on the genre for mobile, give Combat Squad a try!

Download: Combat Squad (Free w/IAPs)

Modern Combat 5: Blackout

Did someone replace my phone with a console? Modern Combat 5: Blackout is a first-person military shooter that gives you a real video game experience from the palm of your hand. Beginning with an escape mission in Venice, the campaign follows Caydan Phoenix as he travels the world battling Raiders and the World Liberation Army. Customize your soldier's loadout and special abilities to best suit your playstyle — more options are unlocked as you rank up.

Gameplay is smooth and the controls are easier to manage than most shooters, likely due to the fact you can modify all settings, including audio, control, and HUD. Modern Combat 5 has beautiful graphics for a mobile game and runs without hiccups on an LG G4.

New to Modern Combat 5 is a PvP multiplayer mode that has five game modes: Free for all, VIP, Squad battle, Capture the flag, Zone control, and Team battle. Test your skills against players around the world and work your way up the global leaderboard. This game has minimal ads, though it does have some micro-transactions.

Download: Modern Combat 5: Blackout (Free)

Overkill 3

Overkill 3 is a third-person shooter that guides you through the level, also known as being on rails. Your job is to aim and shoot bad guys. Sounds easy? Overkill lets you choose a difficulty before each boss fight, meaning your recent disposal of entry-position bad guys has no bearing on what is to come.

Choose a loadout from the armory before each mission and unlock new weapons and gear as you progress through the game. You must collect stars by completing specific objectives during each mission — the stars are used to unlock more missions. A tally at the end of each level keeps track of your progress, so you'll never be unsure of where you stand.

Graphics are not as great as other shooters, but Overkill 3 features a co-op mode that lets you team up with a friend or random player to crush the enemy. Ads are few and far between, but there are many in-app purchases.

Download: Overkill 3 (Free)

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Unkilled

Unkilled takes you on a wild, zombie-killing ride with a variety of enemies for you to slay using a variety of weapons. Some missions require different weapons and gadgets, meaning you must enter your armory to upgrade current weapons and purchase new ones. There are plenty of upgrades and weapons rewarded to you for free as you move through the ranks, and you will feel like you're achieving something each step of the way.

The controls are easy to use and sensitivities are adjustable. Your weapons will shoot automatically when you are aiming at a zombie except when you're in a static mission; here you will aim and shoot using both thumbs.

There are two play modes available now — campaign and skirmish ops — with multiplayer apparently coming soon. Skirmish Ops pits you and your base against other players and zombies. Defend yourself or go on the offensive; either way, you will find yourself moving up the leaderboard as you expend bullets and bash brains.

Ads are infrequent but in-app purchases are everywhere.

Download: Unkilled (Free)

Dead Trigger 2

Dead Trigger 2 continues to be the quintessential zombie-shooting experience on mobile. The graphics are amazing, though the game hardly takes itself seriously — there are lots of tongue-in-cheek references and over-the-top baddies to mow down. This version is a little different in that players now have their own hideout and a crew that can build stuff for them. The controls have also been streamlined for touch; all you have to do is move the crosshairs over a zombie, and if you're in range, you'll automatically start shooting.

There are tons of missions to enjoy, and the in-app purchases have been scaled back with the removal of the premium currency — now you can buy and build everything yourself without spending a cent.

Download: Dead Trigger 2 (Free)

Dead Plague

Dead Plague is an outstanding top-down shooter that absolutely deserves a place on this list for its brilliant graphics, frantic gameplay, and support for online co-op play. You play as a member of a strike team that's been dropped on an island where a zombie plague has broken out. You must fight your way through the swarms of zombies to find the DNA samples that are humanity's only hope of finding a cure.

There's a nice variety of enemies to battle, including some epic boss battles, along with a full arsenal of weapons to choose from. With tight dual-stick digital controls and an engaging campaign that you can play alone or online with friends, Dead Plague stands out as one of the best shooters for Android.

Download: Dead Plague (Free w/IAPs)

Major Mayhem

Major Mayhem is a fast, simple run-and-gun side-scroller. Players simply tap on ninjas, secret agents, or whoever else the president has commanded you to wipe out. There's some kind of storyline in there about a girlfriend or something, but really, you just tap your targets as the pop out from behind cover.

It sounds simplistic, but the great cartoon feel, over-the-top storyline, and wide range of unlockables provide excellent bite-sized gameplay.

Download: Major Mayhem (Free)

Gunman Clive

Gunman Clive is a throwback to early 2D platformers — we're talking NES difficulty and mechanics. Run, jump, and shoot as Clive makes his way through traps, puzzles, and enemy gunmen. The control design reminded me a lot of NES with its directional pad and two button interface — responsive and easy to control.

In an arena of mostly flashy, cutting-edge graphics, the monochromatic visual art design might be enough to cause you to overlook this dusty gem. This game isn't about great graphics — it's about challenging gameplay and a soothing soundtrack. Be prepared to lose track of time as you try just one more time to reach the end of the stage.

Adding to the retro feel and offering a nice change to the norm, Gunman Clive does not require any device permissions, does not have any in-app purchases, and does not display any ads.

Download: Gunman Clive ($1.99)

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Did we miss any?

Let us know in the comments below your favorite shooter available for Android. If none of these games put the ammo in your clip, check out our roundup of the best Android games.

Updated January 2019: Added JYDGE and updated our entries on PUBG Mobile and Guns of Boom to reflect their new competitive seasons.

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