After a few golden years of fantastic entries, it seems like most mobile sports games have succumbed to the freemium model. There are far too few quality titles available that just let you jump into the game without having to deal with player cards, pointless upgrades, or waiting for stamina meters to refill. Nearly all the top mobile sports game franchises have switched over to a team-building system that requires you to unlock (or buy) card packs to upgrade your team.
But there are still great games to be played. We've tried to cover the five major North American sports here with some extras thrown in for fun. Be sure to note which games are more sim-based for the hardcore sports fan and which ones offer a more arcade-like option for casual players.
Want something a bit less sporty? We have a list of the best Android games overall, too!
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 including the MyCareer Run story mode, Run The Streets, and NBA Stories for reliving some of the greatest moments in NBA History. There's also online multiplayer and full support for Bluetooth controllers.
This game is a rare treat as far as sports games on Android go. Even if you're not the biggest basketball fan, this is your best bet for a premium sportsball title on your phone.
Not something you see too often, NBA 2K20 is a premium sports game that packs in a lot of content all while looking pretty.
NBA Jam is a classic title that continues to be updated by the developers and remains one of the most polished and fun sports games in the Google Play Store. This remake of the 90s arcade classic features all the fast-paced two-on-two action you remember with upgraded graphics and rosters.
There are four modes for you to dive into, including local and online multiplayer. 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!"
Enjoy one of the best throwbacks on the Play Store to the golden era of arcade games. NBA JAM is a nostalgia fest that is also really good.
MLB 9 Innings 20
The 2020 edition of Nine Innings builds on the franchise's great graphics and gameplay, featuring all 30 MLB ballparks and over 1,700 players carefully rendered in 3D for an authentic gameplay experience. There are multiple ways to play with gameplay optimized for one-handed controls.
You have the choice to play on offense or defense or let the game run on autoplay. You can go against other players across the world in the Ranked Battle, Clutch Hits, and Club Battle modes. Or you can also just stick to the League Mode — whichever appeals to you.
Microtransactions here are what you'd expect. You have a selection of different player packs, going all the way up to $99.99. These packs contain different tiers of players and gear, or you can pay to upgrade your existing players with a Grade Increase Ticket. Time limitations, like "Players of the Month" for the Preferred Player Pack, exist to increase FOMO, too. All of that being said, this is easily the best baseball game available for Android.
If you like baseball, then this the Android game for you. Enjoy one of several modes and plenty of choice on how you play.
eFootball PES 2020
Konami's celebrated football 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.
The Inspire system lets you influence how your teammates play, adding new levels of complexity. This game tries its best to provide you with a tailored experience based on your playstyle. I'd say the biggest downside with eFootball PES 2020 is that it's another freemium sports game; it's also a very large download.
Like other games of its kind, eFootball PES 2020 contains the usual spread of microtransactions. Your main purchase options are to buy myClub Coins, ranging from $0.99 to $99.99 with the normal bundle deals to get you "free" additional Coins. These Coins let you recruit better players quicker, sign better managers, borrow players from other people for longer, renew contracts, and you probably guessed this one, refresh your stamina. You can also buy Squad packs, like Manchester United, ensuring that you'll always have the latest players for your in-game squad.
One of the better soccer games on Android, eFootball PES 2020 is a fun title with the best controls yet.
One of my personal favorites on this list, Kick Hero blends a side-scrolling brawler with a sports game. Honestly, the latter descriptor is pretty loose, but hey, the game involves kicking soccer balls at people. It's hilarious and I recommend you give it a try.
The main gist is to tap the screen once the ball hits the circle and score combos with perfect timing. You kick fireballs, drop lightning, and other cool effects. There are boss battles, the art style is awesome, and Kick Hero is otherwise just a wonderful game.
You can pay a mere $1.99 to remove ads or spend a few extra bucks to unlock different characters. Otherwise, you earn coins during the game to unlock additional goodies. So if you like Kick Hero, you remove the ads and get the two DLC characters at your leisure.
Kick Hero is a side-scrolling brawler meeting a sports game. Really, it's more so the former, but man is it a fun time.
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 shots, but there are settings for more advanced controls as well. You can also unlock all of the 2019 Australian Open players. As you might expect, the career mode gets progressively more difficult as you carry yourself to victory.
This is by far the best tennis game on Android, Australian Open lets you create your own star player and progress through to victory.
Madden NFL Mobile Football
Whether we like it or not, Madden NFL Mobile Football reigns supreme among the few playable American football games available for Android, with the latest edition adding a redesigned GM mode.
This is the only way to play as or with your favorite NFL players and teams on Android. 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.
The microtransactions are your typical fare. You start off with Madden Cash, the main in-game currency (there's also Gems). The prices start at $4.99 and go all the way up to $99.99, which isn't too unusual. Cash goes to buying in-game card packs, which unlock new players. You can also buy Stamina so that you can play more once you run out of energy. As I said, it's the usual stuff that we'd expect from a freemium title.
For better or for worse, Madden is the quintessential American football video game experience. There just isn't much else on Android.
Ted Ginn: Kick Return Football
If Madden wasn't to your taste, but you still want some American football action, then check out Kick Return Football. It's a fun and unique take on the sport and reminds me of those old handheld football games from the '90s and '00s. Draw and swipe your way to the endzone!
This game is built for touch controls, and they're really easy to pick up and learn. Soon enough, you'll be managing your team and outwitting your opponent to victory. There are tournaments and startling good rewards for touchdowns and wins. There's still some real football strategy here, and even as someone who doesn't like football, I had fun with this one.
Sadly, there are microtransactions in Kick Return Football, some of which are blatantly pay-to-win. There's one that starts your team off with 21 points from the get-go, or another that adds an extra point to each touchdown. You can also double your in-game earnings. All of these seem to be one-time purchases, but there you go. And, of course, you can buy more of that in-game currency.
Enjoy a different take on American football with Kick Return Football. There's plenty to do with some of the best touch controls I've seen in a sports game.
Golf Star is the best golfing game on Android, featuring excellent graphics and intuitive controls. The game lets you customize your golfer and jump into Career Mode, where you learn the ropes and hone your skills. It's going to take you a bit of time to figure out the intricacies of the physics and how to properly read the greens and aim your putts, but you'll pick it up in no time.
Beyond Career Mode, there are multiplayer modes such as Tournament Mode and Goodwill Match Mode that let you compete in one-on-one competitions against live opponents. It's a big game, though, so be sure you have space and bandwidth to install it.
The microtransactions involve buying Coins and GP to purchase cosmetics (some of which boost stats), consumable items to make playing the game easier, and VIP memberships to unlock better items each week.
The best golfing game on Android, Golf Star may come with ads and IAPs, but it features some beautiful graphics and great golfing physics.
Grand Mountain Adventure: Snowboard Premiere
Grand Mountain Adventure feels like the spiritual successor to the 90s classic SkiFree, offering endless and calming gameplay. You get to explore the first mountain for free, completing timed runs to unlock new ski lifts that let you access new areas of the mountain.
There is a lot to explore just on the first mountain, let alone on the others. An in-app purchase unlocks the other seven mountains, along with the ability to shred powder on a gnarly snowboard. Featuring a ton of content, Grand Mountain Adventure is one of the best winter sports games for mobile.
This is one of the best winter sports games on Android. Explore the first mountain for free but unlock the full game for the total experience.
Snowboard Party: World Tour
Snowboard Party: World Tour is easily the best snowboarding game available on the Play Store. The graphics are great, the pop-punk soundtrack is fitting, and the touch controls are surprisingly tight. There are also four different modes to choose from — Time-Attack, Freestyle, Big Air, and Halfpipe, along with a multiplayer mode for playing against your friends.
Master all of the fancy tricks, collect the different snowboards, and earn the highest score. There are 16 snowboarders to customize and upgrade, which you can do without spending a dime — although in-app purchases are included, which let you speed up progress, unlock additional XP or get temporary boosters, and remove ads. Snowboard Party is also compatible with controllers, too.
Another fantastic winter sports game for Android, Snowboard Party: World Tour features a ton to do and collect.
Skateboard Party 3 Pro
Fans of the classic Tony Hawk Pro Skater games from back in the day who lament the storied franchise's current state (not counting the upcoming remasters) should check out Skateboard Party 3. It's a throwback to those classic skateboarding games we loved before things went awry.
The game physics and controls feel very familiar and you're given a couple of game modes to choose from. In Career Mode, you get four minutes to explore the eight different locations and rack up a huge score, collect P-A-R-T-Y scattered around as floating letters, and find other hidden items.
Things are unlocked by spending experience points, which you collect by completing challenges and landing tricks. Another throwback to the good ol' days!
If you grew up with the Tony Hawk skateboarding games, Skateboard Party 3 Pro is just for you. There's plenty to do and see, and it feels like the classics while being a new experience.
The only game I ever really played on Wii Sports was the bowling one, especially once I figured out how to do so without standing up. Speaking of bowling, our next game on this list is Bowling Crew. This is one of the best bowling games I've managed to find on the Play Store.
First off, Bowling Crew is a gorgeous 3D bowling game. Second, it's PvP-based. Third, it involves plenty of progression to keep you interested as you go along. You can unlock new bowling balls (through gameplay and microtransactions) so you have something nice to look at while you play. It's a ton of fun, easy to play, and there's a lot of replayability.
Of course, it wouldn't be a mobile game without the typical microtransaction gotchas. Your stamina meter is based on the chips you earn (which you can buy, of course). Gold is how you buy cases, which give you unlockable items like new ball cards, chips, and so on. There's a bunch of boosters and unlocks you can purchase, too.
One of the best bowling games I've found on the Play Store, Bowling Crew is a gorgeous and fun time.
Mobile sports games are hit or miss
The current state of sports games for mobile, as a whole, is pretty miserable. The vast majority of sports games I've checked out are straight up trash, but there are some true gems and I've done my best to highlight them above. I'd still love to see a quality hockey game released and wish EA Sports would release games like 2K Sports did with NBA 2K20, but there's more money to be made with the free-to-play model.
NBA 2K20 is the best sports game for Android — and I'm not even a huge fan of basketball. There's just so much content included that make it well worth paying the full price. I'd also recommend Grand Mountain Adventure, which is a beautiful game that you can try out for free before paying to unlock the rest of the game.
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Updated June 2020: Added Ted Ginn: Kick Return Football, Kick Hero, and Bowling Crew to our list!
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