PS2 Emulators for Android: All the best options available

Deus Ex Play! Emulator
(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

When you look at the list of Android emulators, you'll find a lot of recurring themes. There are many more NES and SNES emulators available than for something like the PS1 or PS2. A lot of that has to do with the difference in graphics from what Sony was using back in the day, even compared to other graphics-intensive consoles like the Dreamcast or N64.

So when you're searching through the best emulators for Android looking for a great PS2 pick, there simply just aren't as many options. And this may come as a bit of a surprise considering just how popular the PS2 was and continues to be for many. Thankfully, if you're dead set on emulating some of your favorite PS2 games on your Android phone, you're not completely out of luck.


NetherSX2 Burnout 3

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

AetherSX2 swooped onto the scene in December 2021, and the development team has ceased work on the project since then and the project's since been removed from the Google Play Store after its creator stopped working on the project. Since its delisting, however, modders have revived the reliable emulator with NetherSX2. While it's also unavailable through the Google Play Store, there are other ways to find and install this reliable emulation tool.

You'll need a fairly high-end Android device to play it with the best performance possible since it recommends a Snapdragon 845 (or equivalent). Anything less will cause performance to suffer — though this will vary from title to title. Developer Tahlreth also recommends devices uses Adreno GPUs as opposed to those with Mali or PowerVR GPUs.

NetherSX2 features settings that can be adjusted on a per-game level, touchscreen and Bluetooth controller support, save states, widescreen patches and upscaling, and a lot more. What makes it even better is that it uses the same code as PCSX2, another well-known PS2 emulator built for PC, so it has a strong support foundation. Tahlreth received permission to use the code and it is licensed under the LGPL. As we'll go into later, the same can't be said for DamonPS2.

There's no official way to install Aether or Nether, but there are plenty of great guides online that will help you get your favorite PS2 games running on your Android device in no time. This guide from EZonTheEyes helped me get NetherSX2 up and running Katamari Damacy in no time!



Even though it's not available on the Play Store has quickly become the go-to PS2 emulator on the scene, using the same code as PCSX2. It's still in early access and has some issues to work out, but it's easily one of the best PS2 emulators you can download for Android today.

Download from: GitHub


Deus Ex AetherSX2 Emulator

(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

Unlike something like ePSXe for PS1 emulators, Play! doesn't go down the RetroArch path by being compatible with a bunch of different consoles. Instead, the developers are only focusing on being able to provide a solid emulation experience for those who want to play PS2 games on their Android phones. Playing into that goal, Play! doesn't require you to download and use a BIOS in order to work.

The developers do have a list of compatible (and non-compatible) games on GitHub, so you can sift through to see what works and what doesn't. Best of all, Play! is completely free to download and use, and you won't have to worry about any in-app purchases.



If you want the best PS2 emulation experience on Android, then Play! is the way to go. The app is in constant development, is open source, and the developers even have a running list of compatible games.

Download from: Google Play Store

A note on Damon PS2

Why we recommend that you stay away from Damon PS2

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

For years, DamonPS2 has been the default PS2 emulator on Android, as there really haven't been any other contenders. However, in the past few years, there have been some rather questionable discoveries made by users who have dug deep into the company behind DamonPS2 and the information that is collected on your device.

Thanks to the EmuGen Wiki and some Reddit investigating, there are more than a few privacy concerns to be aware of. First of all, DamonPS2 is closed source, which isn't strange on its face since there are plenty of apps that go this route versus being open source. However, with the update to version 3.0, DamonPS2 started requiring a constant internet connection and access to users' personal data, such as contacts and location data.

And if that wasn't enough, there's also the matter of whether the DamonPS2 team "stole" code from the developers of PCSX2. This is another PS2 emulator (and a quite popular one) for PC users who want to play their favorite PS2 games. In a blog post back in 2018, the developers released a statement in regards to the code that they claimed was stolen by the DamonPS2 developers. At the time, DamonPS2 was removed from the Play Store before the requested DMCA takedown was able to run its course, which would have left DamonPS2 banned from the Play Store.

Finally, there's the matter of performance. DamonPS2 is only recommended to be used with devices using at least the Snapdragon 835 chipset. This leaves plenty of potential users left with subpar performance, which is just not a great experience, especially if you were to spring for "DamonPS2 Pro."

The fact of the matter is that while Play! and NetherSX2 are still being actively developed, they're really the only PS2 emulators that we can recommend in good faith. There seems to be no "funny business" taking place, and since both are open source, this makes it easier for bugs to get squashed and the development process to continue to progress.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.

With contributions from