Skip to main content

What we're playing: Our favorite Nexus 7 games

See what your AC editors are playing on their Nexus 7 tablets when they should be working

I'm not going to lie. A job that involves playing great games on an equally great tablet like the Nexus 7 is amazeballs. We look through and evaluate hundreds of new apps each month, and plenty of them are games. Then we get choosy, and make sure you know about the best ones. It's a responsibility we take seriously, but it's also pretty fun. 

Of course, it also means we each have our favorites. You'll see games here that we may have already talked about a little, but they are the ones we love to play and keep going back to. We wanted to share the list with you guys and gals. Jump through the break and have a look, then tell us your top games in the comments!

Phil Nickinson

Asphalt 8: Airborne: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

Never mind that Asphalt is a huge in-app purchase scam. Well, fine. Mind it. Mind the hell out of it. Be more than a little bit insulted, actually. But it's also one hell of a car-racing game. The graphics do get a little repetitive, but the gameplay makes up for it. Just hide your wallet. Trust us.

Plants versus Zombies 2: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

Plants versus Zombies 2 is the highly successful follow-up to the highly successful original that pits you, Dave, and your plants against zombies looking to eat your brains. And you're also in search of a taco. (Just go with us here.) Gameplay is the same as the original, only you've got new monsters to beat, and new lands to do it in thanks to a little time travel. Yeah, there are in-app purchases available here (spring for the extra plant food), but not nearly as intrusive, necessary or insulting as in other games.

Badland: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

This newer game from Frogmind is a little tough to describe, but it's already got more than a million downloads on Android. You control a sort of hedgehog-looking flying forest creature through lands, collecting clones and leading them on to the next level. It's part puzzler, part side-scroller and one hell of a good time.

Jetpack Joyride: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

Still one of my favorite side-scrollers on Android, which is funny because it's so simple. Strap on a machine-gun jetpack and fly through the lab, collecting coins and vehicles. Either high-five the scientists, or make them wish they didn't come in to work today. This is my go-to time-waster.

Jerry Hildenbrand

Bloons TD 5: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($2.99)

I love tower defense games, and I love anything that's a bit goofy. Monkeys that throw darts at balloons, trying to keep them from reaching the end of the path qualifies on both fronts. Place your monkeys, pop balloons and earn coins, use coins to buy more monkeys — simple. But addictive.

Dead Trigger 2: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

There is a plague of Zombies out there, and it's your job to waste as many of them as you can. In Dead Trigger 2, you're part of the human resistance and fighting for your life (literally) to rid the world of zombies who are intent on ridding the world of you. Play this one with a game pad for maximum pleasure.

Knights of Pen and Paper +1: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($2.99)

Old school Dungeons and Dragons meets new school Android. In this indie game, you create a party of characters — choose from the classes you know and love like the Paladin, the Mage or the Rogue (and more) — and enjoy the best pen and paper RPG simulator anywhere. You have plenty of monsters to deal with on your epic campaign, and they all need killed and looted. 

Riptide GP2: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($2.99)

Console-quality gaming, right on your Nexus 7. Jump on your hydrojet and race against the computer, or against your friends via Google Play games. Vector Unit knows how to build incredible mobile games, and if you like racing games you'll fall in love. Add in upgrades to your hydrojets, and full multiplayer, and you have a total winner.

Zen Pinball HD: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

Everybody loves pinball, and playing it on your Nexus 7 is pretty darn fun. Simple tap controls make Zen Pinball HD a winner, and the graphics and gameplay are excellent. There's also a ton of DLC, including Marvel superhero tables and Star Wars themed tables, but my favorite is the one included with the free download — Sorcerer's Lair. Zen Pinball is a ton of fun.

Richard Devine

Real Racing 3: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

Sure, EA is on a total IAP blitzkrieg with Real Racing 3, but that doesn't mean it isn't one of the best racing games you can get your hands on. The graphics, controls, circuits, everything is sublime. I wish I could pay even $20 to unlock everything, it's that good. But sadly, that's not a thing.

Despicable Me: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (free)

Because Minions. It's kind of like Temple Run, only way more fun. Set in various different locations from the movie, run, fly, jump as far as you can. In fact, you don't need Temple Run at all if you have this.

Rayman Jungle Run: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($2.99)

Still one of the most fun mobile games I've played in a long while. I played it, put it down, then picked it up and played it all over again. Simple, good looking, and best of all designed properly for touch screen controls.

Shine Runner: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) (99 cents)

An oldie, but a goodie. The Vector Unit team knows how to make great games, and this is one of them. Make your money running moonshine (and other 'interesting' products) across the bayous. And take out the swamp cops while you're at it. This one never, ever gets old. 

Andrew Martonik

Sprinkle Islands: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($2)

I enjoyed the first Sprinkle as a casual “sit on the couch and play” sort of game, so when the new version, Sprinkle Islands, was released I jumped to it right away. I tend to play it most on my Nexus 7 because it has simple controls that translate well to the big screen, and the graphics and animations just look fantastic. I’m not sure what it is, but the developer just has a knack for doing amazing things with motion and color in their games.

Fieldrunners 2: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($2.99)

After completely skipping the original Fieldrunners, I caved into the hype surrounding the Fieldrunners 2 release and got hooked. The drag-and-drop style of this top-down game just lends itself so perfectly to a larger display, I end up playing this on the Nexus 7 regularly. The rather long levels tend to limit your playtime to when you have a good chunk of the evening to kill, so be ready to spend some time on the couch with this one.

Epoch: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($1.75)

While I don’t think Epoch gets as much attention as the larger titles, this Unreal Engine game from Uppercut Games is a great third-person shooter. I often have issues with complicated on-screen controls for shooters (I really need a controller for those), so Epoch strikes a good balance between being on rails and having a little free motion in the controls. The storyline isn’t the most engaging, but it has robots, machine guns and great art. It’s a winning combination.

Granny Smith: Download from Google Play (opens in new tab) ($1.99)

I put this in the “oldie but goodie” category, and it is one of the first games I install on any new device I get — specifically tablets. Being made by the same developer as Sprinkle Islands, Granny Smith has simple controls that scale perfectly to the 7-inch screen, and it's hard to beat the combination of great-looking levels and fun characters.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

47 Comments
  • Good list. Riptide is one of my favorites. Can I play Asphalt and really enjoy it ( I'm talking REALLY enjoyment) without having to make any in-app purchases?
  • With just about every racing agme, at a point it will be impossible but not for quite some time im still enjoying it and havnt paid a dime yet. much more longer than real racing 3
  • With the latest update you can. You can win various prizes for winning (i.e. finishing in the top three) multiple races in a row in multiplayer races, one of which is the credit doubler which makes getting the credits you need to buy all the cars a lot easier. Posted via Android Central App
  • I had it for as long as I could without doing the "free" update until it forced me. Once I did that, it only let me use it for a week or I'd have to give them more money.
    So I end up uninstalling, no more racing for me.
  • Zack you can add me on Google plus bhatiadeep9@gmail.com . We can play multiplayer. I love riptide gp2 as well.
  • There's games that are specific to the Nexus 7? Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile
  • Well it is like the perfect mobile gaming tablet.
  • No there are not, at least not to my knowledge. It's just that the Nexus 7 is a rally good tablet for games.
  • No one is playing Samurai Siege? Soooo addictive! No Kingdom rush either?
  • Kingdom Rush is kind of meh, it was fun, but blew through it pretty quick. I have never heard of Samurai Siege.
  • It's a Clash of Clans knock off. Kind of meh.
  • Ditto on Samurai Siege...highly addictive!
  • great post! took some recos. thx :)
  • Punch Quest has been on constant rotation on my Nexus 10 since someone (Jerry?) mentioned it here a while back. And god dammit, thanks for reminding me of Jetpack Joyride. There go the last lingering shreds of my productivity. Sent from my iPhone
  • Punch Quest is great, I need to DL it again, great time waster and love the art style. I played the crap out of Jetpack Joyride and I just can't do it anymore. I am looking forward to some of the Halfbrick Studio games that iOS has had for a bit.
  • Are these 'Nexus 7' exclusive or am I missing something here?? _______________________________________________
    This message was brought to you by the numbers 0 and 1
  • No. They are not Nexus 7 exclusive.
  • Yes, you're missing something. This is a list of games that are great on Nexus 7. It's a list of games for Nexus 7 owners. Nothing about it says they're exclusive to the Nexus 7.