The Google Play Store is full of Android games, but not all are worth downloading. We’ve rounded up some of the best Android games for your phone or tablet.
Shadow Fight 2:
Shadow Fight 2 is a one-on-one fantasy fighting game featuring lifelike animations, intuitive controls and tons of weapons. It’s relatively slow paced for a fighting game, meaning bouts are often as much about strategic decisions as they are quick reactions: trying to hold your nerve and defend against an onslaught of attacks with dwindling health is nerve-wracking. A free-to-play, offline classic.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
To date, there have been few racing games with the longevity of Asphalt 8: Airborne. The game contains a metric ton of content, including a single player campaign, multi-player races, time trials, unlockable content, and consistent updates that add new tracks and other new content. The graphics are pretty decent and the game should work on most devices. There are plenty of racers, but Asphalt 8 hits more of those sweet spots than any of its competitors. At least for right now.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
BADLAND doesn’t seem like much at first. It’s a side-scrolling runner where you must avoid obstacles and keep the ever-scrolling screen from swallowing you whole. However, once you dig into this game, it’s difficult to deny it’s depth. There is a real-time multiplayer (including local co-op mode), a sizable adventure mode, and updates toward the end of 2015 even let players create their own levels. In a land where time wasters get boring very quickly, this one seems to just keep going.
DomiNations might be fairly new on the Android scene, but it has already amassed over a million downloads and a high level of critical acclaim. Running somewhere between Clash of Clans and Civilization, DomiNations is a base building game in which players take control of an entire nation “from the stone age to the space age” to explore, expand and conquer the world.
The level of strategy afforded by DomiNations is far beyond what is seen on most Android games. Should you spend money on building a stronger army, or plow it into researching a new technology at the library? DomiNations is filled with these minute-to-minute decisions that could swing the chances of victory in your favor, as well as some sweeping battles to take part in. It’s free to play and you can check it out in the Play Store.
Crashlands was released in 2016 and it’s already among the best Android games ever made. It features an intergalactic trucker that ends up crash landed on an alien planet. Your job is to find out what’s going on, build yourself a base, collect various items (and craft them), and save the world from a nefarious plot. It has an RPG element for character development, tons of items that you can collect and craft, and the game makes itself easier by doing things like auto-sorting your inventory. It’s a ton of fun and contains dozens of hours of content. The best part? There are no in-app purchases to get in the way.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Fallout Shelter was released in 2015 to fantastic fanfare and generally positive reviews. In this game, you must build a fallout shelter (roll credits), populate it with people, and then manage everything so that it runs well. You’ll have to send dwellers out into the wastelands for supplies and fend off bad guys trying to kill everybody. You can make babies, create entire communities, and all kinds of stuff. It has substantial depth and it’s a game you can easily play for months before you even realize it has in-app purchases.
Roll the Ball:
Roll the Ball is a slide puzzle game that requires you to use physics and engineering to win. Well, you at least have to do some planning which requires a good amount of strategy. This is a brain-training game that keeps you actively focused and planning ahead. So if you’re in for a challenge, then this is for you.
The goal of the game is to get the ball from the start to the ‘goal.’ You do that by configuring the tiles so the ball can move through a continuous tube. The blue and red tiles cannot be moved, but rather have screws that connect them to the ‘wall’. All of the wooden tiles can be moved, including ones with tubes and without. Remember, it’s not always necessary to use every tube tile, so get creative with your moves.
Once you start solving puzzles, the tile volume increases. There are different features and bonus games that earn you hints that you can later use if you get into a jam. You can also earn them by watching videos. The only complaint I have is the ads. Unless you pay, they pop up every third game.
The Geometry Wars series has quite a sizable fanbase and has been consistently described as one of the most enjoyable indie games ever made. Geometry Wars 3 continues that proud tradition by introducing 3D maps constructed out of various shapes to make the game more challenging. It features 100 levels, 12 battle modes, and it’s all played over 15 3D grids. As per the norm, you’ll have super abilities and all of the HD, colorful explosions that your brain can handle. $9.99 may seem pricey for a mobile game, but there are also no in-app purchases.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Blizzard is the master of iteration and I mean this in the most complimentary way possible. Whether it’s MOBAs, FPS, or MMOs, these guys know how to refine a product to create a winning formula. The CCG is just another acronym Blizzard has tackled of late, and the fruits of its labor, Hearthstone, is successful on many levels.
Hearthstone doesn’t offer anything radically new to this genre, it features one-on-one, turn-based battles with monster-summoning and spell-casting. The gameplay mechanics can be learned in minutes but the mastery of them is a never-ending pursuit. The variety of digital cards means there are many strategies to try out; crafting and refining the perfect deck of cards is just one of the stressful, though ultimately rewarding, aspects of Hearthstone.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is pretty much what every gamer could ask for on mobile. As with most Grand Theft Auto games, it comes with an open world to explore, dozens of hours of game play, decent graphics, a story line, and plenty of stuff to do. You’ll join a former gang member who returns to the hood to retake his neighborhood and avenge his deceased mother. Rockstar Games also included controller support, graphics settings, and cloud save support to put a bow on a pretty awesome little package. It’s a gigantic game and best of all, there are no in-app purchases.
[Price: Free with in-app purchses]
Pokemon Go exploded onto the mobile gaming scene in July 2016 and immediately became of the best Android games ever. It’s an augmented reality game similar to Ingress where you walk around the real world, catch Pokemon, battle for Gyms, and hit up Pokestops to restock on items. It beat virtually every record in the books in a relatively short order. The game has had a history of server issues and they’re still tinkering with various mechanics, but if you can get passed that, this is a special game.
Minecraft is a popular game all around the world for people of all ages. For those who have never played, Minecraft puts you in a giant world where you mine stuff, build stuff, beat up bad guys, and do pretty much whatever you want. There is a survival mode where you must mine your own resources and food along with a creative mode that gives you unlimited everything. Updates at the end of 2015 added in Redstone which allows you to create even more fun stuff and Microsoft has a ton of other new features planned for the next couple of years. It’s a mainstay when it comes to Android games and it also has no in-app purchases.
SOULCALIBUR is one of the more recognizable and popular fighting franchises on consoles. The original title has been ported to Android with great success. It contains improved graphics from the original, Google Play Games services (achievements and leaderboards), and various game modes such as time attack, survival, arcade, and the excessively difficult extra survival. The on-screen controls work surprisingly well and it all adds up to arguably the best fighting game experience on mobile. The price is a little steep but there are no in-app purchases.
The latest game in The Room series is just as big of a hit as its predecessors and they remain among the best Android games. For those who have never played the game before, The Room is a beautifully done puzzle game that involves a number of unique objects in a room that you must solve to unlock their secrets. You progress from room to room to find even more unique objects and solve their puzzles until you win the game. The third one includes cloud saving, multiple profiles, alternate endings, and the same beautiful puzzles and graphics that drove people to play the first two titles. There are also no in-app purchases.
This War of Mine is so good that we awarded it the best game released in 2015. In this survival game, you lead a crew of civilians in a city torn apart by war. You’re tasked with making difficult decisions that have heart wrenching results with survival being the key. It comes with good graphics, plenty of content, and a hefty price tag with no in-app purchases. It’s one of the deeper Android games that can really get the emotions going.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
UNKILLED is the latest zombie shooter from MADFINGER Games, the same developers that brought us such Android games as Dead Trigger 2 and Shadowngun. In fact, UNKILLED has replaced Dead Trigger 2 as the best zombie shooter on Android right now. It features great graphics, over 300 missions to complete with boss fights, various weapons and things to unlock and upgrade, online PvP mode, and the graphics get even better if you’re using a Tegra X1 device. Yes, it’s a freemium game but it’s a definitely a good one.
Castle defense is another free-to-play title. Set in a fantasy realm, it’s one of the older tower defense titles and there’s nothing exactly revolutionary to be found here. But Castle Defense nails the basics of the genre and acts as an excellent starting point for those who are new to this type of game.
The enemies walk along a fixed path which you must line with towers to prevent them reaching the end. The graphics and audio are just okay, but with more than 100 levels, three difficulty settings and an exciting upgrade system, Castle Defense will still keep you coming back for more.
Implosion – Never Lose Hope
Implosion – Never Lose Hope is a highly polished mobile game in terms of both graphics and gameplay. It’s a third-person action title that sees you slicing and dicing your way through hordes of enemies in the style of God of War or Devil May Cry.
You play as an armor-covered warrior equipped with a sword and a gun, dishing out damage to mutants across a variety of short and sweet locations. This game absolutely nails the controls and feel, working whether you want to button-mash, or build up combos with some more rhythmical strikes.
The graphics are as good as you’ll find on the platform and the boss battles are often epic. You can play through the first few missions for free, but after that you’ll be required to buy it for US$9.99, which I think is entirely worth it.