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The best free-to-play mobile games

The realm of mobile gaming has come a long way since the days when you were lucky if you could play a game of Snake on your brick of a phone. Today, we all have essentially a modern console in our pockets with games that look and play just as good as what is offered on current consoles. Unlike the console or PC space, mobile games have mostly stuck to either being extremely cheap or simply free-to-play. While that sounds great on the surface, it also means that the storefronts are filled with thousands of games looking for your attention, with only a select few worthy of your time. If you’re looking for your next mobile go-to with no upfront cost, here are the best free-to-play mobile games you may never delete from your home screen.

Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail
77%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS, PlayStation 5
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Turn-based strategy (TBS), Adventure
Developer
HoYoverse, miHoYo
Publisher
Cognosphere, HoYoverse, miHoYo
Release
April 26, 2023

MiHoYo has two of the biggest mobile hits under their belts between Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail, but if we were to pick between the two, we’d lean toward the latter. This game has the same level of amazing character designs and gatcha systems, but wrapped up in a sci-fi-inspired turn-based RPG. It really feels like the team took everything it learned from Genshin and updated it for Star Rail, with a gripping story, plenty of quests, tactile combat, and a monetization system that doesn’t feel manipulative.

Reveal Trailer - "Next Stop, the Stars!" | Honkai: Star Rail

Fortnite

Fortnite
70%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Strategy, Adventure
Developer
Epic Games
Publisher
Epic Games
Release
July 25, 2017
Fortnite needs no introduction. Being perhaps the biggest game of the generation, this colorful shooter has dominated the battle royale genre since it made its debut. Years later, it has only gotten bigger and more popular, adding in more costumes, weapons, and crossover events with nearly every franchise you can think of. While it is technically not available on iOS anymore, there are ways around that.
Fortnite Trailer

Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga
61%
E
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Amazon Fire TV
Genre
Puzzle, Strategy, Arcade
Developer
King
Publisher
King
Release
April 12, 2012
If you’re going to talk about mobile games, you have to mention Candy Crush Saga. This was one of the pioneers of the free-to-play mobile market and was responsible for hooking a whole new audience into gaming. It’s a simple match-three-style game where you complete levels that require you to reach a certain score with a limited number of moves. For a casual, pick-up-and-play mobile game, nothing else quite compares.
Candy Crush Saga - TV Commercial

Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap
75%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS
Genre
Strategy, Card & Board Game
Developer
Second Dinner, Second Dinner
Publisher
Second Dinner, nuverse
Release
October 18, 2022

Card games might be a turn-off for some players, but Marvel Snap bucks the trend. Naturally, it features your favorite iconic comic book heroes, but it’s more than just a digital collectible. The team consists of former Hearthstone developers and it shows. Matches are quick, decks don’t get overly complicated, and the signature Snap mechanic adds a great twist of risk/reward gameplay to the mix. Best of all is that microtransactions are mostly limited to cosmetics and there’s no way to outright buy your way to a more powerful deck.

MARVEL SNAP | OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT AND GAMEPLAY FIRST LOOK

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go
66%
E10
Platforms
Android, iOS
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Simulator
Developer
The Pokémon Company, Niantic Labs
Publisher
Niantic Labs
Release
July 06, 2016
Honestly, you already know about Pokémon Go.  This single mobile game felt like it changed the entire world when it launched, and while it doesn’t hold quite the same grip on the public consciousness, it is still going strong. Hundreds of new monsters have been added, events are held regularly, and there are tons of ways to enjoy the game. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get out and get a bit of fresh air each and every day.
Get ready for Mega Evolution in Pokémon GO!

Vampire Survivors

Vampire Survivors
80%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure, Indie, Arcade
Developer
Poncle
Publisher
Poncle
Release
December 17, 2021
For some people, keeping Vampire Survivors down this far on the list is burying the lede, and we can’t really argue with that. If you give this game five minutes of your time, get ready to sacrifice another five hours or more because the simple concept this game works off of (auto-attacking, leveling, and unlocking) is tuned so perfectly that it is nearly impossible to put down. This free version does have ads, plus some DLCs you can purchase, but is beyond generous in the amount of fun it gives you.
Vampire Survivors - Early Access Trailer

Rocket League Sideswipe

Rocket League Sideswipe
77%
E
Platforms
Android, iOS
Genre
Racing, Sport
Release
November 15, 2021
Rocket League was a sensation when it hit consoles and PC, but the formula of mixing high-flying, acrobatic cars playing soccer was never really something that could work on mobile. Well, by simply cutting the game into 2D, Rocket League Sideswipe keeps all the chaotic fun of the original but presents it in a more mobile-friendly way. Allowing for either 1v1 or 2v2 matches, this mobile entry is just as deep as its console counterpart.
Rocket League® Sideswipe — Alpha Gameplay

Call of Duty: Mobile

Call of Duty: Mobile
67%
M
Platforms
Android, iOS
Genre
Shooter
Developer
Timi, Activision
Publisher
Tencent Games
Release
May 14, 2019
Need your first-person shooter fix on the go? Leave it to the Call of Duty franchise to make the most satisfying and best-controlling shooter on your phone. Call of Duty: Mobile is the perfect companion to the mainline entries since it features many recognizable weapons, maps, and modes. Just beware that, of all the entries listed, this one might be the most aggressive in its monetization.
Call Of Duty: Mobile - Official Announcement Trailer

Among Us

Among Us
72%
E10
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Strategy, Indie
Developer
Innersloth
Publisher
Innersloth
Release
June 15, 2018
Becoming a massive hit during the pandemic, Among Us holds strong as a fantastic party game to load up on your phone. The concept and controls are simple enough that even those who don’t regularly play games can hop in and have fun running around accusing people of being the imposter. Aside from being on other platforms, including VR, Among Us is also cross-play enabled, so you can start a game no matter what devices are available.
Among Us Beta Launch Trailer

Plague Inc.

Plague Inc.
75%
E10
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Android, iOS, Web browser
Genre
Real Time Strategy (RTS), Simulator, Strategy, Tactical
Developer
Ndemic Creations
Publisher
Ndemic Creations
Release
May 26, 2012
This will be the oldest game on the list by far, but, if anything, Plague Inc. is more fun and interesting today than it was when originally launched. This is a strategy game where you play as a new disease with the goal of infecting the entire global population. You choose how you want to mutate and evolve and watch how you spread across the world in an attempt to wipe out humanity before they can develop a cure.
Plague Inc. Trailer - Android

Old School RuneScape

Old School RuneScape
79%
T
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), Mac, Android, iOS
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Publisher
Jagex
Release
February 22, 2013
If the mere mention of the name RuneScape triggers a sense of nostalgia, you have to give Old School RuneScape a download. This isn’t the current version of the game, which has evolved a great deal, but the version of the game that ran from 2007 up until RuneScape 3, which some consider to be the game’s best version. This is the full MMO experience as you remember, but on the go. Yes, the graphics are blocky, the combat stiff, and the grinding unbearable at times, but if you have a soft spot for this classic MMO, there’s no better feeling than logging back in.
Oldschool Runescape Free to Play Gameplay Trailer

League of Legends: Wild Rift

League of Legends: Wild Rift
70%
T
Platforms
Android, iOS
Genre
Strategy, MOBA
Developer
Riot Games
Publisher
Riot Games
Release
October 27, 2020
This game has a clearly defined audience: League of Legends players. Wild Rift is that same, sweaty MOBA gameplay, just modified to work on your phone. The main differences made are that Wild Rift is much faster than its PC counterpart, which is necessary since matches there can last nearly an hour or more, with faster XP and gold gains, respawn times, and a smaller map.
League of Legends: Wild Rift | Announce Trailer

Fire Emblem Heroes

Fire Emblem Heroes
63%
T
Platforms
Android, iOS, Legacy Cellphone
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Simulator, Strategy, Turn-based strategy (TBS)
Developer
Intelligent Systems Co., Ltd., Nintendo EPD
Publisher
Nintendo
Release
February 02, 2017
For a more tactical mobile adventure, where better to go than the current king of the genre but Fire Emblem Heroes? This series has always felt quite at home on handheld devices, and Heroes is no different. You take control of groups of up to four characters from the mainline titles in grid-based battles. That familiar rock-paper-scissors dynamic of unit types is back and features both a story mode and PvP option.
Fire Emblem Heroes - Trailer

Editors' Recommendations

Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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