Happy New Year! With such a bountiful choice of great games for Android phones in the Google Play Store, how do you decide which Android apps to download this January? If you’re anything like us, you know only too well that feeling of download regret. But don’t worry — we’re here to make it a thing of the past with our handpicked list of the best Android games available. Most are free, some cost a few bucks, and many are great to play online with friends when you can’t get together in person — but all of them will keep you entertained at home or when you’re out and about. You’ll need internet connectivity for many of these games, but we’ve also gathered together some of the best Android games to play offline.
There are many different kinds of games in the Play Store, so we’ve aimed to pick a good mix of categories, including first-person shooters (FPS), role-playing games (RPG), platformers, racing games, puzzlers, strategy games, and more. At least one game on this list should suit your new year’s gaming needs. If you’re looking for the best iPhone games, we’ve found those, too — but if you’re gaming on an Android tablet or Android phone, then you’re sure to find something to enjoy here.
Retro Goal (Free/$1)
Part classic soccer game, part team management, Retro Goal’s most charming aspect is its 16-bit-era-inspired graphics. With controls optimized for touchscreen, this game is a delight to play on your phone. Build your team with some savvy spending, upgrade your club, score goals, win matches, and celebrate! You can play the game’s first ten matches for free, after which it’ll cost you $1 to unlock the rest of the game — money well spent, we’d say.
Chrono Trigger ($10)
One of the most iconic RPGs of all time is a must-play on your Android phone. The mobile port of Square Enix’s Chrono Trigger is based on the Nintendo DS version, and though the touch controls aren’t the best, it’s still worth your time. Developed by the creators of Final Fantasy, Dragon Ball, and Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger is a time-traveling RPG that sees you play as the hero, Cronos, hurtling through time to save Marle, a young girl who has fallen into a rift created by a Telepod malfunction. The mobile version includes over 50 combos to take down enemies in battle, with higher resolution graphics and an updated soundtrack — and also features the Dimensional Vortex and Lost Sanctum dungeons.
Love space? Love pushing buttons? Love confusion, and shouting at your friends? Spaceteam is the game for you! The premise is pretty simple: stop your ship from exploding and your team from meeting an untimely demise. You’ll be assigned a control panel with switches, buttons, dials, and slides, and you’ll have to follow time-sensitive instructions. So far, so easy, right? Wrong. The instructions are given only to your teammates, who then need to spout technobabble at you — also in a timely manner — to save the ship before time runs out! Spaceteam is for two to eight players and you can play with friends on Apple devices over Wi-Fi. It’s a lot of fun and strangely addictive, whether you’re playing with one friend or seven, and it’s totally free to play.
League of Legends: Wild Rift
Named as one of the best competitive Android games of the year by the Google Play Store, League of Legends: Wild Rift is a 5v5 MOBA where you team up with friends to take on the enemy. This game is free to play, and you can earn every champion without paying or watching ads. Speaking of champions, there are a wide range of them to suit your gameplay style, whether you prefer freezing your enemies with an ice arrow or hacking and slashing with a giant sword. There’s plenty of longevity in this game and you’ll quickly find it becomes a time sink as your team progresses — and it’s built for mobile too, so the controls feel great.
The Procession to Calvary ($4)
The second game on our list is something a little silly that’s not to everyone’s tastes. The Procession to Calvary is a Monty Python-esque game that sees you adventure your way through a world consisting of Renaissance paintings. Yup, we told you it was a little silly. It’s actually an incredibly well-designed and fun little game, journeying through a beautifully detailed landscape as you hunt for the tyrant Heavenly Peter. Compete in a talent contest, assist an incompetent magician, hunt for treasure, and poke a man’s face on your journey — and try not to get the giggles. This game uses a point-and-click interface that makes it easy to play on your phone or tablet, and there’s a soothing classical soundtrack set against the backdrop of paintings by Botticelli, Michelangelo — oh, and though you’re equipped with a sword, murder is strictly optional.
Cats in Time
This relaxing pick-up-and-play puzzler actually presents you with a very serious mission: Find 200 cats that have become lost in time! Professor Edger’s cats accidentally activated his time machine, and now they’re lost in space and time. You’ll travel from Ancient Egypt to the present-day streets of New York City and even into the future as you hunt for these fluffy critters, solving riddles and puzzles to free them. There are six distinctive locations, each beautifully detailed, to explore, and relaxing music to listen to. If we have one criticism of Cats in Time it’s that you can only play the first two levels before paying to unlock the rest of the game. But it’s still an addictive and cute little puzzle game that’s well worth picking up.
Pokémon Unite is a 5-on-5 team battle where you team up with friends and other players from around the world to see who can score the most points. Working together to beat the other team is key, and you can communicate with your team through quick chat messages, signals, and voice chat. Ensure your Pokémon are stylish and ready for battle in a variety of Holowear, then take on the other team in Unite Battles, where you can use Unite Moves, all-new Pokémon moves only available during these battles. As your skills improve, battle in ranked matches to top the leaderboard. Pokémon Unite is free to play and cross-platform, so you can play with friends on mobile or Switch.
Night School Studios, the developers behind Oxenfree, was recently bought out by Netflix, with rumors of a sequel in the works. If you haven’t played the original yet, there’s no time like the present. This supernatural ’80s horror game has a cool synth-pop soundtrack and has rightfully been compared to Stranger Things. You play as Alex, who’s traveling to an overnight party on a spooky island with her stepbrother Jonas and friends. When they accidentally open a ghostly rift, Alex must deal with the terrifying creatures unleashed and solve the mysteries within. Every decision you make and every conversation you have changes your relationships and the story. This is a game for those who love story-driven gameplay, and it will stay with you long after the conclusion.
Ticket to Earth ($5)
Ticket to Earth gives you 20-plus hours of gameplay set in a colorful, comic-book-style world for $5. Part story-driven RPG, part turn-based strategy, part tile puzzle game, you play as a team of four different characters, each with their own abilities and passive skills. Battle your way through New Providence, a space colony on the brink of collapse, and enjoy fast and furious, turn-based combat. The gameplay is pretty challenging and takes place on a grid of colored tiles, where the color corresponds to your character’s ability. Plot your moves strategically, in straight lines or diagonally, and charge up abilities as you go for explosive battles. With over 120 unique missions and no in-app purchases, you won’t regret this purchase.
Bridge Constructor Portal ($5)
Bridge Constructor Portal lets you unleash your inner engineer by merging the Portal and Bridge Constructor games. The bridge is a lie! Well, it’s not — it’s just not built yet. Your job as an employee in the Aperture Science test lab is to build bridges, ramp slides, and much more in 60 test chambers and help the Bendies reach their destination safely. Use a variety of Portal gadgets like repulsion gel and portals to bypass hazards and obstacles including acid pools, laser barriers, and more. The touchscreen controls can be a bit finicky, but once you get the hang of it Bridge Constructor Portal becomes quite addictive.
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2 is billed as a “nonstop FPS Action Zombie Shooter” game, and it’s one of the most popular zombie shooters in the Play Store, with over 110 million downloads. If you haven’t played it yet, there’s no time like the present. Hunt down the hordes of undead in 10 regions and across 33 different battlefields, and take them out with more than 70 types of weapons, from rifles, shotguns, and rocket launchers to machetes, chainsaws, and wrenches. You could even chuck a lethal chicken at them if you like. Cutting-edge graphics, engrossing missions, weekly tournaments, and the ability to build a personal hideout and plan your strategy ensure Dead Trigger 2‘s good for hours upon hours of gameplay. You can play using touch controls or the virtual joystick too, depending on your preferences.
The Escapists: Prison Escape ($6)
This prison escape sandbox game is hours of strategic fun — if you’re into that sort of thing. You’ve done the crime, now you’re doing the time. Speaking of which, the time has come to plan your escape. Swipe useful objects from guards, craft tools to aid your escape, and get to know your fellow inmates to create your own gang. Whatever you do, stay two steps ahead of the guards at all times, keep your head down, hide your contraband, and don’t forget to attend roll-call! This is an addictive, tense game that’s easy enough to get stuck in but provides a real challenge once you get going. There are over six themed prisons to escape and dozens of crafting combos to try out along the way. If you enjoy The Escapists, you can also pick up The Escapists 2 for $7.
Critical Ops: Multiplayer FPS
This 3D multiplayer FPS is designed exclusively for mobile, and it’s about one of the best FPS games around on Android right now. With gorgeously crafted maps, stunning environments, and challenging game modes, you can go solo or battle as part of your dream team alongside your friends. Host tournaments and private matches, or play in one of three modes: Team Deathmatch; Defuse, where one team plants and defends a bomb while the other team tries to defuse it; or Gun Game, which pits two teams against each other while individual players work their way through every single weapon in the game. Choose to fight as a member of The Breach or Coalition, and enjoy a fair-to-play environment thanks to no in-app purchases. Critical Ops is updated regularly with new features and game modes, so you’ll never get bored — and it’s free to play.
When you can’t decide what type of game you’re in the mood for, check out Pureya! This collection of unique mini arcade games has over 30 original games to check out — and they switch randomly every 10 seconds, so there’s zero risk of boredom. You can play offline, and with no ads or in-app purchases, this game is well worth the $4 entry fee. The mini-games include everything from sports and driving games to 2D platformers and retro space shooters, and with dynamic difficulty, they’re suitable for all skill levels. Unlock new mini-games by collecting marbles, and enjoy the cute, colorful pixel art and original soundtracks for each game. The controls are simple, too, with just two buttons, and you can play in portrait or landscape mode.
Evoland 2 ($8)
Ever wanted to travel through time and explore the evolution of video games? With Evoland 2, that’s exactly what you get — a fun-filled nostalgia trip packed with humorous references to all your favorite video games and consoles. The story is a classic RPG adventure, but the action takes in card games, 2D RPGs, 3D versus fights, and more, and there are over 20 hours of gameplay to keep you busy. Evoland 2 was originally released on PC, but this Android port has all the charm of the original, with its cute graphics and support for Bluetooth controllers. The on-screen controls aren’t great, so we recommend connecting your favorite controller to get the most out of the ad-free, in-app, purchase-free experience. While you’re here, why not check out the first Evoland game, too?
Sky: Children of the Light
Fans of Journey and Flower will love the latest game from the same creators. Sky: Children of the Light is every bit as beautiful as the team’s other two games — it’s an adventure, but with a social twist. You play as one of the Children of the Light, sent to bring hope to the kingdom and return fallen Stars to their constellations. The kingdom of Sky has seven gorgeously rendered realms to explore, and you can customize your character to your liking before setting out. Chat to and team up with other players to take on missions, save spirits, uncover treasures, and explore darker, more dangerous realms. Playing with others is a beautiful experience here, and there’s no shortage of players to team up with — but with that said, solo play can quickly become boring.
Grid Autosport ($10)
Tired of Real Racing 3? Then Grid Autosport is the racer you need. It’s an ad-free premium title — but you’ll need a pretty powerful phone to run it, plus 3.9GB of storage space. This is as close as you’ll get to console-quality racing on Android, with around 100 circuits to blaze through, and a huge selection of 100 cars too. The controls are fully customizable — so you can choose between Tilt, Wheel Touch, or Arrow Touch, or use a controller if that’s more your style. There’s plenty of longevity here too, with a huge range of disciplines, from Endurance and Demolition to Drift, Drag, and Street Races. Despite its fairly steep initial purchase price, you’re paying for an ad-free experience without any future in-app purchases required, and the game includes all the DLC too.
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is the latest — and 15th — installment in the Final Fantasy series (with Final Fantasy XVI rumored to be releasing exclusively on PS5 on 16 June). This mobile version of the original console game divides the story into 10 chapters — you can play the first for free, with subsequent chapters available for purchase. Behind the cute animation lies a stunning soundtrack and a sprawling story that tells the tale of the Chosen King, Savior to the Star. The nations of Niflheim and Lucis have finally agreed to an armistice after years of fighting. Noctis, the crown prince of Lucis, is betrothed to Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae, the youngest Oracle in history, as a symbol of this peace. The prince sets forth for his wedding on the eve of the signing ceremony, but unbeknown to him, many perils await him on his journey …
Garena Free Fire — New Age
Falling neatly into the battle-royale-games-you’ve-probably-never-played category, Garena Free Fire is well worth your time if you’re bored of Fortnite and PUBG. Taking a short-and-sweet approach to the much-loved battle royale format, each game lasts for just 10 minutes and pits you against 49 other players, all with the same mission: Survival. The short match time works well on mobile, but there’s still plenty to give the game longevity, from the ability to create a four-man squad with in-game voice chat to the 4v4 clash squad mode. True, the graphics may not be the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen on your phone screen, but they’re not bad, and what Garena Free Fire lacks in beauty it more than makes up for with gameplay. Right now you can play the New Age edition.
Crash Bandicoot: On the Run
Three reasons to download this game: It’s free, it’s an addictive runner, and it features everybody’s favorite mutant eastern barred bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot. In all seriousness, though, this is a great little video game to play while you’re watching a show that doesn’t hold 100% of your attention or just whenever you have some time to waste. The gameplay is pretty typical for a runner, but because it’s set in the Crash universe, the locations, characters, and villains are pretty cool and sure to appeal to all Crash fans. Run as far and as fast as you can, avoid obstacles, and collect items. That’s just about it — except for the multiplayer mode where you can team up to see who out of your friends can run the farthest or fastest. Crash Bandicoot: On the Run is free to play, but there are in-app purchases that you can easily disable if younger players are having a go.
CarX Drift Racing 2
CarX Drift Racing 2 is the sequel to one of the most popular drift games of all time, bringing a true-to-life racing game to mobile. With over 65 sports cars to unlock in single-player mode as well as the option to tune your car for the best performance — adjusting the engine, gearbox, turbine pressure, wheel angle, and more — it’s easy to find yourself losing several hours to this game. This isn’t just your average racing game though, as here tire pressure affects driving physics, and your car control varies depending on the surface you’re driving on, from snow to sand and asphalt — so you’ll need your wits about you. There’s plenty of customization when it comes to visual auto-tuning too, and you can make your car unique by replacing mirrors, bumpers, lights, and adding rims and body kits. We love the multiplayer mode where you can compete to hit first place in the championships, and you can join car clubs or create your own to team up. It’s free to play and you’ll need to work hard to unlock new vehicles and buy upgrades for your car, so you can sink a lot of time into it.
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
If you’re anything like us, you’re already bingeing your way through (or have even finished!) season two of The Witcher on Netflix. But if you’re growing impatient for your Witcher fix, let this fill your time until then. Hardcore Gwent fans are no strangers to the PC version, but now you can get your fill on the go with the mobile version. Hand-drawn art and stunning visual effects breathe new life into every PvP duel, and there’s no shortage of challenges thanks to the new Arena mode that Geralt of Rivia himself would relish. You can choose from a variety of other modes too, from classic to seasonal. It’s free to play Gwent but a word of warning — you may see little of the light of day as you toil to build a deck you can be proud of and collect cards to gain spells and special abilities. If you’re up for the challenge, then you’ll find Gwent: The Witcher Card Game easy to get into, hard to master — and it makes for a satisfying morning commute or a sweet time sink whenever you have some time to spare.
This 3v3 multiplayer and battle royale game is the most fun you can have with your friends online — although there are also a variety of modes to play through solo. Unlock dozens of Brawlers, each with their own gadgets, Star Powers, and abilities — and customize them with unlockable skins as you battle across a variety of locations. Play Brawl Ball (3v3) and show off your soccer skills or be the last Brawler standing in Showdown, a battle royale-style fight to the death. With local and regional leaderboards to climb, this is a game you will pick up quickly and won’t put down easily. It’s free to play, with in-game purchases to upgrade your Brawler, if you choose.
This mobile port of the popular console and PC game is an excellent choice if you’re into gaming with friends. It’s a platform fighting game where you can battle up to eight other players in ranked matches and casual free-for-alls, and it supports full cross-play. But the best bit is creating a custom room with your friends where you can battle it out — just make sure you hone your skills in the Training Room first. With 50 unique characters to choose from — and a rotation of new characters every week — there’s a wide range of game modes, too, like Capture the Flag and Brawlball. You’ll be matched quickly with others thanks to the huge number of players, and Brawlhalla is 100% free to play.
If you’ve ever played Town of Salem or Werewolf, you’re going to love Among Us. The online game’s popularity has really taken off — as the memes you’ll find online demonstrate. Set on a spaceship, this multiplayer strategy game can be played with four to 10 players over local Wi-Fi or online. It’s fun with friends, as long as you don’t take it too seriously, but the real madness comes when playing with a bunch of strangers online. The basic premise is simple: You’re a crewmate, and your job is to complete various tasks around the ship — but wait! There’s an imposter amongst you with a dastardly plan: to slaughter everyone horribly! Your goal is to figure out which one of you is the guilty party. Along the way, the imposter tries to throw others off their scent by sabotaging things, creating alibis, and covering up the murders. If you play as a member of the crew, you just need to ensure you complete your tasks while trying to figure out who the imposter is. Playing as the imposter means your goal is to kill everyone before they figure out who the guilty party is. It’s free to play, and surprisingly addictive once you get to grips with it.
One-Punch Man: Road to Hero 2.0
The follow-up to the original 2019 game, One-Punch Man: Road to Hero 2.0 features all your favorite characters from the popular anime — in fact, the game was actually overseen by ONE, writer of the original anime show, and illustrator Yusuke Murata. This is an idle strategy card game where you’re in charge of mobilizing the Hero Association’s reaction to monster attacks. There’s no hack n’ slash gameplay here though — instead, you collect hero cards and add heroes to your formation based on their skills, strengths, and abilities, then they fight enemies automatically. The main story mode has around 20 chapters to complete and features cool cutscenes from the original anime, but there are loads of other play styles too including Extreme Trial and PvE tournament, where you can compete with others, giving the game plenty of longevity.
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery
We all love a good mystery, and if you’re looking for an immersive puzzle app to take your mind off real life right now, Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery does the job nicely. You play as a private investigator who, after receiving a mysterious letter from his father, must return to his hometown only to find it completely deserted. It’s up to you to find out what happened; discover clues; open locks; solve puzzles; and explore interactive, fully 3D levels along the way. This is one of the best detective story games available on Android — a cool blend of mystery and escape room. You’ll explore a variety of locations too, from ancient catacombs to downtown cityscapes.
Bloons TD 6 ($5)
If you’re a fan of tower defense games, where bad guys invade your map around a predetermined route and you have to erect destructive towers to wipe them out before they kill you, then you owe it to yourself to buy Bloons TD 6. With a cute and chaotic cartoon art style and hordes of bizarre enemies, things can get seriously crazy. The depth of your choice in how to defend is unsurpassed with dozens of towers, each with its own upgrade trees to climb. To mix things up, there are other defensive units you can deploy that will patrol, and there are loads of challenges that give you specific objectives and earn you money when you complete them. There are also some in-app purchases, but there’s so much depth here that they’re easy to ignore, making this a great strategy game to pass the time with.
Exploding Kittens ($2)
If you’re a HUGE fan of kittens and love the idea of them not exploding, you may wish to look away. We’re just kidding, as the whole purpose of Exploding Kittens is to avoid them — in this version of the original card game, anyway. Quirky artwork from The Oatmeal artist Matthew Inman just adds to the weirdness of this popular game, with cards such as “Defuse Kitten Banjo” and “Annoy Diarrhea Kitty” popping up, among others — and some new cards exclusive to the digital version. Basically, you draw cards in turn until one player draws an Exploding Kitten. They’re then out of the game unless they can play a Defuse card, using things like belly rubs and laser pointers to defuse the Kitten. We promise it will all make sense once you start to play, and the game is actually a pretty simple, if strange, combo of Uno and Russian Roulette, mixing luck with strategy and a dose of the darkest humor. True, it’ll take you a while to master, but part of the fun is battling your friends in multiplayer mode — although there’s a single-player mode too, which we like best for honing our skills before battle. We promise no cats were harmed in the making.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Whether you’re a fan of Call of Duty already or new to one of the biggest first-person shooter franchises around, Call of Duty: Mobile deserves your time. Specially designed for touchscreen firefights, this shooting game fulfills all your shooter action cravings — and it’s free, too. Choose from a bunch of multiplayer modes, including battle royale, with top-notch graphics and fast, frenetic yet satisfying gameplay. Fans will spot familiar characters and classic maps from other Call of Duty games. Is this the best mobile shooter around right now? We’d say so — and we recommend checking out our Call of Duty: Mobile tips before diving in. Right now, you can play Season 10: Shadows Return where Templar’s hunt for missing agent Stansfield uncovers a new dark alliance — and grab the brand-new LK24 – Vanquished assault rifle in the Battle Pass.
Frequently asked questions
Which of the best Android games are free?
Many of the games on our list are free to play, some allow you to play a few levels for free, and some are free but offer microtransactions. If you’re worried about kids making accidental purchases, most games offer the option to disable this feature.
What Android games are fun to play with friends?
There are plenty of Android games you can play with friends, whether you’re into MMORPGs or FPS games. We recommend checking out popular titles like Call of Duty: Mobile, Among Us, and Brawlhalla. There’s something on our list to suit all tastes, and a quick search of the Google Play store for multiplayer games should give you even more options.
Which of the best Android games can you play offline?
While some of the games on our list above are playable offline, we recommend checking out our roundup of the best offline Android games if you’re specifically looking for something that doesn’t require internet connectivity — great for traveling.
Why are some Android games better to play with an Android controller?
Shooter games and many MMORPGs simply work better with a controller. You’ll be able to aim more accurately and enjoy faster response times, as well as see the fast-paced action on-screen more clearly than when your fingers are in the way. Why not check out our pick of the best Android controllers while you’re here?
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