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The best Android games available (September 2021)

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? 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 everyone. 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.

Ticket to Earth ($5)

Ticket to Earth game on Android, showing moving along colored tiles.

Ticket to Earth is free for Google Play Pass holders but for those who aren’t signed up, you get 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.

Google Play

Bridge Constructor Portal ($2)

Bridge Constructor Portal game for Android.

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, and right now it’s on sale, so you can play it for $2 (it’s usually $5).

Google Play

Dead Trigger 2

Dead Trigger 2 game on Android.

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.

Google Play

The Escapists: Prison Escape ($6)

The Escapists Android game.

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.

Google Play

Critical Ops: Multiplayer FPS

Critical Ops Android game.

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 it 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 totally free to play.

Google Play

Bird Alone ($3)

Old enough to remember the original Tamagotchi? Even if you’re not, chances are you or your friends have owned a virtual pet at some point. And, to start with, that’s very much the feeling you get when you play Bird Alone for the first time. Play with the saddest bird in the world, feed it, talk to it. It’ll let you know once it’s had enough interaction. Fair enough, you might be thinking, but is this really a game? That’s when the story really starts. Your bird will ask you daily questions — expect deep stuff like, “What’s the meaning of life?” alongside more everyday questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” — and also give you a variety of activities you can do together, like writing a poem, drawing a picture, or even just giving your new best friend a belly rub. As you play through the game, you start to wonder: Maybe this bird isn’t so lonely after all, now it has you. We won’t give away any spoilers — the game is fairly short, and the less you know going in, the better — but we will say this: Bird Alone is seriously touching and unique, and it’ll stick with you long after you complete it.

Google Play

Pureya ($4)

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.

Google Play

Evoland 2 ($8)

A scene in Evoland 2.

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’s 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?

Google Play

Baba Is You ($7)

Baba Is You game on Android.

This innovative little puzzle game is like nothing you’ve ever played before — trust us. Baba Is You is one of those games where promising yourself you’ll play “just one more level” isn’t ever going to be true. The graphics and premise are simple: In every level, you’ll find blocks you can interact with. These blocks represent the rules, and you can manipulate and change them to alter how the level works. You really have to play the game yourself to see what we mean — but there’s nothing quite like turning yourself into a rock or changing the level’s goal entirely. If you get stuck, you can hit the Undo button and try again. You will get stuck, but it’s never dull or frustrating due to the unpredictable nature of the game. We know $7 might seem like a lot for a mobile game, but this game’s longevity ensures it’s well worth the price of entry.

Google Play

Sky: Children of the Light

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.

Google Play

Grid Autosport ($10)

Grid Autosport

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.

Google Play

Gorogoa ($5)

Gorogoa

To say Gorogoa is strange doesn’t quite do the game justice. It’s mind-bendingly weird. But if you like that kind of thing, you’ll love this game. It’s designed to be perplexing — and it achieves that a little too successfully at times. The gorgeous, hand-drawn panels of the picture book that’s the key part of the game seem to tell some kind of story — although at first glance, how they’re related isn’t clear. That’s because it’s your job to link everything to progress through the narrative, from rearranging panels to zooming in and out and layering them to unlock more of the story. More than just a game, Gorogoa is a work of art — and one that will make you feel immense satisfaction when you’re clever enough to solve its challenges. It’s a short game, but worth every penny.

Google Play

Inked ($4)

Inked

Fans of Monument Valley and The Unfinished Swan will love Inked, a gorgeous little hand-drawn puzzler that sees you thrust into a world created by ballpoint pen. You play as the “Nameless Hero,” a rogue samurai who must travel the world on paper with his true love, Aiko. The world around you has been created by the mysterious Artist, whose hands you’ll often see appear in the game as you explore. When everything you love is suddenly stripped away, you must take back what’s yours by manipulating the world around you, erasing and redrawing parts of the landscape to solve puzzles. You have total control of the world and must unlock the path forward — sometimes a simple task, other times more complex. An emotional music score, heartwarming story, and gorgeously rendered, immersive world add up to one of our favorite games so far this year. True, it only takes a few hours to complete the story, but Inked is well worth the price of entry if you’re a fan of this sort of game.

Google Play

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

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 on PS5 — and hopefully mobile — later this year). 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 …

Google Play

Garena Free Fire — 4nniversary

Garena Free Fire: 4nniversary edition screenshot on Android.

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 4nniversary edition with new training grounds and a brand new spawn island.

Google Play

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run

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.

Google Play

Five Nights at Freddy’s ($3)

Five Nights at Freddy's

Think nothing can scare you when it comes to horror games? Think again. The first Five Nights at Freddy’s has been around for a while, but it’s still the same utterly terrifying experience it was when it was first released. If you survive number one, you can grab the other Five Nights at Freddy’s games for $3 each.

Basically, you’re the security guard for the summer at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. So far, so not scary, right? Wrong. The animatronics — Freddy Fazbear and his two friends — are the main attraction here (a bit like the plot of the recent Willy’s Wonderland). But something’s wrong with the robots … they’re wandering the halls at night and behaving unpredictably. You’ve been tasked with watching the cameras from your tiny office, but there’s a limited amount of electricity, which means choosing between the lights, cameras, and the security doors standing between you and the animatronics.

It’s a simple premise, but a classic if you’re into being scared to death — and it’s not one we’d play alone after dark.

Google Play

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 totally 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.

Google Play

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

If you’re anything like us, you can’t wait for season two of The Witcher on December 17. 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.

Google Play

Brawl Stars

Brawl Stars game on Android.

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.

Google Play

Genshin Impact

A scene from Genshin Impact.

Fans of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, listen up! Genshin Impact has drawn comparisons to the Nintendo favorite, and it’s easy to see why. This massive open-world RPG adventure game has stunning visuals and a soothing soundtrack by the London Philharmonic orchestra. You arrive with your sibling in Teyvat, a vast open world to explore — but you find yourself stripped of all your powers. Setting out across the world, you must find The Seven, elemental gods who will hopefully provide you with the answers you seek. Play alone or with friends — cross-platform play is supported — and enjoy the gacha system, which provides a free-to-play base game and optional in-game currency, which you can spend on opportunities to win prizes like loot, new characters for your party, and weapons. Once you’ve set up your account, you can start where you left off on PC or console, too.

Google Play

Brawlhalla

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.

Google Play

Among Us

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.

Google Play

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ($3)

Screenshot of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night game on Android

It feels like Castlevania games have been around forever, from the 1980s games on NES, SNES, Game Boy, and Sega Genesis to the 1997 releases of Symphony of the Night and Legends games on PlayStation. Whether you’re already a fan of the series or just looking for a decent platformer to play on mobile, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is well worth the price of entry. The original PlayStation version is undoubtedly the best Castlevania game around — and the Android version lives up to the hype. Charm and nostalgia aside, you can play using your touch screen, but we’d highly recommend using an Android controller. You follow Alucard, Dracula’s son, as he explores a mysterious castle looking for Richter, discovering new abilities and becoming more powerful along the way. The achievement system with battle milestones and seriously difficult boss fights ensure this game has longevity, and you can choose to play as Richter or Maria, too. Arguably the best mobile action game of all time, and well worth your money.

Google Play

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.

Google Play

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 PI 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, discovering clues, opening locks, solving puzzles, and exploring 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.

Google Play

Game Dev Tycoon ($5)

The concept of Game Dev Tycoon may sound very meta — a video game where you create video games — but don’t be deterred. You play as an ’80s game developer — because we all know the ’80s are the coolest decade — coding in your garage. The aim? Make a hit game so you can move into a cool office and hire a team of developers and artists to help you out. Make bigger, better, more bad-ass games as the industry matures and, of course, make your fortune. The idea is simple but engaging, and you’ll find yourself impatiently anticipating reports of how well your last game did, and how your next hit can reach an even wider audience. It’s not free, but for a mere $5 you’ll have a game you can sink a lot of time into, so it’s well worth the price of admission.

Google Play

Bloons TD 6 ($5)

Bloons TD 6

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.

Download Now

Exploding Kittens ($2)

Exploding Kittens

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.

Google Play

Call of Duty: Mobile

Call of Duty Mobile Season 7 on Android.

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 7: Elite of the Elite with a new themed event, new game mode, clan wars, and more.

Google Play

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