The best Android games | Pocket Tactics

The best Android games

Why should iOS get to have all the fun? With our list of Android greats you'll never want for games again

Wondering what the best Android games are? So were we. Whether strategy, roguelikes, deckbuilders, Gachas, MOBAs, or point-and-click, the sheer range of great games available on the platform is mind boggling. You could spend a good hundred days playing only Android games, and after it a friend would still pop out of the woodwork to recommend another one that you missed.

Variety is the spice of life, and Android, in all its versatility, has so much to offer you. Also, as technology gets better, there are fewer and fewer limitations in terms of what our phones can run. So we’ve created a list of our ultimate picks; be they games that started on PC, but are wonderfully suited for mobile, or the homegrown, which began right here on this platform. 

No matter if you’re at home, at a friends house, or out and about, our list of the best Android games will keep you flush with excellent content. We’ll keep this updated, too, so it’s well worth bookmarking this so you can refer back to it often.

To make navigation easier, we’ve broken up the best Android games into the following categories:

What are the best android games?

These games represent the cream of the crop in terms of the best Android games. We absolutely consider them to be essential downloads, because no matter what genre you enjoy, we are pretty sure you’ll get a kick out of each and every one of them.

rpgs

It’s hard to define what qualities make the best mobile RPGs, but if one had to choose, they’d probably find it in the name: roleplay. Everybody wants to pretend to be someone else sometimes, and RPGs offer both a character, whose story and perspective you can inhabit, and a world for you to explore. These are the best Android RPGs:

Oceanhorn

Channeling the breezy ocean-vibes of Zelda’s Wind Waker, Oceanhorn sees you step into the shoes of a young adventurer, searching for his missing father. The game features combat, magic, and a stunning visual style, which was only improved in its third person sequel. Oceanhorn and Oceanhorn 2 are fantastic games, proving that proper RPGs can not only work, but can be truly excellent on the mobile platform.

star wars: knights of the old republic

One of the most celebrated RPGs of all time, KOTOR is BioWare at its best, and if you look closely you can recognise the foundations for much of what became the Mass Effect series. In the game, you play as a Republic soldier/Jedi during a war against the Sith, making narrative choices, creating a party of characters, and fighting in real-time combat. The games also properly introduced the Mandalorians to Star Wars, as well as the Mandalorian Wars, which have recently been made canon. Just in case anyone is currently watching the TV show!

stardew valley

Considered by many to be the spiritual successor to Harvest Moon, the classic farming game, Stardew Valley tries to channel the same easy-going tone, and back-to-basics play. In the game, you have recently inherited your grandfather’s old ranch; you work to make it thrive again, become part of the local community, and maybe even find yourself a love interest. The game is also multiplayer, so friends can come and help you with the chores. Stardew Valley is less of a farming game, and more a story about beginning anew, and building a home. If that ain’t RPG material, I don’t know what is.

Grimvalor

Imagine, if you will, a Souls-like platformer that not only implements the mechanics of Dark Souls, but also tries to create the same aesthetic. That is basically Grimvalor; a Souls-like platformer where you fight your way through rooms of enemies, to eventually face bosses. We may not have Pascal’s Wager on Android (yet) but Grimvalor is a more than worthy substitute; both challenging to play, and with a decent control system.

Minecraft

You see a brand new world stretching out before you: how will you use this opportunity? Will you build a gigantic monument to yourself? Will you farm pandas? Will you pour lava on your unsuspecting friend’s houses? For those of you who have been living in a cave (but not the ones in Minecraft) this game centres around block-based building and survival. But it’s also a great RPG, because the possibilities of what you can do and build in your own little world, are quite literally endless. It’s also probably one of the most lucrative games of all time, considering its popularity vs. its development.

Pokémon go

While not an RPG in the strictest sense of the word, Pokémon Go does see you explore an open world in a more classic sense. This location-based game has you out and about in the ACTUAL WORLD, catching Pokémon, and competing with other players to become leaders of your local gym. Many of you may have lost contact with Pokémon Go after it’s surge in popularity a few years back, but it’s still supported with regular updates, and during the current isolation, Niantic has actually made it easier to play from home.

strategy

We think the key to creating the best mobile strategy games is simplicity; an understanding that the basic truths of the genre will always be the same. Even grand strategy isn’t good because it’s unnecessarily complex, but because it is instead made up of layers and layers of simple mechanics. What makes strategy really special is how those things interact. Here are the best Android strategy games:

plague inc.

If someone heard the name Plague Inc. they might assume this game was about defending humanity against a pandemic. How wrong they would be. Considered by many as the superior prequel to Rebel Inc. (though Rebel Inc. is still proper good), Plague Inc. has you create a pathogen, and work to spread it across the world, ending civilisation as we know it. Topical, eh? The game is a unique mixture of strategy and realistic simulation, and it’s definitely worth checking out, no matter your strategy tastes.

the battle of polytopia

If Civilisation for dummies was a thing, it would probably look remarkably similar to Polytopia. With the exception that, actually, Polytopia isn’t dumb at all. This game takes the 4x genre, and boils it down to its base elements, creating a simple, yet satisfying grand strategy experience. It also has a wonderfully minimal aesthetic, almost Age of Empires-esque, that any classic strategy fan will love.

Reigns: Game of thrones

Considered by many to be the best version of Reigns, this game adapts the classic game formula into the setting of George R.R. Martin’s ruthless fantasy world. Reigns: Game of Thrones is not only the best mobile Game of Thrones adaptation, it also brings a wonderful degree of complexity to what is, otherwise, a very simple game system. You may only be swiping left or right, but in Westeros’s atmosphere of betrayal and court intrigue, even these minor decisions can have massive consequences.

tropico

In Feral Interactive’s wonderful port of Kalypso’s classic strategy game, you rule! Become the self-styled dictator of a Caribbean island nation, and build a society based upon your whims. Tropico features the same setting, the same strategy play, but also the same humour that the series is so well known for. All of that PC goodness, packed into your mobile.

Rome: total war

Have you ever seen a pack of raging war elephants careen into thousands of peasants? Then my friend, you have not lived. Arguably one of the best strategy games of all time, and definitely, in my humble opinion, the greatest strategy series of all time, Rome: Total War brings the grand campaign play, and RTS battle of the series, to mobile. Feral Interactive has also ported the standalone expansions, Barbarian Invasion, and Alexander, meaning there’s plenty of Android Total War for any who want it.

raiders of the north sea

Adapted from the award-winning board game of the same name, Raiders of the North Sea sees you gather a warband to plunder for riches, gathering resources to arm your plucky band of marauders, and to outfit your ships. Raiders is just one of many examples of strategy-based board games that also have wonderful mobile versions. Have a look at our Raiders of the North Sea review for a more in-depth analysis!

Bad north

In more Viking-based, mobile shenanigans, Bad North is probably one of the best strategy games on mobile. Adapting the classic tower defence formula, you and your units must defend islands from bands of rampaging raiders. The game features a wonderful simplicity, both in terms of visual aesthetic, and in terms of how you play. But as the islands get bigger, and the units multiply, things really start to heat up, and you’ll find yourself having to put out fires left-right-and-centre. See our Bad North review for more thoughts!

terraforming mars

Make the Red Planet green, in this corporation-based colonisation game. Yet another wonderful adaption of a great board game, Terraforming Mars sees you take the lead in planetary colonisation efforts, building and managing a tile-based map, and making the planet habitable through research and technology. A must-play for any 4x, or management simulation lovers. Interested? Take a look at our Terraforming Mars review.

clash royale

From the same series as the tower defence, base builder, Clash of Clans, comes this real-time arena battle game. Featuring aspects of deck building, you can use spells, soldiers, and fantasy creatures to de-throne your opponent and topple their kingdom, in a compact, yet fairly elegant gameplay loop. The game is also free-to-play, meaning there’s no barrier to you battling right now.

Kingdom Rush: Vengeance

One of the most popular strategy mobile series, Kingdom Rush: Vengeance sees you take command of an army trying to conquer the kingdom. The game is RTS, and takes a lots of inspiration from classic base builders and tower defence, so you train troops and heroes to lead them, using your army to topple the six other kings vying for control also.

fallout shelter

Launched at the exact time as Fallout 4’s announcement, Fallout Shelter began a tradition in mobile of publishers dropping games with no warning that has perpetuated even to today. But over the past few years, Bethesda has also developed it into a fun little simulation game, including mini-dungeons, as well as seasonal events. In the game, you play as the Overseer of a newly founded vault; the bombs have just fallen, and you have to set survivors to work, managing needs such as power, food, and water, but also exploring the wasteland for loot.

iron marines

Created by Ironhide Game Studio, who also made Kingdom Rush, Iron Marines could be considered the series’ sci-fi cousin. The game is also RTS battle and carries across much of Kingdom Rush’s smart strategy play. You land on alien planets, recruiting soldiers, heroes, and mechs to fight a variety of alien monsters. Imagine a little like Helldivers, but RTS.

The banner saga

With the exception of perhaps Frostpunk, few games have done as good a job as the Banner Saga in terms of combining strategy and narrative. The gods are dead, the world is ending, and the sun has stopped moving in the sky; you and your Norse caravan of wanderers must take to the road, and do what you can to survive. Will you make the necessary sacrifices? Or will you die, and be forgotten.

puzzle

The thing that makes the best mobile puzzle games the best, is creating an idea which can then be factored up in complication. Think of Monument Valley and its simple premise: architecture can be altered as if it’s an optical illusion. But what makes that game really excellent, are the imaginative puzzles that are created from using that simple idea. Good puzzle games can be as much about creating the rules of a world, as they are about creating puzzles.

mini metro

From the same developer as Mini Motorways, comes a game about creating a subway in a new city. With a beautifully minimal visual aesthetic, and smart management simulation, Mini Metro challenges players with the logistical problem of keeping the trains running on time. It’s a simple problem, but one with a complex management based solution. It really gives you a newfound appreciation for railway workers.

monument valley

Perhaps one of the best games on mobile, Monument valley is a smart and beautiful puzzle game, which sees you navigating your way through shifting architecture. The concept is simple; you are presented with a structure, and your character has to make their way from the entrance to the exit. But a lot can happen inbetween those two doors. Monument Valley plays with space and architecture in such a smart way, using optical illusion and point-and-click play, as you discover your often surprising route through a space.

lara croft go

Following in the footsteps of Hitman Go, Square Enix created Lara Croft Go, more focused around channeling the classic adventure puzzle-solving of the original Tomb Raider series. It is an elegant, yet simple game, featuring exploration, danger, and mystery. All things you want from a good adventure story.

The Room: Old Sins

There’s a good dose of the escape room at the heart of The Room: Old Sins. If you enjoy older games like Eternal Darkness, which have trawling spooky mansions for secrets, or a good walking simulator, then you will definitely like this game. You are presented with a series of cryptic clues and esoteric problems to solve, as you unravel the mystery behind a mansion, and a murder.

Threes!

Learn it in a minute, play it for a lifetime. Threes! is a simple yet ridiculously addictive game, which will be perfect for any Sudoku, or number puzzle lover. On a four-by-four grid, you must combine, and create multiples of three, by sliding the grid using touch controls. That’s essentially the entire game, ad-infinitum. If you don’t believe us on how addictive it is, try it yourself.

Her Story

Created by Sam Barlow, the developer behind Telling Lies, Her Story is a new approach at the detective game. You watch clips from a police database, showing the interrogation of a young woman in regards to a murder. But there is no real guidance. You presume your job here is to solve the mystery. You can type search terms into the database to find new clips, based upon what you have just watched, and gradually, you can build a picture of what happened. Her Story’s method of allowing players to uncover information on their own terms has become particularly popular in games, and can be seen in both Return of the Obra Dinn and Outer Wilds.

Gorogoa

This BAFTA award-winning puzzle game by Jason Roberts, is a hand-drawn mystery, where problems must be solved by shifting the four frames on the screen. It is a simple, yet very smart mechanic, which not only allows the game’s story to be exposed in a worthwhile way, but also creates a beautiful visual structure, around which Roberts hand-drawn art can be presented.

Hidden Folks

Did you ever find yourself wishing that ‘Where’s Wally?’ was on mobile? Well, Hidden Folks goes one step further. Through interactive tapping on the screen, you uncover a variety of people and objects in an image; it could unfurling a tent flap, or opening a door, you never know until you tap. The game also feels very relaxing and therapeutic, perhaps because it’s so visually reminiscent of those mindfulness colouring books.

Framed 2

This noir-ish puzzle game does something similar to Gorogoa. In Framed 2, you move and slide comic book-style panels to alter the outcome of a story. It’s a pretty basic idea, but you get heavily invested in the narrative, as you build the scene, then watch it unfold. The original Framed was also Hideo Kojima’s game of the year in 2014, for any Metal Gear fans.

Florence

This indie marvel is honestly a masterclass in why the limitations of mobile as a medium can actually be turned into strengths. In Florence, you follow the story of a young woman going through a relationship; there’s no dialogue, no written speech, only music, and your fingers moving objects on the screen. Florence is not strictly a puzzle game, but the way you interact with Florence’s world, is by solving small puzzles, such as piecing together dialogue bubbles. It is a beautiful short story of love won and love lost, and I will never stop trying to convince people to play it.

card

Whether roguelike, deck building, or arena-based, the best mobile card games comprise a variety of different modes and playstyles. Those could be lore-based card games from other series, such as Hearthstone, or Gwent, which nonetheless manage to be excellent standalone games. Or they could more akin to Slay the Spire clones, with dungeon crawling, and roguelike elements.

gwent

Many of you Witcher fans who loved the Wild Hunt, may remember the card game you got to play throughout. Since becoming its own standalone game, Gwent has had new factions, regular content updates, and even a deck building RPG based upon it: Thronebreaker. It is a fantastic deck builder, drawing from the combined lore of The Witcher books and the Cd Projekt Red games, creating an interesting property, which is both, and neither. It is also significantly quicker to play than Hearthstone, meaning it’s far more convenient as a mobile card game.

card crawl

This solitaire-style dungeon crawler sees you fighting through a deck a cards. In a similar vein to a match-three RPG, finding symbols such as swords will let you attack, shields will defend, and potions will heal you. It’s a stripped down formula, but like most simple games, it’s surprising addictive, as you defeat monsters, use card abilities, and do some mini deck building.

Hearthstone

One of the most influential deck builders on mobile, Hearthstone has you battling an opponent, using an ever-increasing mana pool to play cards, and escalate the battle. Attack the enemy hero and reduce their power to zero to win. But the sheer number of heroes, units, and spells you can employ is pretty crazy. Hearthstone even has an auto chess mode, called Battlegrounds, which is super inventive, and lots of fun. If you want some guidance for the mode, be sure to check out our list of Hearthstone Battlegrounds tips and tactics.

Meteorfall: Journeys

A fun yet weird card-based roguelike, Meteorfall: Journeys is quite similar to card crawl, as you choose an adventurer, and face down monsters by drawing cards from the ability deck. Once again the simplest formula is extremely effective. Meteorfall also has a wonderful art style which is kind of reminiscent of Adventure Time.

Shooters

It’d be hard to blame someone for thinking that mobile wasn’t the best platform for shooting games, but they’d be dead wrong. Call of Duty Mobile  showed that shooters can not only be satisfying on mobile, but can be inventive as well. Even before then, there were plenty of Android shooters which were still fun to play.

Shadowgun: Legends

There’s a lot of Destiny in the FPS Shadowgun: Legends, and I mean that in a good way. Alien forces have invaded the earth, and the only hope to beat them are the Shadowguns; it certainly sounds familiar. But Shadowgun has many of Destiny’s best bits, the cool weapons, the PvP, and most of all, the satisfying gunplay. It also has a large range of modes; from raids, to arena-based combat.

Brawl Stars

This fantastic arena battler isn’t necessarily a shooter, though some of the characters do shoot, but it does contain the same fantastic head-to-head battle that’s synonymous with a good FPS. Choose one of a huge number of champions, and fight against others in a variety of online modes. Brawl Stars also has a slick mobile shooter-esque control system, with two sticks; one for movement, and one for attacks.

call of duty: mobile

The king of the mobile shooter, and mobile game of the year at the Game Awards 2019. Call of Duty: Mobile distils all that in good in the Call of Duty series: the shooting, the multiplayer, the weapons, and puts it on mobile. That, in itself, is an impressive feat. Call of Duty: Mobile offers a variety of modes, controller support, but also a really inventive touch control system, with an auto-fire function that makes it surprisingly easy to play. If you want some tactical advice, check out our Call of Duty: Mobile tips.

PUBg mobile

The original battle royale is on mobile, but PUBG Mobile is a strange one. A lot of people enjoyed the original PC game, because of a certain level of what I shall call, jank. People liked the glitches and weird unexpected stuff that happened. By comparison, PUBG Mobile actually plays very well, which strangely makes it the better running of the two games. Other than that, it essentially boils down the experience of PUBG (minus the jank) and fits it on your mobile.

san andreas

Shooting is one of the many things you can do in San Andreas, though I won’t mention the others. The fact that games like San Andreas are on mobile now is scary enough in itself, and only goes to show how much mobile technology is improving. The mobile version of the game offers much the same experience it always did: a rampagin’, brawlin’, shootin’ crime-fest.

adventure

Taking influence from the classic point-and-click PC adventure games, such as Grim Fandango, Broken Sword, or Monkey Island, these series try to channel that same sense of interactive fiction; of journeying through both a world, and a story.

Sorcery!

Inkle’s aim has always been to create gaming experiences that can be enjoyed by everyone, whether they are gamers or not. It’s quite easy to see this in their interactive fiction work, such as 80 Days, but before 80 Days, there was ‘Sorcery!’ adapted from the Steve Jackson adventure books of the same name, ‘Sorcery!’ sees you adventuring to recover a kingdom’s lost crown, getting into all kinds of scrapes and scuffles, with your only recourse being either combat, or spells. The spell system in ‘Sorcery!’ is something special, and will get you out all kinds of situations, provided you remember the three runes to cast each.

dandara

This is one of those rare PC games, where the mobile control system is so good, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t developed for mobile originally. In Dandara, you play a heroine journeying across a kingdom filled with hostile invaders, but the trick is the game’s twin stick approach. In the game you jump from wall to wall, firing and moving, and with one stick control movement, and the other directional attacks, it’s feels damn near flawless.

downwell

Imagine the intentional monochrome dreariness of Binding of Isaac, crossed with the descent and escalation of Spelunky, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Downwell is. In this dungeon descending roguelike, you play as a young boy, exploring a well for untold riches, his only companion, a set of gun boots. Pretty convenient for well-based exploration I’d say!

80 days

In Inkle’s BAFTA nominated game, inspired by the classic Jules Verne novel of the same name, you play as Phineas Fogg, having made a bet to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. In classic Inkle style, this takes the form of a text-based adventure, and you’ll have to make a variety of narrative choices to keep your tight schedule.

oddmar

In this Norse-themed adventure game, you play as Oddmar, a Viking who’s not worthy to enter Valhalla. But one day an opportunity presents itself, and Oddmar sets off in search of adventure and glory. It’s a fun little platformer with a lovely visual style; well worth any self-respecting Viking’s time.

crashlands

If you imagine a space-based version of Don’t Starve, you’d be pretty close to the truth of Crashlands; and if that description excites you as much as it does me, you’re in the right place. Stranded on an alien planet, Flux Dabes, galactic trucker, must fight for survival, crafting, making friends with the local fauna and flora, and uncovering the planet’s secrets. It’s a great little survival game, with cute visuals, and a theme which feels surprisingly fresh.

moba

Multiplayer online battle arenas are a fun way of combining aspects of RTS, hero-based play, and elements of tower defence. Sometimes there’s nothing better that, in the chaos of a round, spotting a hole in the enemy defence, exploiting it, and leading your team to victory.

vainglory

This free-to-play, arena brawler is based around choosing one of over 48 heroes, and bringing them to battle in any one of the game’s various modes. Vainglory is incredibly popular on mobile, and with great graphics, fast competitive play, and cross-platform multiplayer, it’s easy to see why.

racing

You might think that racing games wouldn’t lend themselves that well to mobile, but there are plenty of series that prove otherwise. Asphalt’s automated acceleration shows how even with limited controls, you can still race, and with more and more controller support, these games can be on par with a lot of console or PC racing games.

mario kart tour

That’s right, Mario Kart on mobile. Just as with Call of Duty: Mobile, simply the act of bringing a classic game to the mobile platform should be enough to impress. But Mario Kart Tour also brings your favourite characters, plenty of modes to play in, and regular content updates, meaning that they’ll always be more racing to do.

asphalt 9: legends

This racing game is honestly astonishing on mobile. With both a slick control scheme, controller support, flashy triple-A visuals, as well as Burnout-style smashes and crashes, Asphalt 9 is a huge amount of fun. It’s also free-to-play, so if you want some high quality racing in your life, look no further.

Riptide GP: Renegade

Cars ain’t the only thing you can race, you know? In Riptide you take part in the future sport of hydrojet racing, where riders wear armour, and perform death-defying stunts, all while trying to avoid the boys in blue (hydrojets are as illegal as they sound). Basically the game is an illicit jet ski simulator, but it’s also lots of weird and wonderful fun.

Motorsport Manager 3

Not a racing game in the strictest possible sense, Motorsport Manager 3 instead sees you manage a race team from humble origins to greatness. If you love all things car, and management simulators, you will adore this game.

Alto’s Odyssey

Endless runners aren’t racing games in the classic sense, but you are still racing against something. In Alto’s Odyssey, it’s yourself. In the game, you move through each gorgeous generated-map, completing a series of goals, which then allow you to move onto the next level. But Alto also features an endless mode, where you can just ride forever through an ever-changing map, which with beautiful architecture, and changing weather conditions, is a truly relaxing experience.

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