Essential Android-Exclusive Mobile Games01 May 2019 0
A lot of people choose Android for the freedom to customize their mobile experience, with many more unique tricks, themes and features available for Google's platform than Apple's walled garden. However, for gaming it seems the ubiquity of iDevices has led to Android becoming a second son to developers, with android ports coming late if at all (Fortnite's brief exclusivity notwithstanding.) But there's good news. The same anything-goes attitude that leads to a panoply of unique apps for Android also leads to unusual and exciting mobile games - you just have to look a little harder to find them.
If you're running low on funds, there's plenty of great free games on Android as well.
Don't forget that Android apps can be distributed outside of official Google channels! One great place to find new and exciting .apk files is itch.io, a repository for indie games, experiments, and early-access titles. A lot of interesting games in early-access have also been ported to Android as they undergo development, with many feature-complete and just getting polished up. A lot of great web games have also made their way over to Android.
So here are some of the best android-exclusive games that you won't find on iOS:
Red Rogue (Link)
Red Rogue is a roguelike platformer with a traditional twist: it can be played turn-based, where monsters only move when you do. What's more, Red Rogue lives up to its title with a grim grayscale palate that is livened only by splashes of red blood. Please enjoy kicking the heads of defeated enemies into other monsters and eating their beating hearts for health. Try it on the web for free, then pick it up on the Play store for a song.
Caves is a more traditional Roguelike streamlined for mobile in the Pixel Dungeons style. But don't let its simple appearance fool you. Caves is a brutally difficult dungeon crawl with the freedom to dig your own passages through the earth. The game is ad-supported with a single IAP to remove the ads.
Grue the Monster (Link)
If you can tempt adventurers into the 'pitch dark' then they will likely be eaten by you, the Grue, in this fun reversal of normal RPG roles. Since Grues are allergic to light, this roguish game becomes more of a puzzler as you try to get the dumb adventurers to get too close to the dark patches on the map.
Undervault breaks down the roguelike formula by reducing movement to room-to-room. Your character moves left to right and up and down through individual rooms of the map, including kitchens, bedrooms, and shops, using keys, switches and skills to unlock doors. Hunger and fatigue add some survival elements, but a random spinner and room cards let you put some control on what room shows up next. A challenging and unique take on dungeon-crawling.
Deity Quest (Link)
This PC port has a bit of Pokémon DNA since it features a minor god who recruits a team of monsters to fight its battles. In this version, you set your monsters into formation and let them duke it out in real-time 6 vs 6 battles while you watch from above and unleash the occasional lightning strike. It's got a cute 16-bit style and some pretty decent length.
Hyperspace Delivery Service (Link) (Itch.io)
This is a homage to early 90s space adventure sims, mashing up trading, management, space shooter and even primitive 2.5-D FPS gameplay. It's chock full of weirdo aliens rendered in garish purples, oranges, and blues. This gem is totally fun even in early access, and the price gets you both the desktop and Android versions.
MiniRTS (Link) (Itch.io)
If you've ever wanted to play StarCraft using only the mini-map, this is the game for you. Mini RTS shrinks basic RTS gameplay down to single pixels. It's designed to play in only a few minutes but has a surprisingly challenging AI.
Halfling Tycoon (Link)(Itch.io)
Halfling Tycoon is a basic management game where you build up a fantasy village and earn enough to fight the monsters out of new territory. It's surprisingly well-featured for what started as a web flash game. This one is available with ads on Android or in a pay-what-you-want scheme, with a $1 minimum, for all platforms, including Android.
Wicked Lair (Link)
This tower defense title was fairly well received on release, but it appears its iOS version has fallen victim to the Appocalypse. The game is a basic two-dimensional tower defense game with a fun Dungeon Keeper-esque theme. Not a game for serious tacticians, but a fun diversion. It's a free download with a single IAP for the whole game.
One more thing...
Additionally, Android is notorious for letting you install emulators that provide the engine behind your legally acquired collection of vintage console ROMs. RetroArch is the most full-featured, but arcane, whereas Robert Broglia's inexpensive paid iterations are the most polished.
What are your favourite Android exclusive games? Let us know in the comments!