Smartphones are the pocket computers that we used to dream of back in the 90s and early 00s. Not only are they great for browsing the Internet, chatting, and emailing on the go, but they can run a game pretty well on their own.
And games there are! Tons and tons of titles come out for both iOS and Android every day. Some are paid, but a lot are free. And, with that many games that don’t need your cash up front, how can you resist?
But, as we mentioned — there are tons of those. Just the thought of sifting through them is daunting. So, we did it for you.
We came up with a list of 20 free games for Android that are relatively new and you probably missed some of them. Of course, these 20 probably don’t deplete the full list of “best” games you can try. If a cool, free game comes to mind while you are reading our list — feel free to share it in the comments for other readers to enjoy!
An interesting new style of game developed this year — Auto Chess. It started off as a DOTA mod, then spun off into its own original game. Now, Valve took the Auto Chess idea and made an official DOTA-world game out of it. And it’s a blast.
Basically, you need to choose your “chesspieces” (DOTA heroes) out of a pool and place them on the board in a way that helps them complement each other. Once that’s done, the match starts. This is where the “auto” comes from — the characters fight on their own and behave differently, depending on their individual skills and characteristics. So, the strategy in this game comes from arranging your battle lines, then sitting back and watching them demolishing the enemy… or getting demolished.
An action RPG adventure, which is clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda series. Now, Oceanhorn is not exactly free — you can download it and play through the first chapter at no charge. If you like it, you can unlock the full game with a one-time $7 in-app purchase.
A looter shooter set in the world of Shadowgun. It offers nice graphics with smooth animations. We do recommend a controller as playing such a game on touchscreen takes away some of the experience (and also turns it into an auto-shooter). There are some Destiny vibes here, but very little — we certainly wouldn’t call it a ripoff, but if you did enjoy grinding on Destiny, you might also have fun with Shadowgun when the situation calls for smartphone gaming.
A very simple game, which is praised for its strangely satisfying animations and zen-like experience. It’s basically an autorun platformer — you tap the screen to jump over obstacles and collect coins for a high score, that’s pretty much it. Still, the Alto games are an addictive mobile experience that’ll help you burn the idle minutes of the day with a dose of nice visuals and a hypnotizing soundtrack.
Command & Conquer: Rivals
C&C: Rivals is a strategy game developed specifically for mobile. As an entry to the C&C series it does, in fact, carry a lot of the DNA, which makes classic Command & Conquer gameplay what it is. Rock-paper-scissors mechanics between unit composition, unit micromanagement, and heightened awareness are required to win a match against an evenly skilled foe. The games are quick and action-packed, letting you play a single round in about 5 minutes.
Star Combat Online
A starfighter PvP game, which tales you straight into a furball fight as soon as you finish the tutorial. It’s an auto-shooter, meaning your ship will fire automatically as long as you keep it locked on to an enemy. But worry not, this doesn’t take away from the excitement of trying to avoid fire from other players while also navigating a field of deadly debris. It’s a deathmatch game that’s easy to jump in and get some action out of. There’s a progression system and in-field healing items, which may cost you some money… freemium model, what can we say.
Sky Force Reloaded
A top-down shooter obviously inspired by the good old arcade games. You control your plane, dodging impossible amounts of on-screen projectiles by swiping your finger across the display. You airplane will automatically fire at all times, which may sound lame, but if you think about it — when we played those arcades back in the day, we newer stopped pumping the fire button. In this modern day and age, we let the Android game do the zombie-like button mashing.
A kind of racing game where you battle with the clock and the track’s obstacles most of the time. None the less, it’s addictive and its story is good enough to keep you hooked for at least one playthrough. Its gameplay is the perfect mix of “easy to learn, hard to master” and there are a lot of replays to be had if you want to grab the top score on every track.
A pretty awesome arcade spaceship shooter. You go in battle with 4 different fighters, each of them can be outfitted with their own unique weapon and bomb combination. It supports a Bluetooth controller and we recommend you try this game with one to enjoy it fully.
Now, it’s not 100% free. You can play through the full first episode at no charge, but if you want the full game, you will have to drop $10 on it. One time payment, no shenanigans.
Dere Evil Exe
This game starts out as a straightforward, but engaging platformer with simple controls and tough obstacles. Then, it blasts you to a “dark side” of the game in order to kickstart its storyline. You will be weaving in and out between cheerful platforming and devilish environments, trying to figure out where the narrative is leading you. It’s a short play, so it’s won’t take up too much of your time, and a fun game to go through!
Space Marshals 2
A top-down tactical action with great animations and a teeth-grinding difficulty. Stealth is not only a viable approach — it’s recommended that you stick to it for as long as you can!
You’ve got a rich arsenal of weapons to pick from, from dual wield pistols to assault rifles and sniper rifles, so it’s not like you are defenseless when you get caught. But the focus of Space Marshals is patience and tactical assault. If that sounds like your cup of tea – have at it!
Darkness Rises is a new action RPG game that you can play on iOS and Android, and it’s a treat. With graphics more reminiscent of a console game and a fast-paced gameplay, Darkness Rises will have you select through various classes of player from an earth-shattering Berserker to the magic-wielding Wizard. From then on, it’s a battle against a hoard of monsters. Use your class hero’s unique skills and develop a fighter that will be able to face tough boss battles because there will be some.
Dead Island Survivors
A top-down zombie game, which is a mix between RPG and tower defense. You’ve got your heroes to collect and level up and areas to clear out of zombie infestation. Of course, there will be microtransactions to speed things up a bit. It’s “player choice” and all.
Durango: Wild Lands
An arcade platformer / puzzler that will test your twitch reflexes as you help two sisters traverse mystical mazes with various traps. Basically, you’ve got the two sisters running in a straight line. It’s your job to make them jump or switch places when they need to pass color-coded energy fields. Its unique art style and setting reminds us of Badland and Limbo, both of which are great games in their own right.
Shadow Fight 3
Shadow Fight is a very smooth fighting game, developed specifically for mobile and with touch screen in mind. So, it’s much less painful to actually try and be good at it. On the contrary, a lot of people out there are addicted to their Shadow Fighting.
You’ve got a lengthy single player story to go through, but also multiplayer duels to fight. Of course, the game is all about collecting gear and decking out your hero, either by grinding or by paying for premium chests.
Just as the title says, this game has you sitting in cover… and firing at the bad dudes. It’s not as boring as it sounds, though — the gun play feels pretty solid, the setting and animations are satisfying to observe, and there’s an actual story to play through.
After being copied countless of times, THE battle royale game that started this whole craze finally made it to iOS and mobile. Well… it’s actually a copy of PUBG made by sub-contractor Tencent, but at least it has the original creator’s stamp of approval.
It plays like a pretty well-designed 3rd person shooter, with two fire buttons for each of your thumbs, making it easier to shoot and move in different situations.
Probably the best Counter Strike-like shooter for phone you can find right now. Not only is the resemblance to CS:GO uncanny, the game runs super-smooth and the touch controls have been set up in a way to make it a bit less painful to play this FPS without a controller. It’s a free download and we really suggest you check it out!
A side-scrolling beat ’em up with easy, one-touch controls. It also supports co-op multiplayer so you can kick pixels together with your friends. Great arcade game to burn time with!
South Park: Phone Destroyer
The first official South Park game on mobiles is a mix between a real-time strategy and a collectible-card game, which brings out the best of both genres in a humor-infused gem that brings a fresh new take on the South Park universe. Similarly to the PC/console games in the South Park franchise (The Stick of Truth and the Fractured But Whole), you will play as the New Kid or “Douchebag”, as Eric Cartman loves to refer to the protagonist of the games. The gameplay, albeit unique of its own, has the same premise as multiple other CCG games and requires you to deplete the enemy’s health pool in order to emerge victorious in the unforgiving PVP multiplayer battles.
Iron Blade: Monster Hunter RPG
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
The classic Nintendo 64 title has recently graced mobile devices, and for gamers that live and breathe Nintendo, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a must-have. Just like in the original game, you take on the role of campsite manager and spend time with your favorite anthropomorphic pals. Definitely a great time-waster!
Dungeon Hunter 5 — Action RPG
An epic top-down deamon slasher that has all the key elements: a wide variety of ugly demons to kill, tons of items to farm and grind for, and multiplayer co-op, so that you can do the aforementioned with friends. There’s also a PVP mode for the competitive ones out there, but it’s all about raiding each other’s strongholds, not actual one on one battles.
The Sims Mobile
The Sims has been a surprisingly successful franchize, considering it’s based around helping a digital human pet to succeed in work, relationships, have parties, and… well, live their life. Granted, a ton of people out there like to torture their sims by selling all their furniture and letting them sleep in the yard. So, yeah, you could say the game has something for everyone.
It has finally made it to mobile last year, so you can take care of your tamagochi sim while on the go.
Arena of Valor
Tencent’s own take on the MOBA formula is a pretty good one. Unlike some other mobile MOBAs, which try to focus on smaller skirmishes, this one goes all out 5v5, but the matches are still fast-paced rushes of chaos and destruction. After all, a mobile game can’t afford to have 40-minute-rounds.
Currently, there are 40 heroes, including a number of recognizable DC heroes and villains. The roster is still growing.
A really addicting arcade game where you control a mini dragon in its quest for gold. You use your left thumb to launch the dragon around and the right thumb to aim fireballs at various enemies. Each time you prepare for a shot, time slows down, allowing you to aim better and making you feel like a bad… Samuel Jackson in the process. Great time-burner!
Stranger Things: The Game
A retro-styled RPG adventure based on the popular Netflix show Stranger Things… which itself is a retro-styled adventure, taking place in 1984. Yep, this is meta.
Last Day on Earth: Survival
A top-down zombie survival with elements of crafting and building. Despite the cliche that this genre has become, it’s a well-made game with solid controls and animations. You establish a base camp and go out into unknown territory to fight the wilderness, salvage materials, and upgrade your hero and your keep. There’s also multiplayer both in the form of co-op and PvP.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
An adventure set in the universe of… well, Harry Potter. You customize your own character who is selected to become a pupil of the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From then on, it’s an RPG adventure with a story about unraveling a mysterious secret.
An endless runner-type game set in the Sonic universe. You can play this one in competitive multiplayer where your goal is to win the race, collect as many rings as you can, and possibly push some of your adversaries into obstacles and ruin their day. If that’s a bit too close and personal for you, there’s also an arsenal of mines, fireballs, and other wacky stuff to throw at your foes. Who doesn’t love that?