Sometimes you just want to be able to play a game on your smartphone. A lot of gamers look down at mobile games, but they’re missing out, as smartphones are capable of providing great gaming experiences. From shooters and RPGs to puzzle and narrative titles, Android and Google Play has something for everyone to enjoy. We’ve rounded-up thirty titles for you to try out, ranging from free-to-play to free-to-start with microtransactions to titles you simply pay a little money for and just play. These are the best Android games of 2020!
Navigate this guide:
Best Android Shooters
You may not think shooters would be good on smartphones. Without buttons or keys, it might feel like shooters would be difficult and inaccurate… but that doesn’t have to be the case! These shooters were ported or created with touch controls in mind, and end up being great fun, whether you are playing alone or with friends.
Fortnite might be the leading battle royale on PC and consoles, but PUBG Mobile dominates the mobile battle royale genre! PUBG Mobile takes the complete experience from the popular PC version and adapts it to the small screen. PUBG Mobile offers a control scheme that is a step above most mobile games, and it’s free to play to boot! We even have some great tips and tricks to get you started.
Call Of Duty Mobile
Not a fan of battle royales? Call of Duty Mobile is created by the same developers as PUBG Mobile but offering a different type of first-person shooter experience. You’ll get the same great controls, but instead of purely battle royale gameplay, you’ll also get classic Call of Duty modes like 5v5 and Zombies. The battle royale is, of course, still there if you want to spice it up though!
You can also get some great single-player shooters on Google Play! Morphite is a single-player first-person shooter that pulls a lot of inspiration from No Man’s Sky. Exploring mysterious planets and fight alien beings as you try to uncover your forgotten past. Not convinced? You can try the first two missions of the game for free before committing to a purchase.
Best Android RPGs
Role-playing games are another genre that you may not think fit on mobile devices. Asides from retro, turn-based RPGs, the glitz and glamour of JRPGs might feel best suited for the big-screen TV, while the micromanagement of WRPGs may feel better on PC. But, RPGs are making big splashes on Android, and you don’t want to miss out.
Taking the world by storm, Genshin Impact is an action-RPG with exploration elements strikingly similar to Breath of the Wild. With a ton of content released at launch and more coming, this is a title that will provide a lot of entertainment to come. Although it is a gacha/loot box title (as in you need to pay for dice-rolls to try and obtain new characters), you can play all of the content and still get some new characters without having to spend a dime.
An MMO? On Android? It may seem like a strange idea, given what you may know about World of Warcraft-style MMORPGs, but Runescape Mobile pulls it off well. The game is still in Early Access, but you can give it a download for free and begin exploring the world now. Runescape Mobile is cross-platform as well, so you can easily switch between playing the PC version and logging into the app when you want the mobile experience.
Baldur’s Gate II
As it turns out, older RPGs that were point and click port pretty well to smartphones! A number of classic WRPGs have made the jump to Google Play, but if there’s only one you’re going to buy, you’ll want to make it Baldur’s Gate II. One of the most popular of the early Bioware titles, Baldur’s Gate II is a Dungeons and Dragons-style RPG, with a lot of micromanagement and difficult challenges. You need to pay to play, but it regularly goes on sale!
Best Android Puzzle Games
Puzzles and portability are a match made in heaven, and that’s not just because Match-3s is a puzzle sub-genre! The genre makes it easy to play a game or two while waiting in line or during a commute, and as such, there are a bunch of these on the Google Play store. These are the three we think are must-tries.
A big hit on Apple devices when originally released, Monument Valley is also available at the Google Play Store! Offering a unique style, Monument Valley tasks players with manipulating and navigating the architecture around them in order to progress. The first game in the series is just $4, and if you end up liking it, you can grab the sequel for $5!
Taking the Match-3 genre to its literal conclusion, Threes! is a very simple puzzler about matching numbers into multiples of three. Like any good puzzle title, it’s easy to learn but exceedingly difficult to master. You can pick up the free version to give the game a try, and the full, ad-free version is just $1.
I Love Hue
I Love Hue is the puzzle title I keep installed on my phone at all times because it’s just that relaxing. This puzzle title tasks you with rearranging colors in order to make a color spectrum swatch. It’s fun and colorful. The peaceful music and the inability to lose also provides a relaxed experience. I Love Hue is free to play, and the ads are restricted only for getting more prisms, so they aren’t forced upon you and interrupt your experience.
Best Android Card Games
Up for a round of cards? Many card and trading card games have made the jump to smartphones in recent years, and the results couldn’t be better. Booting up for a game of cards is quicker and easier than heading over to the desktop and booting it up. Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or at the DMV, these card games will keep you occupied.
Blizzard’s collectible card game is arguably one of the best around, and it’s free to start on Google Play! You don’t need to know any World of Warcraft or Blizzard lore to get into Hearthstone (trust me, Hearthstone is the only Blizzard game I put considerable time into), and the developers keep the game fresh with new card packs and retiring old cards to prevent power creep. You can play against people online, or have fun and learn new strategies with the Solo Adventures.
Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links
Yu-Gi-Oh, in 2020? It may seem like a surprising choice, but Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links is a very strong card game on Google Play. The show was always the most visible aspect of the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise, but the actual card game is still going strong, and Duel Links provides a great entryway into it. While the game does have premium currency to buy booster packs in new cards, Konami regularly gives out this currency for free and is more generous than most games of the trading card genre, so you will have plenty of cards to use to build a deck and duel with.
Anyone who has played The Witcher 3 likely knows about Gwent, the card game hidden within the massive RPG. The card game became massively popular with fans, so eventually, a standalone game was released on mobile devices. Witcher themes besides, this is a fun card game with a different flow than most card games out there. If you’re looking for something a little different, but still popular enough to play online with others, Gwent is your best choice.
Best Android Sims
Sims, or simulation games, are always fun and relaxing, and they’re great on smartphones as well. Popping in for a few minutes (or hours) to take care of tasks, then going about your day is a great way to enjoy these next three titles. Just make sure to keep an eye on the time — sometimes you’ll spend way more time than you thought playing these!
If you enjoyed the Harvest Moon series and wish you could get something similar on your phone? Stardew Valley is your answer! This indie title has all of the farming and romance of the Harvest Moon series, with additional mechanics that will keep you coming back. Being on your smartphone means that you can easily play a day while waiting or bored, then get back to your day.
Cultist Simulator is a little different from the average sim game, and it’s not just from the name. A card-based title, Cultist Simulator tasks you with attempting to become the leader of a cult. Cards and actions must be played properly to succeed, and there are many ways to do so. If you’re looking for something different in the genre, this is the game to try.
Minecraft is, quite possibly, one of the most popular games of all time. It’s popular for a good reason too, being a great sandbox sim game. You can even build and play in your dream sandbox on Google play, and it’ll only cost $6. The mobile version of Minecraft can also be brought online, so you can play with others on the go!
Best Android Rhythm Games
The touch screen of smartphones and rhythm games are a great combination. If you regularly tap your finger to the beat, you can easily do the same with a touch screen. Why buy weird plastic guitars and drum sets for console rhythm games when you have a perfectly capable Andriod device right here?
BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!
My personal go-to Android rhythm title, BanG Dream is a super sweet rhythm game starring some girls working to become idols. Taking a bit of a Guitar Hero rhythm game approach, you’ll tap and hold notes for each of the idols. While the gacha mechanics can be annoying at times, you can easily get by without spending money, and playing online with friends is a blast.
Beat Hazard 2
Want to listen to your own music when playing rhythm games? Beat Hazard 2 turns your tracks into shoot-em-up levels, tasking you with dodging bullets and defeating bosses to the beat. It’s a neat concept, and shoot-em-ups are a perfect mix for the smartphone. Give this a download and start shooting to the beat!
Love Live! School Idol Festival All-Stars
Yes, not one, but two of the best rhythm games on Android include cute anime girl idols singing cute songs at you. Part of the Love Live! franchise, you don’t need to watch the anime to enjoy the gameplay. Similar to Hatsune Miku titles, you’ll tap to the beat and perform certain actions while the idols dance in the background. It’s a lot of fun, but difficult if you’re easily distracted.
Best Narrative Android Games
Narrative games and portability definitely go hand and hand. The touch controls of a smartphone can sometimes be hard to adjust to, but narrative titles don’t require quick reflexes or precise controls to work. You can simply go at your own pace. Here are three games to try!
Think you have what it takes to rule? A simple narrative title, Reigns has you controlling a line of kings or queens as you try to hold onto your rule (which never lasts long). You need to balance the favor of four separate groups–have that favor be too low (or high!), and you’ll end up with your head on a spike, most likely. All three Reigns titles–Reigns, Reigns: Her Majesty, and Reigns: Game of Thrones–are all worth giving a try.
Based on the classic novel Around the World in 80 Days, 80 Days has you… trying to get around the world in that time period. It’s more interesting than just that, though–being an Oregon Trail-like title (without dysentery), each playthrough is a different adventure, and different challenges will block your way around the world.
A Normal Lost Phone
A Normal Lost Phone is a game that pretty much says what it is. You find a lost phone, and it’s up to you to figure out who the owner is so you can return it. A Normal Lost Phone has you solving puzzles and digging through a stranger’s personal data in order to solve the central mystery. Who is Sam–and where are they?
Best Android Arcade Games
The arcade experience is still alive and well on Android! These three games will help satisfy your need to get a high score.
Canabalt is a title that helped to start the entire auto-runner genre, and now you can get it in HD for Android! Run and jump through the cityscape, attempting to escape destruction. The simple controls of just tapping to jump and nothing else make it ideal for mobile devices, and a lot of fun for a quick play while commuting.
Pac-Man, one of the oldest popular games around. Pac-Man is a very interesting take on the classic formula. The pellet chomping formula is mixed with an auto-scrolling twist, and you need to outrun a glitching board. It’s all about getting that elusive 256 pellets eaten in a row, and its arcade-like gameplay keeps you coming back for another playthrough.
Jetpack Joyride is a fast-paced auto-runner that’s a blast to play. You need to learn the unique physics of your jetpack in order to avoid enemies and obstacles and get even farther down the path before you eventually fail. With the incentive to get coins to unlock new upgrades and looks, Jetpack Joyride will keep you coming back for a while.
Other Great Android Games
These are titles that don’t neatly fit into a specific genre but are still more than worthy of your attention. Give them a download!
Enjoying a sudden surge in popularity, Among Us is essentially a digital version of the traitor genre of board games. It’s up to your party to keep an eye on the spaceship and successfully complete tasks. However, there’s an alien imposter (or imposters!) looking to murder your crew, and they’re doing their best to remain hidden. Among Us is best played in big groups of friends, and it’s free to download on Android!
Who knew urban planning could be so stressful? Mini Metro tasks you with creating working subway lines on a limited budget. Balance your money with the need for more trains, stops, and lines. Have too much of a bottleneck, and you’ll lose! The simple art style plays well to the slowly quickening gameplay, and keeps you from stressing out… well, too much.
Draw it is basically Pictogram taken to its digital, online conclusion. Quickly sketch the words on the screen and fight for the top spot! It’s simple, quirky, fun, and doesn’t require you to host a whole party to enjoy.
The auto-chess title that made waves on PC is now available on Android! Teamfight Tactics relies way less on twitch reaction times and more on understanding synergies and proper planning. Without the need for quick reactions or overly flashy graphics, TFT easily made the transition to mobile devices and is perfect for Android.
Hidden Folks is a fun little black-and-white hidden object game. There’s really not much more to it than that. Find the people, animals, and objects using your eyes and the cute hints! It’s only $5, but you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.
Looking for a good racing game? Look no further than GRID Autosport. A direct port of the PC and console title, GRID Autosport doesn’t cut corners, offering tons of cars to race and tracks to race on while looking great to boot. If you’re disappointed with most mobile racers, be sure to give this one a try.
With so many games, which should you choose? Well, my advice is that if you’re just starting to dip your toes into Android gaming, start with some of the free titles like Call of Duty Mobile for something fast-paced, or Hearthstone for a less rapid-fire title. If you’re not sure of your phone’s specs or how you might feel playing games on your phone, then trying some of the free-to-start titles lets you get a feel for it all before you dive in.
From there, it depends on the type of game you like and what you’re hoping to get out of your mobile gaming experience! Some games, like Reigns and Pac-Man 256, are perfect for quick rounds waiting in line or for a quick run while Among Us and Teamfight Tactics are perfect for playing with other people easily, without expensive PCs or consoles. Finally, games like Genshin Impact and Stardew Valley are full-blown games in their own right, offering a ton of content for those that mainly game on their Android device.