The 15 Best Android Games

The Android platform has picked up steam since its 2008 debut, becoming the leading mobile platform. Over time, it's built a deep catalog of games, but it's hard to tell what's worth your time. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of the best Android games you can buy.

Before getting into the list, let it be said that many of these Android games offer free, lite versions, so we encourage you to give many of them a try before you commit the cash. Also, since Android is a platform fragmented by so many different devices, not every Android game is guaranteed to work on your Android phone. All of these games were played and tested on a Motorola Droid X, using version 2.2 of the Android software. Additionally, some Android games fluctuate in price depending on their region of sale.

Apparatus / LITE

Apparatus tasks players with building machines to move marbles to a goal. It starts out almost insultingly easy, where the solution to one puzzle is setting a plank down over a gap, then becomes increasingly more difficult. The game's presentation is slick, and the puzzles are challenging. Multiple modes such as "sandbox" and the ability to play with other users' amazing creations as well as upload your own adds to the already high replay value of Apparatus. Rube Goldberg machine enthusiasts will be a kick out of building different contraptions in this game.

Backbreaker Football

NaturalMotion's Android version of its football game isn't much of a sports game, but actually more like a racing game with a football theme. Tilting the device to turn your runner while aiming for score spaces on your route to the end zone sounds easy, but your opposing tacklers are ready to knock you down at every turn. Backbreaker Football is complete with online leaderboards, multiple difficulty levels, unlockable trophies and helmets, and is certainly one of the most unique sports games on the platform.

Caligo Chaser / Free

Intuitive on-screen controls pair with bright visuals in this RPG-meets-beat-em-up. Caligo Chaser won't wow you with its story, but it impresses with a deep leveling system. The RPG elements of this game give just enough juice to keep players hooked, with a solid inventory and equipment system to boot. Players embark on many missions throughout their adventure, and regardless if some are fetch quests or not, traditional RPG fans looking to kill more than a few minutes will certainly enjoy their time with Caligo Chaser.

Cut the Rope

Cut the Rope, no stranger to success on iPhone, could formerly only be purchased via the Amazon App Store on Android devices -- but it's thankfully now available in the Android Market, too. Players tap and swipe at ropes and bubbles to guide a piece of candy to a hungry little critter named Om Nom. Three stars can be collected along the way for each level, adding that extra incentive for players to replay, and perfect each level. It's simple and quick enough that one level lasts mere seconds, but addicting enough that, before you know it, 20 levels pass you by along with the bus stop you needed to get off at.

Drop7

Drop7 manages to mix together "falling block" and number-based puzzle games into one simple, irresistible mobile game. Sure, it lacks many of the features that other puzzle games on Android have, but it makes up for it in being a wholly unique and fun game on its own. Drop7 gives players discs, which they must drop into a grid. Each disc has a number, from one to seven, and that number indicates how many discs per row or column it must be in for it to disappear. The goal, of course, is to not allow the discs to stack up above the screen while racking up a high score. Drop7 is a strategic puzzle game in a minimalistic package, and one that is absolutely worth the download.

Game Dev Story / Lite

Game Dev Story is a game that puts players at the head of a small game studio with the task of finding and coordinating talented programmers and designers to produce hit video games. Even though each created game is nothing more than a title and genre, this retro-styled micro-management game has enough wit and charm to last a long time. Game Dev Story is a must-have for fans of the industry.

Grow / Free

Grow, by Epic Pixel, is similar to Jenova Chen’s indie game flOw, except with added layers of complexity and much more cute style. Players either tilt their phones, use an on-screen joystick, or poke at the screen to guide their circular fish-like creature to their prey, growing in size with each bite. The concept is simple, you can eat fish that are smaller than you, and be eaten by ones that are bigger. With the addition of power-ups, a variety of modes and 64 levels in seven different environments, Grow manages to do something flOw generally didn’t: stay refreshing for hours on end.

Nintaii / Lite

With relaxing music in a tempered atmosphere, Nintaii is a polished, serene puzzle game that at times feels almost trance-like. You’re given a long block that you must roll through narrow mazes, hitting an occasional switch. Without any time limits, Nintaii’s mild, simplistic design is attractive down to every detail. Swiping at the block to move and rotate it feels natural and accurate, and the game’s isometric 3D plane adds a little necessary depth. The presentation of Nintaii is worth checking out alone, and adds a little variety to your Android game catalog.

Peggle

There’s something joyous about PopCap’s first entry on this list. Bright rainbows and fireworks paired with Ode to Joy is the strangest, most appropriate way to rewards players with beating a level in Peggle, which tasks players with shooting balls at colored pegs to make them disappear. The goal for every level is to clear every orange peg before running out of balls, which bounce from peg to peg, accumulating points along the way. Peggle is popular, and well-ported on a variety of systems, and Android is no different.

Plants vs. Zombies

A tower defense game at its best, PopCaps’ Plants vs. Zombies doesn’t overdo it with strategy, tactics, or any of the superficial add-ons that other tower defense games tack on to its base structure. Beating a level presents players with more challenges, and more tools to overcome those obstacles. What makes the game is its hilarious concept: players defend their house from (quite funny) zombies with, what else, a variety of plants that can attack them. Whether you’re planting pea-shooters or collecting sunshine, Plants vs. Zombies presents a perfect balance of strategy, action, and difficulty that keeps you coming back for more.

Pocket Racing / Lite

Pocket Racing is a top-down-style racing game that stands apart from others on the platform. Simple to learn, but tough-to-master controls has you touch one side of the screen to turn your car one way, and touch the other side to turn the other way. OpenFeint online leaderboards are a plus, but the ability to download ghosts of other racers’ best times and go head-to-head with them is an added bonus as well. Pocket Racing isn’t a “demanding” racing game, but is a perfectly fun one.

Prism 3D / Free

Prism 3D makes wonderful use of your Android device’s tilt sensors to control a constantly-bouncing ball along a path of tiles. The ball is bouncing from the background to the foreground, however, so players must get their bearings quickly and guide the ball through the level, hitting as many bonus tiles as they can. The game’s sound mechanics make you feel like it’s your fault if you miss a tile, which is sometimes to your advantage, as some tiles mess with the ease of play within the level. The labyrinth-like game does a few things really well, which makes it exactly worth the price.

Solipskier

Solipskier has players drawing a path for a skier to glide across, with the objectives being to keep the skier alive and to get the highest points possible. The fast-paced nature of this game makes getting a high score tricky, with points coming from passing through gates and well as jumping as high and far as possible. Jump through gates in mid-air also results in a speed boost, only adding to the already impossible-to-track speeds. Solipskier’s vibrant style, shredding guitar solo music sets this game apart from others on the platform, not to mention the welcome addition of online leaderboards.

Squibble / Lite

Held captive in a laboratory on an island, Squibble is an octopus-like creature looking to escape a mad scientist. Players swing and slingshot the little octopus from platform to platform, his sticky, stretchy tentacles gripping nearly any surface. Along the way, the octopus collects droplets of water throughout each level while dodging enemies, all in the name of getting a higher score for each area. This clever platformer is challenging and cute, and certainly worth a look for all players.

They Need to Be Fed

A game with an alluring, colorful style, They Need to Be Fed is a 360 degree platformer where players collect diamonds and jump into the mouths of cute-yet-ferocious monsters to feed them. Players cannot fall off the screen, but instead they gravitate to each platform, much like planets in Super Mario Galaxy. A ranking system for each level in addition to achievements makes this the Angry Birds of mobile platformers, where you’re guaranteed a chuckle with each addicting puzzle. Control-wise, the game keeps up well, and the touch-screen buttons never feel cumbersome, great for a mobile platformer.

Honorable Mentions: Games that didn't quite make the "Top 15," but still rank as some of the absolute all-time best in the paid Android games library.


Burn the Rope+ / Burn the Rope

Don’t be fooled by the name, this is no Cut the Rope clone. Using the accelerometer in your phone, you guide a flame upwards along the turning ropes in each level, in an attempt to complete each puzzle while burning off bugs in the process. Burn the Rope+ is fun, but at a steep price for what you get out of it.
Price: $2.98

Everlands HS / Lite

Everlands HD is a strategy game that has you placing hexagonal tiles on a board, each tile with an animal on it that has a different ability, with the goal of having the most tiles belonging to them at the end of the game. The story is cute, and the presentation is clean, but the puzzling tactics players use is surprisingly deep. No online multiplayer really hurts Everlands, however, as it would be well-suited for this title.
Price: $2.98

Fruit Ninja / Free

With OpenFeint online leaderboards, Halfbrick Studios added just enough replay value to Fruit Ninja’s very simple gameplay style to make it continually relevant. As fruit is tossed in the air, players swipe across them to dice them into bits. Fruit Ninja stays addicting, and is worth mentioning for the well-polished design of the game alone.
Price: $2.98

Galcon

Listed as a "galactic action-strategy game," Galcon has you drawing lines between planets of varying sizes to send a percentage of your fleet to another one to take that planet over. The key to threatening your opponent is dominating bigger planets, which leads to a larger fleet. Online battles offer small chunks of fun, and certainly adds to Galcon’s replay value. It’s an easy-to-learn yet tough-to-master strategy game, one we just had to mention here.
Price: $2.98

MX Moto / Lite

With a combination of touchscreen and tilt controls, MX Moto is great for gamers familiar with Trials, where you control a motorcyclist through side-scrolling courses riddled with hills, jumps, and obstacles. Leaderboards along with a few different modes add just enough replay value to be worth checking out.
Price: $2.98

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