The 13 best Android games of 2018: Pick up something to play
We’ve all seen the shockwaves that Pokémon Go sent through the world of mobile device gaming. Ever since those critters landed with a bang, there’s been a renewed sense of interest in the mobile gaming marketplace with more developers doubling down on bringing top-quality titles to mobile.
Many of these games, especially on Android, are free to play. However, those that aren’t reqire you to cough up the cash first. We’ve done a round-up of all the games that are actually worth you spending your hard-earned dosh on, so you’re not left cold by some sub-par developing.
In the meantime, it should be noted that, unlike many games on iOS, a lot more titles are offered up for free on Android. You’ll find that many either contain in-app purchases (denoted as IAP in our list) or supplement their free download with in-app adverts. While Google always warns you of these things before installing, it’s always worth bearing in mind when purchasing a title.
So, without further ado, here’s our pick of the best Android games available for your phone or tablet in 2018.
Got a killer app suggestion? Ping us at @alphr on Twitter or leave a comment below
Best Android games of 2018:
Best puzzle games on Android
Monument Valley 2 (£4.99)
Following on from the success of UsTwo’s great Monument Valley, Monument Valley 2 brings back all the puzzles and joy found in the original but now with more Escher-esque mind-bending optical illusion platforming. It’s a beautiful tale of mother and daughter searching for one another after becoming separated. It’s also a tale about growth, with the young girl becoming maturing into her role as a savior as part of her solo journey.
As anyone who’s played the original will know, it’s full of some rather abstract ideas and storytelling, so what I just said is clearly open to interpretation, but regardless of how you believe the story unfolds, this is an undeniablly enjoyable puzzle game for Android.
Material Sudoku (Free, with extra puzzle packs from 59p)
While far from glamourous, Jamie McDonald’s Material Sudoku has been the mainstay of my morning commute for at least the last two years. It’s no-nonsense approach to the wonderfully addictive game of Sudoku means it’s brilliantly easy to simply focus your attention on the board and move from one puzzle onto the next. There’s also a set of achievements thanks to Google Play Games integration and your in-game purchases of new puzzles carry across all your devices.
On download, you get 40 puzzles for free – 10 in each difficulty level – and an extra pack of 400 puzzles only sets you back 59p per difficulty level. So, for the grand total of £2.36 you can have over 1,600 puzzles and more Sudoku than you can shake a stick at.
The Room Three (£3.99)
The Room Three is far larger than its predecessors. Working with the same point-and-click puzzle solving template as before, The Room Three actually takes place in various different worlds and sprawling rooms. There are also four alternate endings to work towards, making this dark puzzle adventure game bigger than anything that’s come before in the series.
If you love the weird and mysterious, want to play an incredibly polished puzzle game, and are happy about paying for quality content, The Room Three is an absolute must-have.
Best arcade games on Android
Super Hexagon (£1.99)
The simplest games are often the most addictive, and that’s the case with this high-octane action title. You control an arrow that moves around a hexagon in the middle of the screen. It needs to be navigated safely through twisting, approaching walls.
You’re tasked with lasting 60 seconds against the encroaching barriers. If you do, they change shape and speed up – which ramps up the pressure. The techno soundtrack matches its rhythm to the game’s pulsating walls. Few games are infuriating and addictive in equal measure, but Super Hexagon nails it – and that keeps us coming back for more.
Threes! (£2.39, free with ads)
Created by Asher Vollmer, Threes is a simple arcade puzzle game that challenges you to match up numbered tiles in pursuit of a high score.
The game ends when you fill up the 4 x 4 grid, but there’s a catch: you can shift only an entire row or column of tiles at a time, so you can’t simply move individual pieces where you want them. Also, you can only match together identical numbers (or the 1 and 2 tiles) to create white 3 tiles. With every movement, a new piece joins the board, so you need to keep matching and removing the tiles as quickly as possible.
It sounds confusing, but it’s one of those games you’ll grasp in moments. Thanks to its unique charm, you’ll quickly be sucked in.
Sega Forever (Free)
Sega Forever is, technically, not an Android game – it’s a new initiative from Sega that brings completely free retro Sega games to Android. So far you can play Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II, Ristar, Revenge of Shinobi and more, all for nothing. If you don’t like the ad-supported method, you can put down £1.99 per title and you’ll no longer see ads. Sega also plans to release a subcription model where you pay a small fee per month and have unlimited, ad-free access to its monthly updating catalogue. Not bad really, you can read more about what Sega Forever is – and what games are included in it, here.
Best adventure games on Android
Grim Fandango Remastered (£8.20)
A heartfelt remastering of one of the most acclaimed and loved adventure games of all time, Grim Fandango Remastered is packed with colourful characters, mind-bending puzzles and so much comic charm you’ll wonder why you didn’t pick it up sooner.
Playing as Manny Calavera, a travel agent at the Department of Death who just can’t catch a break, Grim Fandango takes you on a wild and wonderful four-year journey in the Land of the Dead. But it’s not all smiles and Mexican jokes: something is rotting at the core of society, and Calavera is out to stop it.
You may baulk at the price, but Grim Fandango Remastered is worth every penny.
Samorost 3 (£3.99)
From the creators of the sublime point-and-click adventure game Machinarium, comes the third entry into its Samorost series. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it, nor played the first two, their stories aren’t linked. In Samorost 3 you have to solve musical puzzles and logic mind-benders to uncover the mystery of a long-forgotten legend. Amanita Design has, once again, outdone themselves with incredibly beautiful hand-drawn environments married up with an excellent world full of character. At £4 you certainly get a lot for your money with tonnes of secrets to uncover alongside its already meaty runtime. If you’re looking for an enjoyable puzzle game with a bit of story thrown in, this is for you.
Pokémon Go (Free)
It’s no secret that Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm. Not only has it gone on to become one of the most downloaded and played mobile games ever made, it’s also become a cultural phenomenon unlike the world has ever known (that may not actually be true). While its gameplay isn’t actually all that revolutionary or overly enjoyable, there’s something undeniably addictive about Pokémon Go. Once you’ve started playing, you’ll start to wonder which Pokémon could be around the corner and start exploring parts of your hometown you’ve never seen before. Heck, once you unlock and understand the potential behind battling in Gyms, you’ll never want to give up.
The journey of a Pokémon trainer isn’t easy. It takes time, dedication and a want to catch a whole lot of Pidgey. But unlike many other collect-em-all games, Pokémon Go will keep you coming back.
Best strategy games on Android
The king is dead. That is the premise of Reigns, a tinder-like monarchy management game where the decisions of your predecessors influence how your reign will play out. Its simple gameplay mechanics allow for incredibly deep kingdom management where the only way to live a fruitful life as King is to balance the four pillars of your society evenly. If the church, your citizens, the army or your finances fall wildly out of balance, it’s game over. Just as our review sums up, Reign takes Tinder and turns medieval politics into a game of swipes.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (free, with IAP)
Hearthstone is Blizzard’s take on the trading-card battling game and, much to the annoyance of your time and wallet, it has managed to produce something rather spectacular.
Taking on the role of Warcraft heroes and villains, you’ll enter into epic duels, summoning allies and beasts to help defeat your opponent. It’s incredibly simple to pick up, and Blizzard regularly rolls out new expansions, packs and challenges to keep things fresh. You can also play against PC and iOS opponents, so you can challenge all of your friends, wherever they are.
Unlike many other card battlers out there, Hearthstone doesn’t aim for your wallet, allowing you to play without paying a dime if you so please. The trouble is, you’ll become so sucked in that you’ll fork over some money eventually.
Best role-playing games on Android
New Star Soccer (free; with IAP)
Okay, it won’t be the best-looking game in your Android collection, but you may well lose the most hours to it. Only they won’t feel like hours – trust us on this one.
It’s essentially a series of brilliant mini games tied together to become a full RPG charting the life and journey of a professional footballer: shooting, passing and heading are replicated on the pitch. Do well and a big money transfer beckons.
It contains micro transactions, but if you want to give it a go and remain unfettered by such things, a full flash version is available online.
Mobius Final Fantasy (Free, IAP)
For those who don’t want to cough up for the rather high price that Square Enix is asking for many of it’s stellar RPGs, you can pick up the made-for-mobile Mobius Final Fantasy for free.
While its story is largely shrouded in mystery – and I won’t spoil it because that’s part of the joy of playing Mobius – you start as an unnamed man washed up on the beaches of Palamecia. You, along with other ‘blanks’ who washed ashore begin a journey inland as they try to uncover their past and strive to become the ‘Warrior of Light’ that the land of Palamecia so sorely needs.
Final Fantasy fans will be pleased to know that Mobius brings back the series’ much-vaunted Job System and is one of the most stunning mobile games on the market right now. Even the turn-based battles work well and have the level of complexity you’d expect from a Final Fantasy title – even if it is on mobile.