In addition to being a great business phone platform, Google Android is also home to wealth of fantastic mobile games that have been optimized for touchscreen play. Whether you are looking for a licensed sports game from your favorite league, a casual puzzle game to pass the time, or a grand role-playing game that really pulls you into its virtual world, Android has much to offer. All of the games listed here are free to download via the Google Play store, though there are opportunities for in-app purchases where noted.
Puzzle and Word Games
- New Words with Friends: Effectively a new version of Scrabble for the modern era, Words with Friends is cross-platform compatible, allowing Android users to play against their friends on iOS and Facebook. Players take turns placing tiles on the board to form words, earning extra points via bonus spaces, and the player with the highest score at the end wins the game. Android Headlines says Words with Friends is "quite possibly the most popular game in Zynga's arsenal and with good reason." In-app purchases include the ability to remove ads and access additional features.
- Candy Crush Soda Saga: A follow-up to the hugely successful Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga utilizes the same match-three dynamic of swapping adjacent candy pieces. In this version, it is also possible to create 2 x 2 squares of matching candies to form the fish-shaped power-up, which then "swims" to eliminate another candy. New level dynamics are also introduced. Appszoom calls this game a "sweet adventure with compelling graphics and animations." In-app purchases include power-ups and extra lives.
- 2048 Number Puzzle: For a lightweight puzzle game with far simpler graphics, 2048 is a great option. Swipe in each of the four cardinal directions to combine tiles of the same value: 2+2=4, 4+4=8, and so on. The objective is to create a tile with a value of 2048. With over one million downloads in the Google Play Store, 2048 has an impressive 4+ star rating. There are no in-app purchases for this free game.
Action, Arcade and Adventure Games
- Sonic Dash: The infinite run dynamic isn't exactly original - many people have already played the Temple Run series - but the inclusion of Sega's iconic mascot in iconic environments adds a whole new level of fun. Sonic the Hedgehog runs forward and users swipe the screen to make him jump, spin, and shift to the left or right, earning power-ups, gathering rings and collecting points along the way. Destructoid applauds the "very responsive controls" and "surprisingly beautiful" aesthetic. In-app purchases for more rings, power-ups and lives are aggressively placed.
- Angry Birds Star Wars: The original Angry Birds game put developer Rovio on the map. Angry Birds Star Wars is one of the most unique sequels to the original version. It takes some of the advanced physics elements of Angry Birds Space and puts them within the legendary universe of Star Wars. The core objective remains unchanged: launch the birds with a slingshot to take down the pig villains. A poll by Rovio named this version as the favorite Angry Birds title by fans. In-app purchases include unlocking additional levels.
- Jetpack Joyride: A horizontal take on the endless running game, Jetpack Joyride outfits protagonist Barry Steakfries with a jetpack on which he can levitate to the top of the screen and lower himself back down. Along the way, he must avoid obstacles and collect coins, aided by a variety of power-ups. Android Central loves the "great classic style" and "timelessness" of this game. There are several in-app purchases, mostly involving skins, costumes, in-game currency and power-ups.
Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy Games
- Clash of Clans: A combat strategy game that can be played against other users, Clash of Clans is akin to the real-time strategy games found on PCs like Starcraft, but with more of a comical slant. Users build up their villages, train their troops and engage in battle. Android Pit gave Clash of Clans a perfect five-star rating, citing its very addictive nature and multiplayer functionality. The game itself is free, but there are many in-app purchases for additional in-game items.
- Plague Inc.: In Plague Inc., players take on the role of a deadly disease and the objective is to wipe out all of mankind from the planet. This is done by adjusting the nature of the plague such that humans continue to get infected, outwitting and outpacing efforts by mankind to eliminate the threat. Pocket Gamer rates this title an impressive 9/10, saying it is the "most fun you can have destroying civilization." Expansion updates are among the in-app purchases available.
- The Simpsons Tapped Out: Users get hands-on with the residents of Springfield, engaging in a series of missions to build and expand the town. Well-known characters like Homer, Lisa, Apu and even Cletus get involved in the tap-and-wait game dynamic. This game borrows some elements from titles like Sim City and The Sims. PCMag says the game is "genuinely funny" with "quality animation" and "frequent updates." Players are offered in-app purchases to expedite the different processes and unlock additional in-game items.
Sports and Racing Games
- FIFA 15 Ultimate Team: With over 10,000 real players from over 500 licensed teams, this title offers one of the most authentic soccer experiences on Android. The goal is to build a team based on earning and trading players before engaging in quick simulations or playing an actual soccer game on the touchscreen. Gamezebo calls it "successful" with "a wide variety of tournaments and a league system with rewards." The in-app purchases are based on FIFA points, which can be spent in a variety of ways in the game.
- 3D Bowling: A simple way to hit the bowling alley on a touchscreen, 3D Bowling is exactly what it sounds like it is. Players can choose from different bowling balls and bowling lanes, but the core dynamic of flicking the finger upward to launch the ball toward the ten pins at the other end remains the same. Reviews on Google Play are positive; one user says they "couldn't have made this game any better." There are no in-app purchases in this game.
- Beach Buggy Blitz: An arcade style racing game with buggies on a mysterious tropical island, Beach Buggy Blitz offers multiple control schemes, colorful graphics and fun physics. Power-ups add to the game in a similar fashion as other arcade racers like the Mario Kart series. Gaming Illustrated gave the game a 92% overall rating score, saying it is a "dream to play" with "visually stunning" graphics. Gold coins serve as the primary in-app purchase mechanism and they are utilized to purchase buggy upgrades.
More Gaming From Google Play
While the iPhone App Store may have taken the early lead with fantastic mobile games, the Google Play Store for Android has since clearly demonstrated that it is also home to a wonderful array of games for players of all interests and skill levels.