Our Android phones can be used for so many things — from connecting with friends on social media to video-calling faraway family members and getting remote work done. More importantly, your Android phone is a fantastic portal to a world of countless Android games.
Want to rise to the top of the multiplayer leaderboards in a first-person shooter? Looking for an in-depth RPG to sink countless hours into? What about a calm, relaxing, story-driven title? Whatever you’re searching for, there’s something just for you on the Google Play Store.
But which games are the best? It’s a daunting question, but one we’re determined to answer. Without further ado, here are our picks for more than 30 of the best Android games you can play in 2023.
Make sure to check out these helpful guides: best Android apps, best iPhone apps
The Past Within
This co-op point-and-click adventure can only be played by two people, so grab a friend — they’ll need a copy of the game and can play cross-platform on Android, iOS, PC, or Mac (and coming soon to Nintendo Switch) — and you’ll need a real-life way to communicate, too. If you can’t find anyone to play with, you’ll find plenty of teammates on the game’s official Discord server. Set in the Rusty Lake universe, you must work together, one of you in the past, one in the future, and communicate your unique perspective and what you see to piece together the mysteries surrounding Albert Vanderboom. You’ll both experience your environment in two different dimensions, in 2D as well as 3D, making this a unique experience. Though there are only two chapters, the game’s short two-hour play time can be extended by replaying from the other perspective or using the replayability feature to reset the puzzles with new solutions. The Past Within is an absorbing little adventure that’s well worth the $3 price of entry.
Dungeons of Dreadrock
Miss the days of old-school dungeon crawlers? Then you should play Dungeons of Dreadrock. This Zelda-like puzzle adventure game is a throwback to the home-computer adventure games of the 80s, revived for modern audiences. With cute graphics and addictive gameplay, there are 100 gorgeous levels to explore, each one taking you deeper into Dreadrock Mountain. Avoid or take down enemies, solve puzzles to disarm traps, and uncover the secret of each room. Dungeons of Dreadrock is free to play and will keep you busy for a long time, so only pick it up if you’ve got plenty of free time on your hands!
Rocket League Sideswipe
One of the best mobile ports out there, Rocket League Sideswipe is also one of the most satisfying 2D games that we’ve played in the past few years. This fantastic free game captures all the charm of the original, which means you still have to furiously ram cars against a giant ball to taste sweet, sweet victory in this car-fueled soccer frenzy. The floating movement physics in the game will really test your maneuver timing and dodging skills, the neon-filled visuals are eye candy, and the soundtrack is worth enjoying on its own. The controls are joyfully responsive, and whether you’re engaged in a 1v1 or 2vs2 duel, you won’t find yourself bored at any point in the game. Rocket League Sideswipe is an absolute blast, and if you have a controller lying around, then it’s even better.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
It sounds odd to even imagine that Netflix, a video streaming service, could offer a game as enjoyable as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. The game is a Netflix exclusive, which means you need to be a Netflix subscriber in order to be able to enjoy it. The retro beat ’em up has beautiful, fast-paced combat with rewarding action, and the best part is that it works amazingly well with touchscreen controls on a phone. The pixel art is a breath of fresh air in this brawler, levels are short and sweet, and there’s just the right amount of grind that keeps it tightly within the realms of a casual pick-up-and-play game.
Billing itself as “Boggle — relaxed,” Wordsmyth is a zen-like version of the popular word game that’s part game, part mindfulness app. Yes, it’s basically Boggle, with a grid of letters to make words from. But unlike other high-pressure word games, there’s no timer here, so you can take as long as you like to come up with winning combos. With no penalty limits, gorgeously crafted visuals, and a meditative soundtrack, Wordsmyth is the relaxing word game you never knew you needed. So relaxing, in fact, that you could find yourself sinking more time into it than any other game on your phone.
From its retro graphics to its indie vibes, the fast-paced free-moving roguelite platformer ScourgeBringer is an absolute must-play on Android. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, you play as Kyhra, the deadliest warrior of her clan, out to take down ancient machines and seek redemption for humanity. Slash and shoot your way through ever-changing dungeons with the frantic combat system, collect mementos from past explorers to unlock secrets, and enjoy an otherwordly soundtrack that add up to make ScourgeBringer well worth the price of entry, and then some.
Genshin Impact is easily one of the most immersive and beautifully designed action role-playing games to ever grace a smartphone’s screen. And the fact that it’s free to play is simply astounding. Everything from the character design and story art to combat mechanics and the sheer worldbuilding hits way deeper than what you would expect from a mobile game. If you’re a fan of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the sense of familiarity will baffle you. The magical realm is weaved into its own original lore, each character is deeply unique, the action is rewarding, and even the cutscenes are top-notch. The only caveat is that if you truly want to enjoy the game in all its visual glory, you better have a high-end phone in your hands because this is one of the most demanding mobile games out there.
Whether you’ve played Dicey Dungeons on PC or not, now’s your chance to find out what it’s like to be a giant walking dice in this deck-building roguelite on Android. Yes, that’s kind of the plot here — you’re a dice thrown into a deadly dungeon packed with bizarre cartoonish enemies you must battle with dice rolls. Combat is turn-based and intense, there’s a superb deck-building system to help you level up and find better loot, and the game is never boring, with a huge variety of levels and skills to keep you entertained for months.
Looking for a bite-sized puzzler to play on the go? Square Valley doesn’t have any ads or in-app purchases, and you can play offline or in one-handed portrait mode, with short but engrossing levels. You play as the Spirit of the Valley, tasked with creating unique lands to meet the needs of your citizens. This is achieved by choosing from over 150 unique tiles like houses, farms, animals, and so on, and placing these in your world. These tiles also need to be connected with roads, fences, rivers, etc. Placement of your tiles is key, as you’ll score points based on the relationship between tiles, and you’re limited to which tiles you can place where, so you’ll need to plan ahead. With randomly generated levels, there’s loads of replayability here, as well as a leaderboard for a competitive challenge and sandbox mode, which gives you a unique level depending on your game settings.
Repulze is a futuristic, sci-fi-inspired racer where you’re the pilot of an experimental hovercraft. Fly along roller-coaster-like tracks at crazy speeds, beat time trials, and take on AI opponents alongside a cool sci-fi backstory of an evil corporation and synthetics. With seven hypersonic hovercraft to choose from and 24 thrilling tracks, there’s plenty of bang for your buck here. It takes a while to master the controls and tracks, but once you do, Repulze is an exhilarating ride.
Tick Tock: A Tale for Two
Tick Tock: A Tale for Two is a fiendishly clever co-op puzzle game where you find yourself trapped in a mystical clockwork world and must race against the clock to solve puzzles and escape. There’s a catch, though: The game is designed for two players and played simultaneously across two screens, either locally or remotely (if remote, you’ll need a voice connection). Neither player has the full picture — instead, you each have half the clues on your screen, so you’ll need to pool your resources and work as a team to solve the puzzles. You’ll both need a copy of the game on your Android phone or tablet to play. The game is also available on iOS, and you can play cross-platform with friends.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
This relaxing little sim lets you choose your own camper, cabin, or campsite and decorate it exactly how you want. Fill your camp with furniture that matches your style, and choose from over 1,000 pieces of furniture and more than 300 pieces of clothing and accessories. Along the way, you’ll meet over 100 animals, each with its own quirky personality. Fulfill tasks for them, and your friendship will grow. There are also seasonal events where you can carry out special tasks and collect themed items for your camp! Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is free to play, but there are in-app purchases available, though you can easily disable these if younger children are playing.
Want to take on other teams in PvP combat or stare down enemies solo in a dystopian cyberpunk world? Infinity Ops is set in the distant future during a time of interplanetary warfare. With gorgeously colorful, neon-strewn cyberpunk 3D graphics, it looks good and plays even better as you take on foes and other teams with a huge array of weapons, from laser machine guns to plasma rifles. There are even jetpacks so you can soar in the skies! Create a clan and invite fellow users or friends, interact with gravity to boost your speed and agility, and choose from various classes, each boasting its own features and abilities. This sci-fi FPS is loads of fun, and it’s free to play, too.
Raid: Shadow Legends
Raid: Shadow Legends is one of the most popular dark-fantasy RPGs on Android. Set in the world of Teleria, you must recruit the forces of Light and Darkness to fight together to save the world. Choose from over 400 warriors and 14 playable factions, build up your team’s strength, and take on formidable foes. With epic boss battles, a PVP arena to challenge other teams, and a bastion to build and upgrade, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. The expansive map covers 12 sprawling locations to explore, all rendered in beautiful 3D artwork. If you’re into RPGs, you can’t afford to miss Raid: Shadow Legends.
Fans of Oxenfree and Stranger Things will love this game from the creators of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. Thimbleweed Park is a rundown town in the middle of nowhere, home to an abandoned circus, a burnt-out factory, and a haunted hotel. When five seemingly unconnected individuals find themselves drawn to the town, they discover they’re actually deeply connected — and somebody is watching. Will Franklin the ghost get to speak to his daughter again? Who is Agent Ray really working for? And how come nobody’s bothered about the body under the bridge? All these questions and more will be answered. This is a deeply engaging neo-noir mystery set in 1987, packed with humor, a twisting story, and satisfying puzzles. With five playable characters and two difficulty levels, do you dare enter Thimbleweed Park?
Where Shadows Slumber
At first glance, this colorful puzzler looks a lot like Monument Valley, but don’t be fooled. Where Shadows Slumber is a spooky game where the world has been plunged into darkness. You play as Obe, an old man at the end of his life, setting out on one last journey after stumbling upon a strange lantern in the forest. The game’s mechanics mean anything not touched by light has the power to change, including yourself. With eight different worlds to explore, mind-bending puzzles, and easy-touch controls, this is an addictive little puzzler that will keep you guessing. You can play in portrait mode on your phone or Android tablet, too.
Our first impressions of this newly released built-for-mobile game were that it’s “a PC or quality console release on a small screen.” We’d go so far as to say it’s better than Diablo, and you’re getting the full experience on mobile — that means a lengthy campaign, deep endgame, full voice acting, the works. Because it’s designed for mobile, activities and quests are bite-sized, making it easy to play on the go and progress quickly. It never feels too repetitive, and fans of the PC games will feel right at home with the core gameplay. Choose your class, slay mobs with special skills, collect tons of loot, and walk around the gorgeous maps from a top-down perspective. It feels a lot like Diablo 3 gameplay-wise, but you’ll notice you don’t need resources to use skills — instead, they operate on brief cooldowns, meaning faster-paced combat. If we had one negative to say, it’s that the excessive microtransactions may ruin the game for some. Still, whether you’re an existing Diablo fan or not, there’s lots to enjoy here.
If teamwork, adrenaline-fueled arguments, and yelling frantically at your friends sound like your idea of a good time, then Them Bombs is the co-op board game for you! There’s a bomb, or several, ticking away, and every second counts. You’re the Unlikely Hero, with the bomb visible on your screen, and must work with your friends (your Expert Team) to defuse it. The catch? Only they have access to the bomb defusing manual, and only you can see the bomb screen, so you need to communicate what you see, and in turn hope they’re savvy enough to instruct you on how to defuse that bomb before it’s too late! This game is fast-paced, addictive, and free to play — but be warned, you may end up arguing with those closest to you!
If you haven’t yet played Stardew Valley, where have you been? The hit farming RPG is on mobile, and it’s every bit as much fun as you remember — or fun for the first time. With over 50 hours of gameplay content, multiple control options, and loads of other mobile-specific features, this game is well worth the $5 entry fee. Build the farm of your dreams, raise happy animals tend, harvest, and sell your crops, befriend the villagers, and even meet that special someone. Stardew Valley is delightfully addictive and you’ll find yourself sinking many, many hours into the game once you get started.
Super Mario Run
Unlike other Mario games, Super Mario Run is an auto-runner where Mario keeps running forward. Tap the screen to pull off wall jumps, spin in midair, and more as you run through 24 exciting levels to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser. Choose how you want to play: Collect all the coins or compete against a friend for the highest score. Kingdom Builder mode lets you gather Toads and coins to build your own kingdom, and you can unlock three additional playable characters as you play, including Yoshi and Luigi. Super Mario Run is free to play, with in-app purchases to unlock some content.
Light in Chaos: Sangoku Heroes
This arcade fantasy fighting game has over 50 famous heroes ready to fight against evil and restore world order. Enjoy fast-paced full-screen combat with stunning special effects, cool fighting music, and original Japanese CV voices. Upgrade your heroes’ skills and unlock enhanced combos, collaborate with other heroes to take on more powerful challenges, or try your hand at various PvP arena modes like combat trial or summit duel. Along the way, collect costumes for your character, date female characters, and become an expert cook. Light in Chaos: Sangoku Heroes is totally free to play, and it’s easy to sink many hours into.
Another puzzle game, this time with a twist: Everything takes place inside a mysterious cube. Each face of the cube is different, housing a unique world. It’s up to you to figure out how these scenes (literally) connect together. Along the way, there’s an intriguing story with a surprising twist, plus plenty of optical illusions. Unlock 15 achievements to earn Medals, and prepare to get stuck, as it’ll definitely happen. While you can get helpful hints, including Focus mode, which highlights key items, text hints, and video walkthroughs, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as that feeling of genius when you finally crack the puzzle yourself.
Moncage is a quirky little puzzler that quickly becomes immersive and is well worth the price of entry.
Touchgrind Skate 2
The next game on our list is one with plenty of replayability. Touchgrind Skate 2 recreates the feeling of real-life skateboarding, with intricate, responsive controls and real physics simulation, plus gorgeous 3D graphics. There’s a bit of a learning curve with this game, so you’ll definitely need to pay attention to the tutorial videos and get plenty of practice before you fully master tricks. Pull off loads of tricks like ollies, impossibles, drops, stalls, darkslides, and more, with endless combos.
There are three skateparks — you get the first one to roam around for free, with the other two available through in-app purchase. There are also three modes to choose from including Time-limited Competition mode, Jam Session mode, where you can complete 100 challenges and practice tricks, and Training mode.
Touchgrind Skate 2 is completely free to play, with in-app purchases that unlock more of the game.
One of the most iconic RPGs of all time is a must-play on your Android phone. The mobile port of Square Enix’s Chrono Trigger is based on the Nintendo DS version, and though the touch controls aren’t the best, it’s still worth your time. Developed by the creators of Final Fantasy, Dragon Ball, and Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger is a time-traveling RPG that sees you play as the hero, Cronos, hurtling through time to save Marle, a young girl who has fallen into a rift created by a Telepod malfunction. The mobile version includes over 50 combos to take down enemies in battle, with higher resolution graphics and an updated soundtrack — and also features the Dimensional Vortex and Lost Sanctum dungeons.
Pokémon Unite is a 5-on-5 team battle where you team up with friends and other players from around the world to see who can score the most points. Working together to beat the other team is key, and you can communicate with your team through quick chat messages, signals, and voice chat. Ensure your Pokémon are stylish and ready for battle in a variety of Holowear, then take on the other team in Unite Battles, where you can use Unite Moves, all-new Pokémon moves only available during these battles. As your skills improve, battle in ranked matches to top the leaderboard. Pokémon Unite is free to play and cross-platform, so you can play with friends on mobile or Switch.
The Escapists: Prison Escape
This prison escape sandbox game is hours of strategic fun — if you’re into that sort of thing. You’ve done the crime, now you’re doing the time. Speaking of which, the time has come to plan your escape. Swipe useful objects from guards, craft tools to aid your escape, and get to know your fellow inmates to create your own gang. Whatever you do, stay two steps ahead of the guards at all times, keep your head down, hide your contraband, and don’t forget to attend roll-call! This is an addictive, tense game that’s easy enough to get stuck in but provides a real challenge once you get going. There are over six themed prisons to escape and dozens of crafting combos to try out along the way. If you enjoy The Escapists, you can also pick up The Escapists 2 for $7.
Tired of Real Racing 3? Then Grid Autosport is the racer you need. It’s an ad-free premium title — but you’ll need a pretty powerful phone to run it, plus 3.9GB of storage space. This is as close as you’ll get to console-quality racing on Android, with around 100 circuits to blaze through, and a huge selection of 100 cars too. The controls are fully customizable — so you can choose between Tilt, Wheel Touch, or Arrow Touch, or use a controller if that’s more your style. There’s plenty of longevity here too, with a huge range of disciplines, from Endurance and Demolition to Drift, Drag, and Street Races. Despite its fairly steep initial purchase price, you’re paying for an ad-free experience without any future in-app purchases required, and the game includes all the DLC too.
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is the latest — and 15th — installment in the Final Fantasy series (with Final Fantasy XVI rumored to be releasing in summer 2023). This mobile version of the original console game divides the story into 10 chapters — you can play the first for free, with subsequent chapters available for purchase. Behind the cute animation lies a stunning soundtrack and a sprawling story that tells the tale of the Chosen King, Savior to the Star. The nations of Niflheim and Lucis have finally agreed to an armistice after years of fighting. Noctis, the crown prince of Lucis, is betrothed to Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae, the youngest Oracle in history, as a symbol of this peace. The prince sets forth for his wedding on the eve of the signing ceremony, but unbeknown to him, many perils await him on his journey.
CarX Drift Racing 2
CarX Drift Racing 2 is the sequel to one of the most popular drift games of all time, bringing a true-to-life racing game to mobile. With over 65 sports cars to unlock in single-player mode as well as the option to tune your car for the best performance — adjusting the engine, gearbox, turbine pressure, wheel angle, and more — it’s easy to find yourself losing several hours to this game. This isn’t just your average racing game though, as here tire pressure affects driving physics, and your car control varies depending on the surface you’re driving on, from snow to sand and asphalt — so you’ll need your wits about you.
There’s plenty of customization when it comes to visual auto-tuning too, and you can make your car unique by replacing mirrors, bumpers, lights, and adding rims and body kits. We love the multiplayer mode where you can compete to hit first place in the championships, and you can join car clubs or create your own to team up. It’s free to play and you’ll need to work hard to unlock new vehicles and buy upgrades for your car, so you can sink a lot of time into it. New cars and tracks are added regularly too, like the latest wintry St Petersburg location.
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery
We all love a good mystery, and if you’re looking for an immersive puzzle app to take your mind off real life right now, Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery does the job nicely. You play as a private investigator who, after receiving a mysterious letter from his father, must return to his hometown only to find it completely deserted. It’s up to you to find out what happened; discover clues; open locks; solve puzzles; and explore interactive, fully 3D levels along the way. This is one of the best detective story games available on Android — a cool blend of mystery and escape room. You’ll explore a variety of locations too, from ancient catacombs to downtown cityscapes.
Bloons TD 6
If you’re a fan of tower defense games, where bad guys invade your map around a predetermined route and you have to erect destructive towers to wipe them out before they kill you, then you owe it to yourself to buy Bloons TD 6. With a cute and chaotic cartoon art style and hordes of bizarre enemies, things can get seriously crazy. The depth of your choice in how to defend is unsurpassed with dozens of towers, each with its own upgrade trees to climb. To mix things up, there are other defensive units you can deploy that will patrol, and there are loads of challenges that give you specific objectives and earn you money when you complete them. There are also some in-app purchases, but there’s so much depth here that they’re easy to ignore, making this a great strategy game to pass the time with.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Whether you’re a fan of Call of Duty already or you’re new to one of the biggest FPS franchises around, Call of Duty: Mobile deserves your time. Specially designed for touchscreen firefights, this shooting game fulfills all your shooter action cravings — and it’s free, too. Choose from a bunch of multiplayer modes, including battle royale, with top-notch graphics and fast, frenetic yet satisfying gameplay. Fans will spot familiar characters and classic maps from other Call of Duty games. Is this the best mobile shooter around right now? We’d say so — and we recommend checking out our Call of Duty: Mobile tips before diving in. There’s fresh content every season, and right now, you can play Season 10.
Monument Valley 2
Monument Valley 2 is not exactly a new game, as it came out all the way back in 2017. But to this day, it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing games thanks to its serene fantastical worlds. You play as Ro, guiding her through obstacles and puzzles galore in mind-bending 3D-style illusions. Plus, there’s a beautiful emotional depth to the game with its occasional mother-daughter team-up to progress ahead, while the story itself is an allusion to freedom and maturity in life. The oracle adds a layer of mysticism to the game, while the terrific color and geometry that plays out in its puzzling scenery is in a league of its own. Overall, Monument Valley 2 is a charming game that stands out from other titles by serving you a calm journey instead of action urgency.
If you are a fan of dark-fantasy games with a Soulslike vibe and a story-driven approach, Grimvalor will keep you engaged for hours. There’s much depth in terms of control complexity and weaponry, but all movements are executed smoothly in the dark, gothic scenery of the game. There isn’t much of a learning curve here, but don’t fall for the simplicity you encounter in the early acts. This game knows how to punish a bad move in the face of multiple enemies with varied attacks. As you progress in the story and upgrade your weaponry, just make sure that you pay special attention to your dodging skills by carefully studying the enemy attack patterns before you charge. The world is sufficiently large to explore in Grimvalor, but just be prepared to die. A lot!
It’s rare that a mobile port can match the fun of its original PC or console counterpart, but Dead Cells clearly falls in the class of exceptions. Plus, it plays just as well with a controller as with touchscreen controls. This is another game where you die a lot, but there’s a sense of sweet retribution every time you do a fresh run after learning from your failures. All you need is quick reflexes with your dodge and parry tactics, and a healthy dose of patience, to breeze ahead in this challenging game. The auto-attack mode is especially great here, while the pixel art makes even the worms and monsters look appealing. Plus, the game score really lifts the mood while you’re trying your hardest to vanquish enemies.
Frequently asked questions
Which of the best Android games are free?
Many of the games on our list are free to play, some allow you to play a few levels for free, and some are free but offer microtransactions. If you’re worried about kids making accidental purchases, most games offer the option to disable this feature.
What Android games are fun to play with friends?
There are plenty of Android games you can play with friends, whether you’re into MMORPGs or FPS games. We recommend checking out popular titles like Call of Duty: Mobile, Them Bombs, Garena Free Fire, and Brawlhalla. There’s something on our list to suit all tastes, and a quick search of the Google Play store for multiplayer games should give you even more options.
Which of the best Android games can you play offline?
While some of the games on our list above are playable offline, we recommend checking out our roundup of the best offline Android games if you’re specifically looking for something that doesn’t require internet connectivity — great for traveling.
Why are some Android games better to play with an Android controller?
Shooter games and many MMORPGs simply work better with a controller. You’ll be able to aim more accurately and enjoy faster response times, as well as see the fast-paced action on-screen more clearly than when your fingers are in the way. Why not check out our pick of the best Android controllers while you’re here?
4 thoughts on “The best Android games in 2023: 30-plus must-play games we love”
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