The 50 best Android games, from epic RPGs to tiny puzzlers

20. Hearthstone

Genre: Card game
Price: Free (in-app purchases)

Quite simply, Hearthstone is what happens when Blizzard makes card games. Ultra fast to learn but seriously tricksy to master, Hearthstone arms you with the heroes of World of Warcraft and pits you against deviously strategic enemies. Spells, creatures, weaponry, bonus decks, Tavern Brawls… You’ll be down the Hearthstone rabbit hole before you know it. There’s good reason that the card game has taken over the eSports world. Good luck, and remember us when you’re a championship player. 

Download Hearthstone here

19. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Genre: Sim
Price: Free (in-app purchases)

It might have been greeted with serious suspicion because it’s not the Animal Crossing on Switch we truly want (and deserve) but Pocket Camp is a genuinely pleasant slice of gentle Animal Crossing fun. Fishing, bug hunts, picking fruit, and even designing your own camper van are all relaxing ways to pass the time before we eventually get to play a full console game once more. Everything is gentle, there’s no constant reminders to invest any of your real money on a Nook-related loan and you can even visit your friends’ campsites. No, I didn’t just leave an operating table and a petrol canister out just for you… 

Download Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp here

18. Reigns: Her Majesty

Genre: Adventure
Price: £2.79/$2.99

Would you be a good queen? A fair queen? Or a complete tyrant whose sole purpose is to bend the will of the people to her corrupt power? It’s time to find out. If you haven’t already tried Reigns - the king equivalent - for size, think Tinder meets a stylish text adventure. You must swipe left and right on the screen to make decisions as to how you will rule. Icons at the top of the screen will constantly keep you up to date with on your standing with the church, army, and the people. Don’t forget to keep an eye on these though as things can quickly turn from she who must be adored to she who must be trampled to death… 

Download Reigns: Her Majesty here

17. Pokémon Go

Genre: AR adventure
Price: Free (in-app purchases) 

The premise of Pokémon Go is irresistible. What if Pokemon were hiding across the real world and all you have to do is go and find them? Evolving (so to speak) hugely since its initial release, three generations of Pokemon can be found hiding in the wild and even weather affects what ‘mon you’ll find lurking across the map. Gym battles, raids, TM and FM upgrades and special evolution items are all up for grabs too, making Niantic’s app dangerously addictive for those looking to truly catch ‘em all. It’s the best excuse you’ll ever find to walk down to the shops. 

Download Pokemon Go here

16. Alphabear: Words Across Time

Genre: Puzzle
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Alphabear was an adorable puzzle game about placing tiles on a board to make words, clearing new space for your army of bears to occupy. Letters gradually revealed themselves, and the sooner you used them in a word, the higher your score. Its bears were cute and its mechanics deceptively smart. The sequel, Alphabear: Words Across Time, is more of the same—albeit it with a few new features that make it better than the original.

In addition to stats and bonuses, each bear now has a temperament, be they happy or grumpy. Using bears with the same temperaments gives you bonuses, adding an extra layer of strategy. You can even send them to Bear School to level them up as a group, and new customisation options will let you deck them out in delightful outfits. 

The backgrounds for each board pop more than before, and it even has a new built-in dictionary to teach you the meanings of every word. If you liked Alphabear, you’ll love Words Across Time—but first-timers will get a kick out of it, too.

Download Alphabear here

15. Gorogoa

An enchanting puzzle game about arranging hand-illustrated tiles so that they line up, revealing a new angle on the scene in front of you. It follows the journey of a young boy carrying a blue offering bowl, and you’re acting as his guide, manipulating images to offer him a path through a mysterious world. 

The way the tiles, sometimes seemingly unrelated, line up and interact is magical to watch. Tapping on a mountain logo on a bowl will zoom into its snowy top, showing a man with a walking stick trying to reach the summit. A gap in the clouds will fit perfectly with a shape in another tile, and you can overlay them to create one coherent image. 

Piecing the puzzles together is never frustrating, and even wrong solutions will lead to some wonderful moments. The scenarios it conjures are surprising to the end, and you’ll want to play it through a second time to fully get to grips with its moving story.

Download Gorogoa here

14. Threes!

Genre: Puzzle
Price: £2.39/$2.99 (free version available)

How can numbers be this cute? Turning the match three genre on its head, Threes! thankfully requires a little more thought than just swiping to match colours. While there’s plenty of swiping going on, only multiples of three can be manipulated as you double up threes, sixes and twenty fours against the ‘walls’ of the screen. You’ll need to think about the whole board too as one rogue swipe can transform the board into a sea of misery instead of wonderful multiples of three. And yes, there is absolutely a risk of anthropomorphising numbers after this. D’aww, look at that little six.    

Download Threes here

13. Triple Town

Genre: Puzzle
Price: Free (in-app purchases) 

It might all be in the name but this pretty puzzler is all about the number three. Three pieces of grass make a bush, three bushes make a tree, three trees make a red house and things only get bigger from there as you attempt to build a city on a small map. Oh, and yeah, you have to avoid bears at the same time. There’s a beautiful simplicity to Triple Town and careful planning can craft exquisite cities full of people all chirping away. Plus, where some free games want to torture you with waiting times, if you like Triple Town all you have to do is invest a few $ once and you’ll have unlimited turns and all the modes for good. 

Download Triple Town here

12. Florence

Genre: Interactive fiction
Price: £2.99/$2.99

An emotional 45 minutes of interactive fiction about the love life of 25-year-old Florence Yeoh. The beautifully-drawn vignettes evoke different feelings through their colours - black and white for the monotony of a work commute, intense reds during arguments - and their music, which soars in all the right places.

During each chapter, you tap and drag on the screen to complete simple tasks, such as brushing your teeth. You’ll also piece together speech bubbles in conversations with your boyfriend, Krish, like a mini jigsaw puzzle, and they get easier as the pair grow more comfortable together. 

It’s short, but every minute feels deliberate. No word or sound effect is out of place, and they all add up to a deeply personal love story that’s more touching than most good books or films. 

Download Florence here

11. Her Story

Genre: Adventure
Price:
£4.69/$4.99

Her Story is a murder mystery that unfolds in entirely the wrong order. It’s a series of police interviews with a young woman that have been chunked up and filed away in a database, and you choose which video to watch next by searching for keywords. Each clip is a potential new clue that will guide you on your search, and eventually, you’ll build up a picture of what happened. Because you won’t have watched every video it’ll be very much your version of events, distorted by your own assumptions, which makes it feel deeply personal. It’s one of the best PC games of the past five years, and the Android version is thankfully complete and uncut. Just play it. 

Download Her Story here

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