The best Android games are here to make your life a little better. Whether you're stuck on a commute, queuing in line at a grocery store, or (let's be honest) killing time when you should be working, this pick of the 25 best games on Android are here to sweep you into digital worlds and otherwise keep your brain engaged.
Naturally, the Google Play store has hundreds of thousands of games on it which can make finding the best games to play on your Android phone something of a challenge. That's why we've made picked out what we believe to be truly the best Android games that you can play today. Across a multitude of genres and price-points, these fantastic experiences should work on your device no problem in 2023 – even if you don't have the best gaming phone in the world. So from fantastic first-person shooters to excellent CCGs, fiendish puzzle games to awesome adventures, here's our pick of the 25 best Android games that you should play today.
25. Thimbleweed Park
Genre: Point and click adventure
Thimbleweed Park creators Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick made classic adventure games The Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion – so you know it’s going to be good. You’ll spend most of your time with agents Ray and Reyes uncovering an increasingly bizarre mystery in a small town, but in total you’ll control five characters, including a potty-mouthed clown who lives alone in disused circus. The writing is smart, but the puzzles are smarter: some are devilishly hard requiring multiple character switches and several objects to solve, but when the solution pops into your head you’ll feel like a genius. Its relatively open world means you’ll always have another challenge to tackle if you get stuck.
24. Call of Duty: Mobile
Genre: First-person shooter
A fully-fledged Call of Duty multiplayer game with flexible controls and a huge number of modes. Maps are plucked from the franchise’s greatest hits — Nuketown is back, baby — and Battle Royale is consistently fun, with helicopters to fly and plenty of airdrops to claim. The touchscreen shooting works surprisingly well, and after an hour you’ll be hitting headshots with no trouble. Online connection is consistently good, and there’s always enough players online to fill lobbies. When one round finishes, the next starts almost instantly, and the only reason to quit is to attach the new scope you unlocked for your sniper.
Thumper is a gnarled nightmare in rhythm game form. It’s a thrashing trip into hell that never wants you to sit comfortably, and beats you over the head with doom until you plead it to stop. You control a metal beetle screaming along a track, jumping over obstacles and skidding around corners in time to the beat. One mistimed tap can end your lift. What makes Thumper so unique is not its flawless touch controls, but its oppressive atmosphere. The music rumbles and screeches, tentacles flail in the background and red eyes stare at you from the abyss. It wants you to know that you’re not welcome, and every beaten level comes with a wave of white-knuckle relief.
Machinarium, from decorated developer Amanita Design, is one of the best point-and-clicks of our generation, and its move to touchscreen is flawless: controls are responsive and the mobile interface is easy to understand. Its grungy, unforgiving world is beautifully drawn, and all the rusting metal and whirring contraptions create an immediate sense of place. Just by looking at this harsh environments you’ll start to feel for your little robot protagonist, lost in a wasteland and searching for his lady-robot love. It’s a tricky puzzle game, but a clever two-tier hint system is on hand to help you out.
21. Super Hexagon
Super Hexagon is one of those games that picks a simply concept — navigate a cursor through a rotating tunnel of shapes — and executes it impeccably. Each shape has a gap in it somewhere, and by moving your cursor into that gap you'll avoid annihilation, and be free to continue enjoying the rockin' techno soundtrack. It starts slow, but quickly becomes manic: the screen shifts and tilts, colors flash, and shapes fly at you faster and faster until you’re dead. It’s impossible to resist having just one more go. Okay, maybe two.
Genre: Battle Royale
Price: Free (in-app purchases)
You might think of console and PC as Fortnite’s natural homes, but millions of people play it on mobile: every time you login you’re instantly matched with 99 other players, all of whom want to murder you. The controls aren’t as smooth as a controller or a mouse, but you can still be accurate, and before long you’ll be placing walls and stairs with a tap. The on-screen sound cues, which tell you the direction of nearby footsteps, are a masterstroke, and should be in every touchscreen shooter. This is definitely a game that favours higher-end phones, but it’s free to see how well it runs on your device. It might take you a while to get a victory royale when you’re still getting used to the controls, but when you finally do it, when you finally outmanoeuvre your opponent in that tense 1v1 finale, it will all feel worth it.
19. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Price: Free (in-app purchases)
It’s not quite Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Android, but Pocket Camp is a genuinely pleasant slice of fun. Fishing, bug hunts, picking fruit, and even designing your own camper van are all relaxing ways to pass the time until the next major release, and sectioning every activity into its own space is a good fit for short touchscreen play sessions. Everything is gentle, there are no constant reminders to invest any of your real money on a Nook-related loan, and you can even visit your friends’ campsites. Log in every day, potter around for a bit, and grow your camp until, eventually, it feels like a virtual home away from home.
18. Reigns: Her Majesty
If you ruled the realm, would you be a fair queen, or a 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 tried Reigns — the King equivalent — for size, think Tinder meets a text adventure. You swipe left and right to make decisions about how you govern. Icons at the top of the screen keep you up to date on your standing with the church, army, and the people: don’t forget to keep an eye on them, because a few wrong moves will get the peasants all riled up. It has a lot of surprises up its royal sleeve, and the writing is consistently funny, if you’re into dark humor and beheadings.
17. Pokemon Go
Genre: AR adventure
Price: Free (in-app purchases)
Our childhood fantasy come true, Pokémon Go places the little creatures all over the real world and asks you to catch ‘em all. It’s evolved, so to speak, in a big way since its initial release, and you can find five generations of Pokémon just by stepping out your front door. The time of day and weather affects what ‘mon will spawn, and Gym battles, raids, TM upgrades and special evolution items give you something new to try every day. Being a Pokémon master is the best excuse you’ll ever find to walk down to the shops.
16. Alphabear: Words Across Time
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.
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. 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.
Price: £2.39/$2.99 (free version available)
Threes has the cutest numbers you’ve ever seen, and it’s your job to pair them up. But only if they’re multiples of three, mind: you swipe a board of numbers to double up threes, sixes and twenty fours against the ‘walls’ of the screen. You’ll need to think about the whole board whenever you swipe, because one rogue move can transform the round into a sea of misery. It’s adorable as well as tricky, and every tile has a little smiley face underneath it — they even turn to face adjacent matching numbers. D’aww.
13. Triple Town
Price: Free (in-app purchases)
Clearly, there’s something about the number three that creates brilliant mobile games (see Threes! above). In Triple Town, three pieces of grass make a bush, three bushes make a tree, three trees make a hut, three huts make a red house, and so on, With some careful planning you can craft bustling cities on its colourful, teensy maps. As you build you’ll have to avoid bears — three bears are a nightmare — and some even dress up as ninjas. They look sweet, but they can spell curtains for your town. Just keep building.
Genre: Interactive fiction
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. 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.
11. Her Story
Her Story, from Telling Lies developer Sam Barlow, 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. 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, and hope that Telling Lies comes to the Google Play store someday.
Do you like the 80s, smart-talking teenagers, and mysterious islands where alternate dimensions might be a thing? Then this atmospheric adventure will be right up your misty street as a group of teens uncover a creepy supernatural surprise when they go away for the weekend. Complete with incredible moody synth soundtrack, Oxenfree is full of brilliant dialogue, memorable characters, and plenty of different ways for the action to unfold as you explore. Will everyone get off the island the next day? That’s kind of up to you, dude.
Genre: Space sim
Exploring uncharted space is nearly always stressful, as anyone that’s watched a Ridley Scott film will attest to. But somehow, Rymdkapsel makes battling alien invaders a zen journey. You manage an ever-growing population as they research imposing monoliths across the galaxy: you’ll grow plants, build kitchens for food, manage weaponry and mine resources, all the while bolting colourful Tetris-style shapes onto your space station to create the perfect layout. Once the relaxing electronic soundtrack keeps gets you in the zone, and you’ll never want to leave.
If you played Minecraft’s Android version years ago and dismissed it, then it’s time to return. It’s no longer a shadow of the main game: 2017’s Better Together update brought it in line with the Windows 10 version, and it receives all the same updates. You can even play it alongside your friends on PC or iPhone. Mojang has put a lot of time into making the controls intuitive, which means nothing comes between you and Minecraft’s world of infinite possibilities. You can break any block and build any structure without worrying about tapping in the wrong space, and creating gigantic structures is now a genuine option in Minecraft mobile.
7. Mini Metro
If you’ve ever thought you could design a better underground system than Transport For London, it’s your time to put your money where your overcrowded station is. Mini Metro is a beautifully minimalistic exercise in complete godlike commuter control. Stations pop up and all you have to do is connect them to each other in a way that keeps everyone moving but of course it’s not that simple. The real life city recreations have rivers that need bridges and tunnels, trains need new carriages and stations need upgrades to become true transport hubs. Don’t worry, there’s a zen mode for when the stress gets too much.
6. Stardew Valley
If you’ve ever been baffled by the London Underground, New York City Subway or the Paris Métro, then this is your chance to prove you can design something less confusing. Mini Metro is a beautifully minimalistic exercise in godlike commuter control. Stations pop up, and all you have to do is connect them to each other in a way that keeps everyone moving. But as transport planners have always found, it’s not quite that simple. The real-life city recreations have rivers that need bridges and tunnels. Trains need new carriage, and stations need upgrades to become true transport hubs. You need to manage it all. Don’t worry: there’s a zen mode for when the stress gets too much.
5. Alto’s Odyssey
Genre: Endless runner
Price: Free, with in-app purchases
Alto’s Adventure was the best endless runner on Android—until the sequel came along. Odyssey swaps Alto’s snowboard for a sandboard and sends you swooping over dunes and into canyons, performing jumps, tricks and grinds as you pick up speed. The scenery is stunning, and the weather changes from perfect sunshine to flashes of lightning as you zoom past temples and desert city skylines. It’s all set to a soothing soundtrack of flutes that keep you relaxed, even when you crash, and the procedurally-generated levels make every run feel fresh. Whether you played the original or not, this is a must-own.
4. Hidden Folks
Genre: Hidden object
A stylish monochrome version of Where’s Wally/Waldo crammed with happiness and charm. Each big, dense levels has a long list of cartoon collectibles, and lots of moving parts to poke. You can unfurl tents, slide open doors, flick switches to start conveyor belts, or shake trees to make bananas fall to the ground, and everything is accompanied by a mouth-made sound effect guaranteed to make you smile (the ‘Bing’ of a correct spot is imprinted on our brain forever). Hidden Folks is a simple delight that will keep you busy for hours, and remains one of the best hidden object games out there.
3. Monument Valley 2
A beautiful puzzler about shifting perspectives. As silent protagonist Ro, you move across a world of impossible shapes, prodding and pulling at the environment to make it move, creating new pathways. Each level is an optical illusion to wrap your head around, and it’s satisfying to work out how you’ll click its staircases, blocks and bridges into exactly the right place. What sets Monument Valley 2 apart is how well it’s presented. The wistful, sometimes haunting soundtrack rises and falls in all the right places, and each on-screen action is accompanied by its own perfect sound effect. Every stage is a work of art, and the curved spires of its other-worldly towers are set against an ever-changing colour palette.
2. Marvel Snap
Marvel Snap is a revolution for the collectible card game genre. We said as much in our Marvel Snap review, where we praised the accessible action and wickedly compelling gameplay loop – pulling you into round after round of three-minute battles until your phone battery begins to run low. With a deck of just 12 cards to wrap your head around, there's a simplicity to the onboarding that's hard to ignore – making this a CCG that anybody can enjoy – although the depth if you want to raise up the ranks is truly staggering. Do yourself a favor and give Marvel Snap a try.
1. 80 Days
Developer Inkle is renowned for its writing chops and 80 Days is its magnum opus. You play a valet to explorer Phileas Fogg, and it’s your job to plot a route around a wondrous world, which blends reality and sci-fi to create a unique setting. Amphibious trains dive into the English Channel, and bustling markets float in the sky.
You’ll have to manage your finances closely and keep an eye on Fogg’s fragile health, but this isn’t a game where you worry about failing. It’s about the journey: the cities you’ll see, the memorable people you’ll meet, the trouble you’ll get into. The interplay between Fogg and Passepartout is endearing, and every line of dialogue has been honed until it’s razor sharp.
You could play 80 days hundreds of times and still stumble across new stories. It’s available on PC, but the mobile version is still the best fit for its simple interface. If you only play one Android game this year, make it this one.