The cream of the crop, between must-have games that you may have missed, but also a few lesser-known gems that are worth the effort. So, action, strategy or sport?
It's not always easy to find your way around the Google Play Store, which is packed with thousands of games. That's why we've put together our ultimate guide to the free titles you shouldn't miss, sorted by genre to make it easier to find your way around. You'll find, in order, simulation games, sports games, action games, first and third person shooter games, adventure games and RPGs, strategy games and finally puzzle games.
Here you'll find the must-have games for the Android platform, which you absolutely must download or you'll miss out on some really worthwhile games.
There are two Sims games for Android. The first is Sims Freeplay, released six years ago and still very active, and the second is Sims Mobile, released in 2018. Both games have more than a million downloads each (5 million even for the first one) and are rated 4 stars out of 5 on the Play Store.
While both games are part of the Sims license, well known to PC (and console) gamers, both smartphone applications offer a more restricted gameplay than the computer versions, of course. More precisely, they are more "themed".
Sims Freeplay allows you to manage a city of Sims without going into the granularity of a home. In Sims Mobile, you enter the life of a single family of Sims, but you get into the details of this management: home, relationships, work, money, clothing style, etc. Of course, other families live in the neighborhood. With all the possibilities (and consequences) that this can have.
When it came to smartphones, Nintendo decided to carry several of its successful licenses. The goal being obviously to attract mobile gamers with brands they know on game consoles such as 3DS, Switch or Wii. Fire Emblem, Mario and Pokemon are some of them (but not yet Zelda at the time of writing). And then there's Animal Crossing, whose addiction affects every generation!
Like Sims Mobile, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is once again a management and simulation game. But this time, instead of a classic city, it's a campground you have to manage. All this with animals as customers. The game can be multiplayer: you can visit other players' campsites and exchange certain resources. There are also quests, events and a permanent enrichment of features. One of the newest features is the creation of new flowers by cross-pollination.
Just like on console and PC, Electronic Arts and Konami compete on mobile phones to win the hearts of football fans. The Japanese publisher uses its famous Pro Evolution Soccer series (or PES for its friends) and offers several applications. The passable PES Card Collection. The promising eFootball PES 2020 which offers a real football game in a smartphone. And PES Club Manager.
The latter takes over the club management part of the PES series on console and PC. You create your club, recruit players, train them and set up game tactics. You take part in meetings and tournaments. You do not control your players, but let the game engine work. It is based on your team's statistics and those of your opponent that you know if you pocket the three points or not. A good alternative to the mythical Football Club Manager.
Not all sports games are as nervously demanding as football games or running simulations. There are also disciplines that are more about subtlety and strategy. Golf, for example, is one of them. But also billiards, which obviously takes advantage of intuitive handling and optimized connectivity on smartphones. In this area, it's 8 Ball Pool from Miniclip that's the most interesting.
This application offers several game modes. Some quieter, offline, to learn how to handle the cue and understand the behavior of balls on the mat. And others more breathless, facing real opponents in breathless head-to-head confrontations or 8-player tournaments to win a big bundle... or lose it for that matter. The progression is fast and simple, no need to spend money to advance without any headache, we recommend it!
Car racing games fall into two categories: arcade games, which promote easy handling for more energetic games, and simulation games, which are intended to be closer to reality, particularly in terms of car behavior. On the one hand, Need for Speed. On the other, Gran Turismo. For example, Gran Turismo. The Real Racing series, created and developed by Firemonkey Studios (a subsidiary of Electronic Arts), has always been in the second category.
And Real Racing 3, the latest (and first to be based on the freemium model), is no exception. 19 circuits drawn from real tracks. 250 cars modeled after the authentic designs of brands such as Aston Martin, Porsche, Ford, McLaren, Bugatti and others. And 4,000 different events, divided into different categories. All this sprinkled with an extensive multiplayer game, with real time racing for eight players simultaneously.
Racing games, everybody knows. From Need for Speed to Asphalt, you'll find several exclusive or cross-platform licenses on Android. But games where you drive a motorcycle, it's not very common. And yet, bikers are all convinced that their bikes offer as much (or even more) thrills as a car. So here's Traffic Rider, which is a motorcycle game.
One of its particularities is to offer only a first person view. So you see what the rider sees, no more and no less. The other particularity of the game is to privilege an arcade grip where your goal is to graze as much as possible other vehicles on the road and with the most style to make the best score. This will bring back some memories for Burnout fans. Around thirty bikes are available and a career mode is offered.
Created and published by Electronic Arts, the Need For Speed series is one of the great references in arcade racing games. Launched in 1994 on PC and console (PS1, Saturn and ... 3DO please), it puts you at the wheel of high-powered cars in very fast races where the handling is fast. Which is obviously perfect for a mobile game. In 2004 it arrived on mobile and in 2008 on smartphone.
If you search the Play Store, you'll now find three Need For Speed games. The very good Most Wanted, which is paying and which has gotten old. NFS Heat Studio, which offers to customize cars (with a link to the eponymous console and PC game). And No Limits, an unreleased opus that takes up some aspects of Underground gameplay. It offers to participate in races, of course, but also to customize your car, participate in challenges and collect money to pay you the best possible upgrades. All served by a beautiful realization.
Asphalt 9 Legends is GameLoft's latest arcade-oriented racing game. Released in 2018, it largely retains all the attributes of its predecessor: 50 customizable cars with beautiful names like Lamborghini, Ferrari or Porsche, tracks with several possible layouts and varied environments, nitro to give a bit of a boost (and knock down an opponent, if not during the course of the game) and a very long career mode, with more than 800 races to win.
Of course, Asphalt 9 Legends includes a multiplayer dimension with guilds to form driver clubs, and competitive races to compete against other players. This last dimension is certainly not the best of the application, as it can be strongly influenced if one of the participants has conceded a few denarii.
For several years now, "battle royale" type games have been popular. The principle is simple: several dozen players appear in an environment. The last one still alive to win. If you've seen the Japanese movie of the same name, then you know what we're talking about here. The most famous games are Fortnite of course, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Warzone and... PlayerUnknown's Battleground. Or PUBG.
PUBG is considered the first royal battle, the one that gave birth to the genre. And this is its official mobile version. It offers the same features in terms of gameplay (of course with adapted graphics and handling). The events are frequent and the game modes have been designed for use on a smartphone, with games that can be very short and very dynamic.
The Brothers in Arms series was not born on a smartphone, but on a PC and console. It is the first original license from the studio Gearbox Software, the creators of Borderlands. The series, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, has only a few canonical episodes. The vast majority of the games are spinoffs developed on handheld and mobile consoles. Brothers in Arms 3 is the fifth game of the series to appear on mobile.
Released in 2014, it remains one of the references of the genre: third-person shooter games. And it continues to be updated, the last one dating from 2020. Like Sniper Elite, Battlefield or Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms 3 puts you and your squad mates behind enemy lines. You must use the skills of each soldier present (sniper, mortar, infiltration, etc.) and take advantage of the terrain to defeat your opponents. Of course, you'll upgrade your equipment as you go along. A multiplayer game is of course present to challenge the talents of other players.
Spiritual sequel to Dead Trigger 2, which is still one of our favorite titles for testing smartphones and tablets, Unkilled covers most of what made its predecessor the best Madfingers track, far ahead of the Shadowgun series (also created by the Czech studio). Especially its very impressive graphics engine.
Real-time 3D FPS, Unkilled puts you in the shoes of a survivor in the face of a pandemic that is turning humans into anthropophagous zombies. Of course, to defend yourself, you have an arsenal of choices, including heavy weapons, handguns and edged weapons, not to mention explosives. All of this equipment can be upgraded to increase damage, range, speed and accuracy.
Unlike Dead Trigger 2, you have a choice of playable characters. A multiplayer part is obviously present to add some spice to the game, whether in PVP jousts or during co-op missions. And the built-in shopping isn't so important to properly complete the single-player campaign.
Even if you're not a console or PC gamer, there's no need to introduce Call of Duty, Activision's FPS license. Recently arrived on smartphone bringing with it all the history of the series, as well as its great features: massive maps from mythical episodes like Black Ops or Modern Warfare, very tactical missions and, recently, the armory. For those unfamiliar with the series, it's all about the ability to customize a weapon in a thousand and one ways. That's Call of Duty too.
Call of Duty Mobile is an exclusive episode adapted for console use. You won't find any single-player mode, which could have been used as a training for the multi modes. So you have to dive into the action directly. All modes are demanding, but not necessarily in the same way. There's the five-on-five PVP Quick Match. Or a "battle royale" mode in PUBG with 100 participants simultaneously (where you can choose a third-person view). The game is freemium, but doesn't seem to be particularly prone to purchase.
In the ultimate discography of a heavy metal (and even hard rock in general) fan, there is certainly an album by the London band Iron Maiden. Powerslave. Somewhere in Time. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Or the excellent Number of the Beast. One of the common points between all the Iron Maiden albums, studio or live, is the character on its cover: Eddie, half mummy, half zombie, living extratemporal and extraordinary adventures.
Eddie's drawings, created by British illustrator Derek Riggs, inspired London-based video game studio Nodding Frog to create an epic role-playing game called Legacy of the Beast in 2016. The player plays Eddie, who must find the scattered fragments of his soul. He will have to help him in his other incarnations, some of which have been made famous by the album covers: Trooper, Shaman, Pharaoh, Cyborg, Mummy, etc... The gameplay, classic but with a unique atmosphere, is that of a turn-based RPG.
With a very impressive pool of characters, the Marvel universe is an excellent candidate to feed many games where superheroes (and supervillains) have to be obtained through a draw. A well known commercial mechanism on the "freemium" games market. Currently, three titles are available on the Play Store: Contest of Champions, Future Fights and Strike Force. The last one is the most recent and is, in our opinion, the most complete. And the best of the three.
It's a turn-based RPG similar to Legacy of the Beast that lets you create a team of six characters and take on enemies. There's a story mode, with several campaigns already online. There are events every week. And there's a multiplayer game that's especially packed with Alliance factions, raid campaigns (with other faction members) and PVP. It's a game with lots and lots of content. And hundreds of Marvel characters to acquire.
Final Fantasy Record Keeper, developed by DeNA on behalf of Square Enix, is the first freemium RPG of the license on smartphone. It preceded Brave Exvius and Mobius. Featuring pixel art, Record Keeper takes the famous "ATB" (acronym for Active Time Battle) combat system, introduced with Final Fantasy IV and modernized to make it a highly strategic game.
The scenario, which has grown considerably in five years, invites you to follow Tyro, a young prodigy from the royal archives. He is in charge, with Doctor Mog, of monitoring the paintings of the great legends, those of fabulous heroes such as Cloud, Cecil, Terra, Lightning or Noctis. But not everything goes according to plan, of course. And the young archivist will have to get into the paintings and restore the memories.
From this base, you will (re)discover all the episodes of the series, (re)see the mythical scenes and fight (again) the legendary bosses of the series, like Garland, Exdeath or Sephiroth. Weapons galore, invocations, magilith, unique skills, Record Keeper offers great depth. Animated each week by a new event to expand and improve its team, the game is not too greedy on integrated purchases and offers enough rewards to evolve at its own pace. The multiplayer part, on the other hand, has lost some of its superb quality in recent years.
A few months after the release of Record Keeper, Square Enix doubles the bet on smartphones with Brave Exvius. And to do so, the Japanese publisher is going to turn to Gumi, the author of Brave Frontier that critics acclaim around the world, calling his RPG "Final Fantasy for mobile". That was all it took for Square Enix to ask Gumi to create the perfect mix between the two.
Unlike Record Keeper, Brave Exvius offers a completely new scenario. You follow the adventures of Rain, Laswell and Fina as they travel the world to protect the crystals of the Veritas, six immortal knights from another world. And to defeat them, they summon visions, heroes from their world, but also from other worlds in the Final Fantasy universe, with the possibility of allying themselves with Noctis, Bartz, Lightning and all the others. The first season covers the entire Lapis campaign, the second the Paladia campaign and the third (the current one) the solo adventures of Fina.
The gameplay of Brave Exvius is multiple. Fight against various enemies. Explore dungeons and cities to glean information, materials and items. And management. Management of characters to summon and evolve. Management of weapons and equipment to acquire, manufacture and improve. Summoning management to find and grow. Brave Exvius is a big, long and demanding game, where farming is omnipresent. And only the most assiduous (and the most strategic) will complete all the content offered.
Following the success of Brave Exvius, Square Enix has decided to extend this parallel license with a second game called War of the Visions. The gameplay, graphic style and storyline of this game are totally different, since War of the Visions borrows all these elements from Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. It is therefore a tactical role-playing game with turn-based movement on a grid. It's a totally different gameplay that will satisfy those who want a little change between two battles on Fire Emblem Heroes.
War of the Visions offers you to participate in a war between several kingdoms. A conflict whose real goals and instigators will only be revealed at the end of the scenario. To help you survive the battles, you'll have at your disposal the original heroes of this episode (Mount Leonis, Tern Leonis, Macheria Hourne), as well as characters created for Brave Exvius (Ayaka and Aileen for example) and many others from the other opus of the series. Like Fire Emblem Heroes, War of the Visions will avidly draw from the gargantuan breeding ground of Final Fantasy. What will make War of the Visions a rather long title.
Fire Emblem is a famous tactical RPG series developed by Intelligent Systems and Nintendo. After more than a dozen different opus, released on all Nintendo's consoles (with a few rare exceptions, such as the Nintendo 64), the series has moved on to Android and iOS with an episode called Fire Emblem Heroes and whose business model is freemium.
Fire Emblem Heroes is based on the same gameplay mechanics as the other episodes of the series. You form a team of heroes. You move each hero on the field, each location of which corresponds to a grid square. And you face the opposing team by taking advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of your character and your target (including the famous triangle of weapons, the signature of the Fire Emblem series).
The game features a (very) long main campaign (divided into four books), as well as temporary events of varying difficulty. To form your team, you have to go through the invocation and its random draws. And if you don't have enough Summoning Stones, you can always pay for more through built-in purchases.
Supercell, the creators of Clash of Clans, is a regular at the top of the rankings for Android and iOS gaming applications. Thanks to a careful production and an unfailing gameplay, the Finnish studio's games often hit the bull's eye.
With Brawl Stars, Supercell offers Android gamers a title that emphasizes cooperative and competitive multiplayer. A game of Brawl Stars is played in teams of 3 (in solo, two teammates are supported by the computer). Several game modes are available: defeat the opposing team, be the last to survive, collect as many diamonds as possible, keep your trunk as long as possible or steal the other team's trunk.
You have at your disposal characters with their specialties. You'll have to find your favorite according to your playing style and missions. And each character can be upgraded with new powers and gadgets that can give you the edge in a battle.
Since the advent of mobile gaming, and by extension independent gaming, some productions transcend genres to offer a unique experience and chart a new videogame path. Alto's Adventure, released in 2015, was one of those. A unique atmosphere. An intoxicating soundtrack. An incredible feeling of weightlessness. And breathtakingly simple and delicate graphics.
Alto's Odyssey is the sequel to Alto's Adventure. Just like its predecessor, it is a 2D runner-type game in horizontal view. The player controls a character (up to six playable characters here) who automatically moves forward, and must glide over the hills avoiding different monsters, taking advantage of weather effects and collecting bonuses. Like the first opus, Alto's Odyssey offers an easy grip, but many challenges for those who want to push the experience even further.
In 2015, Angry Birds 2 marked the great return of "hyper venereal" birds! No need to show the license. After a series of variations (Blast, Pop, Match, Explore, Evolution, etc.), the series finally returned to its roots with this Angry Birds 2. That's what makes it really enjoyable.
This new opus still brings new levels, new birds and new ways to destroy those ugly egg-stealing pigs. In particular, it is now possible to make the birds evolve, a mechanism that promotes assiduity. Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2020, the game hasn't aged a day and continues to amuse us with its familiar simplicity. Special mention for the hats that add a touch of design.
Namco Bandai is known for its huge catalog of manga licenses, each one more popular than the other: One Piece, Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, Sword Art Online, Deadly Seven Sins, Gundam or Naruto. Rare are those that have not been the subject of a videogame adaptation on smartphone. The Naruto series has several: Ultimate Ninja Blazing and Ninja Voltage. We chose to include the latter in our selection because it is relatively different from other adaptations of the genre.
It is a strategy game, mixing action and Tower Defense. Based on beautiful graphics faithful to the series, it offers a short solo campaign, but above all a very nice multiplayer mode, especially with a few friends. The goal is to create a fortress that will serve as your base camp to develop strategies, set traps and devise plans to attack other players. And of course you'll be able to attack with your buddies, in real time. Now that's fun!
The iconic Blizzard is not very present on mobile phones, but its Hearthstone virtual card game (or TCG, for trading card game) is a reference. A card game set in the world of World of WarCraft, its principle is simple: build a deck of 30 cards, compete online against opponents and play for fun or to string together performances in the world rankings. Featuring modes such as Arena, Arm wrestling, and Adventure, this is arguably the most complete TCG.
Fans of eSport, you should also know that Hearthstone is one of the most active games on the subject. Numerous extensions allow you to renew the game regularly so you won't get bored. The latest extension to date is called The Scholomance Academy. It arrived on August 6, 2020. It is composed of 135 cards to add to its deck, 40 of which are double class. And of course, new capacities are to be discovered.
No, Clash Royale isn't just another Clash of Clan clone, it's a variation. Developed by the creators of Clash of Clans, Supercell, Clash Royale doesn't offer the same gameplay either. Indeed, it is a unique Tower Defense that relies on real-time battles in real time really strategic which as often aims to destroy the opponent's base while defending your own.
To do this, you have at your disposal trading cards, which are all as many attack or defense capabilities. Much more tactical than strategic (unlike Clash of Clans), the difficulty management is well balanced to make you want to move forward. Like many games of the genre, Clash Royale works on the free-to-play model with built-in purchase.
We no longer need to present Clash of Clans, developed by the Finnish studio Supercell. Launched in 2012, it already has millions of fans worldwide and is one of the most popular on Android. Its community is still very active, despite its advanced age and recurring events are still provided.
For those who discover Clash of Clans with these lines, you should know that this is a strategy game where you have to lead your clan (and your guild) to victory by facing other players. Build your village, fortify your defenses, gather your soldiers to protect what belongs to you and conquer new territories, alone or with your friends! All this in a matter of moments, as you only have a few minutes to make your opponent bend. A perfect format for smartphones.
Riot Games has created one of the video game sensations of the 2010's: League of Legends, a multiplayer "MOBA" type game. Subsidiary of Tencent since 2015, the Californian studio has since specialized in competitive games and some, such as League of Legends, have become e-sport tournament events.
While waiting for the arrival of the League of Legends license on smartphone, with the episode called Wildrift (currently in beta), you can throw yourself into Legend of Runeterra. A virtual trading card game, Legend of Runeterra is a competitor to Hearthstone (which it certainly hopes to dethrone), with the same PVP modes.
Offering beautiful graphics to accompany a solid and dynamic gameplay, this title is based on a freemium mechanic : you will acquire your cards as the game progresses, and if you need the master piece of your strategy, a shop will provide it. No random draw is proposed. This is not common.
One day, a game developer said to his colleague: "Hey, how about making a game with zombies." The other one said, "déjà vu, dude. There are plenty of them already! ». The first one : " yeah, but something where humans don't kill zombies... ". The second one: "so what?". And that's when a genius idea came to them: plants, of course! (because... why not?). And the story of one of the biggest successes of Popcap Games, now a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, began in 2009: Plants vs. Zombies.
We're in 2020, and while we're waiting for the arrival of the third opus (whose beta launch took place earlier this year), nothing better than reliving the second canonical episode (because we're bypassing PvZ Heroes, which is good, but not as good). Plants vs Zombies 2 is a freemium game that takes the mechanics and humour of its predecessor, while strengthening the plant army at your disposal to fight against old and new brain-eating zombies (you'll hear a lot of "Braaaiiinn" ). All fun, with a bit of soil in it.
The Fallout saga doesn't have much left to prove, and yet it still manages to delight us with Fallout Shelter, a track that's very different from all the others in the Bethesda saga, released in 2015 and still updated five years later. Find the austerity of a bomb shelter and the retroapocalyptic atmosphere of the license, with its dark humour, complex history and tortured land.
Fallout Shelter invites you to be the manager of a bomb shelter where humans have taken refuge from the radiation. You have several missions. Manage the people living with you by making sure that each person performs their shelter maintenance tasks properly (power generation, water treatment, food production). Send people outside so that they can go in search of food and other materials necessary for your survival underground. All this while being careful of course of threats and attacks that could weaken your resources!
Developed by Google's Niantic, Pokemon Go is an official game licensed by Nintendo. It's an augmented reality game where you have to get out of your house and go hunting for pokemons as you wander the streets, forests, beaches and more. The exploration map is based on real geography (including water points, forests, etc.) with virtual points of interest: pokemons, training centers, Pokeshops, etc.
Pokémon Go was a hit in the summer of 2016, when it was released, signing one of the best smartphone launches of all time. Four years later, it continues to evolve with new features (PvP battles, raids, guilds, exchanges, etc.) and new generations of Pokémon, including legendary ones. Still in 2020, it's one of the most money-making titles on Android. Essential for fans of the license.
I Love Yue Too is the sequel to I Love Yue. It is an independent puzzle game whose principle remains relatively identical to its predecessor: rebuild the puzzles to obtain perfect gradients. The gameplay, very original and yet simple, appeals more to your sense of perception and logic.
Served by a mysterious and bewitching soundtrack, I Love Yue Too benefits, like the first opus, from graphics where visual art is more important than special effects. The atmosphere is zen, making the game quite soothing. The difficulty increases little by little to bring a bit of challenge.
The first opus was part of our selection of favorite games for several years. And its sequel simply replaces it. The gameplay has been refined. The lifespan has been reinforced with 900 levels announced. But the spirit has remained intact. And that's what we like too.