15 Games You Should Have On Your Android Phone

If you're a hardcore gamer and you have an Android phone, there are more choices than ever that will satisfy your tastes.

Do you turn your nose up at the idea of mobile gaming? Do you have a fancy Android phone in your pocket? Sure, the iPhone gets all the press for fancy multi-touch gaming, but there are more choices than ever that will satisfy the tastes of even the fussiest Android-owning hardcore gamer. There are ports of indie darlings, retro gems, imaginative physics puzzlers, glorious turn-based strategy games, and surprisingly deep action role-playing games, and better yet, they're all cheap. Here's our specially curated list for the discerning Android gamer.

World of Goo

$4.99

2D Boy's physics puzzler has been superb on every platform it has been released for, and the Android is no exception. The core mechanic of traversing challenging environments by building structures with nothing but blobs of goo works perfectly with the touch-screen interface, and the task-based structure makes it the ideal on-the-go experience. On iOS, this is the best-reviewed iPhone and iPad game of all time according to Metacritic, and this version is just as good. An all-time classic, for sure.

Osmos

$4.99

You may have come across Osmos when it was part of the Humble Indie Bundle 2 on PC in 2010, or you may have heard of it when it was Apple's iPad game of the year that same year. If you've never seen it before, you're in for a treat. It's a dreamlike, ambient, physics-based puzzle game with beautiful music and challenging levels. The objective is to propel yourself, as a single-celled organism called a "mote," into smaller organisms to absorb them. You propel yourself by expelling mass, so to move, you get smaller. If you run into larger organisms, you die. Simple, but incredibly compelling.

Great Little War Game

$2.99

If you're a fan of the Advance Wars-style, turn-based approach to strategy games, Great Little War Game is a real treat. It's packed with features, is distinctively designed, and keeps things lighthearted with a snarky and silly sense of humor that pokes fun at the genre and the storylines that typically underpin this kind of experience. Don't be fooled by the cute-looking cartoon-style graphics; this is a tough little game that uses a variety of unit types to create battles on land, at sea, and in the air.

Where's My Water?

$0.99


Physics puzzlers tend to work better on touch devices than on any other gaming platforms, and Disney's Where's My Water? is an elegant example of the genre. What's it about? You have to dig through the dirt with your finger to direct water from broken pipes so that it fills the bathtub of a cute alligator called Swampy. Why? Because Swampy is obsessed with cleanliness. Duh. The game features 80 increasingly challenging levels that belie the cute, cartoonlike appearance of the game.

Grand Theft Auto III

$4.99

Who would have thought 10 years ago that we'd eventually be playing this sprawling, epic, genre-busting classic on our phones? This is a full-on port of the original game with every inch of Liberty City rendered and every line of dialogue included. It's no watered-down impersonation--it's the real deal. Adjusting to the touch-screen controls (the game uses a virtual pad and buttons) takes some getting used to, but the touch controls are surprisingly well executed and remarkably responsive. Like any game that pushes the 3D graphics capabilities of your phone, this one will burn through your battery fast. Keep your charger with you.

Minecraft Pocket Edition

$6.99

Holy crap, it's Minecraft…on your phone. OK, it's not quite the whole thing--right now it's just a scaled-down version of Classic mode from the PC game--but there are more add-ons coming from Mojang, including Survival mode, which is set to hit on February 8. These updates will gradually bring the mobile version closer to the full experience with additional build items and environment effects. If you're hooked on the PC game, this is a great way to get your fix while on the road. It's just a shame that Pocket Edition's save files aren't compatible with those from the PC version.

Sonic CD

$4.99

This will make you feel old: Sonic the Hedgehog CD was originally released for the Sega CD in 1993. Yep, go on. Add it up. Yep, that's 19 years ago. It's certainly an unusual choice for a port, given that it's not as much of a "mainstream" Sonic game, but connoisseurs of the series will remember its imaginative storyline, time-traveling mechanics, and previously unseen high-speed Sonic moves, the Spin Dash and the Super Peel Out. All are present and correct in the Android version, so it's a big ol' nostalgia trip for a penny shy of $5. Ignore the one-star reviews in the Android Market; they're not because the game is bad. People are complaining about the lengthy download times. The file you grab from the Market is just a launcher, which then grabs the game code, and it can take a while, so be forewarned…and be near a Wi-Fi spot.

ChuChu Rocket

$0.99

When touch-screen devices were just starting to emerge as viable game platforms, chin-stroking game pundits like us would sit around pondering what games would work well. "Sega should remake Sonic Team's ChuChu Rocket," we would say. "Yes, it might be a bit of an obscure Dreamcast title, but it was fantastic and is perfect for a touch-screen device," we would continue, never really expecting Sega to actually do it. How clever we all were, though. Because here it is: Sega's cat-and-mouse-themed high-speed puzzle game in all its glory for just $0.99.

Muffin Knight

$2.99

Wait, Muffin what? Don't glaze over, dismiss this one, and just scroll down to the next game on the list. Hold your horses a second, because this is a good one. Have you heard of Super Crate Box? The maddeningly addictive, old-school arcade platformer that was an Independent Games Festival finalist in 2010? You have? OK, this is just like that, only instead of collecting crates, you collect muffins, and every time you collect a baked treat, you turn into a different fairy-tale creature. Also, the game features unicorns that poop rainbow explosives. Hard. Core.

Epic Astro Story

$4.99

This is another one that we all argued about pretty hard. Why? The challenge is we love all of Kairosoft's quirky, retro-themed resource-management games. Game Dev Story got us all hooked last year, and we've similarly fallen for Grand Prix Story, Mega Mall Story, and the soccer-themed Pocket League Story. So what's so special about this one? Space colonization, baby. Epic Astro Story has you managing a space colony and trying to attract space tourists, all while fighting off space monsters. That's got to be cooler than running a shopping center, right?

Reckless Racing

$1.99

Polarbit's dirt-road racing game evokes top-down racers of old, only it has gorgeous graphics and a meaty physics engine, which means that the solid-feeling cars slide around the tracks in a believable fashion. One thing to note: if you have a newer Android phone, look for the HD version in the Android Market (it's linked off the main game page and is the same price), because it looks a lot better. Also note that on many phones, especially handsets like the Samsung Galaxy, the game tears through your battery at a frightening pace. Keep a charger handy.

Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story

Free

The Zenonia series is a Korean RPG series that draws inspiration from the likes of The Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana. While the franchise on the whole is by no means as good as either of those classics, all three games in the series check all the appropriate early-'90s action RPG boxes and provide all the level grinding and fetch quests you could possibly wish for. While Zenonia 3 is the most refined game in the series, some of you may take issue with the in-app purchase (IAP) model that publisher Gamevil has adopted for this chapter. While the initial download is free, there are some fairly essential items that must be bought with real cash in order for you to complete the game. It's not necessarily a lot of cash, but if you're the kind of gamer who feels that these IAP-driven games are trying to shake you down, you may object to this.

Peggle

$2.99

We all love PopCap's games, and we argued here at GameSpot for ages over which game to include on this list: Peggle or Plants vs. Zombies? Both are awesome, but what if we could pick only one? After we couldn't decide ourselves, we turned to Twitter and asked the same question there. After several days of vehement arguments, Peggle eventually won thanks to its simplicity, suitability for the mobile platform, and charm. So there you have it. The Internet has spoken. Peggle it is.

Drop7

$2.99

Drop7 is hardly a new game, but it was ported to Android phones fairly recently, so its inclusion on this list is absolutely warranted. The original was released in 2009 for iOS, and later its developer, Area/Code, was picked up as one of Zynga's early mobile acquisitions. While it's simple to play, trying to explain Drop7 is remarkably difficult. The game is played on a 7-by-7 square grid, and in each round you place a circle that falls from the top of the grid. Each circle either has a number between one and seven on it or is blank. Whenever the number of any circle matches the number of adjacent circles, it disappears and impacts any blank circles around it. If hit twice, blank circles turn into numbered circles. The objective is to eliminate circles and create combos for as long as possible until the entire grid is full. Got that? No? Believe us, it's awesome, and when you're actually playing, it makes a whole lot more sense.

Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave

Free

Dungeon Defenders is like the ultimate mash-up of hip mobile gaming trends all squished together in one gorgeous-looking package. It's an action RPG and tower defense hybrid that uses the Unreal engine for its graphics, supports four-player co-op, and is…free? Oh yes. It's entirely possible that you may have come across the game before in one of its many other guises; it was released on Steam, as well as on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade last year. If you like loot, leveling like crazy, and the World of Warcraft aesthetic, you'll definitely get a kick out of this game. As with all the other graphics-intensive titles listed here, note that this one absolutely destroys batteries. It cooks them for breakfast. Literally cooks them on some phones. If you've ever wondered just how hot your phone can run, try playing this for an hour. Ouch.

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Discussion

74 comments
dastuph
dastuph

I remember your iPhone updates on 1up fondly. I have one game on my HTC EVO and its Peggle...thats pretty much all I need :) Btw, absolutely LOVED the old 1up Yours podcasts. Great memories and helped me get through my work day more than once.

Meet391
Meet391

How come you forgot Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within? I loved it..... And Where's My Water sounds fun!!!!

jwhdavison
jwhdavison staff

We didn't forget to mention R-Type. As I mentioned earlier, there are many, many games we could have featured but wanted to trim it down to a list of games you might not be aware of, or might not know were available for Android. There are dozens of great games for gamers in the Android Market, and it's great to see so many suggestions in the comments here. I've been disappointed to see elsewhere on the site that so many people are blindly critical of games for iOS and Android, but the response to this proves that we're all starting to think about what we play on our phones differently.

RenierVile
RenierVile

Hardcore Games > Forgets to mention R-Type. My mind is full of what?

FoppyOmega
FoppyOmega

Aww, my game Galaxy Hero didn't make the cut :(

chyng85
chyng85

Zenonia 3 and Muffin Knight look great~!

Jebril
Jebril

I think Android will probably just stole a huge portion of the handheld market by now, especially from the iPhone.

Tyralyon
Tyralyon

Thanks for the article, some games here I didn't know about and will definitely check out (will also check out Dead Space seeing as so many recommend it here in comments). I agree Plants vs. Zombies shouldn't be on the list though. I didn't know until I finished it that it's a stripped-down version. Why??? I would still be playing it if it at least had survival...

jwhdavison
jwhdavison staff

If we tackle an iOS list, what kind of thing would people like to see? Something like this focused more on "gamer" games? Or should we try and unearth unusual games that people tend to not talk about? Maybe look back at older stuff people have forgotten about?

double_aa_ron
double_aa_ron

@jwhdavison That would be great! Most of these I've never heard of because they aren't on the top 30 in the android market and I don't feel like searching google for a comprehensive list (there isn't one).

ticklemonster1
ticklemonster1

yet not near ip's devoloper support or game library. angry birds and drop 7 doesnt quite match metal gear touch or infinity blade..

jwhdavison
jwhdavison staff

Duly noted on opinions on Dead Space. We actually started with a much longer list of games that we cut down so it didn't go on and on and on; that list included Dead Space, Blood & Glory, Tiny Tower, Grabatron, Asphalt 6, and Zombie Dash as well as numerous others. I'm more than happy to revisit this list regularly with new ideas if people are into it, and also expand to exploring what available for Windows Mobile too.

Double_Wide
Double_Wide

Yeah...I think I'll stick to the PS Minis for my PSP Go

TheDigitalDomo
TheDigitalDomo

GTA III runs nice and smooth on my galaxy nexus :)

RocSeanD
RocSeanD

Where's "Run like Hell" at? That is an awesome game.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

I have most of these on my iPhone. All good games.

Argent-de-C
Argent-de-C

Dead Space and a decent pair of headphones .... awesome!

enzyme36
enzyme36

and this list of games above is why there will always be a market for a dedicated hand-held gaming device

GodOfSyn
GodOfSyn

Dungeon Defenders is addictive. That's amazing they have GTA3 now. Stay away from the Doom remake, it's pretty bad, i mean literally unplayable as the sensitivity is through the roof and you can't be accurate at all thanks to the GUI thumbsticks...

double_aa_ron
double_aa_ron

@Jedilink109 Every site you go to it talks about iPhone games. No one ever talks about android games. I don't care if they are exclusive or not. It's just nice to get a list of good games that I can get on my Android device.

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

@SeanGrimLink - no suprises...the same happens with the console Dead Space games. They are awsome but are usually forgotten by reviewers. anyway, totally agree that it should be here. Other than that...saved the list for future reference. :)

davedrastic
davedrastic

oh and Flight Control. Super K.O.s worth a look (Punch Out clone). There's a tower defense game called Empire something, thats really good but kept crashing on my phone.

davedrastic
davedrastic

Where's my water is great. I also love Doodle Jump, just silly fun, and Asphalt 6 - once you get the hang of it its a really fun and impressive racer

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Good to see 2 SEGA games up there.

Daian
Daian

I love Great Little War Game but i got stuck on the first mission when you get sea units, the enemy keeps making land units where i'm supposed to attack while on my other side enemy units keep appearing out of nowhere. Any advice?

SeriousToast
SeriousToast

I'm glad to see that Temple Run and Angry Birds aren't on there.

powerman1426
powerman1426

Appreciate the list. Dungeon Defenders is definitely a must have, and yeah, it'll heat up a phone real fast unless fairly new lol. The kicker is its free. No ads, no shakedown for money? Oh yeah, other devs should take note

SpotonRisotto
SpotonRisotto

Nes/Snes/Sega/Gameboy/Atari/C64 emu are great Robo Defense Zombie Dash Stupid Zombies Gurk Gurk II Run Football Those are all my games on my phone. I also only have 2.1 so space is always an issue, but I have had Legends Arcana (okay not great) Game Dev Story (a favourite of mine) ZENONIA series (3 is free like in the story.. So try it!) Still not having Football Manager series, or Fifa 12 really stinks.

Lhomity
Lhomity

Every time i see that green alligator thing from Where's my Water, it reminds me of Schnappi das Kleine Krokodil. I don't know why. It just does. I have tried GTA 3 on a friend's phone, and found the virtual control quite clumsy and silly. It made me wish I was at home playing the original with a PS2 controller.

bigbeebis
bigbeebis

Astro Story looks interesting.

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

@MelonSmasher86 So you use apple stuff, but own andriod too because it does the same things as the apple stuff, and lets you watch movies....... why not just own the andriod stuff? or hack the apple stuff? not trying to be rude, I just don't understand why you wanna own both when you don't have to.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

@chibi-acer Apparently YOU missed the point of my entire comment. I don't understand them making an article about Android games you should have on your phone when only one of those games are exclusive to Android. Most mobile games are on both, so If it's an article exclusively about Android, they should have some frickin exclusives.

liam82517
liam82517

No love for windows phone :(

MelonSmasher86
MelonSmasher86

i had most of those on apple devices. i use android to watch movie that is all :D

soulless4now
soulless4now

Zenonia 3 looks cool. I might have to check it out.

Bhargav_pvs
Bhargav_pvs

Why did iphone come into the topics and why isn't dead space in the list? That's a great game too.

metalkid9
metalkid9

Zombie dash is pretty fun too. Simple, but fun! Plus it's free

rideru
rideru

Dead Space should be added to that list.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@Jedilink109 Way to miss the point. Who cares if the game is also on iPhone? If all you have is an Android phone (why would you have both?), all you want to know is the best games to buy.

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

I wouldn't have included Minecraft Pocket edition. Don't get me wrong I love the PC version to bits, but it is a lesson in patience when playing on a touch pad.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Aren't all of thses games on iphone too? Why would they include games that are all on both? Haha. Either way, it's a solid list of some pretty good stuff. Friggin I found some seeds for Minecraft Poket today. When starting a new word type one of these things in for some interesting Minecraft world spawns: v rapeseed -101 doomsday Exactly as it shows, no capital letters. Some of those worlds are pretty cool, specifically v. :)

G_gglypuff
G_gglypuff

I am very surprised there are actually so many pics outside of the most common games we find for mobile platforms. I'll definitelly consider them now.

TheDarkNut
TheDarkNut

I have Zenonia in my android... Better check the market again for Dungeon Defenders.

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

ZDefense is awesome, so is Star Traders. Star Traders is a top-down "space sim." You're the captain of a ship and can take missions or trade across the VERY LARGE star system to try and get rich. It's very "low key" regarding graphics (mostly text based) so battery drain isn't a big worry, but it's extremely large and complex with a dynamic economy system, inter-species/faction politics that affect trade and your personal relations with each faction. There are also a bunch of ships to buy/trade along with upgrades, crew managment, planetary exploration, and more. It is a great way to spend your "waiting time" throughout the day. What's better, the developers are always on top of the game and IT REQUIRES NO SPECIAL PERMISSIONS TO RUN!