The 10 Best Games For Android Smartphones

Screw Apple, you say. You don't need to enter their closed system to taste sweet smartphone bliss! Look, you have a perfectly fine Android handset on your person. It's still wrapped in plastic, eve. Once you remove that protective layer, it's Fun City! And app! We've got you covered on games, you non-conformist rebel. Download the ones below onto your device and be proud.

Update 12/25/2012: Google's mobile OS keeps proliferating on more and more handsets and the games hitting that hardware keep getting better. And so the line-up of games that we think are the Bests for Android gets some additions and changes. Angry Birds Star Wars -- the latest version of Rovio's mega-hit franchise -- replaces Angry Birds Space and Need for Speed Most Wanted, Arcane Legends and Hamlet all land onto the Bests.

Angry Birds Star Wars

As brutishly mercenary as a Force-enabled version of Angry Birds might seem, the newest variant of Rovio's mobile juggernaut is actually pretty good. The standard Birds gameplay gets bolted onto iconic sequences from the Star Wars saga and players will be able to deflect lasers with a lightsaber and use Force Push on the franchise's rickety environments.

A Good Match for: Iteration addicts. We've reached the point where each new AB release shows interesting tweaks to a core formula. The smash-it-all gameplay has moved from a see-what-happens model to one where various abilities exist to help you force the outcome you want. The Star Wars-centric skills in ABSW aren't going to replace careful aiming and application of momentum but they make it so you won't need as much luck as in the past.

Not for Those Who Want: Their childhood memories unsullied. If you break out in hives at the mere mention of Episodes I through III, then you should probably act like this game doesn't exist. Your younglings, though, may not give you a choice.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Arcane Legends

Spacetime Studios' hybrid MMO takes advantage of Google's ubiquity by giving you an experience you can play on both smartphone and web browser. The fantasy battles tend to be quick skirmishes of about five minutes or so, perfect for earning some XP while waiting in line at the supermarket.

A Good Match for: Cat fanciers and dog devotees. Arcane Legends introduces pets to Spacetime's mobile MMO template. More than just cuddly sidekicks, they serve as really robust partners, with powers that will heal you or kick the butt of an enemy. They need care and feeding, of course, but the loot they help you find more than makes up for it.

Not for Those Who Want: Robust customisation. For a game that uses so many MMO design pillars, there aren't as many options for making your avatar look. Warriors, mages and rogues are locked -- as of now -- to their particular races, which means that you're going to run into a lot of lookalikes.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Cut the Rope

Simplicity's been the key to success for ZeptoLab's hit physics puzzler. As intricate as the levels get in Cut the Rope, the slicing and tapping methods by which you get cute little alien Om Nom his candy never feel too complicated to execute.

A Good Match for: Grade schoolers. Who loves candy more than kids? Plus, the cartoony presentation and easy mechanics will draw them in right away.

Not for Those Who Want: Easy puzzles. Later levels of Cut the Rope will test the mastery of most players, as ropes, balloons and whoopee cushions get deployed in fiendishly maddening ways.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Dead Space

EA's space horror franchise minted an unlikely hero in nearly mute engineer Isaac Clarke, whose lonely adventures cutting off the limbs of re-animated monstrosities delivered the biggest scares of the current console generation. Isaac's portable debut keeps up the tradition with a graphically impressive, slimmed-down version of another interstellar zombie apocalypse.

A Good Match for: Headphone enthusiasts. Like its console brethren, Dead Space on Android generates many of its frights on the strength of stellar sound design. Weird pings, echoes and groans will have you jumping at every noise even when you stop playing.

Not for Those Who Want: The precision of a gamepad. While Dead Space resembles and sounds like its PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts, the touch controls aren't quite as dead-on for aiming and shooting. That's the unfairest scare of all.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Fruit Ninja

In case you don't anything yet about Halfbrick's ubiquitous game, the set-up is incredibly straightforward: you play as a shadow warrior in training, honing your sword skills by slicing up all sorts of fruit that bounces on-screen in front of you. But it's more about controlling your reflexes more than it is wildly slashing on your touchscreen.

A Good Match for: People who keep everything bottled up. Guys and gals who are experts at repression will find twofold enjoyment in Fruit Ninja. Firstly, it'll give them a chance to cut loose. (Expect some screaming.) Secondly, every bomb that flies on screen is a chance at more practice with holding urges in. (There will be sweating.)

Not for Those Who Want: Variety. You slice fruit. A lot. That's about it. Look people love it. Even babies do. But it's about as complex an activity as crossing a "t".

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Hamlet

Hamlet is an active adventure game that follows the same basic plot as the classic Shakespeare play, only in this version Hamlet himself is killed by an crash-landing alien spaceship and replaced by its pilot. Solve clever puzzles while enjoying the lovely visuals of this incredibly inventive title.

A Good Match for: Thinkers, dreamers and puzzlers.

Not for Those Who Want: Everything for free. Once you finish the first three levels you'll have to pay to unlock the remaining 22.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour

The latest entry in Gameloft's mobile Call of Duty wannabe franchise delivers super-sharp visuals and an online multiplayer component worth of a console shooter. Zero Hour is a highly-polished first-person shooting experience that'd be just as home on your television set as it is your phone or tablet.

A Good Match for: Call of Duty fans looking for a mobile multiplayer challenge.

Not for Those Who Want: To take their shooter story seriously. Modern Combat 4's plot is as hackneyed and silly as they come.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Muffin Knight

Angry Mob Games' platformer gives players a weird twist on fairy tale plot devices as they control a hero who must recover magical muffins from that he accidentally scattered across a fictional fiefdom. All sorts of nasties try to stop him from doing so, but each muffin transforms our hero into a different kind of combatant, from shotgun-packing Dwarves to Archers who dual-wield crossbows.

A Good Match for: Cosplayers. You never know what warrior classes the game's mystical baked goods will morph Muffin Knight into so it's a crapshoot as to whether you'll turn into something awesome or something cool.

Not for Those Who Want: To play on the Kindle Fire. Even though it's running a version of Android, Amazon's tablet gets the short end of the stick when it comes to content updates.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Need for Speed Most Wanted

The folks who already make the best racing games for smartphones get their hands on EA's premier racing franchise and knock it out the park.

A Good Match for: Speed demons. Need for Speed Most Wanted feels fast in a way that you can't pull your eyes away from. The experience is smooth and shiny, putting nearly every other mobile racing title to shame.

Not for Those Who Want: customisation. The cars you get in Need for Speed pretty much stay the same. It's great that the simulated physics make various classes of cars feel different from each other, but can't do anything visually to make them feel like your own.

Here's how it looks in action.

Purchase from Google Play.

Triple Town

Triple Town looks like a match-3 game. It plays like one, too. But the randomly dished out pieces on the static board make up one surprisingly strategic game, calling for thought and patience in pursuit of the highest scores. Also, villainous bears are surprisingly cute.

A Good Match For: Those with the patience to take a lot of failures on the way to a big success. It takes time to learn the best strategies for reaching high scores.

Not for Those Who Want: Permanence. Unlike web versions of Triple Town, a town, once complete, vanishes into the ether. The only marker of its passage? Achievements for certain score milestones.

Purchase from Google Play.

NOTE: This list will be updated if and when we discover better games. We will only ever list 12 games, at the most.


Comments

    needs more Candy Crush

      Really it doesn't. The gameplay is old and the monetisation is abusive.

    Psh. REAL non-conformist rebels use Symbian.

    Fieldrunners 2 has been taking up alot of my time lately!

    The swarming effect is pretty cool.

    I'm a massive Bit Dungeon fan. Gets me all giggly and girly on a long flight.

    And don't forget, now that you're a proud Android phone owner, it's your duty to post, "iOS only? Ugh. No sale," or similar on any app reviews for iOS only games! It's the only way devs will realize how high-value a market they're missing out on!

      As someone who only recently got in on the whole android smartphone thing, I actually am guilty of this...Though I only think it.

    Mini Motor Racing. I can't put that down. It's been a few years now.

    I'm personally not into action games like FPSs on mobile devices. I consider the touchscreen controls to be terrible for this sort of thing. Yes you could plug in a controller but you can also just play it on a console or something.
    I do however LOVE puzzle games. They are the perfect match for causal play and doing a few levels while waiting for a train etc...
    Cut the rope, Angry Birds etc. are great.

    Please ad Bad Piggies to the list. It's an awesome game where you get to build vehicles for the pigs to steal the Angry Birds' eggs. It's a fantastic contraption type game, And it's free.

    That list is a sad, sad indictment of smartphone gaming.

    No need to throw out my consoles just yet.

    Was I the only one who was amazingly unimpressed by this list?

    Needs more Alien Hive. Maybe instead of Triple Town which is similar and already enjoyed its time under the sun.

    Super Hexagon is excellent and worth getting

    Where are the poker games? With the sexy, sexy ladies? I wanna lose money!

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