The 15 best Android games to play right now

If it's amazing games you crave, you've got plenty to choose from.

bestgames lead
Best of the best

The Play Store is overflowing with games these days, and amid seemingly endless free-to-play grinds, it can be difficult to find the really fantastic, absorbing experiences worth pouring your time into. Luckily, we’ve been playing them for years, and we’re happy to point you in the right direction.

Included within are our picks for the 15 most essential, can’t-miss Android games you ought to play right now. It’s a diverse mix of options: memorable adventures, addictive quick-hit affairs, and everything in between, spanning a wide array of genres and price points. Ready to find your next on-the-go gaming obsession? 

bestgames monumentvalley
Monument Valley

One of the most mesmerizing games seen on any device, Monument Valley is a short and terrifically sweet adventure that finds you navigating stages built upon illusions. You’ll guide young Ida to the goal in each locale by tapping on pathways, but there’s rarely a direct (or totally logical) route to the destination. That’s because the world must be manipulated in curious ways to complete your task.

You’ll merge platforms that aren’t actually near each other, but appear to combine from your current vantage point. Likewise, you’ll flip walkways, rotate sections of stages, and contort the ground you stand on. It’s not a terribly difficult affair, but it is totally stunning and quite memorable. Monument Valley is very well worth the few bucks. 

Monument Valley ($4)

bestgames kingdomrush
Kingdom Rush

There’s no shortage of tower defense games on Android, but even so, Kingdom Rush is the clear standout of the pack. This cartoonish affair finds you plunking down an array of offensive turrets along the paths that lead to your base—and you’ll need them, as scads of enemies quickly pour out in the hopes of ravaging your home.

Kingdom Rush feels more focused than some contemporaries, offering limited plots for just four types of base towers. But it’s how you choose to upgrade and align them on the map that adds a lot of strategy, and makes each victory hugely satisfying—and each loss a lesson you’ll quickly learn from. If you love the original, follow-ups Frontiers and Origins are just as excellent.

Kingdom Rush ($1)

bestgames raymanfiestarun
Rayman Fiesta Run

We may soon be playing Super Mario on our Android phones, but for now, Rayman Fiesta Run is the best example of a console platform game on a touch device. Fiesta Run scales down the recent Rayman adventures by taking on the form of a runner—but rather than sprint endlessly, you’ll tap or hold at the right moments to leap, bounce off of walls, and float over dangerous hazards. 

In other words, it becomes a precise timing challenge—so while the characters may move autonomously, it still feels like a classic platformer. Fiesta Run is gorgeously animated, and the game is expansive, with dozens of levels available to conquer. You don’t need an Xbox or PlayStation to enjoy an excellent Rayman adventure.

Rayman: Fiesta Run ($2)

bestgames minecraft
Minecraft: Pocket Edition

It might’ve launched as a gutted version of the PC smash, but Minecraft: Pocket Edition has grown and improved significantly over the years; now it’s arguably just as obsession-worthy as the big-screen entries. As ever, Minecraft dumps you into a randomly generated cube-based world of possibilities, with no stated objectives or destinations. 

You can mine into the earth and craft tools to stay alive in survival mode, or freely build block structures in creative mode—and online servers even let you scope out some collaboration or competition with other players. It might seem like a whole lot of nothing on the surface, but the freeform nature proves surprisingly appealing, and there’s always something worth exploring and experiencing.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition ($7)

bestgames threes

Threes! sets a charming new standard for obsessive number puzzlers. Like the best of them, it has a simple premise that can spiral into madness: you’re given a board with a handful of numbered tiles. Like numbers merge to become a doubled tile, except for 1 and 2 tiles, which can only blend with each other to become 3.

Each directional swipe moves every tile on the board (if there’s space to move) while also adding a new tile. Your goal? Continue adding and shifting tiles until you run out of space—which can happen very quickly if you don’t consider each move. Threes! requires serious precision to have significant success, yet the satisfaction of unlocking a new high scoring tile and crushing your friends’ top scores is well worth the many tough loses that come before. 

Threes! ($3)

bestgames crossyroad
Crossy Road

Crossy Road uses Frogger as a jumping-off point to deliver one of the most addictive games we’ve ever played on a phone or tablet. Essentially, it turns the act of crossing streets and leaping between floating logs into an endless high-score chase, where you’ll attempt to push farther and farther with each run to dominate your friends on the online leaderboards.

It has a vivid, retro-meets-Minecraft aesthetic and a charming array of playable characters, but the real joy comes from the close calls—sprinting across 10 lanes of traffic while narrowl dodging car bumpers—and stomping on friends’ names along the way. And although it’s free-to-play, you’ll never be restricted or feel pressured to spend a penny on anything.

Crossy Road (Free)

bestgames 80days
80 Days

Like getting wrapped up in a great novel? Try an interactive version the next time around. 80 Days is an inventive adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic Around the World in 80 Days, and it tasks you with completing the titular voyage in a steampunk-inspired version of 1872. Setting off from London, you—as Passepartout, a servant accompanying the famed Phileas Fogg—must travel from city to city, making all sorts of decisions along the way. 

Each leg of the trip offers new potential routes and means of transportation, not to mention branching story and conversational choices that can unearth fresh paths ahead—or unexpected roadblocks. Finishing the trip within the stated span is tough, but 80 Days is extremely replayable, as a single decision can change the entire course of each well-written, enrapturing adventure. 

80 Days ($5)

bestgames superstickmangolf2
Super Stickman Golf 2

Android’s best sports game isn’t a realistic, console-like simulation—it’s a 2D take on mini-golf that plays like a cross between a platformer and a puzzle game. Super Stickman Golf 2 puts a brilliantly goofy spin on the sport, sending your little player along twisted courses filled with sticky surfaces, ice slopes, or even brain-teasing portals that shift the ball between locations.

You can play it solo and try to beat par on the 20+ distinctive courses, using an array of special balls and powered-up hats to give you an advantage. Or you can challenge an online foe to a turn-based battle, and try to one-up your pals during the down moments in your day. However you play, it’s a blast.

Super Stickman Golf 2 (Free)

bestgames canabalt
Canabalt HD

Canabalt is credited with jump-starting the endless runner craze, but while others have expanded upon the concept and taken it into 3D, there’s nothing quite like this simple and satisfying classic. Sprinting along rooftops as an alien invasion rages on in the background, you’ll time your taps to leap across chasms, jump into skyscraper windows, and dodge the massive obstacles that fall into view.

The grey-centric aesthetic is still much prettier than expected, thanks to great animations throughout, and the pulsing soundtrack amps up the tension. Not that the game needs the latter assist: Canabalt HD remains one of the purist expressions of the genre, tossing you into the mayhem, testing your reactions, and then tempting you to do it all over again.

Canabalt HD ($3)

bestgames asphalt8
Asphalt 8: Airborne

It’s rare that the eighth main entry is when a game series really gets it together, but that’s the case with the excellent Asphalt 8: Airborne. This hard-hitting arcade racer smashes past its middling predecessors to deliver big mobile fun, letting you speed through gorgeous terrain while slamming competitors into walls and hitting ramps to vault over massive gaps.

Airborne started as a paid game and transitioned to free-to-play without losing much in the process. You’ll get bugged about optional boosts and see the occasional ad, but it’s tolerable—and no other Android game offers quite the same combination of raucous racing and stellar production values like this.

Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free)

bestgames walkingdead
The Walking Dead

Rather than follow the storylines of the popular comic series or television show, Telltale Games opted to create an entirely new Walking Dead game—and came up with something amazingly tense, gripping, and occasionally disturbing. You'll still take the role of humans trying to survive amid the zombie uprising, but now your decisions accumulate and reverberate throughout. 

It's an episodic series—currently two seasons of five episodes each, with a one-off entry in between—in which every dialogue selection and life-or-death choice you make can influence the path of the story and the ultimate conclusions that follow. And if you're not into zombies, the company's grim comic book fantasy The Wolf Among Us is similarly great.

The Walking Dead (Free; $15 for full season)

bestgames ridiculousfishing
Ridiculous Fishing

It’s true: Ridiculous Fishing is preposterous, but in a wonderful way. You’ll start each game by dropping a lure into the lake below, tilting your device left and right to sink it as deep as possible without touching anything—and then snag every sea creature you can on the way back up. Once at the top, they’re launched into the air, giving you an opportunity to blast them with a firearm by tapping repeatedly on the screen. 

Ridiculous, right? The game truly lives up to its billing, and it’s a load of fun as well, finding the sweet spot between skill-based gameplay and exuberant silliness. Amusing and useful upgrades provide incentive to continue on, as does an unexpected narrative element—but it’s the cycle of fishing and blasting that ultimately proves strong enough to sustained extended play. 

Ridiculous Fishing ($3)

bestgames bannersaga
The Banner Saga

If it’s rich tactical role-playing you crave, look no further than The Banner Saga. This attractive turn-based battler sports jaw-dropping hand-drawn artwork, making it look like a classic cartoon—although that aesthetic is amusingly paired with an incredibly grim tale about the end of days.

Grid-based combat is the primary component here, as you strategically move your warriors around the board to team up on and decimate foes, but there’s more to the experience than that. Between battles, you’ll manage your resources and frequently converse with others in the caravan, making decisions that can determine the fate of certain allies—or the course of your journey ahead. It’s engrossing fare, and The Banner Saga is a great game to get lost in for some time.

The Banner Saga ($10)

bestgames limbo

What will you find out in the darkness? Nothing good for the young boy you command, that’s for sure. You, on the other hand, will experience one of the most surprising and atmospheric games of recent years, which makes an excellent transition from console controllers to Android touchscreens.

Limbo serves up a series of environmental puzzles to solve, whether it’s overcoming a gargantuan spider or manipulating the world to overcome a roadblock. It’s alternately charming and terrifying, and the shadowy aesthetic and minimal audio create a real sense of dread as you tiptoe ever ahead. It’s a powerful experience, even on a small phone screen, and well worth seeing through to the end.

Limbo ($5)

bestgames impossibleroad
Impossible Road

Impossible Road doesn’t exactly live up to its billing, although you might disagree at first. In a blank white world, you’ll roll a ball down a neon blue track that starts out straight but quickly twists and turns into infinity. Taps or tilts shift your ball along the route, and the curves are typically so sudden and severe that you’ll probably notch single-digit scores for a while.

Keep at it. Impossible Road becomes a deeply addictive game the longer you play it, as you learn to handle the turns and try to recover when you go flying off the track—by quickly landing further down the path (a strategic practice for advanced players). The learning curve isn’t quite as steep as its contemporary Super Hexagon, but the rewards feel just as sweet.

Impossible Road ($2)