The 20 best free Android games to play right now

Want big fun without a big expense to match? Grab these entertaining freebies now.

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Great, gratis gaming

Most new games that launch on the Play Store tend to be free, but too many feel like business models disguised as entertainment. Once you wade through the ads and frequent in-app purchase prompts, you often find that there’s little worth sticking around for. It’s a shame, but it’s all too common. Luckily, not every free game is like that. In fact, some of them are pretty excellent.

Sure, some of these games have ads or opportunities to spend money, but those small annoyances are easily outweighed by great fun and long-lasting amusement. Looking for some worthwhile games to play that don’t cost anything and won’t lose steam after a few early minutes of fun? Here are 20 worth downloading right away.

bestfreegames realracing3
Real Racing 3

Real Racing 3 puts a pretty comprehensive simulation-style driving experience on your smartphone for nothing—you won’t even find a paid Android racer that’s anywhere near as polished as this. The driving itself is refined and responsive, not to mention pretty gorgeous: whether inside the cockpit or behind the bumper, this is a great-looking game.

It’s also a massive one, with more than 100 licensed cars available, a dozen real-world tracks, a couple thousand single-player events, and real-time online races. Things can get a bit repetitive without spending a few bucks on extra cars for variety’s sake, and the repair timers are a freemium frustration, but Real Racing 3 is too good to be sunk by those free-to-play irritations.

Real Racing 3 (Free)

bestfreegames hearthstone
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

After launching on tablets a few months back, free-to-play smash Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has just expanded to phones, letting you get your fix anywhere. Spun off from the classic PC gaming franchise, Hearthstone takes that fantasy world into a new direction with a ravenously addictive collectible card game that’s attracted millions of fans.

It’s brainy and tactical, yet colorful and accessible, making it an ideal game to fall into—and then continue obsessing over. Hearthstone includes online play and solo content, and while advanced play requires either a huge investment of time or entertaining the temptation of spending money, the freemium model doesn’t feel overbearing or unfair.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Free)

bestfreegames jetpackjoyride
Jetpack Joyride

One of the silliest and certainly most entertaining endless runners around is Jetpack Joyride, a game that puts you in control of a man named Barry Steakfries (seriously) as he steals a bullet-spewing jetpack and attempts to escape a research facility.

You’ll tap and hold to fire the thrusters and wind your way around the electrical barriers, laser traps, and missiles that fill the screen, all while collecting coins and aiming to set the farthest distance possible. Fun vehicles and other perks keep the action fresh and loose throughout, plus there are tons of missions to complete and various character customizations to unlock, giving this goofy game serious legs.

Jetpack Joyride (Free)

bestfreegames plantsvszombies2
Plants vs. Zombies 2

The hilarious backyard showdown between foliage and undead invaders carries on with this free-to-play sequel, which expands the premise with a time travel hook. Now you’ll place peashooters, explosive cherry bombs, and many other offensive-minded plants in Ancient Egypt, on a pirate ship, or in one of several other varied scenarios.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 maintains the amusing, casual-centric tower defense design of the original, but by virtue of its freemium twist, the progression is a bit grinding, and new power-ups (which you can spend real money on) muddle the strategy a bit. On the other hand, it’s still plenty of fun and there’s a load of content here to explore if you take your time with it.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 (Free)

bestfreegames worldoftanks
World of Tanks Blitz

Wargaming’s smash PC simulation makes a startlingly strong transition to mobile in World of Tanks Blitz, which retains the team-centric tank combat while scaling everything down a bit for mobile. That means fewer tanks per team (seven) and smaller levels, but Blitz does a great job of retaining what made the mouse and keyboard version such a success.

It’s a methodical online action game, yet one in which the action is tense and the battles are short and sweet enough to still be appealing on mobile. You can amass a wealth of real-world tanks, but progress is slow without spending money. Still, even if you stick with the same tank or two for a long stretch of time, the online combat remains plenty entertaining. 

World of Tanks Blitz (Free)

bestfreegames crossyroad
Crossy Road

Why did the chicken cross the road? If you’re playing Crossy Road, it’s either to beat your own top score or one of your friend’s. Whatever the case, you’re certainly not going to let lanes full of speeding traffic stop you from taking over the leaderboard.

This fiendishly addictive free game takes its cues from Frogger, but it turns that classic concept into an endless score challenge: you’ll tap to nudge ahead one lane at a time, and swipe side to side to avoid obstacles and dodge cars. It’s a ton of fun, the freemium model is one of the friendliest around, and many of the characters you can unlock bring small but interesting tweaks to the experience. 

Crossy Road (Free)

bestfreegames templerun2
Temple Run 2

The Temple Run series has notched more than one billion total downloads, so we know it’s popular. Luckily, it’s also quite good, and Temple Run 2 is the best of the bunch. This endless runner builds upon the effective template of the original, tasking you with tapping and swiping to continue pushing ahead as a fantasy monster pursues. 

You’ll sprint along paths, take hard turns, slide under obstacles, ride in mine carts, and even float down raging rivers as you attempt to push farther and farther along and set a new high score. It’s frantic fun that only gets more intense the longer an attempt carries on. Do you have the reflexes to stay on your feet out there?

Temple Run 2 (Free)

bestfreegames fourletters
Four Letters

Four Letters isn’t concerned with how large or complex of words you know, or even where you place them: it just wants to see how quickly you can dash out loads and loads of four-letter terms using mixed-up letters.

You’ll have only a handful of seconds to spell each word, with the timer slightly refreshed with each completed entry. While you may find yourself on a string of easy entries—and the game awards bonus points for rapid-fire spelling—Four Letters is deviously good at throwing in head-scratching terms, as well as jumbling up letters in a way that totally throws you off. It’s a great challenge for word nerds.

Four Letters (Free)

bestfreegames smashhit
Smash Hit

Smash Hit really has lived up to its name, amassing many millions of downloads, but the game also matches the aspirations: this is one hugely appealing free game. In short, it tasks you with shattering panes and sculptures of virtual glass by tapping the screen to heave little balls. 

It’s more than just digital destruction porn, though, as Smash Hit riffs on the endless runner by moving you ahead through abstract rooms populated with various glass pieces. Your limited supply of balls dictates how long the game lasts, as hitting every bit of glass in sight keeps your stockpile steady. Start missing the targets, however, and you’ll be a handful of tosses away from running out of steam. It’s a curious concoction that works so well.

Smash Hit (Free)

bestfreegames moderncombat5
Modern Combat 5: Blackout

True, a smartphone may not be the most ideal place to play a Call of Duty-like first-person military shooter—but if you’re going to do it, Modern Combat 5 does a pretty good impression. And it does so across the board, with cinematic missions to play on your own and great online multiplayer showdowns to test your skills. 

Blackout actually started life as a premium game, but recently shed the price tag and added a pesky energy system. That’s a pain, and it’ll restrict extended play sessions as a result, but now you’re getting a large and entertaining shooter for nothing. And the multiplayer battles really are the highlight, delivering great free-for-all and team-based showdowns alike. 

Modern Combat 5: Blackout (Free)

bestfreegames fifa15
FIFA 15 Ultimate Team

FIFA 15 brings the full international soccer simulation to mobile with a streamlined affair that works well on phones and tablets, letting you build up a custom team by collecting player cards—and then take it onto the pitch in impressive, immersive games.

For a mobile simulation, Ultimate Team plays rather well, with a swipe and tap-centric control scheme that lightly automates movement for ideal touchscreen play. Alternately, you can enable virtual buttons for a console-like experience. Whatever the case, FIFA 15 has 500+ worldwide teams and thousands of real-life players included, and there’s always something to play thanks to real-world games appearing on the in-game schedule.

FIFA 15 Ultimate Team (Free)

bestfreegames asphalt8
Asphalt 8: Airborne

Real Racing 3 earns its spot on this list for being a strong simulation, but Asphalt 8 is here purely for the crazy fun. After all, the former racer doesn’t have angled ramps that send your car spinning through the air, or play modes that actually reward you for violently smashing your opponents into barriers.

Gameloft’s free-to-play racer is a blast, whether you’re racing for the finish line or intentionally crushing the competition, with an array of interesting tracks, loads of licensed vehicles to unlock, and plenty of fun—both online and off. It looks and plays much like a console racer (think Burnout), yet happens to be a totally free phone and tablet game with tolerable freemium annoyances. Amazing.

Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free)

bestfreegames intothedead
Into the Dead

You’d probably never willingly run headlong into a pack of zombies if you’re trying to survive the undead uprising, but when they’re everywhere you turn, we suppose it doesn’t really matter where you run. Just don’t let them catch you.

Into the Dead turns that premise into a really strong and atmospheric free-to-play game, which effectively blends an endless runner with first-person shooter elements. In the dead of night, you’ll dodge zombies, fences, and more while running at full speed, occasionally finding a handgun or other weapon to help you stay alive when it looks like you’re in a collision course with a walker.

Into the Dead (Free)

bestfreegames clashofclans
Clash of Clans

Unlike many of the games on this list, Clash of Clans isn’t the kind of experience that you’ll play for large chunks of time—not if you want to avoid in-app purchases, at least. But as a game that you can enjoy for minutes at a time while making steady progress over time, it’s undeniably appealing.

The freemium smash finds you building up your small city into an impenetrable fortress, bit by bit, which means placing and upgrading buildings, training troops, and withstanding attacks from other users. And that’s a big part of the fun, at least when you’re on the other side of the equation: showing off your power by stomping all over someone else’s well-built base never stops being satisfying.

Clash of Clans (Free)

bestfreegames superstickmangolf2
Super Stickman Golf 2

Golf might seem like a stuffy sport in real life, but there’s nothing of the sort in the wonderful Super Stickman Golf 2. This arcade-style entry puts a unique side-scrolling spin on the activity, making it feel more akin to a puzzle-tinged platform game—and the very diverse, cartoonish courses make it memorable. 

You’re still putting a ball into a cup, only here you may have to drive it through a series of portals to reach the destination, or maneuver your way between sticky surfaces. It’s equally great in single-player and the turn-swapping online mode, and there are so many courses to unlock and special power-up hats to collect that it can keep your interest for ages.

Super Stickman Golf 2 (Free)

bestfreegames supermonsters
Super Monsters Ate My Condo

Utter insanity is what you should expect when you fire up Super Monsters Ate My Condo, which isn’t a surprise considering the title. Slightly less expected is the fact that there’s a pretty strong puzzle game beneath those layers of silliness and blinding colors, blending match-three puzzling with Jenga of all things. 

In front of you is a shaky condominium filled with color-coded floors, which you’ll carefully swipe out one at a time to bring together three or more like-colored condos. Combining them creates glossy metal floors, which themselves can be combined to boost your score. Oh, and there are cartoon monsters with special abilities throwing a wrench into things. It’s two minutes of wonderfully inane mayhem.

Super Monsters Ate My Condo (Free)

bestfreegames retry

Retry certainly isn't the best-known Rovio game, but the Angry Birds maker put together a really great little arcade challenge with this tap-and-hold game. Your goal: fly the little airplane from airport to airport through tight, obstacle-laden courses, and do so without crashing. Easy, right?

It would be, except Retry's simple controls are intentionally designed to be tricky: hold your finger down for more than an instant and you'll start looping backwards, and it's tough to recover once you're upside-down. It's frustrating in a good way, much like Super Hexagon or Impossible Road, challenging both your reflexes and tenacity along the way.

Retry (Free)

bestfreegames punchquest
Punch Quest

Punch Quest is essentially an endless runner—but instead of avoiding the various threats that line your path, you’ll deck them right in the face and uppercut them square in the jaw. As you might expect, that changes things a bit, but it doesn’t make for any less amusing or enthralling a play experience.

And the game is downright weird, too, which perfectly matches the premise. Depending on the routes you take while punching skeletons and goblins, you might ride on the back of a velociraptor that vomits lasers, or spin through the air as a garden gnome hell-bent on smashing beehives. The humor and cartoonish style push this endless arcade romp over the top—in a very good way.

Punch Quest (Free)

bestfreegames ingress

Google made a game—well, its Niantic Labs studio did—and it’s actually pretty neat. But that’s only if you’re willing to invest a ton of time and physical energy into it. Ingress is a location-based game that takes place on a sleek, flashy version of Google Maps, and it challenges you to visit real-world spots and claim them for your virtual faction.

Visiting locations lets you hack portals and turn them towards your side, and the game swings in either direction based on everyone’s collective movements and actions. While it’s menu-driven and lacking extensive interactivity, there’s a mysterious, ever-expanding back-story and a dedicated community—and no in-app purchases in sight. If you’ve got the interest and mobility, it might suck you in.

Ingress (Free)

bestfreegames marvelpuzzlequest
Marvel Puzzle Quest

The original Puzzle Quest was one of the most addictive games of its time, blending the allure of match-three, Bejeweled-like puzzles with the long-term grip of a role-playing adventure. So it’s little surprise that the formula still holds serious weight when the generic fantasy setting is swapped out for the characters and scenarios of the Marvel Comics universe.

It’s a properly meaty freemium affair, tossing up scads of missions in which you assemble a team of heroes, match colored gems on the board to trigger their attacks, and progress through ample comic-inspired story segments. Even if you’re not a big Marvel aficionado, the core pairing of puzzle action and RPG hooks shines through.

Marvel Puzzle Quest (Free)