Best totally free Android games: no ads, no in-app purchases


Some of the best things in life are free, and by applying a little discretion, we can certainly apply this to Android games. While there are tons of free games on the Google Play Store, most of them either have in-app purchases – or are riddled with annoying ads. But do you know that there are several high-quality, free Android games that not only cost nothing but also do not annoy you with ads! Well, here’s a list of free Android games that you can play, no strings attached!

Download Stranger Things: The Game from the Google Play Store

Freedoom

Gamers of a certain age will remember losing many hours of precious youth to brutal, first-person shooter pioneer Doom. This game is effectively a Doom port made with an original set of assets and game levels to avoid falling foul of copyright. 

Freedoom basically plays just like the classic, as the assets are different but still recognizable in the style of the original. You’re still blasting ugly creatures in a vaguely industrial wasteland, and all the fun action, atmosphere, and tension of Doom is right here in a not-so-different skin.

As of 2021, the game did face some legal troubles – but remains playable. But active development has stopped on this project. 

freedoom
 Almost just like old times. / © NextPit (screenshot)

As an added bonus, you can always load your old (legally owned, of course) original Doom WAD files into the app’s config folder, if you want to play the real thing on your phone. Fantastically, this also goes for related games on the same engine, such as Heretic, Hexen, and Strife, or the various mods of these games available online.

Download Freedoom from the Google Play Store

Pixel Dungeon

The various Pixel Dungeon titles are roguelike dungeon crawl games with primitive graphics (but great gameplay) that punishes failure harshly but were so easy to pick up and play again after every character death that I stopped worrying and learned to love restarting.

pixeld
Hit marsupial rats, get paid in Pixel Dungeon. / © NextPit

It’s a simple tap to control everything, and although the ‘basic’ Pixel Dungeon game by Watabou has unlockable character classes and tons of items to enjoy the game with, there are plenty of other addictive versions such as Shattered Pixel Dungeon, Pixel Dungeon Unleashed, etc., that offer twists and different features based on the original. Note that Google Play Store now says that the game now has in-app purchases. I did not come across any, though.

Download Pixel Dungeon from the Google Play Store

Unciv

Unciv is an open-source reimplementation of the classic Civilization-style game of empire-building, expansion, resource management, economic and technological development. It basically plays like Civilization V, but with very simple graphics. Nonetheless, the strategic depth is impressively preserved, and Unciv is a small and lightweight app that runs like a dream even on low-end smartphones.

unciv
Everybody wants to rule the world. / © Yair Morgernstern

Download Uniciv from the Google Play Store

Pew Pew

This sweet little shoot-em-up puts the old-school spaceship ‘bullet hell’ scenario in a neon-clouded skin with simple but attractive graphics, but the real draw is the fast-paced action. It’s basically blasting stuff, in different ways, unlocking rewards, and basking in the moving colors and sounds: what more do you want for free entertainment?

pewpew
Abstract, but cool visuals. / © Jean-François Geyelin

Download PewPew from the Google Play Store

Pathos Nethack Codex

This game is a roguelike dungeon crawling game with random area generation and a variety of different classes to choose from, items to collect, and monsters to slay. Based on the old school Nethack ruleset, Pathos is still being updated with quality of life fixes and offers a choice of graphical tiles and hours upon hours of playtime.

Download Wicked Lair from the Google Play Store

Warfare Incorporated

Warfare Incorporated is an old-school favorite, originally for Windows Phones and PalmOS devices, but its style hearkens back even further to the Command and Conquer real-time strategy games. You must build up base and produce an army to control resources on the newly discovered planet of Icarus. Sure, Warfare Incorporated looks dated by now, but the experience stands the test of time, and you won’t find a more fully featured mobile RTS for completely free.

warfareinc
The old-school RTS look. / © Spiffcode

Download Warfare Incorporated from the Google Play Store

How to search for free Andriod games with no ads, no in-app purchases

Until 2020, finding a free Android game that did not have ads or in-app purchases was quite difficult. Today, that no longer is the case. This is how you can find free games with no ads or in-app purchases on any Android phone.

  • Open the Google Play Store.
  • Search for Google Play Games on the Play Store and install it if it’s not already installed.
  • Open Google Play Games and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  • Select the options No ads, No in-app purchases, and Free install, and voila! all the apps you see in the list below conform to these three conditions.
Google Play Games
Here’s how to search for free Android games with no ads and in-app purchases / © NextPit

Once you do this, do look for great free games and let us know if you would want us to add one of your selections to his list. 

Still on the hunt for great mobile games?

Have you discovered any free Android games that we should mention here? Let us know, and it might just make the list one day.


This article was updated in June 2021. Older comments have been retained.



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