There are hundreds of fantastic games available for Android, and a lot of them cost nothing. Whether ad-supported or based on a ‘freemium’ model, these titles are free – and guaranteed to make your morning commute a little less painful.
To help you find just the sort of thing you’re after, we’ve grouped the games into sections, so you can quickly grab the best platform games, endless runners, arcade games, shooters, puzzlers, strategy games, adventures, racers and sports titles.
If you can’t find something you like in all that lot, you must hate games. In which case, this is an odd article for you to be reading.
The best free Android platform games
Super Cat Tales 2
This follow-up to our previous favourite Android platforming freebie somehow manages to improve on its predecessor. You get that whiff of classic platforming, directing a band of moggies through brightly coloured settings. They leap about, grab bling, avoid nasty enemies, and occasionally slide down walls with that look cats get on biting off more than they can chew.
The controls are superb – two thumbs are all you need to run (double tap), jump (leap from a platform), and wall jump (tap in the opposite direction). It’s so good, you’ll want all virtual D-pads summarily banned. But the game itself is even better, with smartly designed levels and surprising moments aplenty. (Suffice to say, Stuff is never letting the office cat near a tank again, just in case.)
Before all games had to be 3D by law, the 2D adventure-platformer reigned supreme. You’d scoot about a vibrant world with a suspicious number of floating platforms, nab bling, and occasionally kick the living daylights out of monsters daft enough to get in your way.
On touchscreens, these games are usually a bit rubbish, due to iffy design and even worse controls, but Swordigo bucks the trend. You get a huge magical realm of monsters to fight, treasures to find, and towns to explore. Any whiff of nostalgia is rapidly expunged as you become engrossed in the plot, give giant spiders a serious kicking, and do your best Harry Potter impersonation with the aid of enemy-troubling spells.
Drop Wizard Tower
This one’s a love letter to 1980s arcade games like Bubble Bobble. Having been locked in a dungeon, the titular and heroic wizard vows to give the bad guys a serious kicking, which means climbing the tower, duffing anyone up along the way.
But instead of traditional move/jump/fire controls, Drop Wizard Tower is an auto-runner – and an auto-blaster. Your sprinting wizard can merely be told to go left or right, and blasts magic when he lands.
Initially, this disorients, but you soon realise it’s a clever, streamlined control method for touchscreens, and it brings a freshness to this type of game. Something a bit different than you’d expect then, but still worthy enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the games that inspired it.
This deceptively simple platform game strips the genre right back, placing a firm emphasis on learning levels, timing, and exploration. Your jumping bean never stops bouncing, and you simply guide it left or right. The usual platform-game tropes are evident: monsters to jump on; fruit and gems to gather.
But Bean Dreams cleverly adds replay value by way of missions that can’t all be completed on a single run: sticking to a bounce count; finding hidden pet axolotls; and collecting all the fruit. What first seems simple and reductive is really a big challenge, but the straightforward controls are perfect for touchscreens, rather than you spending most of your time battling a hideous virtual D-pad.
Sad But Ded
Like many platformers, Sad But Ded features a leapy protagonist and a goal. But this game’s on-screen controls are a row of single-use buttons to direct an auto-running protagonist. Time things right and Ded reaches the flag; get things wrong and he dies. No wonder he spends the entire game screaming.
This would all be tricky enough, but the game’s creator has a devious streak. Just as you’re getting to grips with everything, the game’s mechanics will change. (Keep a close eye on level titles – they are more important than you’ll first realise.)
The entire thing’s very silly but also a stiff challenge – especially if you avoid the easy mode with its endless lives and instead take on the hardcore level or speedrun mode.
Bit of a banger: It’s full of Sparks
The best free Android endless runners
The average cat wouldn’t think twice about nonchalantly swiping a priceless heirloom to the floor. But the moggies in Crashy Cats have far more ambition, embarking on a rampage of destruction that would give even the most loaded tech billionaire kittens.
You get to be the cat, tapping the screen to leap and, well, that’s about it. As with every endless runner from Canabalt onwards, this one’s all about timing as you bonk dogs on the head, collect kitty chums to form a smashy, furry conga, and occasionally find yourself in a blissed-out bonus round where you zoom through space, trailing rainbows and collecting coins.
In Alto’s Adventure, the titular hero was supposed to be capturing escaped llamas. But mostly he performed show-off stunts on snowy slopes, and tried to stay ahead of spoilsport elders with sticks, angry at Alto’s maverick nature and distaste at sitting in a pen full of llama poop.
This sequel retains the original’s elegance and gorgeous aesthetics. Again, one thumb controls fling Alto into the air and trigger tricks. But now Alto’s blazing through a vast desert, peppered with colossal dunes and death-defying valleys.
It at first feels like a reskin, but Odyssey soon opens up, offering new ideas like bouncing off of hot-air balloons and wall-riding along cliffs. And should you want a more meditative affair, there’s a Zen mode, which pits you against an endless landscape, Alto picking himself up whenever he comes a cropper.
Disney Crossy Road
Endless Frogger meets Disney in a rare example of an indie dev/movie house tie-up that works perfectly. The mechanics will be familiar to anyone who’s played the excellent original — tap and swipe to have a blocky protagonist weave through traffic and deftly jump across rivers.
But the addition of Disney characters finds you battling your way through retro versions of famous animated worlds, dodging tumbling blocks in Toy Story, filing memories for bonuses in Inside Out, and avoiding a psychotic suit of armour in Haunted House.
Even if you have your sea legs, you might think twice about mimicking the hero of this splashy tale of survival. Armed with what appears to be a sheet nailed to a twig rammed into a log, the hardy protagonist braves the high seas – and even higher waves.
By way of tapping, pressing, and swiping, you try to avoid drowning or getting clonked by vicious sea life, all the while trying to outpace a massive, hungry whale determined to make you a lunchtime snack.
Still, if the tension ramps up a bit too much, you can at least gawp at the lovely visuals, shortly before your sailor meets their untimely demise.
Hero of the hour Will is a bit of a square – but so is everyone else in this amusingly over the top mash-up of platforming, endless running, and wanton violence.
You use a single thumb to have Will bounce forwards, the aim being to land on enemy heads, avoid pits, and not get sliced in half by surprisingly deadly windmills. But grab a chest and you’re suddenly heavily armed, unleashing everything from missiles to giant axes.
The gameplay’s fast, furious and demented, but it doesn’t wear thin – this hero’s got plenty of missions to complete, and helmets to find, each of which bestows special powers.
The best free Android arcade games
Super Fowlst 2
It’s not easy being a chicken tasked with saving the world from a demon invasion –especially when your only weapon is a rotund rear. But that’s how this multi-screen flapper begins, with you arcing awkwardly across the screen, smacking into enemies to knock them flying.
As you progress, it doesn’t get any less weird. You’ll face bosses like a giant avocado that hurls its stone at you, and occasionally get to stomp about in a chicken mech suit. Grab enough coins and you’ll also be able to start games by pooping homing missiles out of your bum.
If you thought the battle with the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail was silly, it’s got nothing on Knight Brawl. This absurdist hack ’em up finds your sword-wielding protagonist whirling arms and bouncing about as if on a trampoline.
Wrestle with the controls and you’ll eventually elevate yourself to stabby mastery in a range of free-for-all scraps and one-on-one bouts. And when you hanker for bling rather than glory, you can partake in some pilfering and murdering, leaping about castles and unsportingly slicing unsuspecting guards up from behind.
It’s entertainingly bonkers, even if the sound is sadly limited to clangs and grunts, rather than an overly confident foe yelling “had worse” and yelling that they’ll “bite your legs off” when relieved of their own.
Street fighter: Beat Street
Froglike: The Frog Roguelike
Remember Frogger? Little green chap. Jumpy. Had to get across a road of fast-moving traffic and a river suspiciously full of alligators before arriving home? Things have moved on in 40 years. Froglike has no roads, but the hero faces a much tougher test, attempting to power up the Lily of Time, to stop the end of time itself. Blimey.
Like its arcade ancestor, this game is single-screen fare, where you leap about. But your goal is the aforementioned lily, which you must park your froggy butt on until it’s charged and opens a portal to the next realm. In the meantime, enemies attempt to knock you into the deadly drink.
It’s fast-paced action, with periodic power-ups and algorithmically generated levels that ensure no two runs are alike. Hop to it and give it a download!
Pinball on smartphones always feels cramped, like someone tried to squeeze a house into a shoebox. PinOut! is different. Its single massive table stretches far into the distance, challenging you with belting a ball along against the clock.
The table’s divided into short sections, which you get past by successfully hitting ramps. If the ball drops between the flippers, you don’t lose lives, but time.
The entire game’s drenched in neon and synth-pop, like you’ve been hurled into a fusion of Tron, pinball and a 1980s disco. But it works brilliantly even on the smallest screen, ramping up the tension as the clock ticks down and your sausage fingers prevent you from reaching the bonuses that temporarily reset the timer.
Flip out: Williams Pinball
Multi-device party games are usually a bit glib, but Spaceteam bucks the trend with a quirky and oddball take on co-op gameplay. Between two and four players are part of the ‘Spaceteam’ (red jerseys are optional), and must give orders, to try and stop your ship exploding, a ship — naturally — that happens to be attempting to outrun an exploding star.
It’s a very silly game as you all bark out orders, and get frustrated when no-one’s listening, mostly because it turns out said orders tend to refer to something on someone else’s screen. Still, you can’t help but love anything on Google Play that has ‘Beveled Nanobuzzers’ as an item in its feature list.
The best free shooting games on Android
It’s the future, and humanity’s at war with deadly alien foes. Naturally, the best way to turn the tide of war is to send in a bunch of armoured nutcases with massive guns – and then turn their escapades into some kind of absurdist and extremely violent reality TV show.
That’s Shadowgun Legends in a nutshell: a mobile FPS with the underlying aim of becoming a legendary warrior, to the point your adoring fans build a statue of you in the game’s main hub. Before then, there’s loads of shooty action to immerse yourself in – 200 missions, set across four worlds. Just remember to smile for the cameras.
If you thought vertical shooters would be a mite easier if you could freeze the action, Time Locker suggests otherwise. In this dazzling low-poly world of heavily armed critters, everything moves only when you do – bar a relentlessly encroaching all-devouring darkness.
This is initially disorienting, but the action nonetheless feels fresh from the off. And Time Locker really grabs hold as you learn to play with time, slowing down to weave between swarms of enemies, carefully manoeuvring to pick off gun emplacements, and risking blazing ahead when bosses and the deadly abyss are in hot pursuit.
Ah, to return to those halcyon days where you’d sit in front of a CRT screen, neon visuals searing your retinas as you zoomed around a tiny arena, blasting everything in sight. But wait! You can do all that right now with PewPew Live.
OK, so you won’t get the CRT bit (unless you do something very weird with your Android blower, cables and a very old telly), but this title otherwise brings back the joy of classic twin-stick shooty larks like Robotron: 2084. And it also moves beyond mere blasting, with alternate modes that have you dodge rather than shoot, or deal with pesky space rocks keen to smash you into next week.
For a fiver, we’d recommend it. For free, you’d be pewty daft to miss it.
If you’re a nefarious evil type, you should know better than to blow up someone’s house when they’re called The Deadly Arrow. And most definitely don’t steal their cat and leave a calling card. Idiots. Still, as Mr Arrow, you get to take your revenge by – as the game’s name suggests – getting all shooty.
Levels play out with you standing at the screen’s centre while enemies dart in from the edges. Tap to fire off arrows. Easy. Except it isn’t, because before long each enemy can only be defeated with a specific weapon. This transforms Shooty Quest from mindless blaster to deranged and frenetic juggling act.
Missile Command: Recharged
The original Missile Command coin-op had you fend off increasingly intense nuclear missile attacks. You’d frantically spin the trackball and fire off your own strikes, before eventually succumbing to your inevitable demise. To hammer home the futile nature of nuclear conflict, the game eschewed the traditional ‘game over’ message for the more chilling ‘the end’.
This touchscreen effort doesn’t have a trackball and nor can you manage which silos to shoot from. Missile launches are automated when you tap the display to target the latest barrage from an endless onslaught of neon destruction. Those changes might make veterans grumble, but they work – and you can always fire up an emulator on Android if you want the original. Instead, Recharged rethinks a classic and is a rare example of a redesign that’s a blast to play.
The best free Android puzzle, match and word games
There’s a disconnect at the heart of Sliding Seas, given that it’s a match game featuring lots of cute folks that live on a glorious sunny island. And that’s because before they make it there, you must first fish them out of the sea. Fail and they drown.
The mechanics are reminiscent of Triple Town, with matches levelling up tiles until they transform from water to land, and then to shelter. Now and again, you face alternate challenges, fending off pirates and getting stranded people to a rescue boat. It’s great. But ignore the (horrible) IAPs and bonus power-ups – you won’t need them in this little slice of puzzling paradise.
On one hand: Casual Metaphysics
If you’ve long been of the opinion that what chess needs to spice it up is more explosions, you’re in luck! In this take on the classic game, any piece that takes another eradicates everything else in its row or column – unless a king’s lurking there.
As you might imagine, this turns everything on its head. The king becomes more powerful, since he can save pieces. And you quickly need to realise that everything in said lines gets blown up – friend or foe.
For newcomers to chess, this is an amusing, energetic take that should appeal. And if you’re an old master, it’ll force you to rethink many of your strategies from scratch.
Check it out: Moveless Chess
You know those staid word games, with minimal visuals and gameplay that’s like Scrabble with the excitement removed? This isn’t one of them. Instead, Kitty Letter filters Boggle through the deranged imagination of The Oatmeal.
At the foot of the screen is a whirling vortex surrounded by letters. Fashion a word of two characters or more and your kitties march up the screen. They explode on impact with your neighbour’s property, or intercept detonating cats they send your way. Power-ups are dropped out of the posterior of a ‘dysenteric deer’, because of course they are.
The story mode is ridiculous. The arcade mode will hand your ego back to you like a giant paw slap in the face. And it’s far better than playing with kitty litter, which autocorrect was trying to have us recommend. We should send an explosive moggie its way…
Furry good: Alphabear: Words Across Time
On an idyllic isle, ducks and rabbits are at war. Elsewhere, a troll lurks, ready to smash everything nearby to smithereens. Your aim is to dish out cards representing these creatures, placing them on grid squares in a manner that keeps everyone relatively happy.
The thing is, even landscape elements have preferences: mountains want to be next to other mountains, but hate the sea. Villages must be adjacent to residents. And there are wildcards to plop down in appropriate spots and bonus secrets to unearth.
This is perfect thinky fare. And with a new pack of cards/draw order being provided daily, you’ll be happily stranded for many hours on these impossible isles.
If you thought Schrödinger’s Cat was a thought experiment, you’re in for a surprise in Kitty Q. A box rocks up on your doorstep with a half-dead/half-living moggie. She’s been sent by the great-granddaughter of the world-famous physicist, who wants you to help solve the cat’s quantum superposition problem.
This involves poking about a room full of strange objects, solving science-y challenges, and tickling the weird-looking cat to have it regurgitate objects you need. Lovely. It’s short but sweet, although any smugness you might feel about blazing through its puzzles evaporates when you dig into the actual science within the built-in ‘Kittypedia’ and realise you know barely more about this subject than the average kitty.
The best free Android strategy and adventure games
The Battle of Polytopia
Essentially a miniature Civilization, Polytopia has you command a tiny tribe, aiming to discover new technologies, expand your empire, and duff up anyone who gets in your way.
The visuals are bright, the little isometric worlds are suitably claustrophobic, and the simplifications over Civ are smart, keeping things fluid without robbing Polytopia of strategy and depth.
One of the best bits: although there is a standard ‘kill everyone else’ mode, Polytopia also offers a ‘be the best within just 30 moves’ option. On the easiest settings, this is a cinch – but crank up the difficulty level and such limitations prove to be a stern challenge.
Cards of Terra
When your spacecraft crashes into an alien world packed with hostile critters, what do you do? If you’re the magical heroine of Cards of Terra, have said critters take chunks out of each other, while your crew rebuilds to get you home.
This all plays out as a game of cards – part Magic: The Gathering, part solitaire. You drag cards atop other cards to wipe out enemies and free your crew. What sets Cards of Terra apart are its generosity (free with few ads), range of game modes, and how alive everything feels.
It’s quite something the first time a wolf calls its kin, an archer takes a pot-shot at the start of a move, or a vicious creature lunges for whatever card happens to be closest.
Bling it to me: Look, Your Loot!
The snag with bullet-hell shooters is in having to keep track of dozens of objects at once. Miss one and you’re dead. The end. Salvagette tries something different, restricting its set-up to a single screen, placing all movement on a grid, and having everything take place in turn-based fashion.
It’s a strategy game, then, but one with elements of Robotron: 2084 and Japanese bullet-hell shooters, as you take stock of every ship and projectile, and then make your move. You don’t have guns either, so must ran your opponents into oblivion, carefully timing attacks to avoid their firepower.
Mobile’s long been an excellent place for experimentation, and Salvagette is a superb genre mash-up, capturing the intensity of a modern shooter and combining it with a layer of thinky tactics.
It turns out King Tease should have a swift name change to King Tyrant. You see, he woke up this morning and decided only he should be king. It’s now your sworn duty to roam about the land, wiping out every other monarch.
What follows is a mash-up of RPG-lite and real-time strategy in a shoebox. You get a gang together, and head off on missions. Battles take place on tiny grids. You swipe tiny fighters about to avoid enemy fire, and tap adversaries to give them a good kicking.
Chunky retro graphics, breezy gameplay, and bite-sized adventures ensure this is a top-quality mix of strategy and arcade fare to crown your device.
Imagine the love child of ancient text adventure Zork and an AI trained on reading the internet. Terrifying? Quite possibly. Something you want to check out? Absolutely.
In AI Dungeon, you get almost limitless adventuring, which can be kicked off with a generic setting, or a few lines of text you pen yourself. The AI, it’s worth noting, is frequently unhinged. Your game’s likely to have abrupt plot twists, and leaps of logic that’ll make your head spin.
This can be frustrating if you’re after a conventional adventure. But if you fancy some interactive reading that’s endless and frequently quackers, AI Dungeon hits the spot.
The best free Android racing games
Asphalt 9: Airborne
A racing gaming without any steering might seem bonkers, but Asphalt long ago left behind convention – and appearing to care a jot about trifling things like realism and physics. Now, the game’s effectively on rails, with you selecting from a handful of routes to barrel along at any given time.
It should be awful. It isn’t. Instead, this high-octane arcade effort finds you drifting around bends, hitting ramps, and soaring through the air, trying to figure out the precise choreography to nail the current race and unlock the next. But if that makes you as grumpy as the average Raikkonen, traditional controls still exist.
Beach Buggy Racing 2
You might narrow your eyes at the prospect of a kart racer that doesn’t have Mario in the title – and especially when its characters look so dull and generic. But Beach Buggy Racing 2 nails everything else.
The action is fast and furious as you belt around circuits peppered with weapons boxes and shortcuts. As you gain experience, you unlock new tracks and weapons. Want to bounce on Mars or dodge a dragon’s fiery breath? Done. Fancy turning your rivals into massive hamster balls? Go for it.
The lack of leagues is a pity, and unlocking new drivers is mercilessly tough. But otherwise, this is a fabulous kart racer – easily the best you’ll find on Android.
Calling Data Wing a racing game almost seems reductive once you’ve played it, but the basis of the game is speeding around circuits in a tiny triangular craft. It feels like Asteroids meets top-down racing as you battle inertia, scraping the edge of circuits for boost.
But there’s far more to Data Wing than time trials and multi-ship races: some levels head into puzzle-oriented adventure territory, with you fighting gravity and hunting down keys. And throughout, a dual-narrative plays out, telling the story of the mobile OS you’re a part of, and the real-life trials troubling your owner.
It’s all great stuff we’d recommend for a fiver. For free, it’s a bafflingly generous bargain.
Disc Drivin’ 2
If you’d have told us a while back that one of the finest racers on mobile would be a turn-based online multiplayer shove ha’penny, we’d have given you a funny look – and then backed away slowly. But that’s more or less Disc Drivin’ 2, which adds a smattering of MarioKart by way of power-ups and twisty circuits.
Surprisingly, the game’s turn-based approach doesn’t rob the racing of excitement and tension. That’s because every flick counts – mess up by hitting a turn wrong or missing a vital booster pad, and that’s the difference between the chequered flag or just being a flicky also-ran.
Driving directions: Code Racer
If you’ve ever sat in a taxi tootling along city streets, wishing it’d just unleash and barge its way along, Crazy Taxi will be Android-based catharsis.
A straight port of the Dreamcast/arcade original, its time-attack racing has you pick up passengers and ferry them to their destinations. All the while, your time reserves are depleted, forcing you to take shortcuts – such as hurling your taxi from the third storey of a car park, or using other traffic as bumpers to ‘pinball’ yourself along a freeway.
The game has a dubious understanding of road safety and physics alike, then, and after almost 20 years it looks a bit rough. But it’s still as much of a blast as it was when first released.
The best free Android sports games
Super Stickman Golf 2
Super Stickman Golf 2’s ancestor is the same Apple II Artillery game Angry Birds has at its core, but Noodlecake’s title is a lot more fun than catapulting birds around.
It’s a larger-than-life side-on mini-golf extravaganza, with you thwacking balls about giant forests, moon bases, and metal-clad courses with a suspiciously high deadly saw-blade and laser count. The single-player game’s fun, but SSMG 2 really comes into its own in multiplayer, whether you’re taking the more sedate turn-by-turn route or ball-smacking at speed in the frenetic race mode.
Race to the hole: Golf Blitz
Rowdy City Wrestling
Colin Lane has form in mobile wrestling, with the absurdist Wrassling and equally demented Rowdy Wrestling (see boxout). This sequel to the latter game dials down the silliness a notch but ramps up the ambition, having you work your way up from nobody to world champ.
Along the way, you’ll make a few bucks lugging chairs about, partake in dodgy dockside bouts, and immerse yourself in full-on multiplayer brawls. The simple controls might make veteran brawler fans grumble – there are no complex combos; but this is a fun slice of mobile wrestling to dip into at any time, with fab retro visuals from Brad Erkkila and the kind of longevity that amounts to a piledriver to the face for its rivals.
Arm yourself: Rowdy Wrestling and Dunkers
In a similar space (oho!) to Astro Golf, Golf Skies relocates golf to the heavens. Each hole comprises a number of planetoids floating in a manner that’d make you decidedly uneasy if you were standing beneath them.
You fling your ball skywards Angry Birds-style and then use left/right buttons to direct it in an unlikely trick shot. On the way to the hole, your aim is to grab coins that you can later spend on better balls, avoid hazards like trees and flying fish, and remember what happens when gravity makes itself felt on a nearby smaller object.
Pumped BMX Flow
We’re not sure whether the cyclist in Pumped BMX Flow is in cycling heaven or purgatory. The track before him isn’t finite – it stretches into the infinite. Your mission: perform as many show-off stunts as possible, until your screen-based daredevil messes up and lands on their head.
Seasoned Android gamers will recognise this as a new take on the Pumped BMX series. But even if you already own Pumped BMX 2 or Pumped BMX 3, this sort-of sequel’s worth grabbing. Instead of having you compete for best times, it’s all about getting into a zen state and gradually boosting your skills. Although if you crave a challenge, there’s a daily run mode that pits you against a global leaderboard.
New Star Soccer
This one reimagines the beautiful game in a broadly abstract and not entirely realistic fashion that owes a lot to ancient management games for the C64 and ZX Spectrum. (Some of us at Stuff are old enough to remember the original Football Manager!) So there’s no FIFA-style TV-like action here; instead, you get a selection of mini-games, giving you chances to score and pass during matches and increase your skills during training.
The remainder of the game is about balancing life, keeping your boss, team and partner happy, while occasionally sneaking out to the casino and buying the odd fighter jet. Hey, we did say ‘not entirely realistic’ – although given modern soccer wages, it’s only a matter of time before a striker’s blazing around in an F–35.