Gaming on Android smartphones and tablets is bigger than ever. Looking for the best Android games in the UK? You've come to the right place. Here we reveal the 78 best games available on the Google Play Store, many of which are free.
A recent study commissioned by mobile phone insurer Insurance2Go shows that 71 percent of Android users in the UK play games every day, with half of those admitting to playing over an hour each day. It suggests that in 2015 mobile gaming will for the first time eclipse console gaming, with some 42 million gamers in total and the industry expected to be worth a staggering $30.3bn. You can read more about the history of mobile gaming here.
If you're one of those gamers playing an hour or more each day, chances are you're running out of Android games to play. Here then is our pick of the very best free and paid Android games available to download from Google Play. For your convenience we have split this list into genres.
Best Android Games: Puzzle
1. Super Hexagon - £1.99
Frantic shape-based avoidance game. Punishing difficulty set to a rather wonderful electronic score.
2. Duet - Free
Beautiful synchronised movement puzzles set to a rather nice ambient soundtrack. The smears of previous failures are a nice touch as well.
3. The Impossible Quiz - 60p
Silly, funny and brain-punchingly counterintuitive, this puzzler lives up to its name. Prepare to weep tears of frustration as you give it just one more try…
4. CubicTour - Free
Simple rotation-based puzzle game. Surprisingly fun considering its simplistic nature.
5. WaveRun - Free
It might look simple but WaveRun but switching between those lines at the right moment is pretty difficult. The tagline is 'Play. Die. Repeat' and we definitely agree.
6. Flight Control – 60p
Brush up on your NATO phonetic alphabet and put on your shiny captains hat for this fun little flight game. Guide planes in to land on various runways by drawing flight paths with your finger.
7. 8 Ball Pool - Free
With superb physics and gameplay, this is a great way to spend 10 minutes. You only play against real people, so you'll need a decent internet connection for this one.
8. Angry Birds - Free
Just because it's old doesn't make it bad: this list would never be complete without this mobile gaming classic.
9. Bad Piggies - Free
From the makers of Angry Birds, Bad Piggies is an addictive little puzzle game, with some action thrown in to add to the fun.
10. Tetris/Tetris Blitz - Free
The original puzzler is still one of the all-time greats. Available in both regular and Blitz flavours.
11. Cat Physics - Free
Another physics game, its enjoyable gameplay is bolstered by the fact that it’s all done with cats. Aww.
12. 2048 – Free
Swap numbered tiles in order to reach the desired goal number of 2048. Smart, compulsive fun.
13. Flow Free - Free
Addictive colour-matching fun that is equal parts frustration and satisfaction. Attempt to reach the goal in as few moves as possible.
14. Cut The Rope – Free
Classic gravity-based cartoon fun. The perfect blend of simple to grasp yet hard to master.
15. Dots – Free
Charmingly simple game involving matching coloured dots. Several different modes, including a ‘zen’ mode for unlimited play.
16. Candy Crush Saga – Free
This game is notorious for eating people’s lives, and it’s easy to see why. Block-matching fun that’s addictive like Skittles laced with crack.
17. Crush the Castle – 60p
Essentially Angry Birds, but the medieval siege warfare paintjob gives it a diverting twist. Fun for anyone with a fondness for nights and castles.
18. Smash Hit – Free
Chilled out rail-shooter with unspeakably satisfying shatter effects. Perfect for a spot of post-work stress relief.
19. Blek - £1.75
The perfect game for a touch-screen. A repeated-motion affair that looks like some form of art.
20. Blendoku – Free
Simple and inventive colour-matching game that shouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable as it is. Arty fun to keep your brain ticking over.
21. Lyne - £1.60
Minimalist, geometric puzzle game with both designed and procedurally generated levels. Taxing and relaxing at the same time.
22. Carcassonne - £3.99
You need a lot of space to play the tiled-based board game, Carcassonne, but not with the app version which will keep you entertained for hours with online multiplayer and various expansion packs.
23. Thomas Was Alone - £3.99
Satisfying special gameplay takes second place to the compelling writing and characterization. You’ll never care more about a bunch of squares.
24. Monument Valley - £2.49
Supremely calming puzzler with innovative perspective-based gameplay. More soothing than an opiate-spiked Horlicks.
25. The Room 2 – £1.99
Physical puzzles in a beautifully-realised 3D world make this somewhat unsettling sequel a joy to play.
26. Minecraft: Pocket Edition - £4.99
Construction sim with endless possibilities. This infinite box of LEGOs has the very real potential to eat your life before your eyes.
27. Hitman GO - £2.99
Agent 47’s latest outing is a quasi-board game that plays like the lead-up to a game of Cluedo. Initially odd, but ultimately rewarding.
Best Android games: Action
1. Stick Cricket - Free
For those craving an off-season Ashes or IPL fix, this cricket sim is perfect. Featuring simple yet compelling gameplay and a slew of licensed teams, this game is more insanely addictive than Flintoff’s personality.
2. Desert Golfing - £1.19
The simplest games are so often the best and Desert Golfing is a prime example. There's no menu or even tutorial, you simply keep hitting the ball to the next hole - Endless fun.
3. Colour Sheep - 61p
In this unusual and quite unique game you need to help Woolson defeat the oncoming wolves by mixing dark and light colours to match. It sounds easy but things quickly become a real challenge and you'll be glad to see bonus items.
4. Retry - Free
Retry is the latest offering from Angry Birds maker, Rovio. It's a plane flying action game with retro 8-bit graphics. There are similarities with Flappy Bird but the game is much more well rounded and polished. As the name suggests you're going to be hitting the retry button a lot as each level is challenging but the balance is just right so you're equally frustrated but confident that one more go will be enough. Addictive and simple like so many of the best mobile games.
5. Colossatron – Free
Giant cyber-monster carnage from the makers of Fruit Ninja. Add and combine modules to your mechanical menace for different effects.
6. Vector - Free
Noir-ish 2D endless runner, with an interesting story and charmingly retro graphics. Play it at work and dream of escape.
7. Hill Climb Racing - Free
Thanks to fun physics and its addictive nature, this one will keep you coming back.
8. Crazy Taxi - £2.99
There is a reboot called Crazy Taxi City Rush but we prefer playing the original Sega Dreamcast version from 2000 which has been remastered for mobile. Includes music by The Offspring and Bad Religion.
9. AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! - £1.78
Jump off vertiginous skyscrapers, while managing not to smear yourself over the side of a building.
Made by Adult Swim, this ‘endless runner’ is notable for its upgrade system, soundtrack and kitschy charm.
11. Tower Boxing – Free
Successor to Timberman, Tower Boxing features identical gameplay, swapping out the lumberjack for a Godzilla-sized Rocky rip-off punching out buildings.
12. Badland – Free
Gorgeous side-scrolling, jump-based platformer, and winner of three awards. Worth downloading for the stunning visuals alone.
13. Dumb Ways To Die - Free
Warioware-style minigames abound in this free gigglefest. Fun, quickfire action, with entertaining deaths aplenty.
14. Goat Simulator - £2.99
For reasons nobody can quite understand, what started out as an Internet joke somehow became one of the most anticipated indie releases of 2014, and has now landed on Android. Play as a goat and wreck as much stuff as possible in this deliberately buggy, shriekingly insane, fantastic mess of a game.
15. Carmageddon – 69p
One of the first shock-value games, this Android port of the 90’s PC racer gleefully trumpets the fact that it was “BANNED AROUND THE WORLD”. Mow down pedestrians and fellow drivers alike in this bad-taste nostalgia-fest.
16. Plague Inc. - Free
Create and upgrade a pathogen with the aim of wiping out humanity in this addictive gem. Makes Ebola look like a case of Chickenpox.
17. Deer Hunter – Free
Hunting sim with a vast wealth of locations, animals, weapons and upgrades. Perfect for your inner carnivore.
18. Amateur Surgeon 3 – Free
Funny, stylized surgery sim full of weird and wacky ailments. Operation for grownups.
19. Pinball Arcade – Free, with additional tables as in-app purchases
If you’ve ever spent a few hours pumping coins into slots at an arcade or a bar, this is for you. Shedloads of painstakingly recreated classic tables.
20. Earn to Die – 69p
Side-scrolling driving game that sees you moving down hordes of zombies in an upgradeable car. Death-Proof meets Dawn of the Dead.
21. Worms 3 - £1.49
The original 2D warfare game, Worms has personality for days. The turn-based style suits mobile gaming perfectly, and it’s always fun naming your worms after famous people and blowing the hell out of them.
22. Unpossible - £1.17
First-person endless runner with a gorgeous neon colour scheme. Brutally difficult but entirely fair gameplay will have you instantly hooked.
23. Terraria - £3.00
Terraria is a sandbox action-adventure game with a variety of worlds from floating islands to The Underworld. It's a little like a 2D Minecraft, and will literally eat up hours of your time. Brilliant fun.
24. The Bard’s Tale - £1.20
Spades of humour poking fun at every aspect of the fantasy genre. The touch controls work well, but it’s the writing that really shines.
25. Max Payne - £1.99
The inimitable Max Payne slow-motion dives onto mobile devices in this port of the PS2-era classic. Timeless noir cheese.
26. GTA Series – Various
Rockstar have retooled their genre-defining franchise for Android, and you can pick up GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas for criminally good gaming wherever you go.
27. Modern Combat 5: Blackout - £4.99
Gameloft's answer to Call of Duty on the PC or consoles, Modern Combat 5: Blackout is a meaty game which includes both single- and multiplayer modes. You won't get annoyed by in-app purchased: everything is included.
28. Double Dragon Trilogy - £1.79
Cartridge era beat-em-up that is still 80s to its bones. Choose from arcade or story mode and go wail on criminals.
29. Real Racing 3 - free
Stunningly detailed track racer with a vast library of licensed cars, including Bugattis, Ferraris and Porsches.
30. CSR Racing - Free
If you want a quick blast of speed, try this established drag-strip racer. You compete with the computer or friends in multiplayer mode to be the first to cross the line. There's no steering: you just change gear at the right time. If you prefer classic cars, then go for CSR Classics instead (or as well: they're both free).
31. Five Nights At Freddy’s - £1.81
One of the best horror experiences in recent memory comes to Android. Rock-simple gameplay mechanics belie an immersive and terrifying experience that will give you PTSD in spades.
32. Marvel Contest of Champions - Free
If you love your superheroes and fighting games then you'll love Contest of Champions. Level up characters and build your own team of champions in this graphically stunning fighter game.
Best Android games: RPG
1. Only One – Free
Use upgradable abilities to fight waves of enemies on a pillar in the sky. Basically Highlander: The Game.
2. JFrotz - Free
A system for playing classic Infocom text adventures like Zork. The lack of graphics masks what are still very well made games.
3. Game Dev Story - £1.60
Theme Hospital-style management sim, but featuring a game development studio. Quirky fun, even if you’re not interested in the industry.
4. Tiny Death Star – Free
A spinoff of the wildly successful Tiny Tower, this is essentially the same game with a Star Wars theme. Good enough for us.
5. Qube Kingdom – Free
Mix of RTS and tower defense game featuring blocky, Minecraft-style graphics, with upgradeable heroes. Childishly charming.
6. Out There – £2.49
Procedurally generated space exploration game. Meet alien races, explore planets and upgrade your ship; think FTL without the combat.
Real-time RPG combat with the stars of Marvel’s latest outing. The unique storyline and nods to the comics make it worth the time for any superhero fan.
As much an extended music video as it is a game, this has a fantastic soundtrack as well as superbly witty, tongue-in-cheek writing.
9. 10000000 - £1.99
Part tile-matching puzzle game and part dungeon-crawling RPG, this fiendishly addictive little number will suck you in with its deceptive simplicity.
10. Pixel Dungeon – Free
Choose from four classes in this traditional rogue-like. This game fully lives up to the genre’s unforgiving reputation.
11. Battleheart - £1.85
A quirky little RPG with wonderfully fluid touch controls. The art style is instantly endearing, with gameplay to match.
12. Catan - £2.39
Much-beloved board game Settlers of Catan comes to mobile; compete to build roads and settlements with up to three other players. It’s worth buying the expansions to add a bit of extra depth to your sessions.
One of the all-time classic PC games, this genre-defining RPG comes to Android. A bit on the meaty side for your smartphone, but great for tablet gaming.
14. Scumm VM – free
Emulator for playing classic 1990s Lucasarts adventure games like Loom, Sam and Max and the ever-popular Monkey Island franchise.
15. Knights of Pen and Paper - £2.99
Old-school RPG that puts you in control of not just heroic wizards and barbarians, but also the sweaty nerds controlling them.
16. The Walking Dead – Free (additional episodes as in-app purchases)
Telltale’s critically acclaimed adventure game adaptation of AMC’s series is engrossing and heartfelt. A must-play.
17. Star Command - £1.75
Assume the role of intrepid starship captain, guiding your crew through dangerous encounters. Boldly go download it.
18. Deep Dungeons of Doom – free
Retro-inspired RPG with lashings of charm. Switch between three classes as you make your way through the bowels of the world in search of loot.
The best Android games for: families
1. Heads up - Free
Warner Bros' free game is a great one for parties or family events. You hold your Android device up to your head (a smartphone works best) so everyone but you can see it. They then act out the word so you can guess it. So, a twist on a paper-based game. The twist? Your device's front camera records your friends' attempts to act out the word, and you can post the video straight to Facebook.