You know not everything has to cost all your pandemic savings, right? There are loads of great free games on Android, but spend a little cash and you can enjoy some of the best mobile gaming around. Considering some of the brilliant Android gaming handsets that are gracing the world, mobile gaming’s big. Don’t @ us.
Most of the games we chose as some of our favourites right now come in cheaper than a movie ticket and popcorn, not-so-surprisingly.
Also, this being Stuff, we’re all about the very best. We’ve actually played all these games – probably a bit too much, truth be told. Whether you’re into high-octane endless survival games, blasting aliens, or having your brains smashed out by maddeningly tough puzzles, there’s something in this list for you.
Somewhere along the way, a great many games forgot how to be exciting. But ALONE… remembers those days of seat-of-the-pants roller-coaster gameplay, where a moment’s distraction spelt game over. Here, you’re piloting a tiny ship through deadly caverns at breakneck speed.
Occasionally, alarms blare, to warn of incoming projectiles. All you have is your wits and reactions as your sliding finger directs the ship up and down, before it inevitably comes a cropper on the rocky face of one too many giant asteroids.
There’s no depth here, but there doesn’t need to be — ALONE… has tons of replay value simply by virtue of being relentlessly thrilling, no matter how many times you play.
This one feels like someone mashed-up the best bits from classic arcade games and squeezed the result into your Android device. Your little square scoots about neon mazes, shooting, eating flowers, and trying to grab a key to unlock a hitherto hidden exit. Meanwhile, enemies periodically beam in and start wrecking the place.
Some pursue you with all the determination of the most fervent Pac-Man ghost, but most of Forget-Me-Not’s denizens are perfectly content kicking seven shades out of each other. Games often involve trying to negotiate the destruction occurring all around you, grab lurking bonuses, and somehow escape intact. It’s breezy, intense and brilliant.
Many titles evoke the feel and fun of retro games, but Forget-Me-Not is a rare example that equals the very best. With randomised mazes and several modes, it’ll keep any fan of old-school gaming grinning for weeks.
Death Road to Canada
Described by its creators as a ‘randomly generated road-trip action-RPG’, Death Road to Canada has the heart of an arena shooter. More often than not, your little gang of looters – aiming to get from Florida to the reportedly zombie-free Canada – find themselves surrounded, weaving between the bitey and sometimes surprisingly spry undead, occasionally shooting them in the face.
It’s relentlessly intense, whether you’re trying to sneak about a city at sunrise or find yourself in a survival-based siege. And even moments of respite are nervy affairs, as you tackle pages seemingly torn from a sadistic Choose Your Own Adventure book, where the wrong decision can leave the last of your party gouged to death by an angry moose.
Gorogoa is a game that messes with your head – and any sense of time and place you might assume would stay put in a four-by-four grid of animated comic book panels. That’s because these panels can be manipulated and overlaid, to create new pathways through a wordless story packed full of mystery and beauty.
Naturally, this works best on a larger display, but even on a decent-sized Android blower, Gorogoa has the gaming chops to smack your brains in, massage your imagination, and in a few key set pieces, give your arcade smarts and dexterity a stern test. Top-notch stuff.
The Room: Old Sins
An engineer and his wife disappear, and their trail leads to a dusty, dark attic. You get a light working, shining it on an elaborate doll’s house. You glimpse a body in the gloom but are then sucked inside the toy, which appears to be an impossible full-sized recreation of a mansion – and one teetering on the edge of a monstrous abyss.
Packed full of puzzles and atmosphere, Old Sins echoes Myst, but without any of the tedious traipsing around. Instead, you dart from location to location, trying to unlock the mysteries of the objects you discover, in a tantalising, tactile and creepy slice of touchscreen horror.
If ever there’s a game that proves you can have console-quality platforming larks on mobile, it’s Oddmar. The backstory involves the kidnapping of your tribe and ingesting magic mushrooms to attain ’special powers’ (uh-huh). Our beardy hero then sets out to save his kin.
From the start, it’s clear this is something special. Pitch-perfect gestural controls (on-screen buttons are available for Luddites) enable you to work your way through lush, varied scenery. An early Indiana Jones escape from a determined rolling boulder, and then frantically fleeing from a screen-high troll, are merely indicators of the brilliance in store throughout Oddmar’s entire length. In short: buy it.
Underground maps are beautiful things, and so it’s no surprise a game based on them looks wonderful. What is surprising is a strategy title focussed solely on passenger movement and carriage management is this compelling.
On selecting a location, stations periodically appear, and it’s your job to connect them. The snag: you’ve a limited number of lines and carriages, and if a single station becomes too overcrowded, the entire network closes.
Particularly on a tablet, Mini Metro’s mix of gorgeous ambience and increasingly demanding line juggling proves compelling. And even when it becomes frustrating, you’ll never get angry at it – unlike the real thing.
Fed up of rubbish freemium tat clogging up your phone? Wish you could actually get some proper AAA fare on your device? Here’s your chance. GRID Autosport brings to Android the entirety of the PC and console hit – and all for just a tenner. You get 100 cars, 100 circuits, and more customisation options than you can shake a greasy wrench at.
This isn’t an arcade fest. You actually have to learn to drive the car to have a fighting chance of success. But that just makes that first chequered flag all the more rewarding. In the meantime, you can thrill at the speed and gawp at the graphics, idly wondering if someone has sneakily stuffed an entire PC inside your blower.