This article is part of our Apps & Games Roundups series.
Finding new and interesting games on the Play Store isn't always easy, which is why I'm always creating new roundups to highlight the better titles out there. Today I have a fresh update for everyone that includes seven new titles added to our running best-of games list, bringing the roundup up to date for 2021. So if you've been on the hunt for new and enjoyable mobile games that have landed on the Play Store in the last year but have been coming up short, this roundup is for you.
Dead Cells is easily one of the best roguelike platformers released on the Play Store in the last year, and thankfully the Android port is fantastic. You can select from 30fps, 60fps, and unlimited FPS in the game's settings, and there's also an HD graphics option, which means no matter your device, the game should run and look great. Having spent a lot of time putting this game through its paces, I can confidently say it runs like butter at max settings on high-end devices. Best of all, controller support is indeed included, which is where this game shines, thanks to its precision controls.
Monetization: $8.99 / no ads / IAPs $3.99 apiece
FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered was released on the Play Store out of nowhere, and now that the game is here, the Play Store offers all Final Fantasy titles up to XI, so I'm sure there are more than a few people out there eager to complete their collection after all of these years. Plus, FF VIII is highly regarded by many because it is a solid RPG. While the Android port is lacking controller support and cloud saves, at least Square says it will add these features at a later date. All in all, the game performs fine, so if you can forgo a few features, there's hours of fun to be had with this release.
Monetization: $20.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a classic Metroidvania title from Konami, and its arrival on the Play Store came as a bit of a shock to everyone in the last year, especially since it's available for $2.99, which is an absolute bargain. If you've yet to play SotN, it's a beautiful 2D platformer that offers non-linear platforming-based gameplay, so exploration is definitely encouraged. The primary campaign should take around eight or nine hours to beat, and since this port supports physical controllers, it's a perfect title to play on a wide range of devices. Seriously, don't sleep on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It's a classic for a reason.
Monetization: $2.99 / no ads / no IAPs
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was ported to Android fairly recently, and I'm glad to report that it's a fantastic port. Not only does the game support controllers out of the box, but the performance is good, and the touch controls are plenty serviceable. Heck, you can even expect more graphics settings than the PC release, which is great for those running low-end devices since you can tweak these settings to best suit your hardware. All in all, this is an excellent port of an entertaining game, so don't miss out.
Monetization: $9.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Genshin Impact is a divisive game, thanks to its devs cloning much of Breath of the Wild's look and the fact it's riddled with greedy gacha-based monetization. But here's the thing, there's actually a game underneath the shiny exterior, and it actually takes some skill to play. The developer behind this title put in the effort to create a game instead of a pointless treadmill, which is precisely why I consider Genshin Impact to be the high watermark for free-to-play games on the Play Store. Sure, the title is still missing controller support on Android, but beyond that, this is the closest you're going to get to Breath of the Wild on the platform, something no other F2P title has yet to achieve.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $99.99
Disgaea 1 Complete
Disgaea 1 Complete is a port of the remaster that made its way to consoles in 2018. This means the title's graphics are improved over the original Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. Controller support is included, and the touchscreen controls work well since they are designed for tap-based inputs. Cloud saves are also supported, which means you can easily pick up and play the game no matter your Android device of choice. So while the $33 price tag may be tough to swallow, what you get is easily the best port of the title currently available, all thanks to a host of quality-of-life features that are only available in the mobile version, such as auto-play, which is a godsend when grinding.
Monetization: $32.99 / no ads / no IAPs
STAR WARS™: KOTOR II
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II took a long time to get here, but now that six years have passed since the first title in the series was released on Android, I'm sure plenty of gamers are eager to know how if the port of the sequel stacks up. It's fantastic. After testing diligently on an OP8 and Tabs S7, it's clear the game is optimized well. On top of this, physical controllers are supported out of the box. You can even unlock the framerate, which is handy for devices that support high framerates. I'm telling you, it's a great port, and it's a heck of an RPG too. Knights of the Old Republic II offers a minimum of thirty hours of content that can easily stretch into a hundred.
Monetization: $14.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is a roguelike deck-builder that's enjoyed much success on other platforms, and it finally made its way to Android in the last year thanks to Humble Games, making for the second mobile release from the studio. The port is solid, the controls work great, and the gameplay is as fun as ever. You won't need a high-end device to play, and cloud saving is included, but only across Android devices since cross-saves aren't supported. This does mean players will have to start from scratch in the Android version, but since this game is such a joy, I doubt most will have a problem with this.
Monetization: $9.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Civilization VI - Build A City | Strategy 4X Game
Out of nowhere, Aspyr media finally brought its mobile port for Civilization VI to Android in the last year. As you would expect, this is a demanding game thanks to the simulations it's pulling off, and so performance can dip late-game, especially when it comes to loading times. Keep in mind the title even chugs on the latest iPad Pros as well as the Nintendo Switch, so dropped frames are pretty much expected. Still, the Android version is a joy to play, and thanks to the 60-move free trial, everyone can test the game to see how it performs before they spend a dime.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $4.99 - $29.99
Dadish is a free-to-play release, though it only contains a single in-app purchase to remove the game's advertisements, which is about as good as it gets when it comes to F2P titles. Luckily players can reach the end of this release without spending a dime, which is probably why the 2D platformer has racked up so many positive reviews in the last year. It also doesn't hurt that the game is balanced well, offering a challenge but never being too tough, and while there are only 40 levels to play through, the title's collectible stars guarantee a healthy dose of replayability.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs $3.49 a piece
Summer Catchers is a gorgeous auto-runner from Noodlecake Studios, and it's a port of the PC game that was released on Steam in 2019. The Android version should be on everyone's radar since this is a gorgeous title that plays similarly to Alto's Adventure, and it's a premium release, unlike its inspiration. So if you'd like to kill some time by endlessly running through a colorful world that mixes racing, story, rhythm, and puzzle elements into a unique but familiar package, Summer Catchers is an excellent choice that was released in the last year.
Monetization: $3.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Hidden Through Time is a beautiful hidden object game that offers pleasing art, cute animations, and enjoyable gameplay. You'll spend your time deciphering clues in order to find all of the hidden objects in each level, and each stage is charmingly animated, which makes it easy to stare at the screen for hours as you hunt down every last hidden object in this release. If you enjoy titles like but are looking for a bit of color to brighten the experience, then you're going to love Hidden Through Time.
Monetization: $2.99 / no ads / IAPs $1.99 apiece
Missile Command: Recharged
Missile Command: Recharged takes the tried and true missile shooting formula of the original arcade game and adds on top some interesting powerups while providing an upgrade path for advancement. The touch controls work well, and the game is supported by ads that can be removed through a single in-app purchase. All in all, this is a polished and reasonably priced release that's fun and controls great, so it's definitely worth spending some time with. If you enjoy the classics but are looking for something with a modern touch, make sure you don't miss out on Missile Command: Recharged.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs $2.99 a piece
Totally Reliable Delivery Service
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a sandbox game that offers ragdoll physics and online co-op multiplayer gameplay, which is a big trend since the last year. It's like someone mixed together with and then added a package delivery mechanic to really stir things up. What's nice is that you are free to roam around the game. This means you can explore with up to three friends, which is where the real fun is to be had, laughing at your buddies as they flail about while struggling to control their character.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $1.99 - $9.99
Sky: Children of the Light
It may have taken a while to come to Android, but Sky: Children of the Light arrived on Android in the last year, and it would appear the wait was well worth it. This is a third-person exploration game that's similar in style to the developer's previous work, such as Journey and Flower. This means exploration is the key to success, and thanks to the game's multiplayer aspects, you can explore the title's seven levels with a buddy or two quite easily. Now, this is a free-to-play release, and in-app purchases are included, but they are hardly necessary to enjoy the game. While this can be a demanding release, you can still play on a low-end device, thanks to a bout of performance improvements.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $49.99
Company of Heroes
Company of Heroes is a popular real-time strategy game that was ported to iOS early in 2020, but eventually, the game made its way to Android, and the wait was worth it. Not only is this a solid port that performs well, but the game itself is pretty dang fun, especially if you enjoy real-time strategy games themed around WWII. While the small UI, lack of online play, and large price tag may hold a few people back, there's no denying that console-quality strategy games are hard to come by on Android, making Company of Heroes one of the best options currently available on the platform.
Monetization: $13.99 / no ads / IAPs $3.99 apiece
GRIS is a port from console and PC that made its way to Android this year, and as you can see in the trailer and screenshots below, it's a beautiful game. The title's puzzle-based platforming offers a ton of fun on top of the quality visuals, which rounds out this game as an exceptionally polished release. Better yet, the music is totally on point, and really, the only downside is that this is a short game that can be beaten in a single sitting. Still, it's a quality release that's definitely worth the asking price, so don't miss out.
Monetization: $4.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Titan Quest: Legendary Edition
Titan Quest has had an iffy history on mobile, but it would appear that the latest developer connected to the mobile port is working on changing this. While the original release is still available, Titan Quest: Legendary Edition includes all of the game's DLC with the sticker price. It would also appear that HandyGames has squashed many outstanding bugs, and so everyone is free to enjoy this classic as it was intended, in full and in working order. Plus, the developer recently added controller support, a long-requested feature that has finally made its way to both mobile ports.
Monetization: $19.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Legends of Runeterra
Legends of Runeterra is a collectible card game from Riot Games, and while the genre isn't as popular as it once was, there still appears to be a large fanbase for CCGs, with many players claiming that this is currently the best option on Android. So much so that it would appear Runeterra is more popular than Gwent, which is precisely why this card game has made the cut in today's list. For the most part, the title is balanced reasonably well, even for free players, and online matches are often pretty fair, though the fact that you can purchase as many cards as you like (a recent change this year) means the game could be considered pay-to-win.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $2.99 - $49.99
Mitoza is labeled as a surreal choose-your-own-adventure game, and that's an apt description. This is indeed an odd game, and the real challenge is figuring out what the hell is going on. Oddly enough, this experience is actually pretty relaxing, so if you're looking for a weird game to wind down with after a long day of work, Mitoza is a great choice. Best of all, the game is completely free, which means everyone can check it out.
Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs
Gameloft Classics: 20 Years
Gameloft Classics is a celebratory release that landed in 2020, and it offers 30 of Gameloft's flip-phone-era mobile games. While many of the licensed titles, like Ubisoft's games, aren't present, what is provided is a solid selection of classic mobile games from the Gameloft library, and they are all free to play. Best of all, you won't run into a single in-app purchase since this is a free release for the fans, so everyone is free to explore this collection game to search out their favorites from years gone by.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $3.99
Levelhead landed on Android the last year, and it comes from Butterscotch Shenanigans, a competent dev with a wicked sense of humor. More or less, Levelhead is similar to Mario Maker in that you get to create your own levels as part of the game's primary mechanic. Interestingly Levelhead offers a unique take on rating these levels, and so the more you play everyone else's content, the better the placement for your user-made levels. So essentially, the more you play, the more chances you have of people noticing your content, which makes for a solid rotation of levels to play through for everyone.
Monetization: $6.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Kingdom Two Crowns
Kingdom Two Crowns is the follow-up to the indie adventure game Kingdom: New Lands, and it brings with it a new co-op mode. The devs have also added a campaign mode to the series, which means there is more structure to this release over the first title. So if you're looking to delve into a new kingdom builder that offers fair monetization and gameplay, all while sporting excellent pixel-based graphics, Kingdom Two Crowns is about as good as it gets.
Monetization: $9.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Anniversary Editi
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Anniversary Edition is a mouthful, but luckily the game itself is fantastic, and it's pretty gruesome to boot. Sure, it's basically a niche visual novel that contains familiar tropes, such as students stuck in a school that have to avoid a murderer. But the thing is, the story is well worth the asking price, with twists and turns all over the place. Truly, this is an engrossing game, and best of all, since it's an anniversary edition, it comes with all-new graphics as well as touchscreen support, not to mention a few gallery extras for the hardcore fans. You can also find on the Play Store, should you want to continue your adventure after finishing this release.
Monetization: $15.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Pictoquest comes from Plug in Digital and is a premium nonogram game where you'll create images by solving grid-based number puzzles. What sets this game apart from the rest is the fact that there are also RPG elements in the mix, so you'll actually have something to work towards as you solve the game's puzzles. So if you've been on the lookout for a quality nonogram game, Pictoquest looks to be the best choice released on Android in the last year.
Monetization: $4.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Crying Suns is the first Android game to be published by Humble Bundle on the Play Store (a welcome surprise in the last year), and it's an indie sci-fi roguelite that was initially published on PC back in 2019. This means the Android version is a port, and thankfully it's a quality release that brings with it fantastic touch controls. So if you're looking for an enjoyable tactical space game that also offers an intriguing story that's actualy worth the asking price, then this is the game for you.
Monetization: $8.99 / no ads / no IAPs
MudRunner is an off-roading simulation game where you get to drive Soviet-era trucks through the mud to complete tasks. The game has existed on consoles and PC for a while now, but this mobile port is a new arrival on mobile from the last year. This mobile version brings with it 15 maps to explore as well as 16 vehicles to drive. Best of all, physical controller support was added to the title shortly after release, so if you're looking to tool around in the mud as you would in the console version, MudRunner is a competent mobile release for on-the-go fun.
Monetization: $5.99 / no ads / IAPs from $1.99 - $8.99
The easiest way to describe Brawlhalla is to call it a Smash Bros. clone, but of course, such a label may anger Smash and Brawlhalla fans alike. At its core, this is a free-to-play platformer brawler, and so the title contains a cash shop for cosmetics as well as an optional Battle Pass subscription that will net users extra rewards over free players. The game itself is best played with an external controller (my preferred way to play), though touchscreen controls are in the mix and can be adjusted in the title's settings. All in all, the Android port of Brawlhalla holds its own, and thanks to cross-play support, you can easily play against your friends no matter their platform of choice.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $5.99 - $49.99
EVE Echoes assuredly took its time coming to Android, but thanks to a release this year, everyone is free to play their favorite sci-fi MMO on the go this Christmas. Sure, this isn't a 1:1 copy of the original PC version of EVE, but that's a good thing since you can now use a touchscreen interface to play. More or less, if you're looking to jump into an immersive MMO on mobile that offers a similar experience to PC, EVE Echoes is one of the few choices available that delivers. Yes, the game is technically pay-to-win, but I doubt this will deter seasoned EVE players since the PC version is monetized similarly.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $184.99
ATOM RPG is a CRPG similar to the first two original Fallout titles, so it should easily appeal to fans of classic CRPGs. As a survivor of a nuclear holocaust in an imaginary '80s timeline, you'll explore a Soviet wasteland while investigating a shadowy conspiracy bent on destroying the last few people alive. The port works well, though there's a little slowdown here and there. Still, it's not enough to ruin the experience. So if you're a huge CRPG fan, ATOM RPG is one of the few quality choices on the Play Store that's isn't an overaged classic.
Monetization: $8.49 / no ads / IAPs $0.99 apiece
Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown (Card Game)
Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown is an odd title that's made its way from PC to Android in the last year. This is a card-based single-player game, and it's story-heavy, so it will require patience. But if you're into deck builders but have felt your options have lacked a proper sense of humor, then Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown might be what you're looking for. While the price is pretty steep for a mobile release, it does compare to the current Steam price.
Monetization: $19.99 / no ads / no IAPs
9th Dawn III RPG
9th Dawn III is the culmination of the last two titles in this action-RPG series, and it offers a boatload of polish, not to mention tons of loot to collect as you explore the game's vast open world. Think "2D Skyrim," and you're getting close. While the second game in the series had no controller support and an odd jump mechanic, both issues are fixed in this release. So whether you want to play using the touchscreen or a physical controller, both options are available, and they work great. Seriously, this is a fantastic port that should provide hundreds of hours of dungeon-exploring fun, so don't miss out. There's even a available for those that want to see how the game plays.
Monetization: $9.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is the latest branded Bridge Constructor game from Headup, and much like the previous entries in the series, you'll solve puzzles by building bridges. This time around, you'll do so to escape hordes of hungry zombies, but really, if you've enjoyed the previous entries in the series, you're going to love this one too. Luckily this is a premium release, so what you see is what you get, and what you get is a competent bridge construction game that's pretty dang fun.
Monetization: $2.99 / no ads / no IAPs
In the last year, I took KartRider Rush+ for a spin, though I wasn't really expecting much from it. Surprisingly I came away impressed, mostly due to the fact the game offers a much more enjoyable experience over Mario Kart Tour. Not only does the steering in this game work better, but online play was included at release. So even though KartRider Rush+ is riddled with in-app purchases, the game primarily offers cosmetics in its shop, which means everyone can compete at an even level no matter how much money some sink into the game.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $89.99
Pigeon: A Love Story
Pigeon: A Love Story is an odd game that ultimately does not reveal its win condition, leaving players to poke and prod as they play just to see what happens. The game is designed to offer a relaxing experience, and so you'll fly over a map of London as you search for your soulmate. This map is to scale, so you can fly for quite a long time, and you can even hunt down famous landmarks, making this an excellent exploration game. Just keep in mind that this is a demanding release, so high-end hardware is recommended.
Monetization: $0.99 / no ads / no IAPs
This roundup has been updated with new games for 2021