Top 25 best action games for Android phones and tablets
Your afternoon is boring and you need something to lift up the spirits?
Updated on May 12, 2022: New entries added, updated with download links. Original list by Jon Mundy, updated by Pocket Gamer Staff.
Looking for the greatest adrenaline surge titles that you can play on your phone or tablet? Today we are going to talk about the best action games for Android!
What is an action game? We often see games given that description, but what does it mean, exactly?
They aren't a specific genre. Head the said genre's section of the Google Play Store, and you'll find all manner of shooters, beat-'em-ups, platformers, and arcade oddities. The term signifies something altogether more visceral. A feeling of empowerment and aggression.
To put it a little more crudely, if you're getting your virtual kicks through some form of real-time violence, then you're probably playing one. That doesn't really narrow things down all that much, does it? Thankfully, we have a handy list of exceptional Android action games to help with that.
Don't see your personal favourite on there? Let us know in the comments below.
Don't let the retro graphics and 2D shmup mechanics fool you - Black Paradox is a decidedly modern experience, complete with roguelike elements and stacks of weapon types. It's got colourful graphics that will lure you right in and a fast play style that will leave you asking for a break! There's also a synth-wave soundtrack that will blow your mind if you're a real audiophile.
Note that it's hard as hell, so if you're looking for some casual fun, that's not it. Fans of hardcore shmups will love it. It's one of the best Android action games to kick off our list, and therefore it deserves the landing spot.
In Downwell, you don't just shoot to destroy baddies - you shoot to move. It's an ingenious twist in an ingenious game, that takes you back to the old arcade machines where you'd just shoot your heart out (not literally). Ah, and what a joy it is. It will be much clearer how it got on the list of the best action games for Android if you read our review. Although it is pretty simple in terms of graphics, it leaves more than enough room for the thrilling action to kick in. Make sure to give it a try - we even got some tips from the developer!
T3 Arena is the newest Android action game that looks a bit like Overwatch and plays similarly to it. Even the art style will remind you of it, with beautiful colourful cartoonish characters that blend in well into the futuristic setting. Pleasant to the eye, the gameplay is smooth, and it really feels like the game could easily fit the PCs as well, without being ashamed for one second. Did we mention that it's a PVP shooter? No?
With a plethora of characters to pick, it won't be easy to test them all out, and if you're looking for a shortcut we made a T3 Arena tier list to ease off some of that starting burden. You'll love it right from the start.
But what are we babbling about, you can download T3 Arena and see for yourself.
A truly awesome roguelike hack and slasher that you can play single-handed, but that doesn't lack in strategy or depth. This is the one with brains as well as brawn. The added strategic element offers the game enough to give you something to look forward to with each passing moment, and the graphics make it wildly enjoyable to do so.
It's quite an underrated title, and if you get to play it, you'll quickly fall in love with it. It's a great Android action game that we'd suggest trying out on your tablet - the bigger the screen, the better!
If you have three minutes to spare, you can check what our video wizard/Viking James has to say in his short video review. Spoiler: he liked this little roguelike very much!
A delightfully detailed action title that's completely free to play without being 'pay to win' in any way. You can't buy anything that will bring you any form of advantage over other players, which we support wholeheartedly.
Brawlhalla is a highly engaging fighting game with a few game modes which can feature up to 8 players. Interestingly enough, it also supports crossplay, so you can encounter players from other platforms as well. Fighter models are crispy clean, and gameplay is ironed out to the detail as well, making it a rather enjoyable experience. Controls are precise and easy to handle on your touchscreen, but you can play it on your controller as well.
There's an abundance of characters to pick, and in case you need help to pick the right ones, use our Brawlhalla tier list.
Guns of Boom
Without a doubt, one of the reigning mobile online FPS kings, Guns of Boom hones the FPS format for mobile play without losing its competitive edge. Some would say it's a mobile Team Fortress, and they wouldn't be too wrong! It certainly fits into the category of the best action games for Android!
While it has a lot of players and some smooth-looking visuals, GoB also has some fun customizations and a highly dynamic PvP approach. Although you won't be able to jump around or move like a cat the action is still rather intense, plus the game isn't hard on beginners, so you'll be able to fit in quickly.
Call of Duty Mobile
There have been mobile Call of Duty titles before, but this is the first one that actually feels worthy of the bombastic console and PC FPS series. It's one of the best multiplayer shooters and one of the top action games for Android.
Of course, if you are an FPS fan already, chances are you know all about CoDM and just how exciting it can become with just a little bit of practice (because we all know not hitting your target is not fun at all). Here are the CoD Mobile's best guns, if you ever decide to give it a try!
With fun-looking 2D cartoon animations and battles lurking at every corner, Skullgirls is one of the games that could go in the dictionary next to the definition for 'action game'. It's a fighting RPG that gives players a lot of opportunities to show their skills in real-time against other players, in a similar style to Street Fighter. It's also got more than enough fighters and moves a player can learn, so there is literally no time to get bored when playing this one.
We also have to stress out that it's completely free to play, and you can actually see free players reaching to the top tiers with nothing else but skill and dedication.
Bleach: Brave Souls
It couldn't have been a proper list without mentioning at least one of the top anime/manga-inspired games. Bleach: Brave Souls is the one that we went with, for a number of reasons. First, it would be the interactive graphics and fun-looking characters.
Then, it would have to be the action-packed play style. When delving into the depths of Brave Souls you really get that genuine feeling you would from reading Tite Kubo's manga or watching the anime. It's got a story, a lot of appealing features, and a highly active community as well.
This brilliant pixel shooter lets you take your friends into various dungeons and shoot each other down (or shoot at enemy monsters). Whichever one you prefer, it's still lots of fun and plenty of energetic gameplay. In Soul Knight you have a ton of unique heroes, each with their very own set of abilities, so there are plenty of factors to consider. The gameplay is rather frenetic, and if you're not quick we suggest you sit this one out.
The pixel graphics match the intensity of this title like a glove, so if you want a crazy multiplayer game to enjoy with your friends, invite them over for a round of Soul Knight!
Some would say that we are becoming annoying with Dead Cells, including it on a few of our lists of top games, but to those people, we say - nay! We aren't going to stop adding it, because it deserves to be seen. Such a lovely dance of smooth gameplay and lovely pixelated graphics makes it worth a try.
Maybe it won't be your cup of tea, in case you're not into roguelites that much. However, if you're a fan of frenetic action, you'll find PG.com packed with plenty of guides that will make your life much easier. And death as well, because let's face it - you'll die a lot!
Essentially Dark Souls for your mobile, Pascal's Wager is a third-person aRPG of rare heft. For weighty bladed combat, you can't get much better on mobile (only maybe Grimvalor, which we've listed below). The gloomy atmosphere and low lights will definitely bring the same level of discomfort as Dark Souls does, feeling the despair creeping in with each new area. It looks absolutely stunning, and the combat feels as realistic as it could get. It's well worth the premium price you'd pay for it. For a more detailed explanation, go for our Pascal's Wager preview!
To break the streak of serious games, we are bringing you a fun title that's not that heavy and macho-looking. Nameless Cat, in essence, follows the story of a cat who strayed and ended up in a strange fantasy realm. It is an amazing Android action game with pixel graphics and platformer elements. Don't let the pixelated colourful graphics deceive you to think it's an easy game. Once you start playing it, you'll understand why it so clearly deserves a spot on our list. It's unique, it plays amazingly, and it also follows a compelling story. In short, it has all the ingredients for a highly successful title!
A thrillingly pure and empowering title that sees you tapping the screen to hop your little 2D radish around each arena-like level, avoiding danger and bopping baddies. It's cute, but don't let that fool you. Down at its core, it's one of the best action games for Android out there, and if you love a challenge, Dadish 2 can easily fulfil your wish.
Just don't let it get to you, because sometimes you'll end up replaying some levels and that can become a tad bit frustrating! If you'd like to know more, read our Dadish 2 review!
Do you want a more light-hearted pick, but one that will still provide enough activity to keep you on your toes? Then try out Archero! It has a story, but to be fair, nobody cares for it much. The gameplay is what all the rage is about. It's so highly addictive and fun that it makes it easy to fall in love with it. Unlike some of the other titles on this list, even though it's a free-to-play title, it is not at all pay to win.
You will have more than enough rewards by playing the game at your own pace, so if you haven't checked it out yet, make sure you do so. Oh, and to give you a hand, we've got a tier list for Archero as well as some useful tips to help you get better at it!
Ronin: The Last Samurai
A title that beautifully adds a unique artwork style to the genre, Ronin: The Last Samurai is somewhat of a unique game among the others on this list. You basically play as the last samurai in Japan, and try to fight your way through to survive. The real Japanese weapons and ink-and-wash graphics make it stand out for all the right reasons. But by all means, it's a challenging one. Even though it is available for free, if you want to excel at it, you need to either spend some money or dedicate yourself to it for a while. Taking all of these into consideration, it's still one of our top picks. It's just that good.
Otherworld Legends is a rogue-like aRPG that's way more accessible than we've come to expect of such things. It's an intuitive hack-and-slash delight that truly packs a punch through its colourful pixelated graphics and exciting gameplay. You have items to collect and monsters to beat, so try out various builds in order to discover what really works for your character and play style. It plays similarly to some of the other Android action games we've already mentioned above, like Immortal Rogue and Dead Cells. In case you like those two, you'll love this one too.
While Grimvalor starts off for free (the first act), it's well worth investing in it as you would into a premium game, because it's absolutely amazing. From graphics to playstyle, everything feels realistic and fantastic at the same time (somehow it manages to do that).
There are no words to explain just how right Grimvalor feels when playing, and if you love adventure RPGs where you can shape your own characters, but without all that auto-play function, by all means, give it a try. To put it in plain words, it's similar to Dark Souls but for mobile, and it's 2D. It's amazing.
Tesla vs Lovecraft
This twin-stick shooter packs an appealingly flamboyant steampunk style, satisfyingly squelchy gunplay, and relentless action, all for the mobiles. It's a winner from a multitude of viewpoints, from the graphics to gameplay and much more. Furthermore, it also has a story (that you will soon forget about because the gameplay is just so flippin' great) that you can follow. We highly doubt you'll play it for the story though when there are just so many other outstanding features. I mean, can you imagine driving a mech with as Tesla and pumping the Lovecraftian monsters with all kinds of spectacular and deadly weapons?
How good is it? Read our Tesla vs Lovecraft review!
Lovecraft's Untold Stories
This 8-bit action rogue-lite is absolutely stunning. The RPG elements featured within the game give it a lot of character, while the battles and characters make it something straight out of one of Lovecraft's stories (which it cleverly aims to do). It's a premium title, but if you want more from this genre than just shooting or running around aimlessly, Lovecraft's Untold Stories adds more than enough to bring it to the top of the genre.
Danmaku Unlimited 3
Android is the platform to go to for bullet hell shmups these days, and Danmaku Unlimited 3 is one of the most visually arresting examples of it. With its dense action and ethereal palette, this shooter amazes through a simple but well-executed concept. Furthermore, something that has clearly set this game apart from the others is the music.
It's absolutely gorgeous, and it never tends to become repetitive even though you could play it for hours on end. That's what made it stand out to us as one of the best Android action games in 2022 - just read our Danmaku Unlimited 3 review.
This twin-stick shooter excels in a number of areas, including its moody story, range of weapons, challenging bosses, and tense combat. If you love bullet hell roguelikes, this one will definitely be among the top Android action games to check out. Once you start playing it, you'll definitely return for some more - we know that from our own experience! We've written it down in our Neon Chrome review, and while it was on iOS, we are pretty positive the game will be equally fun for Android too!
Tomb of the Mask
If you love some retro arcade action, then Tomb of the Mask will give you all that excitement packed into a rather strange-looking procedurally-generated game. In this one, you will have to climb through labyrinths and try to fight your way out, through enemies, traps and whatnot. It's a unique-looking title that will leave you wanting more and more every time. It's brilliant - just read our review if you need further convincing.
Suspects: Mystery Mansion
I bet you've heard of Among Us by now - Suspects: Mystery Mansion is similar to that, except it features some dope-looking killer animals. Sounds fun? You bet it is! This murder mystery game is full of activity and will keep you on your toes every second you're playing it. It's fun, it requires some strategic thinking, and it has a lot of replay potential! Easily one of the top action games for Android tablets you should check out.
A great action game that shifts the players' attention towards battles that unfold in a blocky-looking colourful arena. This battle royale is highly engaging and exciting and even allows players' creativity to come forth and come up with their own arena design. There are a couple of guides that you can check and get to know this one much better.
After all, it's important to win that battle royale, right? It's the perfect title to finish our list of best Android action games phones and tablets with, don't you think? Psssst, we have a Brawl Stars tier list of best brawlers too! And if that's not enough, we got a Brawl Stars review, as well as an increasing collection of other Brawl Stars guides!
Top 15 best Apple Arcade games