Top 10 best Android retro and retro-inspired games
A magical trip down memory lane
The gaming industry has come a long way, within just a few decades we have witnessed a rapid evolution in terms of visuals and gameplay mechanics. From simple 8-bit pixels to flashy graphics that closely mimic real-life and realistic physics to provide a more immersive experience. In spite of the many new, innovative titles being released on a frequent basis. There are players craving the nostalgic taste of classic retro games to relive those halcyon days again. If you happen to be a retro fan looking for one to fit your bill. Look no further as you have come to the right place.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the best Android retro games. It contains both freemium and paid Android games. Although emulation is a viable option on Android where you can just grab emulator apps such as N64 or SNES, along with a ROM of your favourite retro game. There is still a wide variety of Android games on Google Play that seek to recreate the “Renaissance” of the retro age expressed through the release of retro-inspired games, or direct ports from arcade consoles.
- For fans of gacha, we recommend you to hop over to our best gacha games for Android
- Also, an updated list of free mobile games you can play in 2022
- For iOS users, do check out our Top 30 best retro and retro-inspired games for iPad and iPhone (iOS)
Retro gaming refers to titles from the 1980s to the late 1990s. It was an age where video gaming experienced its first boom. It is the era of great beginnings as it marks the birth of many beloved franchises such as Doom, Sonic, Pokemon, Tetris and many more. They were characterized by 8-bit graphics and retro music that shaped the childhoods of many. The most impactful part is the older console the games ran on, such as SNES, Nintendo 64 and also good old arcade games such as Street Fighter and Metal Slug.
Crazy Taxi Classic
One of the most iconic arcade retro games developed by Hitmaker, now ported over and available on your smartphone. Buckle up as you play as a taxi driver with the primary goal of ferrying passengers around downtown. Here, players can either be a law-abiding driver, or be a reckless madman to pull off daredevil stunts with the prospect of earning extra tips as a bonus. On the surface, the gameplay and goal of making as much money as possible seem simple. However, the learning curve is steep as you have to master the controls of your car and make as much as money possible within a short period of time. Sega Crazy Taxi will scale its difficulty with your expertise, so there’s always room to improve.
Despite the occasional ads, they are not too intrusive and don’t ruin the gameplay experience.
ESWAT City Under Siege Classic
A Robocop-themed 2D platformer where players traverse through the cityscape in a story mode and defeat hordes of enemies. Play as Duke Orda, a police officer maintaining law and order in the streets of Liberty City. The game also increases in difficulty as it progresses. Initially, you play as the human. However, in the latter half you get to suit up in power armor and go ham with a sizeable arsenal of weapons, such as plasma rifle and rockets.
Just like the previous entry, this one is also cluttered with ads which can be helpful when the going gets tough. You get to view an ad to rewind time and undo any damage incurred to your character. Generally they won’t be much of an issue as they aren’t intrusive.
Tomb of the Mask
This is a Pac-Man inspired retro style, endless-runner where players take control of a yellow tomb raider as you guide him across the never-ending vertical labyrinth. You will collect stars, pellets and coins while avoiding deadly traps and moving hazards. It’s worth noting that the stage visuals bear a heavy resemblance to the classic Pac-Man. Upgrade your characters with extra skills or to change your appearance, you can use the coins to change your default tomb raider into something more interesting.
Dragon Quest I
Considered one of the forefathers of the modern JRPG scene, featuring the distinguished art style of Akira Toriyama who graced our media world with the iconic Dragon Ball series. Experience a straightforward fantasy plot where you take control of the chosen one, embarking on a journey to slay the big baddie Dragonlord and save the princess of Alefgard Kingdom. Throughout your adventure, you get to interact with many NPCs, roam the beautiful overworld, fight monsters to gain experience points as well as a myriad of resources to progress through to the next stage.
We have also curated a premium list of RPG games for Android, please check out our Top 25 best RPGs for Android phones and tablets
Metal Slug X
I remember drenching in sweat every time after an intensive Metal Slug session at my local arcade. Developed by SNK, this run and gun platform shooter is renowned for its whacky character sprite animations as well as its detailed background. In spite of its overall theme centered around war, it adopts a comical style in every aspect while still managing to flesh out the personality of each character, whether that’s humans or machines.
Metal Slug X is simply a slight "remake" of Metal Slug 2 with some minor changes. You get to play as Marco, Fio, Eri or Tarma in their quest to put a stop to the Rebel Army’s plan for world domination. Along the way, you get to fight many of the Rebel Army’s state-of-the-art war machines, including an amphibious battleship, an excavation machine with a Godzilla motif, a Leichter Panzerspahwagen (Iron Nokana) and so much more. The gameplay is as hectic as it gets, you have to dodge bullets, bombs and shells that fly around from every direction imaginable. Acquire weapon power ups (such as the iconic heavy machine gun) or use vehicles to blitz through stages.
Metal Slug X also has a high replay value as players can try to perfectly complete each stage, rescue all POWS, and explore the stage for hidden goodies to get the highest score possible. However, one drawback to this game would be the controls, they can be janky at times, which can be detrimental to the experience.
Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius
Coming sixth on this list is Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, developed by Gumi and has been operating since 2014. It is a spin-off of the Final Fantasy core series. Its charming presentation features classic 8-bit retro style for both the characters and attack animations to relive the nostalgic days of Final Fantasy 1. You assemble a team of five (including beloved mascots such as Tifa Lockheart and Cloud) and lead them through dungeons and fights against mobs. Players can customize their team by mixing and matching different characters, with each boasting a unique set of skills that are triggered with simple controls.
A remarkable feature is the ability for players to freely explore the overworld, you get to explore towns to unlock quests as well as treasures, or seek an adrenaline-inducing exploration adventure deep in the many dungeons around the world map. This also means that grinding is inevitable, a common trend with gacha games that involve repeating the same stage a bazillion times to get the desired loot or simply to level up your characters. To improve it. FFBE comes with many handy quality of life features such as Auto Battle and Repeat to skip the repetitive chunk of the game.
Do note that this is a gacha game and contains micro-transactions where premium currency is purchased with real life money to perform summons using the built-in gashapon system. Most of the characters are acquired through this method. However, rest assured that it is heralded as one of the more F2P friendlier gacha games out there.
This retro-styled game hits home hard for those who crave the good old action of Rally Bike, a 1988 retro arcade game. You play as a rider and your goal is to survive as long as possible on the road by navigating through the busy street filled with vehicles. You get bonus points for narrowly dodging oncoming vehicles. It doesn’t stop there as the longer you survive, the faster you go, which demands faster reflexes. Feeling confident? You can choose to press on the screen and make your rider step on the gas pedal and accelerate.
The lack of many complex upgrade systems made Racing Moto extremely easy to pick up for all ages. It’s ideal to play with friends and family on a hot sunny day to compete for the most miles driven.
For fans of the classic Harvest Moon saga, this magical game is the brainchild of indie developer Eric Barone. Every aspect of it is a love letter to the classic Harvest Moon series (now known as Story of Seasons). This Android retro game presents you with a gateway to a fantastical world that doubles as a farming simulator. You get to farm a multitude of crops, mine minerals, interact with the lovely NPCs of Pelican Town, woo bachelors/bachelorettes, explore the overworld with attention-to-detail qualities and changes based on seasons and slay monsters that spawn naturally in dungeons. Stardew Valley is also a collector’s dream as there are many collectibles, such as scepters and artifacts to find. Be the very best farmer and make your late grandpa proud! It also has a multiplayer feature built-in to connect people. Partner up with friends and family to run a successful farm.
Bullet Hell Monday
A brilliant Android retro game combining the vibrant elements of the classic Touhou series and fixed shooter classics. It is a bullet hell shooter where players control a neon-coloured fighter plane similar to Pacific Wings (also known as 1941) to go through stages while dodging incoming projectiles and enemy crafts. The core gameplay is simple since the player only needs to dodge incoming projectiles from enemies and defeat the boss. But this is where the Touhou element comes in to ramp up the difficulty and players need to dodge bullets that crowd the screen. To further reel you in, the game boasts a multitude of banger songs for you to enjoy, although they are nowhere near the epic scale of Zun’s Touhou.
If you feel like training your reflexes with some bullet hell with a simple plane shoot 'em up, then this is the right one for you.
For fans of bullet hell genre, please feel free to check out our enticing list of Best bullet hell games for Android
Mini Day Z
Do you love the thrill of surviving in a zombie apocalypse but want to do it in a retro style? Then look no further than Mini DayZ. It is a retro-style zombie survival game where you travel from world to world, exploring abandoned towns and even military outposts, loot for lethal gears to ward off the infected, scavenge for consumables, fight against bandits, grow crops for an unlimited food supply, craft new gears and base build. To add more realism, status conditions such as health, hunger and thirst meters are included. This Android retro game also comes with a lot of survival metrics to look for. What’s more? In the newer version you get to team up with friends and survive as long as you can.
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