Top 10 best games we'd love to play on Android phones and tablets
Fans of Android devices have had it rough. Not only do they miss out on Apple Arcade exclusives, but there are plenty of games that are released only for iOS, too. Google Play’s open market provides a wide space for games to make their mark with Early Access and other options, but some of the higher quality games never make it to the platform.
There’s a huge gamut of different types of Android phones and tablets, each with different specs, including powerhouses like the new ROG phones and devices like the Nvidia Shield, which is basically the equivalent of a Nintendo Switch. With each new generation, we are getting closer to console-quality graphics on our portable devices, but we’re not quite there yet.
Tons of games have made the jump from PC or console to mobile successfully, but it’s a difficult process. With such a wide array of hardware configurations, developers have to ensure that it works on all of the targeted devices instead of focusing on one machine or the latest ‘recommended specs’ for PC.
Either way, the allure of having a fully-realized and fleshed-out experience in the palm of hands is enticing, and is an untapped market full of thirsty consumers, just waiting for their next daily commute obsession.
We believe that the following ten games from Steam and consoles would be perfect to play on the go — on your Android phone or tablet.
Within the confines of this ‘soccer game, you’ll find fierce competition, skill-based plays, and tons of customisation options. One of the most popular eSports, it’s safe to say that the transition to mobile would come with some caveats, but we can’t help but wonder what that might look like.
Rocket League became a tremendous success thanks to being a free game offered to Playstation Plus subscribers way back in 2015, and it has continued its road to success, releasing on nearly every console and platform since. With unique play modes, a ranking system that scales to your skill level as you get better, and millions of players to compete against, there’s always a reason to play ball.
We’ve had a bunch of different Tetris games on mobile over the years, but one of them is missing: Tetris Effect. With its gorgeous art and swirling pixels that react to the infectious music that brings to life what would otherwise be the same game that’s been played since the ‘80s, Tetris Effect brings the plucky piece-clearing puzzler to the next generation. It’s a bit twitchy to expect high-level play on a portable screen, but if they could convert the original game, there’s no reason they couldn’t figure out how to make it work here.
The Oculus Quest got Tetris Effect last year which proves the game can run on Android, and in VR, no less. Hopefully, we’ll see this masterpiece on the Play Store soon.
As many MMOs are making the jump to mobile, it would seem fitting to eventually find one that’s been around for quite some time: Warframe. The combat is fast and frantic and the movement style lends itself to create over-the-top action opportunities where every kill feels satisfying. As it went live at a time when free-to-play was shunned, it drew comparisons to Destiny, which at the time was a fully-developed title and not as barebones as Warframe originally was.
Now, Warframe can be pit up against the greats, offering dozens of hours of free content, an expansive community with guides and how-to’s, and to be blunt, the game itself is just a stupidly fun action title that begs for one more round. In 2020, it was purchased by Tencent, a company that is no stranger to mobile titles and MMOs, which gives a positive outlook on this title making its way to the platform in the future.
Persona 5 Royal
Persona has come a long way from its first title in the series, but there’s plenty to enjoy with the latest installment that follows Joker in his not-so-normal student life as a high school student in Tokyo. With a robust relationship and job system, Joker invests in his social life as much as he spends time exploring otherworldly locations.
A unique turn-based combat system offers a traditional RPG format to this dating-sim adventure, but it’s the Personas themselves that can offer an exciting twist on combat and gives power to your characters, utilizing creatures and personalities related to legendary outlaws and thieves. Dungeon-diving meets dating in this excellent social-RPG from Atlus.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game
The music, the action, the style. Scott Pilgrim’s foray into the beat-em-up genre is highly regarded as one of the greats. With the rerelease earlier this year, it brought some much-needed quality of live improvements and additional characters that weren’t found in the original PS3 and Xbox One releases.
Cute renditions of the film’s characters set in backdrops that closely follow its plot, this game lets you experience the charm of the comic’s style while sticking mostly to the storyline of the highly underrated film. Devilishly difficult, it stays true to the arcade-style setup of its UI and lives system and provides a multiplayer experience that is sure to please. Combinations offer complexity to veterans, but button-mashers still have a place to enjoy this pixel-art fan favourite.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
Now that the quadrilogy is completed, along with a Smash-inspired brawler starring the Blue Knight and his pals, we think it’d be a great game to experience on the go. Shovel Knight’s levels and twitchy gameplay feel like many of the platformers that are currently finding success on mobile, and there’s a lot of content found in the Treasure Trove for players of all types.
Originally released in 2014, Shovel Knight’s combination of 8-bit graphics paired with chiptune music grants a peek into a ‘what could have been’ scenario of the game releasing in the NES era. Along with the expansions that star three of the bosses from the original game, each with their own move sets and storylines, there are dozens of hours to spend in this world of shovels and chivalry.
A gorgeous puzzle-platformer, Maquette tells the heart-wrenching story of two individuals and their over-the-top perfect relationship, or what was, anyways. As you continue through the story, you find key elements that relate to keepsakes or memories, and the world around you is a scaled mimicry that changes when you bring objects into a scale model of itself.
Sound confusing? It’s a puzzle game, for sure, and often the simplest solutions seem out of place, so you really have to bend your brain to work within the confines of this Wonka-esque land of colourful scenery and whimsy. When you have a huge key fall out of the sky in order for you to cross a gap that was unpassable before, the magic of Maquette clicks, along with the story that will pull on your heartstrings and perhaps inspire a revisit to memories and conversations from a love long lost.
A Short Hike
This open-world exploration game gives a bunch of freedom and relaxation in its simple-controlled design. You play as Claire, a young bird that is tasked with trying to get cellphone reception at the summit of a mountain to receive an important call. There are plenty of animals on the island to interact with and help solve their problems, and there’s also a bunch of items to discover hidden around the island that leads to side-quests and stories.
Seeing as Claire is a bird, you can also glide around the island and use gusts to lift you into the air, which is some of the best gameplay and really offers you a unique means of travel. The whole game seems to give off strong Animal Crossing vibes, and while it’s relatively short, it’s a great distraction with lovable characters and charm overflowing.
Toby Fox’s loveable homage to the Mother series has a great story, excellent music, and a wonderful combat system. It’s been ported to nearly every platform except for mobile, but it seems like it would find a perfect home there. Simple but stylized graphics and a relatively easy-to-master control scheme should make for a great RPG romp with friends and feels.
Pixel-perfect platforming and an adorable 8/16-bit style are what makes Celeste so charming. The game is tough, but with a difficulty system that you can alter to fit your playstyle, there are options for every player. The story brings life to the expansive platforming challenges and sets Celeste up to be a game you’ll remember long after the credits roll.