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Best Android games of 2021

best android games
(Image credit: Lukmanazis/Shutterstock)

The best Android games offer you countless hours of entertainment and fun. No matter what you're into — strategy games, first-person shooters, puzzlers and more — there's probably a game on Google's Play Store that you'll enjoy.

The trouble is sorting through the many Play Store titles to find the most appealing games. And while many of the best Android games are free, you'll find a few titles that require a payment for you to download them. You may find yourself wondering whether a particular paid game is worth it.

Not to worry: we've gathered the best of the best in one place, spanning several different categories. Whether you want to dump hours into an RPG, play something with friends, or put your strategy skills to the test, we've got you covered with the best Android games that we've spotted.

There's more to your phone than just its gaming potential, though, so when you're done here, why don't you check out the best Android apps? They help make the best Android phones even better than they already are.

So without further ado, here are the best Android games you can play, organized by category.

Best Android games: Social games

Social multiplayer games are one you can play with friends or family, some locally and others online. They're a fun time for gatherings or just hanging out with your buds on a Discord chat.

Among Us

best android games: among us

(Image credit: Inner Sloth/Valve)

Its insane popularity may be easing up, but Among Us remains a fun game that has the potential to ruin friendships. It's a game about deception. Anywhere from five to 10 players gather and perform tasks in space. There's an impostor among you, though — sometimes a few of them).

The regular crewmates must survive the impostor, who tries to kill everyone. A good impostor turns the team against each other, throwing blame off themselves. It's usually a fun time.

Download Among Us: Play Store

Ticket to Ride

best android games: ticket to ride

(Image credit: Asmodee Digital)

Ticket to Ride is a mobile adaptation of the wonderful train-based board game that many love and enjoy. It can support up to five players with pass-and-play (or local area if everyone has the game on their device). The power of technology shines through, making for quick and easy gameplay.

This is an excellent party or family gathering game, allowing for some healthy competition. 

Download Ticket to Ride: Play Store

Triple Agent

best android games: triple agent

(Image credit: Tasty Rook)

Much like Among Us, Triple Agent is all about deception. There will be two teams, with one of them tasked to get the other team to turn on itself. Be careful about getting sidetracked or fooled, because it can have consequences for your team.

The game is played on a single device with rules explained as you play. It's yet another awesome party game that brings people together by turning them against each other.

Download Triple Agent: Play Store

Who Can't Draw

best android games: who can't draw

(Image credit: oneThird)

Who Can't Draw is like a modern day version of Pictionary, but for your Android phone. The first person receives a word and does their best to draw it, before passing their device to the next player. That person then has 15 seconds to copy the drawing and pass it on down the line.

The last person then tries to guess what the original word was based on the most recent drawing. It's really a lot of fun for group get-togethers looking to play one of the best Android games.

Download Who Can't Draw: Play Store

Best Android Games: Shooter games

There's a good reason why shooter games are so incredibly popular among Android users. They challenge your aim, decision-making skills, and tactical abilities. 

Whether it's first-person or third, you can bet that these best Android games will satisfy that shooter itch.

Call of Duty: Mobile

best android games: call of duty mobile

(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Mobile met some skepticism when it was announced, but that quickly faded when people got their hands on the Android version of the game. It's an incredibly well-done shooter for mobile, with plenty of weapons to use and lots of stuff to chase. The controls — touchscreen or controller — are very responsive. You can also choose between several game modes, like Death Match, Battle Royale, and ranked competitive playlists. 

There's an absolutely staggering amount of customization, depending on which guns, grenades, secondaries, and perks you prefer. The gunsmith adds even more depth, letting you tweak your favorite gun to your play style (and giving you attachments and camos to chase after). For a free-to-play game, Call of Duty: Mobile is one of the best choices on this whole list. Give it a shot.

Download Call of Duty: Mobile: Play Store

Doom and Doom II

best android games: doom and doom 2

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Doom and Doom II are the granddaddies of the first-person shooter. Their arrival on Android didn't start off too well, but after Bethesda fixed some key pain points, the ports became quite solid. Both have support for controllers, wider aspect ratios, and faster refresh rates.

If you want to sample some gaming history, then these two games are well worth your time. They'll either take you way back, or help you appreciate where we are now in the shooter genre.

Download Doom: Doom at Play Store; Doom II at Play Store

PUBG Mobile

best android games Pubg mobile

(Image credit: Tencent Games)

PUBG also saw a move to mobile, and like Call of Duty, the Android version turned out quite well. The battle royale plays great on mobile, with an intuitive UI and great controls. It's quite an impressive game with lots to do and several modes to try.

Despite Call of Duty: Mobile's presence, PUBG Mobile stands out as one of the best Android games, thanks to a wide pool of players and constant updates.

Download PUBG Mobile: Play Store

Best Android Games: Puzzle games

Puzzle games have thrived on Android due in part to their scalability on mobile. Most of their popularity, however, comes down to their accessibility — just about anyone can pick up a puzzle game and immerse themselves in the brain-teasing fun. 

The term "puzzle" refers to a lot of different subgenres — everything from physics-based games to logic puzzles — so you might have to play around to find one that works for you.

Bridge Constructor Portal

best android games: bridge constructor portal

(Image credit: Headup)

There are several Bridge Constructor games, but the Portal version is the one that lands among the best Android games. It's the perfect blend of two excellent franchises, forcing you to contend with the laws of physics and some of Aperture Labs oddities. 

The goal remains the same: build a bridge to get a vehicle from Point A to Point B safely. That's easier said than done, but you'll discover that for yourself once you get started. Not only will gravity be fighting you, but things like portals and Portal-themed goodness will stand in your way.

Download Bridge Constructor Portal: Play Store

Donut County

best android games: donut county

(Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

Donut County is a relaxing game that tasks you with causing as much chaos in a small town as possible. You direct a hole in the ground to swallow objects on the surface, with the hole growing each time something falls within your depths. Eventually, you'll be taking on buildings and other structures, wreaking havoc.

It sounds intense, but between the beautiful and simplistic graphics and the chill vibe, this game is anything but stressful and chaotic. There's a bit of story to the game, too, and swallowing the whole town does have consequences. But the writing is funny and the game keeps you going for an hour or two.

Download Donut County: Play Store

The Eyes of Ara

best android games: the eyes of ara

(Image credit: 100 Stones Interactive)

If you liked Myst and Riven from the good old days, then The Eyes of Ara might be for you. It's a puzzle adventure game that keeps on giving with beautiful environments to keep you interested. Some of the puzzles are pretty crazy, but the treasures you'll find will keep you going.

That's not to mention the sheer sense of satisfaction you'll get when you complete one of the puzzles. The Eyes of Ara is a wonderful game that takes what we all loved about Myst and Riven and puts it on your phone. 

Download The Eyes of Ara: Play Store

Monument Valley 2

best android games: monument valley 2

(Image credit: Ustwo Games)

You can't talk puzzle games on mobile without mentioning Monument Valley, though in this case, we'd recommend its sequel. These M.C. Escher-inspired games force you to think outside the box to solve problems, literally changing your perspective to meet your goals. They're truly special.

The beautiful art design and minimalist storytelling keep Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 interesting and engaging as you press forward to solve the next puzzle. Both of them come highly recommended.

Download Monument Valley 2: Play Store

The Room: Old Sins

best android games: the room old sins

(Image credit: Fireproof Games)

The Room series of games are often hailed as the peak of puzzle games on Android. While you have to be the judge of that for yourself, rest assured that these games are excellent puzzle games and well worth the time and money.

The best of these is The Room: Old Sins, where you'll solve intricate puzzles and solve a mysterious missing persons case. It's quite engrossing, with the music and atmosphere coming together to create a creepy vibe. 

Download The Room: Old Sins: Play Store

Thumper: Pocket Edition

best android games: thumper pocket edition

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Most of the previous puzzle games we've looked at thus far have been low-key and relaxing in their own ways. Thumper: Pocket Edition is the other side of the coin. It's a wonderfully chaotic rhythm game — or "rhythm violence" as the developers call it. If you like intense, fast-paced gameplay where you need to rely on your reflexes, then this is the game for you.

Thumper isn't easy, but it's a ton of fun. There's even a new game-plus mode where things are even more intense. Give it a try if you want to embrace the chaos.

Download Thumper: Pocket Edition: Play Store

Transmission

best android games: transmission

(Image credit: Science Museum)

Transmission is a calming puzzle game about creating networks. It can be quite difficult and complex, but it's also a lot of fun and quite the brain workout. Transmission's puzzles have you creating different networks of varying complexity. 

While simplistic, the art style is beautiful, and you'll love the logic puzzles that Transmission throws at you. It's also completely free without ads or in-app purchases, clinching its spot on the list of best Android games.

Download Transmission: Play Store

Vectronom

best android games: vectronom

(Image credit: ARTE Experience)

Vectronom is another music-based puzzle game, though it's not quite the same as the aggressively chaotic Thumper. Instead, Vectronom is more psychadelic, offering a puzzle platformer experience that'll grip you right away.

Each level challenges you in different ways, forcing you to overcome, adapt, and succeed. These levels have their own themes, mechanics, and ways to keep you on your toes. Vectronom is a great time-killer and worthy of your investment.

Download Vectronom: Play Store

Best Android games: Platform games

Platformer games have been around for decades, thanks to their reliance on 2D graphics instead of 3D. Before mobile gaming exploded, platformers had become somewhat niche, but now they're back in full force. Some of the best Android games on the Play Store fit into this category.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

best android games: symphony of the night

(Image credit: Konami)

Konami's incredible classic, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, landed on Android a little while back to much deserved praise. Many people played this game way back in the olden days and it was so influential that it joined Super Metroid in defining an entire genre of game — the metroidvania.

Symphony of the Night's port to Android is really good, with controller support. It's the full version of Castlevania with all the goodies from past variants. Enter Dracula's castle and see what awaits you inside. 

As with Doom and Doom II, there's a lot of nostalgia with this game, but it stands on its own as an excellent port.

Download Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: Play Store

Dead Cells

best android games: dead cells

(Image credit: Playdigious)

Dead Cells made a name for itself as a very difficult roguelike with Souls-like elements. It's a simple game at its core, but each time you die, you're sent back to the beginning to try again. You'll quickly find that things are different each time you set out, making for a challenging time.

Don't let that spoil the game for you, though. Though you'll find challenge galore, you'll also find incredible successes and lots of loot to keep you busy. Approach each situation carefully and you'll be just fine.

Download Dead Cells: Play Store

Grimvalor

best android games: grimvalor

(Image credit: Direlight)

Grimvalor is part-platformer, part-RPG. It's a game about timing, whether you're dodging or attacking. It's quite an interesting game and really fun to play, though some might find the final bosses challenging and/or frustrating. 

Still, it's hard not to like Grimvalor, which ramps up its challenge slowly over the course of the game. There are a couple of sharp difficulty spikes, but given enough tenacity, you'll be able to overcome them. The developers let you try out the first Act for free before you need to purchase the rest of the game.

Download Grimvalor: Play Store

Oddmar

best android games: oddmar

(Image credit: Mobge Ltd)

Oddmar is a cute platformer about an exiled Viking on a quest. It's a gorgeous game with a beautiful art design and excellent gameplay. Oddmar offers unique enemies, obstacles, and small puzzles to surpass, but you'll probably be too distracted with how this game looks.

Another great thing about Oddmar is the controls, which are designed exceedingly well. In fact, you might find that you don't even miss having a controller to play with, because the onscreen controls are just that good. Like Grimvalor, you get the first bit of Oddmar for free with a paid unlock after that if/when you fall in love with it.

Download Oddmar: Play Store

Suzy Cube

best android games: suzy cube

(Image credit: Noodlecake Studios)

Unlike the other platformers on this best Android games list, Suzy Cube is a 3D platformer, akin to something like many of the modern Mario games. Each new level offers its own challenges as you work to reclaim your kingdom's stolen gold. 

You'll need to find power-ups spread throughout the levels as you explore. It's a light-hearted adventure marred only by its lackluster touchscreen controls. 

Download Suzy Cube: Play Store

Best Android games: RPGs

Role-playing games, or RPGs, are often expansive, multi-hour time investments filled with story, characters, decisions, combat, and oftentimes exploration. The RPG genre is vast, and luckily, Android has some of the best ones ever made. 

Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II

best android games: baldur's gate and baldur's gate ii

(Image credit: Beamdog/BioWare)

Baldur's Gate and its sequel are classic computer RPGs from well before the dawn of smartphones. But they were subsequently ported to Android, where they're the among the the best Android games.

Think of Baldur's Gate as Dungeons & Dragons through and through, with enough of BioWare's spin to make the game feel special.

Whichever version you play is a huge endeavor, with an absolute ton of content to get through. Baldur's Gate is a classic high fantasy tale and well worth your time and money. And if you like what you see, there are other classic D&D RPGs ported to Android, too, like Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.

Download Baldur's Gate: Baldur's Gate at Play Store and Baldur's Gate II at Play Store

Genshin Impact

best android games: genshin impact

(Image credit: miHoYo)

Genshin Impact remains one of the most popular games in the world and for very good reason. Despite some shady gacha mechanics and monetization, the game is a beautiful twist on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's formula. You have a huge open world to explore and there's plenty to do.

You'll need to take advantage of elemental combat and the party system of characters to have the best time in Genshin Impact. It's quite an addicting game that supports cross-save with the PC version.

Genshin Impact won "best mobile game" at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

Download Genshin Impact: Play Store

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

best android games: knights of the old republic

(Image credit: Aspyr Media/BioWare)

Star Wars games have a long and storied history, but Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is widely considered the best of all time. Set thousands of years before the movies, KOTOR lets you walk the line between the light side and the dark, allowing you to fall to one side or the other at your own choosing.

This is yet another key title in BioWare's portfolio and it's well-loved. Of course, as Yoda remarked at the end of Empire Strikes back, there is another...

Download Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Play Store

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II

best android games: knights of the old republic ii

(Image credit: Aspyr Media/Obsidian Entertainment)

The sequel to the original KOTOR, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II was developed by Obsidian and took a much more nuanced approach to the Star Wars formula. Characters are more morally grey and your decisions feel like they have more weight than in the first KOTOR.

This port is very well done with a mobile-optimized UI. It retains the look of the original, which just adds to its charm. This is one of the best RPGs ever made, which is no surprise considering that it came from Obsidian.

Download Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: Play Store

Titan Quest

best android games: titan quest

(Image credit: HandyGames/Iron Lore)

The original Titan Quest came out during the lull after Blizzard's beloved Diablo II action RPG. This game took a lot of what people loved about Diablo and gave it an ancient mythology twist. The end result is an awesome game with plenty of loot and Titans to slay.

The Android port recently got updated to match what you'll find on PC these days, which means even more content and many bug fixes. All told, you have a huge game on your hands here.

Download Titan Quest: Play Store

Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road

best android games: night road

(Image credit: Choice of Games LLC)

Going real old school, Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road is a text-based RPG set in the World of Darkness. You play as a vampire courier as you're thrust into things well beyond your pay grade. The story is well-written and your choices have weight on the outcome of the game.

Overall, the writing is great, especially if you like the World of Darkness or vampires in general. There's a lot of player freedom and you can create a character who truly suits you (with two additional clans available as DLC).

Download Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road: Play Store

Best Android games: Strategy games

Strategy games make you think a bit through your decisions. Many are turn-based, allowing you to carefully consider what you'll do and any potential consequences. If that's the kind of approach you want from your gaming, you'll find plenty of strategic options among the best Android games.

Gwent

best android games: gwent

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Gwent is a spin-off from the popular mini-game in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It's a deckbuilder much like Hearthstone, but set in the Witcher universe. You'll see characters you know and love from the books and games, too.

The player with the most points at the end of the round wins. Each card has a point value, but your opponent will be building their strength while attacking yours. It's a careful game of strategy.

Download Gwent: Play Store

Hearthstone

best android games: hearthstone

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Hearthstone needs little introduction as the king of card games on Android. If you love the Warcraft universe, this is the strategy game for you, as Blizzard has crafted an addicting and rewarding experience.

One of the best things about Hearthstone is how accessible it is, while having an incredibly high skill ceiling at the same time. Some people pour hours into this game and it's easy to see why.

Download Hearthstone: Play Store

Legends of Runeterra

best android games: legends of runeterra

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Legends of Runeterra rounds out the trifecta of major deckbuilders on Android, but this one is set in the League of Legends universe. It functions almost the same as Hearthstone, just with its own spin.

All told, Legends of Runeterra is a nice break from Hearthstone, but you won't have to re-learn a whole new game. 

Download Legends of Runeterra: Play Store

Reigns: Her Majesty

best android games: reigns her majesty

(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

In the Reigns series, you manage a kingdom, swiping left or right on cards to make your decisions. The Her Majesty version of Reigns has you playing as the queen of the land as you work to keep all four pillars of the kingdom in check. Sway too far to one side, however, and your reign will be over.

It's a fun game with plenty of easter eggs and jokes to discover. It's also deceptively simple game, requiring real thought on how you'd like to proceed.

Download Reigns: Her Majesty: Play Store

Rome: Total War

best android games: rome total war

(Image credit: Feral Interactive/Creative Assembly)

Rome: Total War is yet another classic game ported to Android. It's a strategy game on a large scale, thrusting you into massive battles as you fight to conquer the ancient world. The turn-based combat extends the already huge campaign.

You can also grab the two expansions, Barbarian Invasion and Alexander if you'd like more content. Overall, Rome: Total War is a lot of game for the money and perfect for strategy fans.

Download Rome: Total War: Play Store

Best Android games: Racing games

Racing games satisfy your need for speed, and the best Android games present you with a wide range of possibilities. In the end, though, the goal is to reach the finish line first by any means necessary.

Asphalt 9: Legends

best android games: asphalt 9

(Image credit: Gameloft)

Asphalt is a long-standing racing series and quite often the go-to on mobile. The series pushes the boundaries, both in good ways and bad, and the ninth iteration, Legends, is no different.

You'll get the chance to drive some beautifully-rendered supercars as you race to become a street legend. Overall, Asphalt 9 is a great racing game held back only by its monetization tactics.

Download Asphalt 9: Legends: Play Store

Data Wing

best android games: data wing

(Image credit: Dan Vogt)

Data Wing carries obvious inspirations from the movie Tron. It's an awesome game about ferrying data from one spot to the next. The story is serviceable, the soundtrack is good, and the controls are on point.

This is a great game for retrowave fans out there. Data Wing is completely free and although you might finish it quickly, you'll probably want to come back to do it again.

Download Data Wing: Play Store

GRID Autosport

best android games: grid autosport

(Image credit: Feral Interactive/Codemasters)

GRID Autosport is the premiere racing game on Android. As a console port, it features incredible gameplay and graphics, with some of the best racing action on the Play Store. You need a powerful Android phone to run it, however.

Pay once and you get all of the original content, right on your phone. This best Android game is a must-have for racing game fans.

Download GRID Autosport: Play Store

Mario Kart Tour

best android games: mario kart tour

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mario Kart Tour is a toned down version of the fan-favorite Mario Kart franchise (even more so than Mario Kart 8 Deluxe). The classic DNA is still here, just made for mobile. 

While it might leave you wanting for a truer Mario Kart experience, Tour is a fun little racing game for people who don't necessarily want the high octane action you'll find in the other options on our best Android games list.

Download Mario Kart Tour: Play Store

Riptide GP: Renegade

best android games: riptide gp renegade

(Image credit: Vector Unit)

Riptide is another longstanding series, but this one involves speed boats (or hydrojets, to be more accurate). Renegade is that same action that a lot of people grew up with, just on your phone. The story isn't too bad, with the game feeling like the equivalent to illegal street racing, only on the water.

Riptide GP: Renegade is a lot of game for the asking price with plenty to do. It also has multiplayer support, both online and local split-screen.

Download Riptide GP: Renegade: Play Store

Best Android games: Sports games

The sports action moves to the small screen, with the best Android games including everything from soccer to baseball to football. If there's a ball, racket or club involved, there's probably an equivalent version of the sport on Android.

eFootball PES 2021

best android games: efootball pes 2021

(Image credit: Konami)

Konami's eFootball PES is a soccer game with tight controls, solid gameplay, and rewarding outcomes. It's a push by Konami to break into e-sports, since it features a great competitive online mode.

The complexity of the game tailors itself to suit your own play style. If you're a soccer fan, this might be the one for you.

Download eFootball PES 2021: Play Store

Madden Mobile

best android games: madden mobile

(Image credit: EA)

Surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of football games for Android, so you're basically confined to Madden. That's not as bad as it sounds — Madden is a good game, but you will have to contend with every monetization tactic out there to play. If you can tolerate that, this is your football fix.

Madden features competitive play, seasons, and strategies to change up how you play. This is the only way to play as your favorite team on Android.

Download Madden Mobile: Play Store

MLB 9 Innings 21

best android games: mlb 9 innings 21

(Image credit: Com2uS)

For all you baseball fans, this is how you step up to the plate on Android. 9 Innings saw a big refresh in recent years, complete with all the MLB action you could want. There are also mobile optimizations, too, like a one-handed mode. 

Depending on your preference, you can opt to only play offense or defense, whichever suits you. Otherwise, autoplay can take over. The game also features online competitive play.

Download MLB 9 Innings 21: Play Store

NBA 2K20

best android games: nba 2k20

(Image credit: 2K)

NBA 2K20 is a premium sports game on Android, something that's definitely rare. It looks nice and plays great, too, and you might argue that it's the best sports game overall on the Play Store. You don't even have to like basketball to appreciate NBA 2K20.

There are multiple modes to play through, including a GM mode to build a perfect team. For the price, you get a lot of content and there's definitely something to be said for that.

Download NBA 2K20: Play Store

Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. It's hard to nail down one thing that Jordan is passionate about, since his attention span for a single given topic or activity doesn't last long. Jordan tends to lurk on social media, but you can best reach him on Twitter: @jccpalmer — his Instagram feed is mostly photos of his cat.