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The best Android games

Best Android Action Games

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Alto's Odyssey

How do you follow up a hit like Alto's Adventure? With something that captures the charm of the original while adding new elements. That's what you'll find in Alto's Odyssey as Alto and pals move from snowy landscapes to dunes and desert vistas. While you still can pull off tricks to avoid hazards as you collect coins just like in the original, new environmental elements — a tornado here, a balloon there — and other iterative improvements add to the challenge without sacrificing the simplicity that made the first game such a hit. Alto’s Odyssey goes free to play on Android with video ads; an in-app purchase remove those ads.

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(Image credit: Loju)


Great games don't need to be complicated. Ordia, an upward-climbing action game, requires little more than a downward flick of your finger. You finger causes a new life-form to climb out of the primordial ooze, leaping from point to point while avoiding enemies and obstacles. Thirty different levels offer colorful graphics across three worlds. Different game modes like time trials and a ramped-up difficulty setting keep things fresh. Orida is a welcome callback to some of the simple-yet-challenging apps that first made us fall in love with mobile gaming a decade ago.

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Holedown refines the arcade brick-bashing genre popularized by Ballz by having you dig your way down a planetoid in search of gems hidden deep in the core. Players knock out bricks by shooting balls at them, but added complexity comes in the form of curved corners that lead to funky bounces and supports that can destroy entire sections of brick when you knock them out. Spend the gems you collect on upgrades like increased shots or expanded cargo space for gems; you can also gain access to deeper and richer planets to mine, eventually unlocking an endless mode.

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Trading graphical grit and tactical realism for a zanier cartoon aesthetic, Fortnite Battle Royale has taken the multiplayer gaming world by storm, with 100 players battling it out to be the last man standing in a steadily shrinking map littered with weapons, ammo, and powerups. What makes Fortnite unique is the ability to build and destroy terrain, allowing you to scratch build ramps, barriers, and safe zones. As a result you're both building and destroying at the same time, scrounging for building materials while throwing up impromptu bunkers and trading fire with other players. Be aware that installing Fortnite on your Android device is a bit more of an involved process than for other games. Since Epic Games hasn’t put Fortnite into Google Play, you need to sideload the app onto your device.

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Brawl Stars

Supercell takes on the twin-stick shooter with Brawl Stars, a top-down competitive hero shooter featuring fierce multiplayer brawls with other players. A number of game modes let you play everything from simple deathmatch-style modes to team-based treasure hunts as you work to secure gems that spawn in the middle of the map. Along the way, you can unlock a variety of brawler heroes, each with their own weapons and super moves.

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PUBG Mobile

Tencent has delivered a very solid port of Player Unknown Battlegrounds to Android devices by shrinking down the action of this battle royal game to a smartphone-sized screen. At the same time, PUBG Mobile hasn't compromised on graphics. The action scrolls smoothly as you race around a battlefield, looking for 99 other opponents to get the drop on. Customizable, mobile-oriented controls and gameplay tweaks such as auto-pickups of ammo and gear make nods toward smartphone playability. PUBG has also added different gameplay modes and multiple maps — the latest is a snowy terrain — that keeps players coming back for more.

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It’s time to wield your trusty Lichtspeer as you take up arms against penguin vikings, hipster ice giants, and other neon Nordic monstrosities in Lichtspeer, a mobile port of the indie action hit. You’ll explore a world that’s both futuristic and ancient, highlighted by gonzo magitech weirdness, as you beat back wave after wave of monsters with the Lichtspeer and an arsenal of other superpowers.

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(Image credit: Drool)

Thumper Pocket Edition

“Rhythm Violence” is an apt description for Thumper: Pocket Edition, a pulse-pounding action game that sends you careening down a track, picking up gems, dodging enemy attacks, and triggering your special abilities as you battle the environment and powerful level bosses. It’s a full-on assault on your senses, with pulsing lights, thumping music, and the ever-present threat of destruction. Definitely not the game to play to relax, Thumper is a great choice for gamers looking for an adrenaline fix.

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Immortal Rogue

Your choices shaping the course of history in the hack and slash rogue-like Immortal Rogue, where you take on the role of a vampire on the hunt. Every century, your vampire awakes and wanders the world, making choices about who and what to hunt. Your decisions unlock new allies and enemies to battle, as well as a bewildering arsenal of weapons and vampiric abilities. At the end of each level, your vampire goes back to sleep, and time advances with your kills and choices altering both history and the enemies, weapons and unlocks available on the next level.

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Death Road to Canada

Take a road trip to the last zombie-free nation on earth in Death Road to Canada, a rogue-like action RPG by way of Oregon Trail. You’ll lead your motley crew of survivors through the zombie apocalypse, carefully husbanding gear, weapons, food, and other supplies while slipping past the worst of the hordes through a combination of stealth and high-powered firearms. You’ll meet an assorted cast of characters, each with their own random traits that can affect the events and choices down the road. The game’s procedurally generated systems will make sure that each playthrough is unique, allowing for tons of replayability.

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Shadowgun Legends

Mobile shooter franchise Shadowgun is back with a spin on a persistent world, loot-shooter game. Shadowgun Legends cribs from the same gaming DNA as MMO shooters like Destiny and The Division, with an extensive campaign and co-op boss raids. To mix things up, you’ll also find social hub areas and PVP combat along with a vast array of weapons and gear. Mobile shooter fans should definitely give Shadowgun Legends a shot.

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Space Pioneer

Clear the way for human colonists in Space Pioneer, a top-down shooter that sees you exploring new worlds and blasting your way through ravenous hordes and alien bosses in short, bite-size missions. Once you’re done blasting through the hordes, you can upgrade your base, gear, and other special abilitie, with a satisfying loot cycle that can multiply your rewards by watching video ads or through optional in-app purchases.

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Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run was Nintendo's first real foray into smartphone gaming. It’s a one-button runner game that has you guiding Mario past familiar obstacles and enemies while collecting coins. The main World Tour plays the most like a traditional Mario game, with players navigating hazards and collecting coins to reach the end of the level in a limited amount of time, while an asynchronous Toad Rally mode has you competing against your friends' scores and collecting coins and Toads. In Kingdom Builder mode, you spend the coins you’ve gathered to customize your own Mushroom Kingdom and unlock more characters like Luigi and Princess Peach. The free download allows you to play the first three levels, while a one-time $9.99 purchase unlocks all 24 levels.

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Injustice 2

Mobile fighting game fans can once again dive into DC Comic's grimdark timeline with the mobile version of Injustice 2. The story continues from the first game, with Batman and his allies attempting to rebuild after Superman's regime, while a new threat arrives to strike at Earth's divided heroes. The latest Injustice mobile game has you engaging in 3v3 team battles, with a new Gear system to provide in game buffs and cosmetic customizations.

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Marvel: Contest of Champions

Marvel: Contest of Champions unleashes your inner comic geek as you collect and battle your favorite Marvel Comics superheroes and villains in a simplified touch-screen brawler. Swipe and tap controls make for a responsive one-on-one fighting game battler, with players needing to keep a good rhythm and a combination of basic attacks and super moves to win. Players can engage in a lengthy campaign mode or engage in multiplayer battles against other players, with your play time limited by a stamina system. Users can unlock heroes by completing in-game quests, winning matches or via in-app purchases.

Why We Love Action Games

Gone are the days when smartphones and tablets played second fiddle to more muscular consoles and PCs. Responsive, high-resolution touch screens and powerful phones let Android devices deliver full-featured action experiences complete with stunning graphics and gameplay to mobile gamers. From action brawlers to mobile shooters and retro roguelikes, check out our favorite Android action games.