The Best Sci-Fi and Space Games on Mobile
While science-fiction-steeped games tend to fare best on consoles and PC, quite a few sci-fi games reach the mobile market as well. However, given the shovelware that clutters Apple's and Google's app stores, it might be hard to figure out what sci-fi games are worth your time.
Luckily, we've got a list for that. Showcasing 15 of the best sci-fi- and space-themed games across iOS and Android, this list offers a smorgasbord of genres, from arcade twin-stick shooters to classic RPGs and everything in between. If you want to fly spaceships or mow down aliens, get ready to find your next mobile-gaming addiction.
Dead Effect 2 (iOS, Android)
For anyone wanting a mobile clone of Dead Space, Dead Effect 2 has you covered. While it riffs heavily off Dead Space in its isolating, claustrophobic station setting that's infested with zombie-like monsters, DE2's heavy-handed borrowing from that franchise's mold works in DE2's favor. It's the only mobile game to deliver an action-horror experience quite this well. This title offers a lengthy campaign and quite a few RPG elements, so if you want lots of playability and replayability from a thinly veiled mobile ode to Dead Space, Dead Effect 2 makes a compelling case for a place on your phone. Credit: Badfly
Sid Meier's Starships (iOS)
Though it lacks the infinite replayability of its PC-exclusive big brothers, this Civilization spin-off covers many of the same core beats. It's more than serviceable for Civilization fans hoping to have some strategic fun while on the go. Using the basic Civilization mold of hexagonal, randomly generated mapping; turn-based, bureaucratic gameplay; and constant, tense negotiations with irrational AI, Starships includes most features that Civ fans have come to expect from the series. The only difference is that here, everything's space-themed and thoroughly condensed for mobile. While that leaves some of the series' best aspects on the chopping block, what's on display in Starships is more than enough for a good few hours of fun.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (iOS, Android)
If you've ever wanted an incredibly deep Star Wars Expanded Universe RPG experience on your phone, Knights of the Old Republic is for you. It delivers hands-off, old-school RPG difficulty and freedom, all wrapped up in a Star Wars package. You can be a squeaky clean Jedi or ruthless Sith, develop your own lightsaber, customize your abilities, and travel across vast stretches of the Star Wars galaxy. Though the game looks pretty ugly by today's gaming standards, if you can get past its dated surface, the content within is the stuff of gaming legends.Credit: Aspyr Media
PinOut (iOS, Android)
It's arcade-style pinball, with a whole lot more pizzazz and flair than you're used to. Riffing off the sci-fi aesthetic of Tron, PinOut features glowing, neon-drenched pinball tables that stretch on (seemingly) forever, and you can bounce balls around in these tables until the game's timer clocks you out. It's stylin', simple, old-school fun with a new-school look, and it's a great way to pass the time.Credit: Mediocre
N.O.V.A. Legacy (iOS, Android)
N.O.V.A. Legacy is a noble attempt at capturing the console FPS experience in a mobile environment. Featuring a Halo-esque space setting and plenty of colorful, armor-clad marines, Legacy is pretty honest about what it's putting on the table: some mindless, flashy, single-player FPS action to sate sci-fi fans during their commutes to work. However, the game also features a fully realized online multiplayer deathmatch mode, which is a great addition for more-dedicated gaming sessions.
Galaga Wars (iOS, Android)
It's Galaga with a fresh coat of 21st century paint, aka 2D, bullet-hell spaceship shooter action, featuring as many explosions and pew pews as you can handle. Colors are rich and vibrant, the space theme is well-adapted to modern-day graphical capabilities, and the game is an overall treat for the eyes. Couple that with this title's classic, endless shooting fun and new two-ship "twin" mode, and Galaga Wars is a great pick if you need a new go-to time-killer sci-fi game. Credit: Bandai Namco
Galaxy on Fire 2 HD (iOS, Android)
Galaxy on Fire 2 HD has everything, barring a cool name. There's resource management, spaceship customization, sandbox and story-driven gameplay, high-octane spaceship dogfights, voice acting, a sweeping orchestral soundtrack, and more! If you want a fully fledged space-combat experience in the palm of your hands, GoF2HD will do the trick just fine. Be wary, though: The touch-screen controls take some serious getting used to and can be somewhat dodgy even for dedicated fans.Credit: Deep Silver
Tales from the Borderlands (iOS, Android)
For fans of Mad Max and old-school westerns, Tales from the Borderlands is the alt-sci-fi mobile game to get. It's a story-driven trek through sandy wastelands and the desolate emptiness of space, all in search of highly sought-after vault keys. Based in the Borderlands universe, this game will give fans of the series their dose of Pandora-flavored action in a narrative adventure, while everyone else will simply enjoy a darn-good story with some great characters and a killer soundtrack. It's a top-quality game, especially for the mobile scene.Credit: Telltale
XCOM: Enemy Within (iOS, Android)
If you're a sci-fi junkie who likes your aliens deadly and diametrically opposed to your species' survival, this is the game for you. Featuring an international team of elite soldiers; a wide variety of lethal aliens; and tons of cool guns, gadgets and powers, XCOM is a turn-based, sci-fi strategy game that's built to appease power-fantasy lovers and hard-core gamers at the same time. It's a content-rich game filled with challenge, spectacle and enough addicting fun to keep you playing way past your point of "just one more turn."Credit: 2K
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series (iOS, Android)
Gaming doesn't get more sci-fi and space-centric than Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy adventure. Though it's focused heavily on narrative, this game does feature some fun, interactive fighting segments and has plenty of choice-driven dialogue to keep players engaged. Star-Lord and co. are written to perfection, and the story itself is captivating for Marvel fans and casual gamers alike. As with any Telltale title, it's of a calibur that's rarely found on mobile devices, so savor it as a rare gem of quality portable gaming.Credit: Telltale
Xenowerk (iOS, Android)
For twin-stick-shooter fans, Xenowerk is definitely worth checking out. Featuring 70 levels filled to the brim with slimy mutants, spooky laboratory hallways and atmospheric dread, this sci-fi game is an interesting exercise in design. It emphasizes lighting dynamics, arming you with a flashlight and some zany firearms with which to fend off hordes of shadowed, jump-scare-ready monsters. It's a bold take on the twin-stick shooter genre, and Xenowerk is doubly ambitious for tackling such an endeavor as a mobile game. Check it out!Credit: Pixelbite
Lego Marvel Super Heroes (iOS, Android)
As with most Lego games, Marvel Super Heroes is a mobile adventure with something for everybody. It's kid-friendly, casual-friendly and a relaxing cruise-control game for hard-core players. Plus, with its Marvel Universe backdrop, it's got plenty of sci-fi thrills for gamers to enjoy, such as flying around as Iron Man or exploring the cosmos via Asgard. If anyone wants a quality Marvel mobile adventure with a lot of content and fun for all ages, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is an easy title to recommend.Credit: Warner Bros.
Marvel Contest of Champions (iOS, Android)
Contest of Champions is a fighting game that pits virtually all of Marvel's comic book heroes and villains against one another. From Lady Thor to Red Hulk, almost every iteration of every major Marvel character is present, each armed with his or her own unique supermoves. It's a simplistic game that you can conquer fairly easily via some mindless screen tapping, but given its all-but-endless amount of content, it's a great time sink for Marvel fans and sci-fi geeks with too much time on their hands. It's also the only place you can have Iron Man and Ultron beat the oil out of each other in space (at least on mobile — on consoles and PC, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite offers similar, flashier thrills).Credit: Kabam
Riptide GP: Renegade (iOS, Android)
Riptide GP: Renegade claims to be the future of "illicit hydrojet racing," and it more than lives up to its strange promise. It's got a career mode that explores the "illicit" angle of the title's marketing, and the game's online multiplayer component really excels at spotlighting the fun of Riptide's core hydrojet racing. This feels like a mobile sci-fi racer ripped right out of an actual arcade-racing setup, the kind you and your friend would pay five dollars' worth of quarters to ride in. In short, it's awesome. Credit: Vector Unit
Planet Commander (iOS)
If you've ever wanted to be in charge of the flight controls of an Imperial Star Destroyer, then Planet Commander is the game for you. This game lets you build and customize your own armada of ships in order to fight others and claim dominance over the starways; the gameplay includes the ability to challenge real human players online. Planet Commander's core gameplay definitely isn't for everyone, but for those who love the slow, majestic nature of the cruiser battles in Star Wars, this is a neat app to have for mobile intergalactic warfare.
Credit: Azur Interactive Games Ltd.