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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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