12 Must-Play Android Games

Top picks for gaming on your Android device.

Android gamer
The Android gamer

Mobile, as we keep on hearing, is the hottest growth sector in the world of gaming, and Android is the growth platform among mobile ecosystems. So let’s take a look at the cream of the Play Store’s crop.

RELATED: The 20 best iPad/iPhone games so far

Fractal Combat
Credit: YouTube/Google Play
Fractal Combat

This high-speed futuristic air combat game takes a little getting used to, but it’s a lot of kinetic, twitchy fun once you do. Our strategy is just to jink around like a crazy person while shooting constantly.

Bad Piggies
Credit: Google Play
Bad Piggies

This offshoot of the omnipresent Angry Birds series is, for our money, even more fun and addictive than the original, with a slightly more thoughtful puzzle-solving aspect. If a person is tired of watching pig-piloted, ramshackle motorcycle-like contraptions go rocketing into walls, he or she is tired of life.

Glow Hockey 2
Credit: Google Play
Glow Hockey 2

This kind of thing isn’t very good on a phone or small tablet, but on a larger screen, the attractive visuals and goofy bounce physics (you WILL score own-goals) are a simple joy.

X-Plane
Credit: Google Play
X-Plane

While Android probably isn’t the platform of choice for serious flight simmers, X-Plane provides a surprisingly nuanced flight model and responsive controls. Wondering where you’ve heard the name before? It might be because creator Austin Meyer is being sued by noted patent troll Uniloc.

Minecraft Pocket Edition
Credit: Google Play
Minecraft Pocket Edition

Well, it’s Minecraft. Do you really need any further explanation? Revel in the iron grip of your addiction, whether on your phone, tablet or home PC.

The Bard’s Tale
Credit: Google Play
The Bard’s Tale

We’ve only got word of mouth to go on with this one, but from the sound of it, the Bard’s Tale is more or less the only game in town for a semi-serious RPG experience on Android. Beware of the stiff hardware requirements.

Shadowgun
Credit: Google Play
Shadowgun

This imaginatively titled multiplayer shooter is also a bit of a resource hog, but it’s one of the best-regarded games of its type on Android. (Still, give us Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament any day.)

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour
Credit: Google Play
Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour

Another entrant into the Android shooter market, this game’s title, plotline and visual aesthetic are clearly not meant to evoke any ultra-popular series of console/PC shooters we’ve ever heard of. Nope. Uh-uh.

Google Play
DOOM GLES

And hey, speaking of old-school shooters, here’s a port of DOOM for your Android device. They’ve even gone ahead and improved the original textures and lighting.

Football Manager Handheld 2013 (note: They mean soccer.)
Credit: Google Play
Football Manager Handheld 2013 (note: They mean soccer.)

If you’ve played the original, you’ll understand why - even at $10 – FM Handheld 2013 is a good deal. The most insanely detailed, addictive sports management sim out there can now ensnare you on your tablet, as well as your home computer.

Sol Runner
Credit: Google Play
Sol Runner

While we’ve seen more imaginative settings, this is a well-produced top-down shooting game with solid controls and addictive gameplay. It lacks a certain degree of polish, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

Real Racing 3
Credit: Google Play
Real Racing 3

Possibly the prettiest graphics we’ve seen in a mobile game. If you’ve got 1.2GB of space free, Real Racing 3 can provide quite a thrill ride. 

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.