The mobile games you need to install on your Android phone right now

There are plenty of games on Android. Many are free, and there is often a reason for this. Some are chargeable, and there is also a reason for that. The problem is deciding which free and paid titles are worth your time or money.

For a relatively low investment (sometimes zero), you can take hours of fun on your Android smartphone or tablet. It’s not as easy as Apple’s organized store, but that’s what Stuff is for. We’ve got you covered when it comes to Android gaming quality.

No matter which of these titles you choose – whether free, paid, or in-app payment – you can be sure of one thing. They will be well worth the cash investment or the entertainment you get from a little more than the price of the download.

Retro goal (free + IAP)

If you are looking to play FIFA, then go play a bit FIFA. Get an Xbox. But if you are looking for retro-style football, whether it’s on your phone or tablet, then Retro Goal is the place you should look.

It dates back to the days of the SNES, in terms of design, but its developers have cleverly modernized the touch controls so that swipes and taps get you to victory in no time. There are even sections that slow down, at crucial times, to give you epic shots.

Yes, there are built-in payments, but you really don’t have to spend a dime. What you earn in the game will allow you to level your team enough that real money never comes in.

Download Retro Goal

ONLY … (R36)

How fast are your reflexes? As fast as you think they are ALONE... will make you reconsider your ability in this line. Kinda like classic Macross NES, kinda like Flappy Bird, and a lot like an endless runner, this one is going to get your nails biting.

Sail aboard a high speed ship through a cave system, avoiding the changing environment, falling rockets, projectiles and whatever the game throws at you that could possibly happen somewhere. The game is as easy as sliding your finger up and down.

It is more or less that. You’ll die, sometimes quickly, sometimes after a few minutes of adrenaline, and then you’ll go back and do it again. That’s all you’ll do, but it’s also all you’ll need.

Download ONLY…

Giant dancing cuddly toys (R60)

We don’t know exactly what to expect from a game like Giant Dancing Plushies. Almost everything is in the name. The developers aren’t doing anything smarter than being descriptive here.

So basically you control a gigantic dancing stuffed animal as you walk through a town and run over anything you come across. But this is a rhythm game, because making it a live action title just wouldn’t work for some reason. Matching the beat is how you get along here.

There are various items to unlock, as you earn XP for your widespread destruction. Unlock new plush toys so you can start over. There are also new locations to destroy, as well as combos to unlock. It is absolutely crazy, but it is gloriously so.

Download Giant Dancing Plushies

The Death Road to Canada (R175)

Well, it’s a bit like taking Left for dead, Days Gone and put it through an AI that’s been fed a steady diet of classic Zelda games, but it’s quite a journey. A road trip, what. The Death Road in Canada sends players on a zombie-filled journey from Florida to Canada to escape the hordes of the living dead.

Along the way, you’ll drive, stop, shoot, and loot to make your way through all kinds of scenarios. The game is randomly generated, so you can expect a little weirdness, and getting to your destination will be an exercise in both skill and luck. Mostly luck, we think.

But it’s tense gameplay, incorporating stealth, action, shooting, and more than a bit of RNG, combined with the kind of pixel-art weirdness that’s endlessly charming. Just like those Canadians you once met at this thing.

Download Dead Road to Canada

Galaxy On Fire 2 HD (free)

there is a little Independent and a small No Man’s Sky in this wonderful space shooter released by a “real” video game company – Deep Silver. But no, Johnny Gat is not in this one.

What’s in this one is a 20 hour campaign, ads, and in-app purchases, but you still have one hell of a lot of experience ahead of you despite it all. Fly, fight and trade your way across the galaxy, fight aliens and pirates and upgrade your ship (s) and space station.

If you choose to buy it, that is. It is perfectly possible to spend money on it but it is also completely optional. We’re sure the developers would prefer you to do that, however.

Download Galaxy On Fire 2 HD

Jydge (R160)

This top-down shooter has something to replace the letter “u” with the letter “y”, possibly for Dredd-ful reasons. It takes place in the city of Edenbyrg, where players control the Jydge. This is a customizable law enforcement officer who tends to everything The Demolitionist at the slightest provocation.

You’ll customize your own warrior and then send him after the bad guys. And the good guys, if they happen to do stupid things like “not get out of the way in time.” The walls are more or less optional and the justice is served fresh and steaming. Like coffee. Or droppings. It depends on your perspective, really.

There is no real artistry in this one, just wanton destruction in the name of “peace”. So that’s basically all the cop movies made between 1982 and 1996, really.

Download Jydge

The room: Old sins (R70)

For something a little slower and more cerebral, much like the first Resident Evil without the zombies, check out The Room: Old Sins. You investigate the disappearance of an engineer and his off, which ultimately leads you to an attic and a dollhouse.

Using the logic of the video game, you find yourself inside the dollhouse and you have to navigate the mysteries inside. There are plenty of puzzles to discover and solve as you navigate from room to room.

These aren’t just shades of Sherlock, though. There’s a big chunk of horror to getting your heart racing, even if the pace isn’t quite enough to kick-start the adrenal glands.

Download The Room: Old Sins

GRAY (R76)

You might have encountered this one on one of the Big Boy consoles and it’s out now on Android. This is a platform puzzle that appears to be part Journey and part Child of Light. The concept is simple: unlock the doors, keep moving.

But it is in its presentation that the game shines. You play as Gray, who lost her voice and was cast into a colorless, crumbling world. It’s up to you to find your way.

The painted style is a joy to behold and there are all kinds of encounters that elevate this one beyond a simple platform game. Top notch animation brings the story to life, but you might need a second go around just to appreciate how GRAY is. We don’t like to throw out the word ‘masterpiece’ but that… definitely justifies it.

Download GRAY

Civilization VI (free + IAP)

Do you ever feel like you have too much free time? Well download Civilization VI and never worry about it again. The old PC-only strategy title has had a good few years on mobile, and it’s just the latest way to never fall asleep again.

As usual, it’s all about evolving your empire through as many tech stages as possible, meeting various defeat conditions. It’s not just about crafting the biggest, nastiest weapons before your opponents, but it’s definitely an option. But there is a catch.

You see, you will only get 60 free spins. That’s enough to convince you if you’re willing to open up your wallet for more, and then there are some expansions to consider as well. Maybe keep an eye out for a sale, as this can lower the price of Civ considerably.

Download Civilization VI

GRID Autosport (R50)

When smartphone makers tout their high-end 120Hz displays, it’s because they have games like GRID Autosport in mind. Formerly a PC and console exclusive, it’s now playable on Android and damn if not as good-looking as its bigger counterparts.

There are over 100 cars and tracks to choose from, the ability to customize your driving, and plenty of driving simulations to master. And it’s not exactly an arcade racing game. It takes finesse to cross the finish line on the podium.

But if you’re actually looking for a runner that’s more flash than substantial, then just head over to our next game.

Download Grid Autosport

Asphalt 9: Legends (free + IAP)

Yes GRID is the mobile version of Forza Motorsport, then Asphalt 9 is Forza Horizon – just as beautiful but a little less technically complicated. By this we mean that every runner is a high speed stunt runner where anything goes and physics is a bit optional.

There is not much to control here. Follow the onscreen instructions to drift, jump and detonate nitrogen through the engine block while dodging as much as needed to cross the finish line. It is a kind of desire for expeditious speed. If you catch our drift.

Does that make a lot of sense? No. Is it compulsory? Also no. Just download it, unless it’s preinstalled on your phone. It also happens a lot.

Download Asphalt 9

Touchgrind BMX 2 (free + IAP)

They really should make a skate version of this game (wait, they did). All you have to do is take the Invisible Man BMXing in Touchgrind BMW 2.

It’s a bit strange – you play this game with two fingers, as if each number controls the handlebars and the seat respectively. Cycle through tracks and parks, flip and turn with a push or your fingertips and (hopefully) glue your landing.

However, it will take a little time to get used to the control method, so persevere until you get the hang of it. It’s kind of like Dark Souls in that sense – it takes a while before the systems all make sense. Even then the disaster is still moments away. That’s what makes this one so fun. That, and the tailwhips backflips.

Download Touchgrind BMX 2

Robert P. Miller