So… yeah, as the title suggests, I have a little list to share with all of you. But before we jump into it, some reasoning – I consider a game proper when it is actually good in terms of graphical design and gameplay and also is not an IAP-ridden cashgrab. I also highly value good controls and try to stay away from ported games, though I included those, where port actually improves on original. Now that we have established this – let’s jump straight into it.
- Space Marshals. My revelation of the year. It is a twin stick shooter that is actually designed for touchscreens and thus provides you with an ability to actually FEEL the weapon. It’s quite hard to describe, but it is the only Android game where I have not only seen the difference between SMG and sniper rifle, but actually had to get used to different ways of firing them. And there is A LOT of different weapons and armors for you to use. The stealth system is quite rudimentary, but it is more than enough to spice up your gameplay with sneaking around your enemies, looking for a better position to start a gunfight of the century.
- Beach Buggy Racing, Amazon Underground Edition. If you like Mario Kart – this is the best Android can offer, unless you count that Sonic game that works on two and a half devices. Unfortunately, original version was plagued with IAPs, but for Amazon Underground developer has rebalanced the game from scratch, making it properly premium. This is an awesome karting game and I highly recommend it to anyone.
- Dark Incursion. You like Castlevania? This is Castlevania with its own twist. You have a gun, a blade, some magic, a shit-ton of actually dangerous fake-Nazis and a good pixel-art. The game also has a really awesome system of enhancements that you can find and use to adjust character’s abilities to your playstyle… except enhancements run out with time and if you are unable to find the ones you need – you are forced to play with the ones you have. It’s an awesome way to challenge the player without restricting him, if you ask me.
- Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour. This game is the best FPS on Android that also offers a quite good offline single player campaign. With fourth installment, Gameloft actually managed to force that feeling of playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare into the player’s mind. Unfortunately, fifth game turned to online-only with completely worthless singleplayer. I am linking you to Amazon version, since only Amazon and Samsung Apps versions of the game allow you to play offline. WARNING: The game has some IAPs, but they are unnecessary to complete the campaign. Don’t know about multiplayer, though.
- Shadowgun. This was made by Madfinger before they started making playable benchmarks. This is actually a more than decent third-person shooter that comes close to PS Vita games in terms of graphical and gameplay quality. Even writing is good, and though it is nothing to write home about, the very fact that an Android TPS made me feel invested in its characters is amazing. The game offers additional graphical effects for NVIDIA chipsets, but I found them a bit of overkill, especially on smaller screens.
- Samurai II: Vengeance. Once again, a masterpiece from Madfinger’s past. This game is a somewhat simplistic slasher with an overhead camera and really tight controls. You have eight combos (six of them you must unlock) with three levels per each one (you also must unlock all levels after the first one), which adds a feeling of progression. Where the game really strikes is at its visual design – it’s stylized to look like a traditional Japanese art and it excels at it, especially with recent update that brought it support for FullHD screens.
- Shadow Blade. This is the best platformer I have seen on Android in terms of controls. While the game offers a good enough preset with classic button controls, I found that the alternative version is actually using your touchscreen much better, even if a bit harder to get into the first time. The game’s visual and level designs are on point too and its ridiculous difficulty makes it a perfect time-killer.
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. The latest Android installment in Rockstar’s main franchise is actually designed to be portable, which sets it apart from previous home console ports. The game makes perfect use of a touchscreen and has much tighter controls, compared to its big brothers, which makes it much better on smaller screens. Graphics are much better too – cell-shaded approach allows for a perfect transfer between gameplay and cutscenes, which are made in comic-book style and tell a surprisingly fresh and smartly written plot. The only disadvantages are inferior choice of music compared to Vice City and lack of San Andreas‘s character customization system and simply massive scale. But that’s why we have those games on the Play Market too, after all.
- Leo’s Fortune. If Shadow Blade was more of an adult entertainment, Leo’s Fortune is a much more kid’s friendly platformer. There are no hellish levels that must be completed on top speed and no blood or gore. What is there is an incredibly interesting protagonist, very tight controls, beautiful art and interesting mechanics, which make this game quite fresh despite being still very intuitive. I’d say, this game is on Nintendo level of quality.
- Iesabel. The best take on Diablo-like ARPGs on Android. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated in awhile, so I have no idea how it would run on Lollipop or M – I am still a KitKat peasant, you see. But the game is highly entertaining, even though controls could be much better, especially in trading screen. TIP: Disable “Interactive Grass” if you are experiencing performance problems – it will get you a 10-15 FPS boost. I have no idea for what devices this setting is, especially since it has been there even at release, which was in 2013.
- Monument Valley. An amazing, soothing puzzle game with absolutely mindblowing artstyle. It has been very much adored on this sub and for a reason, so I shall not dwell on it. I am linking to Amazon Underground (which means “free with rare Amazon-approved ads”) version of the game, but if you want to properly support the devs – get it on Google Play or on actual Amazon.
- Wayward Souls. It’s not a Dark Souls 2D as one might suggest, but it is not even trying to be one. Instead, it is actually a rogue-lite with incredibly tight controls, powerful story with actualy interesting characters. The Dark Souls-like difficulty is definitely there, though.
- Majesty: Nothern Expansion. It is the best RTS on Android I’ve seen, mostly because it is actually an indirect RTS. Which means, that instead of contolling heroes to kill monsters, you will have to use a stick&carrot system in order to convince them to do this (just remember, that you can use carrots to smack people too!). There are 10 types of heroes, 30 types of different buildings, beautiful 2D graphics and simply lots of fun. The game offers a lot of missions and a Skirmish mode, but if you are interested in the latter – buy the original Majesty, since it has better AI, even though it is not as diverse.
- Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition and Knights of Pen and Paper 2. An awesome RPG game, mixing Final Fantasy-like combat with loads of fun, sarcasm and pop-culture references. The game design is quite smart and the plot is extremely good. First game is free on Amazon Underground and I actually like it more of the two, but the second one is a quite decent follow-up none-the-less and I like its plot much better, even though new gameplay elements are questionable.
- Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet. The best simulator of accidentaly blowing up your friends, now on Android too! It is not the same Magicka as on PC, but that is OK, especially since it still has every bit of crazy fun original had, while also transfering it into a new mechanics, more suited for touchscreen. Multiplayer truly shines with this game, but controls could use a bit more work.
- Minecraft: Pocket Edition with PureBDCraft PE. The latter is an amazing texture pack that has a quite complicated installation procedure, but also offers a massive upgrade over original Minecraft visuals. And yes, I know I said “no ports”, but since I spent dozens of hours playing it, I couldn’t not include this game.
Aaaand… That’s all folks. I have definitely left some good games out, but this post exceeds 10k symbols and I am pretty tired already cause it is already 1am in my country. I highly advise you checking out Amazon Underground and giving a try to some previously freemium games out there (I actually started to enjoy Angry Birds Space, Where is My Water and Fruit Ninja again), but other than that – I am done. Thank you for reading!