Best free Android games of 2017
Here’s our roundup of the very best free Android games available in the Google Play Store right now.
Have some time to kill and only your trusty Android phone to keep you company? Take a gander at some of the most exciting, engaging, and free games that you can download from the Google Play Store. We have a healthy mix including shooters, puzzle games, racing, and lots more.
If you’re itching for something new and you’re able to stomach a few in-app purchase prompts, read on!
- Stranger Things: The Game
- Pokemon Go
- Asphalt 8
- Build a Bridge!
- Smash Hit
- Alto’s Adventure
- Modern Combat 5
- Clash Royale
- Sky Force Reloaded
- UltraFlow 2
Stranger Things: The Game
Ostensibly a marketing tool for the second season of the Netflix series, Stranger Things: The Game is a surprisingly great game. All the characters, settings, and themes from the source material are converted into a pixel-retro action adventure game similar in gameplay style to the Adventures of Zelda.
There’s a full story to unfold as you start out controlling Hawkins Police Chief Jim Hopper, as he receives a late-night call about four missing children and heads out to investigate. Where other 2D adventure games try and use a digital d-pad for control, Stranger Things uses a simple tap control system that really works well. The game is a good mix of puzzle-solving and action, with characters to unlock and add to your party. There’s a surprising amount of depth to this game and everything feels complete for a free game.
It’s nice to see Netflix publishing games based on its intellectual properties, and they deserve full credit along with the developers at BonusXP Inc. for going above and beyond here. This game could have been filled with ads, in-app purchases as is the trend with other free mobile games — but it’s not. It’s a standout game that just happens to double as a playable ad for a TV show.
Download: Stranger Things: The Game (Free)
Ancestor is a fast-paced puzzler mixed with a side-scrolling action runner. You’ll need sharp reflexes and quick thinking if you have any hopes of getting far in this game.
You play as a cloaked hero who must traverse dangerous lands filled with traps and enemies — all with the help of a mysterious orb that shoots lasers. Clear the path ahead by solving quick puzzles and shooting down enemies — including boss battles — as the game adapts to your skills and ups the difficulty as you go. It’s a free game with in-app purchases available to customize your character and the laser orb, but you can also unlock all items by collecting the in-app currency during gameplay.
Download: Ancestor (Free, IAPs)
Pokémon Go Is easily the hottest and most hyped game of the year, so chances are you’re already out there exploring your city and attempting to catch ’em all.
If you’ve been living under a rock, Pokémon Go is a game developed by Niantic that lets you find and catch Pokémon all around you using augmented-reality. It’s based on the Ingress platform, Niantic’s first breakthrough game (which, coincidentally, was previously featured on this very list), Pokémon Go is built on a nearly identical game engine. It forces you to get out and explore your neighborhood as you search for wild Pokémon to catch and PokéStops to stock up on crucial items like Pokéballs.
Once your trainer reaches Level 5, Gyms are opened up to you and you’re able to join one of three teams — Valor (red), Mystic (blue) or Instinct (yellow) — which is when the game really ramps up and turns into a truly social experience. Meet up with your friends and search for some rarer Pokémon, or team up to take down an enemy-controlled PokéGym.
Pokémon Go has quickly become a cultural phenomenon, so don’t miss out!
Download: Pokémon Go (Free, IAPs)
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games have been blowing up the PC gaming world recent years — think League of Legends or DOTA2. If you’re looking for a quality MOBA game for your mobile device, one game has risen to the top: Vainglory.
This game is the complete package, featuring all the frantic MOBA action fans of the genre have come to expect — jump into a quick match with random teammates and opponents, create your own party of friends and take on all comers, or chill offline and practice your strategies against bots. There are five hero classes featuring a total of 25 unique heroes to unlock, upgrade and take into battle. The touch controls are smooth and easy to pick up, so you’ll be able to jump right into the heat of the battle instantly. As you fight your way down the lane, there’s a significant upgrade system that branches out, allowing you to react and counter your enemies more effectively.
If you’re new to the MOBA genre, no worries! After introducing you to the gameplay fundamentals on first launch, Vainglory also features the Academy, an extensive tutorial section that will help you bolster your skills and abilities in the game. There’s also a ton of things to unlock, live events to participate in, and a bustling online community on Twitch, Jump in!
Vainglory is a free download in the Google Play Store with optional in-app purchases available.
Download: Vainglory (Free, w/IAPs)
Asphalt 8: Airborne is easily one of the top racing games on mobile right now. It skips all pretensions of realism and provides an over-the-top, high-octane experience with all the fixings. Players can work their way through career mode, can unlock new rides, can upgrade the ones they have, or can take the competition online in multiplayer. The usual race modes are there, plus a new Infected mode where players have to tag other racers before succumbing to an explosive virus.
The incredibly polished graphics and outstanding soundtrack make Asphalt 8 an adrenaline trip you won’t soon forget.
Download: Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free, w/IAPs)
Build a Bridge!
You don’t have to be a civic engineer to build bridges — although it sure would help!
Build a Bridge! is a free game similar to the popular Steam game Poly Bridge, with controls optimized for touchscreen. Each level requires you to build a bridge that’s strong enough to allow a car to pass over it without going over budget on supplies.
You plan out the bridge in an easy-to-grasp 2D interface, then give it a test run in 3D to see if it holds up. While conventional engineering standards might typically win the day, it’s equally fun to try and experiment with bridges that just barely hold together. A collapsing bridge doesn’t necessarily mean you fail, as long as the vehicle makes it to the other side — in this game, a winning bridge can be designed for one use only.
Once you beat a level with three stars in challenge mode, you unlock sandbox mode, which offers you unlimited funds to test the wackiest bridge designs you can think of. There are 30 levels of increasing difficulty to play, along with hidden levels to unlock along the way.
Download: Build a Bridge! (Free w/IAPs)
Hearthstone is a free, turn-based card game that follows a familiar formula: players summon creature cards and cast spell cards based on the Warcraft universe in an effort to defeat online opponents. Every one of the nine heroes has their own unique special ability as well as a sizable batch of collectible and craftable cards. Casual online games, ranked matches, wacky weekly Tavern Brawls, and grueling Arena games appeal to varying levels of commitment.
Hearthstone is without a doubt the best free card game to come to Android to date.
Download: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Free, w/IAPs)
Smash Hit is a minimalist target practice game where players tap the screen to toss a marble and shatter glass obstacles. If you bump into something you lose marbles. Lose all your marbles and it’s game over. Every section is littered with power-ups and fresh batches of marbles to keep you going. If you manage to keep hitting the marble refill crystals without missing, you can fire off two, three, or five marbles at once.
Though it’s a simple, on-rails shooter, Smash Hit’s polished physics make for a massively accessible and compelling experience.
Download: Smash Hit (Free, w/Pro upgrade)
If you haven’t checked out Alto’s Adventure, what are you waiting for?
It’s a beautiful game with simple controls and endless replayability. You play as Alto, who must snowboard down the side of a mountain to collect all of his runaway llamas, dodging boulders and jumping over chasms as he goes. You can pull off epic stunts, pick up power-ups, and work to complete challenges to level up. Sick of the challenges? Simply swipe over to Zen mode and just enjoy the endless relaxation of sliding down the mountainside.
It’s definitely one of the best games released for Android in 2016, and best of all — it’s FREE!
Download: Alto’s Adventure (Free, w/IAPs)
Modern Combat 5
Modern Combat 5 offers some of the greatest shooting action you’ll find on Android. Dive into an action-packed, single-player campaign, and once you’re comfortable with the myriad of classes, weapons, and attachments, dive into a variety of multiplayer modes. Challenges invite players to really test their skill in short, specialized scenarios. For those that are really serious, Modern Combat 5 supports hardware controllers for the real FPS experience.
Modern Combat 5 is perfect for hardcore gamers.
Download: Modern Combat 5: Blackout (Free, w/IAPs)
If you’ve grown tired of Clash of Clans gameplay but still love the characters and world that the folks at Supercell have created, you should definitely check out Clash Royale. Unlock and upgrade troops, build your battle deck, and take on real-life opponents in real-time battles.
Join or create a clan and share cards and strategies with friends from around the world. You’ll need to employ quick thinking and genuine strategy to win, so you’ll be compelled to keep tweaking your decks by working in new cards. In-app purchases will be tempting and are essentially required to reach the upper echelons of the leaderboards, but there’s still tons of fun to be had playing Clash Royale without spending a dime, and Supercell has done a great job supporting the game with updates and balancing.
Download: Clash Royale (Free, w/IAPs)
Sky Force Reloaded
Fans of vertical scrolling shoot-em-ups rejoice! The new Sky Force Reloaded is on Android and is better than ever!
Blast your way through nine action-packed missions as you take down enemies while dodging the attacks they send back your way. Collect stars and upgrade your ships as you try to earn all medals on each mission at each difficulty level. It’s a well-polished game from a storied and celebrated franchise, making Sky Force Reloaded an absolute must-play.
Download: Sky Force Reloaded (Free, w/IAPs)
Your favorite free Android games?
Nobody made us the Fun Police. Shout out in the comments with your favorite free Android games, as we’re constantly on the lookout for the next great time-waster.
Updated October 2017: Added Stranger Things: The Game to our list.