There are a lot of apps out there in the world of Android – no less than 700,000 of them, in fact. So searching through that lot, trying to separate the good from the bad (and indeed the ugly) can be a pretty thankless task. Luckily, ITProPortal is here to provide a helping hand with our series of articles in which we’re rounding up the top Android apps in various categories.
This is the sixth and final article in the series, and you can find the previous five instalments by following these links: The best Android utility apps, the best Android news apps, the best Android reference apps, the best Android productivity and organisation apps, and the best Android social apps of 2013.
For this last outing, we’re turning from those more serious topics to the realm of entertainment, and the best Android games which are available in the Play store.
Among this line-up of must-have games you’ll find big name franchises such as Angry Birds and Temple Run, but also some more obscure titles, too – such as an 8-bit style RPG by the name of Gurk. Whatever your gaming tastes, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.
Angry Birds creator Rovio acquired this game from an indie developer, but it's been given the full-blown Rovio treatment: It features lots of short, fast, physics-based challenges that make it difficult to put down.
It’s worth coughing up £0.69 for the premium version which boasts additional gameplay, especially since the first 10 levels are more like mini-tutorials.
Angry Birds Star Wars is the latest and greatest instalment of the furious flappers, and as the name suggests, it adds Star Wars into the mix, complete with lightsabers, the force, and sand pigs. What more could you want from a free game? The adverts are rather intrusive, though, but if you want to dispense with those, then you can always grab the HD premium version of the app for £1.99.
Skip the Tetris download. Bejeweled 2 is a high quality recreation of the classic computer game, Bejeweled. The premise is very simple: Match gems on a grid to get rid of them before they overwhelm your screen and you lose. It's highly addictive. The Android app incorporates crisp audio and visuals.
An addictive casual game that revolves around simple physics, Cut the Rope has players solving dynamic puzzles that sometimes feel more like obstacle courses. It's a family-friendly affair, and the kind you definitely want to have preloaded on your phone if you have yackety kids who miraculously become quiet when engrossed in a good game.
Taking a page from Drawn to Life, Draw a Stickman follows a player-created stickman's journey through a dangerous landscape to save his or her player-created best friend. The gameplay is smooth and engaging with many things to manipulate or destroy. The free version has five stages to unlock, but also some very unfortunate ads. I recommend springing for the £1.99 version without them.
Draw Something involves iOS and Android users in simple gesture-based drawing competitions. Pick a word from a list of three, draw it on your screen with your finger using a variety of colours and brushes, and then send it to your friend who must guess what you've drawn. You win coins if your friend guesses correctly. It's very simple and, like Words With Friends, the addiction lies in the robust social aspect. Note that there’s an ad-free version which costs £2.17.
The follow-up to the award winning action-strategy game Guns 'n' Glory Wild West puts you in the role of a military commander (either the Allies or Axis) during the War. Your mission? Guide your troops, tanks, and warbirds to World War 2 victory. An RPG-like skill and levelling system lets you power up your squad to achieve an advantage over the enemy. There’s also a premium version which costs £3.86.
In the mood for a light diversion that contains a hefty dose of retro goodness? Gurk, the 8-bit RPG features a three character party system, two dozen dungeons, 23 monsters, and lots of action. The story is virtually non-existent, but if you're a fan of old school bleeps and bloops, you'll find a lot to like here.
Minecraft is an addictive game that’s appealing to both the creative and systematic sides of the brain. It simply involves building things using different kinds of blocks, but it’s far more compelling than it sounds. Minecraft also has some built-in social features.
Pinball Arcade is a quality game that exquisitely recreates the look and, to a certain extent the feel, of classic trademarked pinball tables. The thoughtful detail in each leaderboard is really impressive. Connect online to play in tournaments or go head-to-head with your friends.
If you liked 1980s and early 1990s RPGs or early Final Fantasy games, you'll love Symphony of Eternity. There's a clear plot: Two adventurers meet the princess of a fallen kingdom, and all three go hunting for a mythical wish-granting weapon to set everything right.
Temple Run couples great graphics with a very simple, arcade-like premise. You take the role of an Indiana Jones doppelganger clutching a golden icon, and your goal is to run away from evil monsters by tilting and swiping your way past obstacles in your path. Of course, there’s Temple Run 2 as well – so why not download both, seeing as they’re free.
The Scrabble-like game from Zynga, Words with Friends, is among the most popular mobile social games around. If you own an Android phone but your friends are on other devices, such as iPhones or iPads, you can still challenge them to head-to-head wordplay, as it doesn't matter which platform your opponents are playing on. While some Android users have reported stability problems with the game, Words with Friends is in such high demand that most people will grin and bear it… especially since it's free.
For me, the best games are ones that appeal to people of all ages and take a little bit of problem solving brain power.
X Construction is one such game. Players build bridges for trains to cross using the available tools and materials. It’s fun (and safe) for kids, but challenging for adults, too. There is also a Lite version of the app which is free.