Top 10 must-have Android games

Not too long ago, mobile gaming meant solitaire and Tetris-clones running on your Palm Tungsten. Those were dark days – but the advent of smartphones has changed the game, and now phones compete against consoles and PCs for your money and attention.

The mobile game scene has exploded, with thousands of titles on Android, ranging from casual time wasters to shooters with cutting-edge graphics. Even older generation console games have found new life on Android, combining a nostalgic experience with intuitive touch and gesture controls. It's an exciting time for gamers of all stripes.

This list aims to highlight the best games on Android, but we’ve also aimed for variety here, too. While there are a good number of casual games in this top 10, I've made sure to include at least one racing title and a first-person shooter. These tend to be larger and will definitely tax your battery – but they also show off the best of what mobile devices are capable of, and deserve to be highlighted.

Do you have a favourite game that's not on the list? Or do you just want to praise our excellent taste? Be sure to let us know in the comments. So, without further ado, let’s get on to the games themselves…

Note that you can click on any title to link through to download the game on the Google Play store.

Ridiculous Fishing isn't so much a fishing game as it is an exercise in beautiful madness. It starts simply enough – cast your line and catch some fish. Then your catch is tossed into the air where you attempt to destroy them in a hail of gunfire.

And we haven’t even mentioned the in-game Twitter parody "Byrdr" and a slate of very bizarre upgrades. Truly, this is a great game of our generation.

No list would be complete without the famed Angry Birds Space, which adds gravitational effects to your favourite guilty pleasure. Set against a backdrop of meteors, planets, and stars, this is the best spin-off from the original Angry Birds app. Angry Birds Space adds new levels, bonus levels, and innovative gameplay using your favourite infuriated avians.

While not radically different from its predecessor, Temple Run II brings a fresh dose of endless running to Android. The game packs improved graphics, a few new twists and turns, and the pick-up-and-play ease which made its forerunner (pun intended) a hit. Plus, you can't beat the price for a premium game – it’s free.

Spaceteam takes our notions of gaming and multiplayer, then it turns them on their heads in this fantastic sci-fi spoof. Playable only with people connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the game is all about silliness and proximity. Once you're in the game, you shout the cryptic commands ("increase astral synth to one") which another player must execute on their arcane control panel. Hilarity, and brilliant gameplay, ensue.

While it might not look as cutting edge as Asphalt 7: Heat, Crazy Taxi delivers enough thrills in its own right. In this port of the classic Sega Dreamcast title, you take the role of a cab driver who must deliver passengers to their destinations – by any means necessary. Enjoy the madness of each level as you navigate the streets, and be sure to tune in some "great" nineties jams on the radio.

This fast and fun game challenges you to build words by dragging your finger across the tiles on the screen. Ruzzle is like a word-search, but it lets you move in just about any direction you wish. With support for ten languages and a thriving multiplayer community, the only thing holding back this game is its "unusual" bank of acceptable words. Don't be surprised if something embarrassing pops up!

A consistent chart-topper in the Google Play store, the mobile version of Minecraft lets players build and explore a (limited) world. With an ever-growing pallet of blocks and items, you can build your dreams on your morning commute – just don't let them get blown up by creepers.

A staple of the time-management genre, this food service game takes to the street where you have to serve customers quickly and accurately if you’re going to get paid. The game boasts various locations – including Asia, Europe, and the USA – which correlate to a different kind of food and difficulty level. So sling some grub around and make it big in this addictive, fun time-waster.

If you're a fan of eighties era Japanese RPGs, then you're in for a treat. With its stripped-down low-bit graphics, Symphony of Eternity has all the trappings of something from a bygone era. It doesn't hurt that it also offers an engaging story, a unique character advancement system, and it does away with tedious random encounters to boot.

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour is one of those games that makes you forget you're playing on your phone. The graphics and smooth gameplay feel more like you're playing on a PC, and the first-person action makes this shooter intense. The dialogue may be awful, but blowing away enemies is a great way to let off some steam. Be sure to take a look, because high quality apps like this could very well be the future of mobile gaming.