Here we go, folks. Mobile gaming always seems to take great strides year after year. Last year, we saw a huge push in niche genres like text games and indie puzzle games. This year, we saw a bunch of excellent games in the shooter, tower defense, rhythm, indie puzzle, and simulation genres. In fact, this might be the best year of mobile gaming that we’ve ever seen. There was just a bunch of new content from PUBG to Fortnite, Kingdom Rush Vengeance to Bloons TD 6, and even some excellent new RPGs. This is a long list, so let’s get right down to it. Here are the best Android games of 2018! We don’t have them ranked in any specific fashion. However, the last game on the list is our choice for the very best of the year.
Alto’s Odyssey is a 2D, side-scrolling infinite runner and Noodlecake Studios’ biggest launch of 2018. The game features gorgeous, simple graphics, easy mechanics, and smooth game play. Players ski down hills and make massive jumps for points. They also collect coins for unlockable content in the game’s shop. You also get a Photo Mode because the visuals in this game make for perfect wallpapers as well as a zen mode where you just play to relax. It’s certainly not treading any new ground. However, it’s as solid of an infinite runner as you’ll find these days and it’s also kid friendly. Everybody wins!
Asphalt 9: Legends is arguably the most popular new racing game in 2018. It features above average visuals, solid racing mechanics, and a metric ton of events, missions, and challenges to complete. The game also includes an online multiplayer mode, online social elements like clubs, a campaign mode, and over 50 unlockable cars. This is a game you can play for a very long time before you get everything. It’s a freemium game and you deal with that a lot. However, Gameloft’s long-running racing series is popular for a reason. Those who are more into hardcore racing sims may need something a little extra, but this is great for casual racing game fans.
Tower defense is alive an well on mobile with the releases of both Bloons TD 6 and Kingdom Rush Vengeance. Both games are continuations of the popular franchises and both bring new features, new game elements, and fresh ideas to the table. Bloons TD 6 is a slightly deeper game with 19 towers and a bunch of upgrades. Kingdom Rush Vengeance is the slightly more casual friendly game but it still gets pretty difficult. Both games support offline gaming and have optional in-app purchases for power-ups. We couldn’t choose between the two because they are both excellent tower defense games. Maybe you’ll have better luck. We have Bloons TD 6 linked at the download button above.
Cytus II is the latest rhythm game from Rayark International, Rayark makes exceptional mobile rhythm games and this one is no exception. The game uses tap, swipe, and tap-and-hold mechanics and players use the entire screen with this game. It’s colorful, intense, and surprisingly smooth for how many on-screen elements there are. Players get a story mode with 30 songs in the $1.99 base game with more songs available as in-app purchases. There are over 300 total step charts between the songs and the various difficulties. We also recommend the first game in the series if you need something a little easier to start with.
You don’t see a lot of horror games on best of the year lists, but Blue Wizard Digital found a way with Friday the 13th. The game features both horror and puzzle elements, decent mobile controls, and tons of optional gore and violence. You get over 100 levels, a PG mode in case blood makes you squeamish, and plenty of unlockable customizations for the venerable Jason Voorhees. The game also comes with offline gaming support. It might only be truly fun during the Halloween season, but the mechanics are just that good in general. The somewhat retro style graphics also helps take a bit of the edge off of all of the gore.
HQ Trivia has the distinction of being the first Android game launched in 2018. We know that because it ran its very first live game seconds after midnight on New Years Eve. HQ Trivia is one of the most unique quiz games on mobile. It features live quizzes conducted like an actual game show. That includes a real, actual host. Games run every day at 9PM EST with additional games on week days at 3PM EST. Players even win actual money if they last long enough. The game is occasionally laggy, but shoving a few hundred thousand people into a single game show can do that. Those wanting something a little more typical can also try Trivia Crack 2, another new quiz game in 2018.
Monster Hunter Stories is an excellent new RPG. It has the same core experience of every Monster Hunter game. Players travel the world, collect monsters, train them, and fight with them. You get action, adventure, and RPG elements. It uses a turn-by-turn battle structure and you also get colorful graphics. Perhaps our favorite part is the demo version of the game. The demo version is actually its own self-contained game that acts as a prologue for the actual game. We think that is a genius idea. The demo version’s data ports to the main game upon purchase. It’s really expensive at $19.99 so we don’t blame you if you want to skip this one.
Part Time UFO is a puzzle game by HAL Industries, developers of the first Super Smash Bros and most of the Kirby series. The developer’s first mobile game is a rousing success. It features boss fights, puzzles, and a fun little adventure with plenty for players to do. The puzzles are delightful, if somewhat easy and the story is charming and inoffensive. You also get a fun soundtrack, some social sharing features, and more. The game rocks a 4.9 rating on Google Play. It may not be the most popular game ever, but virtually nobody who plays it dislikes it. That’s a rarity for mobile gaming.
Pocket CIty is a city building simulator much like SimCity. You start with a plot of land. Players then build a functioning city. You must achieve balance between business and residence, expand in a smart way, and deal with things like natural disasters. Players unlock more buildings and land as they progress and they must manage things like population happiness and traffic. The game also comes with support for portrait and landscape modes as well as offline support. The free version contains ads. For $3.99, you get no ads and more features. It might be the best non-freemium city building sim on Google Play right now.
Reigns: Game of Thrones is an interesting card game. Players get cards with various scenarios on them. You choose one of two options by swiping the card left or right. Some choices are simple like selling wood and others involve more serious matters. The result is your continued reign or ultimate downfall. This version of the game also includes Game of Thrones characters, story elements, and themes. It’s not a deep game with a deep story and that may disappoint some Game of Thrones fans. It is one of the better time killer games on mobile, though, and it goes for a single $3.99 purchase with no freemium elements. We appreciate that.
Returner 77 is an indie puzzle game with a sci-fi story line. The story involves an alien invasion with humanity on the brink of extinction. You work your way through an alien ship while solving puzzles and making progress. The game features beautiful graphics, enjoyable puzzles, and an interesting story. It’s one of the few indie puzzle games over the last few years with a narrative that drives the game forward. It rounds out the experience with live action video clips, voice overs, and a reasonable price tag. It’s easily one of the more under-rated games on 2018.
The Room: Old Sins is the latest game in one of mobile gaming’s most critically acclaimed puzzle franchises. This is an easy choice for best mobile games of 2018. It comes with outstanding graphics, a narrative to follow, and simple mechanics. Players make their way through a dollhouse full of puzzles to solve. The game also supports cloud saving and Google Play Games achievements. It maintains a lot of the elements of previous games, so many people already know what they’re in for with this one. Is it the best of the year? No, but it’s definitely up there and that’s why it’s here.
Shadowgun Legends is one of the top three shooters from 2018 without question. It’s a fairly standard mobile shooter. Players get a campaign to play through with sci-fi and action elements along with online PvP, an RPG-style progression system, and tons of loot to collect. Of course, you get good graphics and as good of a game play experience as a shooter can be on mobile. By and large, there isn’t much in this game that isn’t a positive experience, although we would appreciate some tweaking of the inventory space. We’re quite happy to see a new Shadowgun game and Madfinger Games delivered. This is a great shooter.
Square Enix always has a host of mobile game releases every year and many of them are candidates for this list. This year was no exception. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, Life is Strange, and the Valkyrie Profile Lenneth port are all outstanding new games for 2018. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition avoided the port label by being designed from the ground up for a mobile experience. Life is Strange is one of Square Enix’s more thought provoking point-and-click adventure games in recent memory, and Valkyrie Profile Lennth is a decent RPG for fans of old PlayStation games. The games vary in price, but they are all quite excellent. Well done, Square Enix.
PUBG Mobile and Fortnite orbited around the mobile gaming scene for pretty much all of 2018. Both games brought the battle royale shooter to the forefront in a way that no other game ever has on mobile. PUBG Mobile represents a more serious feel while Fortnite gives players a more animated experience. Both games have solid mechanics, but both still need some work. PUBG Mobile is easier to obtain in the Play Store with a Lite version for lower end devcies. Epic Games launched Fortnite on its own website instead of Google Play. However, Fortnite has account linking between it and the console and PC version. Both games have pros and cons, but you didn’t see anyone talk about a mobile game more than these two in 2018. Thankfully, they are both excellent games. If we had to choose one, though, it would be Fortnite. The account linking is such a cool feature.
The list for 2018 was so huge that we wanted to list a few honorable mentions so we didn’t leave any of the great games out. We did narrow down this list from a master list of over 120 games. Here are our honorable mentions for 2018:
If we missed any great Android games from 2018, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!