“Call of Duty Mobile” on an Android phone

"Call of Duty Mobile" on an Android phone (Photo by Aiman Khair on Shutterstock)

Video games first took hold of the nation in the 1970s with the rise of the first video game arcades. Classics like “Pac-Man” and “Donkey Kong” delighted gamers who gladly paid 25 cents for a chance at the high score. Today, thanks to smart phone technology, video games are more popular than ever. The top seven best Android games are all fun and addictive titles that are perfect for passing time anywhere you go.

In the late 2000s when mobile phones became less expensive and more accessible, app stores quickly became a lucrative revenue stream for software developers. Early mobile titles like the Nokia built-in game “Snake” were simplistic and offered little in the way of challenge or variety. As early as 2008, android hit titles like SEGA’s “Sonic The Hedgehog” or the first iteration of “Angry Birds” were released and earned great financial success.

The popularization of mobile gaming also created a new aggressive business model that some developers have abused: microtransactions. A microtransaction is any type of paid in-game exclusive that either enhances the cosmetics or offers power boosts. Some critics of this business model say that developers charge premium prices for an incomplete product through Downloadable Content (DLC); as seen in the case of gaming “skins” that alter the appearance of a character.

Another, more predatory version of microtransactions have been dubbed “Pay To Win,” where boosts to power or experience point gains can be purchased. These types of microtransactions are heavily criticized by the gaming community as a way for developers to charge more. This creates a situation where so-called “Whales,” or players that spend heavily on microtransactions, seem to dominate play spaces.

Ready to game on-the-go? StudyFinds has scoured multiple expert reviews to find the best android games of all time that were recommended most. Some of these titles do utilize microtransactions, while others do not. In both cases, these titles are considered top-notch. Let us know your favorite mobile games in the comments below!

Android smartphone on a table
Android phone (Credit: Adrien on unsplash)

The List: Best Android Games, According to Experts

1. “Pokémon GO” (2016)

“Pokémon GO” was released during summertime in the United States and it was a phenomenon. This title is an augmented reality game that encourages players to walk around their neighborhood in the real world to find and capture virtual monsters. IGN raves, “Discover Pokémon hiding in the world around you with ‘Pokémon GO.’ This AR mobile game is great to use while adventuring outdoors. While tracking down new Pokémon to add to your Pokédex, you can also compete in gym battles, fight off Team Rocket, and more.”

You can probably spot your local players of this title running around with their heads down through the town. Games Radar praises, “Our childhood fantasy come true, ‘Pokémon GO’ places the little creatures all over the real world and asks you to catch ‘em all. It’s evolved, so to speak, in a big way since its initial release, and you can find five generations of Pokémon just by stepping out your front door.”

How come experts love this game? “‘Pokémon GO’ was one of the top Android games when it was first released in 2016. The game still has many devoted fans, as the game’s publisher, Niantic, Inc., still regularly releases updates for it. Check out this game if you’re looking for a unique augmented reality experience that encourages you to explore the world around you,” exclaims Software Testing Help.

2. “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” (2020)

“Castlevania” along with “Metroid” are the gold-standard for an entire genre of two-dimensional games that take place in a maze or labyrinth. Titles in this genre are referred to as “Metroidvania” games. PC comments, “Take control of the vampire Alucard, and slay the demonic hordes that haunt the castle and scheme to resurrect Dracula. ‘Symphony of the Night’ features an expansive RPG weapon and inventory system that’s chock full of unique gear, items, and spells… ‘Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’ is a Konami classic that is well worth snatching up.”

Be transported into a whole new world right on your phone screen with this title. “Konami’s incredible classic, ‘Castlevania: Symphony of the Night,’ landed on Android a little while back to much deserved praise. Many people played this game way back in the olden days and it was so influential that it joined Super Metroid in defining an entire genre of game — the Metroidvania,” adds Tom’s Guide.

According to Android Police, “This is a classic PS1 game from Konami, a direct sequel to ‘Rondo of Blood,’ and it’s still heralded as one of the best ‘Castlevania’ games ever made. Konami brought the title to mobile in 2020 as a surprise release, and the port is fantastic.”

3. “Dead Cells” (2018)

“Dead Cells” spawns randomized level layouts every time it is played. The Gamer says, “It’s an engaging fast-paced game for thrill seekers who enjoy tough situations and grueling difficulty. The game’s beautiful, each area’s a work of art, and the amount of heart that went into crafting the world definitely shows.”

Games in this addictive genre are meant to be played, lost, and replayed. Android Authority describes, “‘Dead Cells’ is an action-platformer with roguelike elements that was a hit in the console world before heading to mobile. It features non-linear gameplay, hack-and-slash combat mechanics, and plenty of stuff for players to do. It’s definitely on the harder side of the spectrum, especially for new players.”

Android Police also recommends this pick. Why? “What’s nice is that the game supports high framerates, which are stable, making for a smooth experience. There’s even some extra DLC available when you finally beat the primary campaign, which means there are tons of content that should last most players 30 hours or more.”

4. “Among Us” (2018)

“Among Us” has a simple premise, find the alien imposter on a ship of multicolored space travelers. PC explains, “‘Among Us’ dominated the gaming world in 2020 as the perfect, paranoid, quarantine pastime, even though it technically launched in 2018. As you and your fellow astronaut friends work together to fix your spaceship, secret saboteurs work to quietly kill you all.”

“Among Us” has spawned a robust YouTube and internet fan following. “Its insane popularity may be easing up, but ‘Among Us’ remains a fun game that has the potential to ruin friendships. It’s a game about deception. Anywhere from five to 10 players gather and perform tasks in space. There’s an impostor among you, though — sometimes a few of them),” offers tom’s guide.

You’ll have to pull out your detective skills for this one. Pocket Tactics states, “This social-deduction-based indie game has risen to astonishing popularity in recent months after it caught the attention of the gaming community via popular Twitch streamers. And with the developer recently reporting 200 million downloads, it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon.”

5. “Genshin Impact” (2020)

This 2020 release earned massive financial success and is often cited as a game with microtransactions “done right.” The Gamer claims, “A ‘Zelda’-esque adventure game RPG with some of the best graphics on mobile, Hoyoverse’s ‘Genshin Impact’ is an exploration-heavy gacha-game with some very unique stories. The game features a huge open-world map with fast travel points and lore behind every corner of the land.”

The full game experience is free, and the microtransactions involve a random or “Gacha” element for character unlocks. Android Authority relates, “‘Genshin Impact’ is an action RPG game with gacha mechanics. The game was also our pick for the best game of 2020. Upon its release, it received wide critical acclaim for its impressive visuals and excellent gameplay. It looks and plays a bit like ‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild,’ but nobody seems to really mind.”

Android Police reviews, “‘Genshin Impact’ is an adventure game that might not appeal to everyone, thanks to its gacha design. Still, there’s no denying that miHoYo Limited raised the bar exponentially when it comes to the polish and content of free-to-play mobile games. The graphics in this Zelda-like adventure are superb.”

6. “PUBG Mobile” (2018)

“PUBG” is a Battle Royale title. In this popular genre, players parachute onto an island in an all-out single elimination fight to the death.  ‘“PUBG’ has become a household name since its initial release in July 2016. The battle-royale-style game has amassed millions of downloads on the PC. Lightspeed & Quantum Studio released a mobile version called ‘PUBG Mobile’ on Android in March 2018,” according to Software Testing Help.

Like many console games, “‘PUBG’ also saw a move to mobile, and like ‘Call of Duty,’ the Android version turned out quite well. The battle royale plays great on mobile, with an intuitive UI and great controls. It’s quite an impressive game with lots to do and several modes to try,” asserts Tom’s Guide.

According to Pocket Tactics, “The original battle royale is on mobile, but ‘PUBG Mobile’ is a strange one. A lot of people enjoyed the original PC game, because of a certain level of what I shall call, jank. People liked the glitches and weird, unexpected stuff that happened.”

7. “Call of Duty: Mobile” (2019)

“Call of Duty” (CoD) is a 20-year franchise that pits players against each other in Player vs Player (PVP) action. Pocket Tactics compliments, “Distilling the classic ‘CoD’ experience onto Android and iOS, ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ is a fantastic first-person shooter, and you can play it for free. The game caters to all kinds of players, letting you choose an auto-fire mode or manually aim and shoot.”

Thanks to smart phone internet connectivity, millions of players worldwide can battle it out. “Whether you’re a fan of ‘Call of Duty’ already or you’re new to one of the biggest FPS [first-person shooter] franchises around, ‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ deserves your time. Specially designed for touchscreen firefights, this shooting game fulfills all your shooter action cravings — and it’s free, too,” assures Digital Trends.

Games Radar also mentions, “The touchscreen shooting works surprisingly well, and after an hour you’ll be hitting headshots with no trouble. Online connection is consistently good, and there’s always enough players online to fill lobbies. When one round finishes, the next starts almost instantly.”

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About Alan Corona

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