Freemium games hit Android like a dump truck. It allowed apps and games to go free with users paying money later if they chose to and it’s been a model that has been dominant. Freemium games make more money than their pay-once counterparts and people tend to download them more often. However, there are those left that don’t mind throwing down a few bucks on a delightful gaming experience. If you’re one of those people, then we hope you’ll enjoy the non-Freemium Android games!
- If you’re a little low on cash, here are the best FREE, non-Freemium Android games!
- Or check out the best android games, ever!
[Price: $9.99 each]
Beamdog is a developer studio that has ported a few iconic games to the Play Store. They’ve done Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, and Icewind Dale. Each of these are massive RPGs that take dozens of hours of complete. They hold true to their PC counterparts and none of the games were compromised when re-released on mobile. There are technically in-app purchases, but it’s for things like voice packs and have no bearing whatsoever on the games themselves. They’re a bit expensive, and they’re a little rough to play on smaller screens, but they make up for it having tons of content.
Crashlands was released in 2016 to high praise. The game centers around Flux Dabes, an intergalactic trucker who gets stranded on an alien planet. The game includes RPG-style character progression, Minecraft-style item crafting, and you’ll engage in building, combat, and there are some monsters that you can tame and use for your purposes. It’s a deep game with a large world and tons of stuff to do. It also comes with cloud saving so you can play across devices.
[Price: $4.99 or $6.99]
Rockstar has had major success porting older Grand Theft Auto titles to Android. Currently, you can get Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas. There is also a made-for-mobile GTA called Chinatown Wars. All of these games remain faithful to the GTA culture and you’ll be able to do missions, explore your surroundings, steal cars, shoot people, and otherwise enjoy yourself. Each game is gigantic with tons of content to play through and the controls translate moderately well to a touch screen once you get used to them.
Kairosoft is another Android developer with a swath of really good non-Freemium Android games. Their “hit game” is Game Dev Story, but some other really good titles include Ninja Village, Grand Prix Story, and Pocket Academy. These games tend to be simple, but involving and match the style of most Freemium games without having the in-app purchases. If you like a good restaurant sim, or simulation games in general, then check these out for sure.
Leo’s Fortune is one of the best platformers on Android right now. The premise is that you play as Leo and you go off on an adventure in search of your stolen treasure. The touch screen controls make the game easy to play and the level design is both unique and challenging. On top of the main story, you can also go back and try to get a three-star score on each level which adds a bit of replayability. It also has a hardcore mode (try to beat the whole game without dying), game controller support, and Google Play Games services (achievements, cloud saving, leaderboards).
[Price: $1.99 each]
Lifeline is a series of “interactive narratives” which contain text-based RPG mechanics. In each game you’ll follow the story of someone and then help them make decisions to see how they progress. Your suggestions can help mold and shape the story, or kill off the protagonist depending on the circumstance. The games are entirely text based so they should run well even on older devices and you can rewind to prior instances and fast forward through pauses if you want to play the game at a different pace. The stories are really good and it’s a great, low-maintenance game. In a few of them, you can even use Quick Reply in the notifications to select your next instance without even opening the game. The series has four games in total.
Limbo is a 2D puzzle-platformer game where you play as a little boy who must search through Limbo in order to find his lost sister. The game has no qualms with killing you and will attempt to do so frequently. The puzzles are challenging, but manageable and the entire experience is smooth, enjoyable, and fun. The only caveat is that the game is a little on the shorter side, with some being able to wrap it up in a few hours. It comes with auto-saving so you can stop and return when you want.
Machinarium was one of the first really good puzzle games on Android. It features a little robot and you control the robot, solve puzzles, and try to save the robot’s lady friend. It has a futuristic, steampunk setting and each level involves solving several puzzles in order to move on to the next part of the city. On top of being enjoyable, the game also comes with support for Android TV, cloud saves, achievements, game pad support, and even a pinch-to-zoom mechanic for smaller screens. It’s a bit short, but very enjoyable overall.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition is a must-have for any creative person. The game is completely open and you can do pretty much whatever you want. There are things that can kill you if you put it in survival mode or you can just do whatever you want without trouble in creative mode. It’s not quite as robust as the console or PC version, but updates have been floating in to make it closer. You can also use this to play on servers that aren’t on mobile (as of E3 2016) which is awesome. Technically, this does have in-app purchases, but they are for Minecraft “skins” which you can get for free anyway.
NBA Jam is a re-release of one of the most entertaining arcade games in the sports genre. In this one, you play two-on-two basketball with a very relaxed set of rules that allow you to do almost anything that you want. Your goal is to score the most points before the end of the game. It includes actual basketball players from the NBA and a mechanic where you essentially get super powers for making three baskets in a row with the same player. It comes with Android TV support, game controller support, local and online multiplayer, and more.
NOVA 3 Freedom Edition is one of the best first person shooters on Android. On top of having no in-app purchases, it’s also entirely free which makes this a game you should definitely try. It’s a sci-fi themed shooter with a campaign mode, many weapons and vehicles that you can use, and there is an online multiplayer that has 12-player battles across seven multiplayer match types. Not bad for a non-Freemium title.
[Price: $0.99, $1.99, and $4.99, respectively]
The Room is a trilogy of puzzle games where you must unlock the secrets of various objects in a room in order to find your way out. It’s technically an “escape game” where the point is to find a way out, but it also comes with a dark, arcane storyline, unusual and clever puzzles, and some of the best graphics of any mobile game out there. The third version also comes with multiple endings which helps increase the longevity of the game since they can be pretty short if you fly through the puzzles.
[Price: Free / $1.99]
Smash Hit is an first person infinite runner where you must throw metal balls at glass obstacles in order to avoid being hit. The number of metal balls in your inventory is also your life total which rewards you for accuracy and punishes you for wasting your ammo. The game looks fantastic and is entirely free with no advertising ith the pro version allowing for things like stats, save points, and other other game modes. It’s about as good of a non-Freemium time waster as you can get.
Square Enix has been one of the best of the “big developers” to embrace the mobile platform. Most of their work has been re-releases and includes Final Fantasy I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and IX along with Dragon Quest I, II, II, IV, V, VI, and VIII. Aside from those, you can pick up Adventures of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Tactics, Chaos Rings I, II, and II, The World Ends With You, Romancing SaGa 2, and others. You can even get the original Tomb Raider I, Tomb Raider II, and others. The games tend to be expensive, but most of them are RPGs are that take dozens of hours of complete and have a ton of nostalgic value.
XCOM: Enemy Within is a tactical shooter where you must move your characters around on a chessboard-style level, find cover, and outwit the bad guys. The game can get pretty difficult, but a quick wit can keep you alive. On top of the general combat mechanics, you’ll be able to recruit new characters, research new technology to make combat easier, and there is a storyline that revolves around an alien invasion. There is also an online multiplayer if you want to test yourself against the online community.
Related best app lists:
- Keep an eye on the latest big releases with the best new Android games released every month!
- Old games never required in-app purchases, and you can play them with the best emulators for Android!
If we missed any of the best non-Freemium Android games, tell us about them in the comments! This is an update of a formerly written article, so check the comments for some suggestions from our readers! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.