Android gaming has come a long way in the past few years. Long gone are the days of simple arcade games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. Android games are larger and more engaging than ever before. This year was no exception. We saw some excellent new releases across a number of genres. Of course, there were some games that rose above the rest. Here are the best Android games from the year 2020.
The best Android games released in 2020
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Price: Free to play
Brawlhalla is an online brawler from Ubisoft. It’s similar in premise to games like Super Smash Bros. Players fight each other in a confined space and the winner is the last player standing. There are various characters, several game modes, and even a training room in case you need to sharpen your skills. The ranked playlists are okay but the four vs four and four-player free-for-all modes are the most fun. The in-app purchases are cosmetic only. You can’t buy your way to a win here. It’s a low-key excellent online PvP game.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a mobile remaster of the PlayStation classic. It contains the entire core game along with some extra content. The extras include a new continue feature, full compatibility with controllers, and achievements. There are on-screen controls for folks without gamepads. The game plays pretty well overall with few bugs. Most of the complaints are for the lack of on-screen control customization and cloud saves.
Dead Cells is a roguevania
. It’s basically a mix between a rogue-like game and a Metroidvania. The rogue-like portion of it includes mechanics like permanent death while the Metroidvania elements include an interconnected world. It’s a 2D platformer at heart. Players jump around, beat up bad guys, defeat bosses, and progress through the levels. It also has controller support, no time limits, and tons of little nooks and crannies to explore. It’s a few versions behind the PC release so players who try both may have slightly different experiences. Dead Cells a bit expensive at $8.99, but the lack of in-app purchases and a truly great gaming experience more than makes up for it.
Gris is something a little bit different. You play the role of Gris, a girl lost in her own world. You help her navigate its landscapes and learn more about herself. The game has light puzzle and platformer mechanics but there is no threat of death or failure. Thus, players can proceed at their own pace and enjoy the game as it comes. There is virtually no text. Most of the storytelling is done through imagery. A lot of people like this one and we’re among them.
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Price: Free to play
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is, well, a mobile release of the card game from The Witcher series. It’s a card duel game similar in premise to Hearthstone and The Elder Scrolls: Legends. The mechanics aren’t identical to its peers, however. There are rules but they are rather simple. Luckily, the way you construct decks and play allows for a wide range of strategies. Developers try very hard to make the game more about skill rather than luck. It’s definitely one of the top new card games of 2020, if not the best in its category.
Read more about apps and games:
- 10 most controversial apps and games from 2020
- Our favorite video games of 2020 on console, PC, and mobile
Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
Price: Free to play
We generally skip over match-three games and other casual titles. However, people really seem to like this one. It’s by Zynga, the original developer of FarmVille. Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells is a fairly standard match-three game. You match shapes and remove them from the board until you complete the level. There are hundreds of levels, various abilities to collect and unlock, and tons of cameos from the Harry Potter series. It’s a casual game, but sometimes casual titles can make lists like these. This is one of those times.
Legends of Runeterra and Teamfight Tactics
Price: Free to play
Riot Games released a couple of mobile games this year. One was Legends of Runeterra (linked at the button below). It’s a strategy card game where you choose a champion, combine cards, and defeat your opponents. It also has social features and you earn cards as you play. You can buy the cards you want but they’re pretty easy to earn on their own. It’s right up there with Gwent as one of the best new card games of the year. Teamfight Tactics, on the other hand, is an online PvP auto-battle game. The auto-battle genre is newer. You build a team, duke it out with other players, and hope you wind up on top. You don’t really control combat all that much. The strategy is delivering the right stuff at the right time. Both games are also cross-platform.
Price: Free / $3.49-$5.49
Mousebusters is an entertaining arcade game. Players start out as a mouse. It travels from apartment to apartment to help people get over their personal demons and various ghosts. The game takes place over a series of chapters. You can play most of it for free, but you must pay for the final chapter. Basically, you can look at the rest of the game as an extended trial. The ads are also removable with a single purchase. It’s not a mechanically difficult game. The focus is primarily the story with this one.
Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe
Price: Free to play
Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe is Square Enix’s big release for 2020, and the studio got a lot right with this one. It has a good story, good music, and JRPG style battle mechanics. It’s a gacha game, but it seems to be free-player-friendly without a ton of paywalls to climb. The auto-battle command makes for easy grinding, and character growth is classic gacha style. Gacha games are a more popular genre than people know, and Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe one is among the best new ones in 2020.
Shadowgun War Games
Price: Free to play
Shadowgun War Games is a new FPS shooter. It’s an online PvP game without campaign or offline modes. It features decent on-screen controls, good graphics, and decent gameplay. There are four playable characters. Each one balances the other with a rock-paper-scissor effect. Players can customize their characters with emotes, skins, and other stuff. It had a bit of a rough start but it’s done a lot better in recent months. It’s an arcade shooter so don’t expect to dump 1,000 hours into it. Nevertheless, it’s fun for what it is.
Soda Dungeon 2
Price: Free to play
Soda Dungeon 2 is a dungeon crawler. It features turn-based combat, tons of loot to collect, and some mild idle elements. Additionally, players can craft gear, and there are some light town-building mechanics as well. It’s a fairly deep game but the mechanics are rather simple. You hire people to go questing and they bring your loot back. They even go questing while you’re not there. Your loot is then delivered when you log back in. The first Soda Dungeon is pretty good too.
WitchSpring4 is the latest game in a criminally underrated series of RPGs. It plays like most games in its genre, with levels to gain, abilities to learn, and items to collect. There are minions to recruit and some other unique mechanics. For instance, if an enemy has a low enough HP, you can defeat it and take its materials without actually engaging in battle. The story is decent and the character development is good. It takes place away from the other WitchSpring games so you don’t need to play the earlier entries to enjoy this one.
Third place: Levelhead
Levelhead is one of the best platformers in the history of mobile gaming. The game has 90 levels, smooth gameplay, excellent mechanics, and one of the best trailers we’ve seen in a while. You can build your own levels, download more from other players, and share your levels with others. Thus, you get a Mario Maker style experience. Additionally, the settings have features for speedrunners if you’re into that sort of thing. About the only knock against it is the lack of controller support. We hope it’s added in eventually. Levelhead is from the same developer as Crashlands, a game that won our best of the year award back in 2016. This is one of those really good ones, especially if you like platformers.
Second place: Sky: Children of Light
Price: Free to play
Sky: Children of Light came out in 2019, but the Android version launched this year. It’s an adventure game with heavy social elements. Players explore seven different realms to uncover the game’s mystery. You run into and socialize with other players while customizing your character to your liking. Sky: Children of Light has excellent execution. The graphics are pleasing to look at, and the music is very good. Even the community around the game is super supportive and nice. It’s not the most exciting game and the mechanics aren’t overly difficult, but the feel and atmosphere are pleasant. It’s also good for people of most ages.
Game of the Year: Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact made the biggest splash of any mobile game in 2020. Luckily, it’s also surprisingly good. It has a bunch of the same gameplay elements as Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and that’s probably why so many people like it. You play in a large, open world. There’s even a get a glider to traverse longer distances without needing to climb everything. The game does have light gacha elements, but you earn your characters through missions rather than pulling them in summons. The voice acting is decent, the character development is good, and even the music is quite nice. The intro download is pretty big, but the RPG and adventure elements are totally worth it. Genshin Impact was the best of 2020, we’re sure of it.
Of course, there were tons of great Android games this year. We simply don’t have room on a list like this for all of them. Here are some honorable mentions that could easily be a part of this list as well:
- 9th Dawn III – 9th Dawn III is an open-world 2D RPG. The game has 270 monsters, several dungeons, and a large open world. There are also 1,400 collectible items and even an in-game card game like The Witcher’s Gwent. The best part is that it’s a premium game ($9.99) with no in-app purchases or ads. This one is a little underrated.
- Among Us – Among Us technically came out in 2018, but 2020 was by far its biggest year. The game picked up steam on Twitch and became a household name over the course of 2020. The game has you and other crewmates trying to do things around the ship while an imposter is tasked with killing all of you. It’s simple to play, easy to get into, and other than some connection issues, the game runs pretty well. It wouldn’t be a best of 2020 list without including this one here somewhere.
- Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – Dangonronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of the most popular visual novel games on any platform. It received an Android port earlier this year. This one is a 10th-anniversary special edition with a few extra features from the original.
- Dead by Daylight Mobile – Dead by Daylight Mobile is one of the most unique online PVP games on mobile. It features one versus four gameplay where one person is a monster and the other four people are hunters. It’s such a fun game but the developers have struggled a lot with bugs and glitches. We hope they get those figured out soon.
- Endurance – Endurance is a top-down sci-fi shooter. It’s a prequel to the developer’s first hit game, Ailment. Players explore the spaceship Endurance to figure out how the disease spread among everyone. The frantic action gameplay is super fun, with a decent story. Plus, you can immediately jump into Ailment afterward for more fun.
- Forza Street – Forza Street was the big game release from Microsoft this year. Everyone was hoping for a deeper race game like the console version. However, Microsoft gave us an arcade tap racer that’s a little heavy on the arcade and a little light on the racing. It’s a casual game with simple controls. Nevertheless, it’s still pretty good, just not the kind of good a lot of us were hoping for.
- Illusion Connect – Illusion Connect is an action-strategy game with gacha elements. Players recruit a cast of Radiants and then spend time with them to level them up. Each one has special abilities you use in combat to defeat the bad guys. It seemed like another run-of-the-mill gacha, but people really seem to like it.
- Layton: Unwound Future in HD – The Professor Layton series was a big hit on the Nintendo DS and 3DS. Level-5 has slowly released many of the games on mobile. This year we got Layton: Unwound Future in HD. It follows Layton as he solves a series of mysteries in London. It’s a bit expensive, but a good grab for puzzle fans and those nostalgic for the series.
- SINoALICE – SINoALICE is a quirky gacha directed by Yoko Taro, the director of NieR: Automata. You play the role of fictionalized characters with fairy tale names as they make their way through their stories. The game gets a little repetitive, even for a mobile gacha, but it’s a different type of storytelling. It’s definitely a Yoko Taro game.
- Shadow Fight Arena – Shadow Fight Arena is the latest in a long line of successful fighting games. This one lets you create a team of three fighters and then face off against opponents. It relies heavily on its online PvP battles.
- Spongebob: Krusty Cook-Off – Spongebob: Krusty Cook-Off is a casual restaurant sim with tons of cameos from, well, Spongebob. Players create a restaurant, serve the residents of Bikini Bottom, and progress through the game. The game is a good time killer. It’s also kid-friendly as long as you password protect your Google Play payment methods.
- Soul of Eden – Soul of Eden is from Rayark who is most known for developing some of the best rhythm games on mobile. This one is an online PvP game with card dueling mechanics. There are over 100 cards to collect and play. It’s not quite as good as Gwent or Legends of Runeterra, but it’s a good online arcade dueler.
If we missed any great Android games from 2020, tell us about them in the comments! Be sure to also check out our list of the best Android apps of 2020.