It was an amazing year for mobile gaming in 2014. Despite the fact that Candy Crush was most downloaded overall, we saw signs that gaming studios are taking the platform more seriously than ever before. We saw games with great designs and games that pushed the bar up on what a good game should be. In this roundup, we’ll look at the 30 best Android games of 2014!
Baldur’s Gate I and II [Price: $9.99 each with in app purchases]
Baldur’s Gate I and II brought two of the longest, most in depth RPGs the mobile gaming platform has ever seen. The controls require a learning curve because there are so many of them and because they’re ports of older games, the graphics are decent but not amazing. However, these are those kinds of games that you can spend a year playing because they are massive and there are very few games out today that give you that much game play for the price.
Broken Sword 5: Episode 1 and Episode 2 [Price: $4.99 and $5.99]
Broken Sword 5: Episode 1 is an action-adventure mystery game where you must solve a crime involving a stolen painting. It features a strong story, fun graphics, and controls that allow for truly engaging game play. The full story takes place over two episodes that are available as separate purchases but most gamers don’t seem to mind that because these games rock a 4.5 and 4.6 out of 5 rating respectively. It’s a can’t miss adventure.
Clumsy Ninja [Price: Free with in app purchases]
Clumsy Ninja is an action-adventure game that’s about as cute as you can possibly get without including talking animals. In this fun little game, you play as a ninja that you control by tapping and swiping on his various body parts and you play in a world full of interactive objects. It’s more fun and involved than a game this goofy should be and that’s why it’s on this list. Plus, it’s free to play.
Deus Ex: The Fall [Price: $0.99 with in app purchases]
Deus Ex: The Fall is one of two Square Enix games to make the list this year. It features very good graphics and a gripping story. You follow a former British SAS Mercenary as he unravels a huge conspiracy. The game can be played with stealth or with full action and the choice belongs to the player. There are plenty of environments to play, abilities to unlock, and things to do. The only problem is the game is quite buggy for some people so make sure you test it inside of the refund time!
FIFA 15 Ultimate Team [Price: Free with in app purchases]
FIFA 15 is this year’s mobile incarnation of the popular football(soccer) series produced by EA Sports. It features improved graphics and game play over last year’s model as well as updated rosters and more stuff to do. It is true that EA has put a number of in app purchases in this title and that’s a shame but there are few sports games released this year that can compete with the complete experience that FIFA 15 provides. At least it’s free to download!
Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 and 2 [Price: $2.99 each]
Widely regarded as the scariest mobile game of all time, Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 and 2 provide an experience unlike any other. You play as a security guard who has to keep watch over a pizzeria that is haunted at night by possessed animatronic robots. In order to keep from being killed by them, you must dress up like one whenever they see you. It’s creepy, it’s brilliant, and the graphics and game lighting work together to create a truly creepy atmosphere.
Game of Thrones [Price: $4.99 with in app purchases]
Telltale Games have been on fire this year and this is one of two games from them that’ll appear on this list. In this Game of Thrones title, you’ll play as a member of the House of Forrester as you play around the outside of the TV show’s main story, but right up against it. The graphics and game play are far above average and the story is something that would do the TV show proud. It takes a stroke of genius to make a game where every decision feels wrong but it’s still fun anyway. This is an episodic adventure and you can get a season pass for future episodes for a $19.99 in app purchase.
Goat Simulator [Price: $4.99]
Goat Simulator is a game that took PC by storm some time ago and did much the same thing on Android earlier this year. In this game you play the totally realistic life of a goat as you fly around, crashing through walls, blowing things up, and causing general mayhem. This game brought back the phrase “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature” in a way few gamers or developers could ever match. The graphics are pretty good too.
Godus [Price: Free with in app purchases]
Godus is a God-mode simulation game where you act as God and you watch over a world of beings as they evolve into a civilization. You have full control over the world, its environment, and its people. You can do things like grant miracles, create trees, and toss meteors at the people. The choice is yours. There is a lot to do, it’s free to play, and it’s definitely one of the more unique ideas of 2014.
Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW [Price: $2.99]
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Ultimate Weapon was released on Android alongside the movie release. The game play is pretty standard, the concept is solid, and the graphics aren’t bad. The big takeaway from this title is that it shows that it’s possible to create a reasonably priced video game based on a movie that is good and fun without loading it up with pay-to-win in-app purchases like other studios have a habit of doing. We’d like to see more solid movie game titles like this one.
Final Fantasy VI [Price: $15.99]
Square Enix has been hell bent on re-releasing their classic Final Fantasy series on Android. The last two years have seen them release Final Fantasy I through VI (1 through 6) with Final Fantasy 6 coming out earlier this year. It received a graphic overhaul and some unique touch controls but the story line remained relatively unchanged. This is an RPG with 35-40 hours of game play featuring an amazing story along with some extra content like bonus dungeons, extra magic, and more. It’s considered one of the best jRPG titles of all time.
Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Portal [Price: $9.99, $7.99, and $9.99 respectively]
One of the more impressive releases of this year is NVIDIA re-releasing Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, and Portal for the NVIDIA Shield and Shield tablet. All three of these games are PC quality games because they actually are PC games. So far their existence has only been heralded as a positive thing with the one huge disadvantage being that you have you to own an NVIDIA Shield Tablet to play all three of them. Nevertheless, all three of these games are fun, they look great, and it has definitely helped a lot of people on the fence make a decision.
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition [Price: $9.99 with in app purchases]
Icewind Dale is another long lost PC RPG title from 2000 that was resurrected this year on Android. It’s also done by the same people who re-released Baldur’s Gate and that means it has the same kind of controls and graphics as those games. Also, much like the Baldur’s Gate games, Icewind Dale contains well over 40 hours of game play and involves a slight learning curve to get used to the controls.
Kingdom Rush: Origins [Price: $2.99 with in app purchases]
Kingdom Rush: Origins is a tower defense game and is a prequel game to the original two Kingdom Rush games. This seems to have plugged all of the holes that the prior titles had as the game currenly rocks an incredible 4.8 out of 5 rating in the Google Play Store. The game features new towers, new bad guys, and a host of other game play features and improvements to the mechanics. The graphics haven’t been improved too much but literally everything else has.
Leo’s Fortune [Price: $0.99]
Leo’s Fortune was demo’d at Google I/O 2014 and it seems its path to stardom was set in stone. The game features smooth graphics and game play with a simple but effective story. The controls are equally simple but effective and the simplicity contrasts very nicely with the difficulty of each level. Players must help Leo find his lost fortune but you can also retry levels to get all of the stars. It’s a fresh coat of paint over an old premise and that made Leo’s Fortune one of the best platformers of 2014.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout [Price: $3.99 with in app purchases]
Modern Combat 5: Blackout was one of the more hotly anticipated releases of 2014. While it did fall somewhat short of expectations, it’s still a shooter that sits far above the average. It improved the graphics over Modern Combat 4 and added in more stuff to do. Alongside that is a new campaign, more weapons, and a bunch of other features. Some diehards will state that Modern Combat 4 is better, but Modern Combat 5 is still good in its own right.
Monument Valley [Price: $3.99 + $1.99]
Monument Valley was the darling of Android gamers in 2014. The game features brilliant optical illusions and the game is essentially a puzzle game that has you trying to find and figure those illusions out. It comes with a simple, albeit dark story line and unique, colorful graphics. Along with the release, an expansion was released called Forgotten Shores for $1.99. Altogether, they’re 15 of the most unique levels you may ever play through with the only complaint being that the game is a tad short.
Out There [Price: $3.99]
Out There is an adventure game where you’re stuck out in space and you must repair your ship with whatever you can find and interact with various alien races. The game was heralded for its unique game play (human vs environment, no combat) and story line premise. It also has three endings, 50 achievements, and 300 adventures to take part in. There isn’t anything quite like this one. Even the music is good and that’s a rarity for a mobile game.
Play to Cure: Genes in Space [Price: Free]
Genes in Space is a unique game. It’s not totally amazing and another game with the same mechanics and premise probably wouldn’t make this list. What makes Genes in Space so unique is what is going on behind the scenes. This game was developed by Cancer Research UK in an attempt to get gamers to help out with cancer research. As you play, you collect Element Alpha and meanwhile you’re also helping scientists analyze data. It’s totally free and you’d be playing for a good cause.
QuizUp [Price: Free with in app purchases]
QuizUp was released earlier this year and it’s arguably the best puzzle game ever released on mobile. It contains a great design with excellent mechanics and online multiplayer. There are a multitude of categories (over 600) ranging from pop culture to the obscure along with quiz categories for special events. As you play each topic, you’ll gain ranks and earn nicknames as well as achievements. It’s simple, fun, and about as solid of a multiplayer quiz experience as you can get.
République [Price: $0.99 with in app purchases]
République is a unique game with a complicated story and great graphics. The game play mechanics are unique in that you play as a hacker who jumps to various security cameras to guide a woman named Hope who is trying to escape a compound run by people with some dangerous ideas. The title requires complete stealth and also has a number of puzzles for you to solve. It’s an episodic adventure and you can purchase other episodes as in app purchases.
The Room 2 [Price: $0.99]
The Room 2 is a puzzle game that revolves around the strange, fantastical, and arcane. You play as an adventurer who must solve a range of puzzles, unlock things, and progress. Most items in most rooms are puzzles within puzzles within puzzles and the clues can come out of almost anywhere. It’s a great brain teaser with some astounding graphics that have left few people unhappy. About the only problem is that it’s pretty short but nonetheless, we can’t wait for The Room 3.
Secret of Mana [Price: $5.99]
Secret of Mana is a legendary action RPG from the early 1990’s. It’s been remade and re-released on Android with updated (but not overhauled) graphics, on screen controls, and likely some translation changes. The main story is more or less unchanged so fans of the classic game that came out 21 years ago can engage in a much needed dose of nostalgia. As it turns out, the game is pretty good all on its own so those who have never played it can probably enjoy it as well.
Shadow Fight 2 [Price: Free with in app purchases]
Shadow Fight 2 was originally a Facebook game that was then migrated to Android. Let us say that they did it a whole lot better than Farmville did. It’s a 2D fighting game where the characters are silhouettes that do combat against colorful and serene backgrounds. On top of being pleasing to look at, the mechanics are easy to learn and the animations make everything look epic. There aren’t a lot of great fighting games on Android. This is one of them.
Sky Force 2014 [Price: Free with in app purchases]
Sky Force 2014 is a 2D, top-down arcade shooter. You play as a fighter pilot who must level up their ship and defeat the big bad guys. It features, colorful and well-done graphics that is paired wonderfully with intense, action-packed game play. This is one of the few titles where you actually want to compete in the leaderboards and there is a lot to do for such a simple arcade game.
Smash Hit [Price: Free with in app purchases]
Smash Hit is a different kind of infinite runner. Instead of dodging obstacles and jumping over pits, you play from the first person perspective and throw balls at panes of glass. The graphics are phenomenal for how simple the game is and the dark, smokey atmosphere of the game is strangely relaxing. The mechanics are simple to master but difficult to implement as the game requires good timing more than anything else. It’s about as good as an infinite runner can possibly get.
Surgeon Simulator [Price: $2.99]
Much like Goat Simulator, Surgeon Simulator takes a rather innocuous thing and turns into something extremely absurd and possibly even offensive to some. In Surgeon Simulator you play as a surgeon. Instead of performing surgery and saving your patient (Bob), you pretty much just slap him around, hack him up, and abuse him. It’s hilarious in the same dark sort of way that Cards Against Humanity is which means this isn’t recommended for those with a weak stomach or a
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic [Price: $9.99]
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is an RPG from the early 2000’s from BioWare, who also recently brought us Dragon Age: Inquisition. KOTOR features a very long story complete with multiple endings based on how the player chooses to play. There is also character customization, support for third party controllers, and even achievements. The graphics and controls have been redone for mobile. Do beware, though, because this one is newer and that means there are almost certainly release day bugs.
The Walking Dead: Season 2 [Price: Free with in app purchases]
It’s true that this title originally came out in December of last year but thanks to its episodic nature, the final episode of season 2 was released in July. Season 2 continues the story line of Clementine as she continues to try to survive in an undead world. It’s an adventure game where you must make difficult decisions and attempt to survive. You can also port in your game file from season one and some of the story elements will be different depending on who you chose to save in the first game.
XCOM: Enemy Within [Price: $6.99]
XCOM: Enemy Within is an action strategy game where you must defend against alien invaders. You can customize and train your team with upgradeable weapons and equipment, engage in multiplayer, and play through a pretty decent story. It also features great graphics, fun and simple game mechanics, and more. About the only weird thing about this title is that its predecessor, XCOM: Enemy Unknown was removed from the Play Store so that this could exist which is an odd and usual move.
If we missed any great games for our best Android games list, let us know about them in the comments!