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15 best retro games for Android
Retro games have always had a certain charm. They evoke nostalgia and make us think of the old days when graphics didn’t matter as much as they do now. However, don’t let the simple graphics fool you. Some retro games, like Baldur’s Gate, are among the most hardcore games in their respective genres and Minecraft is the world’s most popular game. If you’re looking to get your hands dirty with a bit of nostalgic gaming, we have the best retro games currently available on Android.
The best retro games for Android
Beamdog games (7 titles)
Price: $9.99 each
Beamdog is a developer on Google Play. They’ve remastered four retro games. The available titles include Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, and Seige of Dragonspear. These are all early 2000s-style RPGs with huge worlds, deep storylines, and tons of gameplay. Each one can easily go for four or five dozen hours if not longer if you really want to grind out all the secrets. The UI feels cramped on smaller displays. These games are best played on larger displays like big phones or tablets. There is also a strategy game called Axis & Allies: 1942 Online. It’s not quite as polished as the other six Beamdog games, but hopefully that changes soon.
Otherwise, these are all classics. They run for $9.99 each with optional DLC, like voice packs.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a port of the popular PlayStation game from 1997. The game is a faithful port of the original classic with some modern add-ons. These include full compatibility with game controllers along with on-screen controls, various achievements, support for six languages, and a new continue feature. The game plays like classic Castlevania. It’s an arcade platformer with some hack-and-slash and horror elements. It’s an excellent overall translation and it’s only $2.99 with no additional in-app purchases or ads.
Price: Free to play
Crossy Road is an iconic retro mobile game. It’s this generation’s version of Frogger. You bounce a chicken across various roads and streams. You must also avoid obstacles and employ proper timing. It’s a simple arcade game that is both family-friendly and actually fun. There are also a variety of unlockable characters as well as Android TV support. It hits all of the right buttons and has similar mechanics to a classic retro game. The free-to-play elements are cosmetic only. You don’t need money to play or excel at this game.
DOOM I and II
Price: $4.99 each
DOOM I and II are about as retro as retro games get. These mobile ports are faithful recreations of the originals with a little extra stuff. The games have cheats built-in and DOOM II also includes 20 extra levels. In terms of gameplay, it’s classic DOOM. Players run around each level, kill bad guys, and progress through the game. In addition to being actually fun, the ports are well done and people seem to enjoy the games. It’s especially true since Bethesda actually fixed a lot of early bugs. Both games go for $4.99 each with no in-app purchases or ads. You can get DOOM I at the button below and DOOM II is available here from Google Play.
Evoland 1 and 2
Price: $2.99 and $6.99, respectively
Evoland 1 and 2 are modern mobile games with retro gaming elements. It’s difficult to express their genre. Both games encompass a variety of styles, graphical designs, and gameplay mechanics. That includes RPG, fighter, top-down shooter, trading card game, platformer, hack-and-slash, and others. These are great games for people who just like old styles but aren’t married to a specific type or genre of game. The first one is fairly inexpensive. Evoland 2 is newer and, thus, more expensive by comparison. Both are excellent games. Doom & Destiny Advanced is another excellent, original, retro-style JRPG. Evoland 2 is also available for free via Google Play Pass if you have it.
Kairosoft is yet another developer on Google Play. Most of their games have a retro theme and feel to them. Some of the more popular games include Grand Prix Story 2, Ninja Village, Game Dev Story, and The Manga Works. All the games have varying mechanics. However, they all share a simulation element. In Grand Prix Story 2, you race cars, but you also run a race car business. In Ninja Village, you do combat for regional dominance, but you also build the ninja village. You see where this is going. The graphics are charming and the gameplay typically isn’t difficult to learn. Some of the games are free to play, others are pay-once titles. There are a lot of options here and many of the premium games are also available on Google Play Pass.
Price: $6.99 with in-app purchases
Minecraft is a classic. The decidedly retro graphics have long been a part of the game’s charm. It also features tons of stuff to craft, kill, explore, and do. Some people play in creative mode and build crazy things and others play survival, build a bunch of stuff, and deal with Creepers. Updates in 2017 gave the game cross-platform. Ever since, the game has been playable on Xbox, PC, and mobile together with other players from each platform. That makes it a great game to play with friends. The game runs for $6.99. The in-app purchases include character skins and Minecraft Realms add-ons.
Old School RuneScape
Price: Free / $7.49 per month / $99.99 per year
Old School RuneScape is, well, RuneScape. This game was originally launched in 2001 and that makes it retro by today’s standards. It’s the full game without any compromises. The subscription costs, in-world activities, and all of that are identical to the web version. There is a free version with a bunch of stuff to do. However, the subscription makes the world about three times larger with more skills, more quests, and a ton of extra bank slots. It’s one of the few MMORPGs that doesn’t rely on freemium tactics to earn a buck and we also appreciate that. The official RuneScape game (Google Play) is also out. Considering it’s a 20-year-old game at this point, it falls squarely into the retro space as well.
Raw Fury is a developer on Google Play with some truly entertaining retro games. The developer has a few decent titles, including Kathy Rain (point-and-click adventure), Whispers of the Machine (Sci-Fi Noir, mystery), Dandara (platformer/Metroidvania), and Bad North: Jotunn Edition (RTS). Each game is surprisingly well done and is an excellent example of retro games in each one’s genre. They also represent something a little different from the usual array of arcade fighters and platformers that usually dominate lists like this. Some of the games by this developer are on Google Play Pass for free if you use it.
Price: Free / $0.99-$9.99
SEGA has a bunch of retro games on Google Play. Some of the titles include Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star II, Ristar, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, and several others. Each game has its own set of mechanics so there is a lot of variety. However, they all share a common theme: they’re old SEGA games. Some you can play for free while others are paid purchases. It’s a veritable treasure trove of retro game goodness. Many of the games are also available on Google Play Pass for free.
Slayaway Camp is a horror game with retro puzzle elements. Slayaway Camp features tons of gore, unlockable characters, 140 levels, and a hair metal-inspired soundtrack. The gore would be worrisome if it weren’t in the same style of graphics as Minecraft. It helps take the edge off of how truly brutal this game can be. It is an excellent retro puzzle game with some adult themes.
Price: Free to play / Varies
Square Enix is among the best developers of retro games. They ported many of their old console classics to mobile with a bit of modern flair. Some of the titles include several main Final Fantasy games, several main Dragon Quest games, Adventures of Mana, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Tactics: WotL, The World Ends With You, and many others. Those looking for jRPG retro games should definitely start here. The games are a bit expensive, though. We understand if $10 or more is too much for a mobile game for you. However, you are purchasing a complete port of these old games with no ads or in-app purchases to gum up the works.
Sky Force Reloaded
Price: Free to play
It doesn’t get much more old-school than top-down aerial shooters. Sky Force Reloaded is exactly that. It features a bunch of levels, upgradeable ships, simple controls, and plenty of mini-missions to do. The graphics aren’t retro, but everything else about it feels like the 1990s. It is a freemium title with a few of the usual pitfalls. However, it more than makes up for it by being accessible, fun, modern, and old-school all at once.
Stardew Valley is a farming simulator. It gives you the same vibe as Harvest Moon. Harvest Moon is technically available on Android, but the game needs some work before we recommend it. Stardew Valley is, by far, the best retro-style farming sim on mobile. You start with a decrepit farm near a small town. You build the town, go fishing, engage with the townspeople, and enjoy yourself. The game boasts dozens of hours of gameplay and all of it is supremely relaxing. The game runs for $4.99 with no in-app purchases or free if you have a Google Play Pass. My Time in Portia (Google Play) is another excellent game with a lot of the same style as Stardew Valley.
Star Wars: KOTOR I and II
Price: $9.99 and $14.99, respectively
Star Wars KOTOR I and II were two of the most iconic RPGs of the early 2000s. The games had deep stories, tons of customizations, and lots of choices. You can make your character good or evil and it changes the end of the game based on your decisions. The game doesn’t necessarily hold up amazingly today. The graphics are a bit rough and the movement is a bit slow. However, most games today have trouble keeping up with the depth of KOTOR’s story. The first and second games are available on Google Play. You can get the first one at the button below and KOTOR II is available here on Google Play.
If we missed any great retro games for Android, tell us about them in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.