We’d like to give an honorable mention to Machines at War 3 (Google Play). It’s a delightfully challenging RTS title with 21 missions, skirmishes, multiplayer, and more. Sadly, it hasn’t seen an update since 2019, but it still works on our test devices and it’s pretty good.
Bad North: Jotunn Edition
Bad North: Jotunn Edition is one of the newer strategy games on the list. It plays like a classic strategy game. You get a space and you defend it from invading bad guys. However, it also has elements of tower defense and roguelike genres as well. Each island is randomly generated and you must defend each one. Additionally, you permanently lose commanders if they go down in battle. It adds a bit of extra depth and difficulty to the works. The game has the occasional bug, but it’s otherwise an excellent strategy game with a single price tag and no in-app purchases.
Bloons TD 6
Price: $4.99 with in-app purchases
Bloons TD 6 is the latest tower defense game in the long-running series. It feature a lot of elements from prior titles. You play as monkeys and you defend from the bad guys. The game includes 19 towers, three upgrade paths per tower, and tons of mini-upgrades. The game also supports offline play, new game modes, various difficulties, and a lot more. This is easily the best tower defense release in 2018 (aside from possibly Defend the Cake) and it’s a must-try for strategy enthusiasts. It runs for $4.99 with additional in-app purchases if you choose to pay for them. The Kingdom Rush series of games are also quite good if you like tower defense strategy.
Price: Free / $1.99
Card Thief is one of the more unique strategy games. It’s a mix between strategy and a card game. Your goal is to move around to avoid detection. You’ll have equipment, stealth points, and more to help you avoid the guards and finish the level. It boasts a play time of two to three minutes per play. That makes it great for casual gamers. You can can download the game for free and unlock the full version for $1.99. It’s also available via Google Play Pass if you have it.
Chess by AI Factory Limited
Chess is one of the oldest strategy games. Chess Free is probably the best chess game on mobile. The graphics aren’t a lot to look at. However, you’ll have 12 difficulty levels across two game modes, ELO Ratings, save and load games, local multiplayer, a chess tutor, and a bunch of other cool stuff. It’s about as complete of a chess game as you can find. It utilizes the Treebeard Chess Engine. It’s the same one from MSN Chess. AI Factory Limited has a bunch of other simple board games like Checkers, GO, and several others.
The Escapists 1 and 2
Price: $6.49-$6.99 each
The Escapist series are two excellent strategy games. Players collect and craft various items and plan their escape from prison. Until then, you must play the role and be a model prisoner to not attract attention. The first and second games don’t differ by all that much. However, the second game has more and larger prisons to break out of along with more scenarios overall. They’re a bit expensive, but they are pay-once games with no in-app purchases or ads. These games are also available through Google Play Pass for free.
More games here:
Heroes of Flatlandia
Price: Free demo / $1.99
Heroes of Flatlandia is a turn-based strategy game with fun graphics and decent game play. You recruit an army of fantasy-inspired troops and clash against bad guys to take over the land. The game includes eight playable heroes, 30 types of units across four races, a local multiplayer mode, and more. It’s a solid experience although it may lack the depth that many more hardcore strategy fans crave. In any case, you can try it out for free before buying the full game. After that, there are no micro-transactions.
Price: Free to play / Varies
Kairosoft is a developer on Google Play with several criminally underrated strategy games. Some examples include Game Dev Story, Pocket Harvest, Grand Prix Story 2, Cafeteria Nipponica, Ninja Village, and many others. Many of the games blend strategy and simulation elements, but they’re all pretty good games that cover a variety of topics. Meanwhile, the games are either free to play, others are premium. It depends on the title. In any case, Kairosoft has a lot of good games and many of them are strategy games.
Motorsport Manager Mobile 3
Price: $3.99 with in-app purchases
Motorsport Manager Mobile 3 is one of the better and newer strategy games on mobile. You get to build your very own motorsport team from the ground up. That includes hiring drivers, mechanics, building a car, and racing to win. The game features small obstacles like weather changes that the player must adapt to. In addition, there are difficulty settings, rule changes, and all kinds of other things that keep the game from getting too stale. It’s one of many strategy-simulation games on mobile. This one just has solid mechanics and it’s fun to play, even for non-motorsport fans.
Northgard is one of the newer strategy games on the list. It launched in 2021 for mobile and is a port of the Steam game from 2018. It’s almost identical to the PC version of the game except this one has touch controls. The game blends survival and strategy elements along with kingdom-building elements. You create a settlement on a newly discovered continent. From there, you manage your resources, train an army, and defend yourself from bad guys and harsh winters. There are several clans in the game, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. It’s a bit expensive and lower-end devices seem to struggle with it quite a bit. We only recommend this one to those with modern, higher-end devices.
Price: Free / $3.99
Pocket City is a strategy simulation game similar to Sim City. Try saying that three times fast. Anyway, this game has a lot to like about it. You build a city with all the various elements. Players control things like cash flow, traffic, citizen happiness, and more. Additionally, you can trigger both fun and horrible things to spice it up a bit. The game is quite simple, contains no microtransactions, and it works offline without any problems. There is also a cloud save feature as well. The free version contains ads while the premium version does not. They should otherwise play about the same way. Rollercoaster Tycoon is another strategy simulator that we highly recommend as well.
Rebel Inc and Plague Inc
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Rebel Inc and Plague Inc are two excellent strategy games. Plague Inc has players creating viruses and trying to infect the entire world. It’s so frighteningly accurate that the CDC once asked the developers to speak about the game. Rebel Inc has players trying to quell rebellions in the region to help ease unrest. Your decisions affect the game story and there are five regions for you to play in. Both games are among the best strategy games for mobile.
ROME: Total War
Price: $9.99 + $4.99 (each)
ROME: Total War is a strategy game from PC back in 2004. It has since seen Mac OS, iPad, iPhone, and Android ports. This is a no joke real time strategy game with massive battles, actual strategies that aren’t just training troops and throwing them at opponents, and it comes with 19 playable factions. Players build their kingdom and their army in preparation for world domination. There are two standalone DLCs for this one, including Barbarian Invasion and Alexander, each with their own scenarios. The full game games for $9.99 and each DLC runs $4.99.
Rusted Warfare is a retro style real-time strategy game with a lot going for it. It boasts a more hardcore RTS experience with no in-app purchases, no ads, and no pay-to-win mechanics. It also boasts over 40 player controlled units, various defenses, online and offline multiplayer, and support for mice and keyboards. The graphics aren’t winning any awards, but frankly that’s about the only ding we have on this one. Even then, it’s not bad if you’re into retro games. It even has a custom game mode for practice, fun, and goofing around with the game’s mechanics. This one should probably be more popular.
Price: Free to play
Supercell is the developer of four of the most successful and popular strategy games ever. They are Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Brawl Stars, and Boom Beach. Clash of Clans and Boom Beach are RTS strategy games where you build a base, defend it against other players, and then attack other players. Clash Royale is a card game similar in scope to Hearthstone. Brawl Stars is a beat ’em up strategy game with some MOBA elements. Each game boasts a massive player base and that’s good news because they’re all online multiplayer games. There are also plenty of games like Clash of Clans as well as games like Clash Royale if you like the genre but want to try another developer’s spin on it.
This War of Mine
Price: $13.99 + $2.99
This War of Mine is one of the deeper Android strategy games. You play as a group of refugees and you’re trying to escape from a warzone without being killed. The game features simple mechanics, brutal decision making moments, and a uniquely bleak art style. There is a standalone DLC called This War of Mine: Stories with similar graphics and similar game mechanics. This is one of the truly good ones, folks. This one is also available via Google Play Pass if you have it.
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