How we chose the best Android tablet apps
So what makes a game better suited for tablets than smartphones? Well, it’s actually an easier determination than one would expect. We looked at all kinds of things, including controls, orientation, and how much information was displayed on the screen all at once. Every game on this list is in landscape orientation, has simple and accessible controls, and doesn’t require players to reach into the middle of the screen during action sequences if the game has action sequences. Once we disqualified games that aren’t friendly to larger displays, the list came together fairly quickly. Let’s get started!
Price: Free to play
Alto’s Odyssey is one of the best runners of 2018. It features simple, but beautiful graphics, easy game play and mechanics, and a simple premise. You ski down a hit while making massive jumps and avoiding obstacles. Players collect coins along the way to unlock stuff in the in-game store. The game also has 180 goals to complete, various levels to play through, and even small extras like dynamic lighting and weather. It’s easily one of the best infinite runners of all time and its landscape mode orientation makes it even better on tablets than it does on phones. The game is free to play, but you probably won’t even notice. Most of the in-game purchases are for cosmetics anyway.
Beamdog games (six games total)
Price: $9.99 each
Beamdog is a developer on Google Play. They specialize in porting old PC games to Android. Beamdog currently have five titles out right now. They are Baldur’s Gate I and II, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Seige of Dragonspear, and Planescape: Torment EE. All six games have similar mechanics. They are massive, hardcore RPGs with tons of skills, bad guys, dungeons, loot, and long stories. The UI is often cramped on even larger phones. Thus, tablets really are the best devices for these games. They run for $9.99 for the full game. There are also optional in-app purchases for stuff like voice packs and other customizations.
Bridge Constructor Portal
Bridge Constructor Portal is one of the newer Android games. It works perfectly well on phones. However, the larger size of the tablet screen makes pinpoint movement easier for this game. It features a bunch of levels, elements of both Portal and Bridge Constructor games, and Google Play Games support. It’s plays a little hard into the fan service of the Portal universe. However, it’s still a rock solid puzzle game. It’s also a pay-once game with no additional in-app purchases or advertisements. It’s also free if you use Google Play Pass.
The Escapists 2
The Escapists 2 is an escape-puzzle simulation game. You play as a prisoner in, well, a prison. The goal is to break out of prison without getting caught. Players must play the role of a model prisoner by showing up to their prison job and going to meals. In the meantime, you’ll be crafting various things, hiding various contraband items, and making plans to get out of there. The game includes nine prisons, an in-depth crafting and trading system, and more. It’s quite good for its price tag and it’s also available on Google Play Pass for free.
Kingdom Rush Vengeance
Price: $4.99 with in-app purchases
Kingdom Rush Vengeance is the latest game in a series of popular tower defense titles. This plays like a classic tower defense game. You build towers and send out heroes to defeat the bad guys before they reach the end of the level. There are a bunch of levels, towers, and heroes to play with along with many, many upgrades as well as boss fights. The UI is just fine on a phone. However, all the bad guys can make everything feel cluttered and tablets help it feel less so. Almost any tower defense game would be good for tablets, including popular ones like Bloons TD 6 and others. We only recommend Kingdom Rush Vengeance over all the others because it’s free with Google Play Pass.
Levelhead is an outstanding platformer and one of the best Android tablet games. The base game features over 90 levels with smooth game play and some extra features if you want to speed run the game. However, the game’s hallmark feature is the ability to design and upload your own levels similar to Mario Maker. You can also download other people’s levels and play them. A tablet gives you more space for editing levels so it’s actually a decent way to play the game. The game is free with Google Play Pass and is also available on iOS, PC, and Nintendo Switch with full cross-save capabilities. The developer’s other title, Crashlands, is another great tablet game.
Price: $6.99 with in-app purchases
Minecraft dropped the Pocket Edition moniker in 2017. It’s not the full-fledged version of the game. That means it’s playable with Xbox One and PC versions of the game as well. We recommend this one for tablets because of all of the controls. There is a ton to do in Minecraft, including explore, craft, build, and do other stuff. Microsoft sells servers at a monthly cost in case you don’t want to make your own. Additionally, the mobile version is cheaper than the console or PC versions. In any case, it’s one of the excellent Android tablet games.
Old School Runescape
Price: Free / $10.99 per month / $99.99 per year
Old School Runescape (OSRS for short) is one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world. You can play it on mobile, tablets, a web browser, and on desktop. There is a massive world to explore, a healthy player base to interact and trade with, and plenty of quests to complete. Unlike most, this one works on a subscription basis. Members get some additional benefits like a bigger bank. It’s up to you if you want to play the free version or the subscription version. This is probably the best MMORPG on mobile and it has a landscape mode that works very well for tablets. Additionally, the developers also finally released an official RuneScape client (Google Play) for Android, which would also be better on tablets.
Price: Free / $3.99
Pocket City is a city building simulator similar to Sim City. That’s a rough sentence to say out loud. Anyway, this is a fairly basic city sim. You build various types of buildings, roads, and utilities to make your town run smoothly. It features weather disasters along with positive things like parties that make your city feel alive. Players progressively unlock more land, more buildings, and more stuff as they play. The free version is just the base game. The premium version includes more features, a dedicated sandbox mode, and no advertising. This is a surprisingly good Sim City style game and we love that it isn’t a free top lay game. You can also play in either landscape or portrait mode.
Price: Free to play
Rebel Inc is one of the newer tablet games on the list. It’s by the same developers of Plague Inc so you know this one is going to be good. You drop into a region in unrest and you must fix the problem. The game includes seven scenarios, tons of insurgent strategies to overcome, and a branching story based on your decisions. The developers researched most of these things as they made the game to make it as realistic as possible. There are also eight governors with different abilities to try out. It’s a free to play game, but it’s honestly one of the better ones.
Riptide GP: Renegade
Riptide GP: Renegade is probably the best racing game out right now. The story starts with a racer who gets banned from the GP circuit for breaking the rules. You play as that person as you race to regain your glory. The game comes with some of the better graphics that you’ll see. There is also a campaign, online multiplayer, and various race types that you can play with. It also comes with support for split-screen multiplayer, hardware controller support, and more. It’s one of the tablet games worth a look.
Square Enix games
Price: Free to play / Varies
Square Enix is one of the best game developers on mobile. They have a vast collection of tablet games that range from console ports to made-for-mobile titles. You can find eight Final Fantasy games, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Adventures of Mana, Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Chaos Rings 3, and many other great titles. Most of them play perfectly fine on a phone, but having a tablet really helps the experience shine. The prices vary from freet op lay to over $20, so there is a little something there no matter what you’re into. Their latest big release was Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, an excellent addition to your tablet games lineup. Square Enix has free to play games as well such as Final Fantasy Brave Exvius or Final Fantasy Record Keeper. However, those are best suited for phones, not tablets.
Stardew Valley is one of the best new tablet games from 2019. It’s a farming simulator with a bunch of additional features and things to do. Players start by turning their overgrown fields into a functional farm and expand from there. You can also get married, attend town events, raise and breed animals, and even fish if you want to. There are a ton of ways to customize the old farm itself and all of them are unlocked through game play. This is a strong contender for the best of 2019 and it plays beautifully on a tablet. The game is also free via Google Play Pass if you use it.
This War of Mine
Price: $13.99 + $2.99
This War of Mine was one of the undisputed champions of 2015. It’s a horror-survival game where you must survive a war that’s happening around you. This causes you to make some pretty brutal decisions when it comes to who gets to live and who gets to die. You can also craft various items, manage your shelter, and you get a totally randomized cast of characters every time you start. It’s a dark game, but it’s also really good. The only downside is that it’s one of the more expensive tablet games. On the upside, there is an additional expansion for $2.99 if you like the game and want more. You can also play this one for free through Google Play Pass as well.
Tsuro is a board game port for Android. It plays a lot like Ticket to Ride and other similar games. Players take turns creating paths on the game board. The player wins if they get the longest path and the most points. Tsuro is excellent on tablets for a couple of reasons. The first is that it features game play with up to eight players on the same device. Bigger screens make for better multi-person gaming experiences. The second is, like most board games, Tsuro can get a little cramped on smaller screens. Pandemic and Ticket to Ride are also excellent local multiplayer board game ports on Android that would play well on your tablet.
If we missed any great Android tablet games, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android apps and games lists!