Android gaming is all over the place. On one side you have simplistic game play and minimal graphics and on the other side you have major studios doing major releases. You can get pretty much any experience you want on Android these days if you look hard enough. However, some games from both sides of the spectrum go above and beyond to bring you a game that’s truly special. In this round up, we’ll take a look at the best designed Android games of 2014. Don’t forget to check out our best apps and games from last year!
Assassin’s Creed Pirates was actually released in mid December of 2013 but that’s close enough for us. This game features sweeping landscapes and ocean views that are among the best you’ll see on mobile. The combat system is elegant and authentic which is a surprise given that this is mostly a tap-to-play sort of game. It’s one of the precious few video game crossovers that have been successful and it’s clear that Ubisoft put a lot of work into this one.
The Banner Saga is a strategy RPG that comes from a few former developers from BioWare. The game looks like it was animated by Disney circa 1990 and that gives it an undeniable charm. There is also a soundtrack that is far above average for a mobile game that adds to the ambiance of the title as a whole. The game play is simple and elegant and the story is a twisting and winding path where gamers choose their story through their actions. It hits all the right buttons unless you don’t like strategy RPGs.
Deus Ex: The Fall is an action RPG developed by Square Enix and released earlier this year on Android. It features very good graphics and music which are two areas Square Enix has historically excelled at. The story isn’t amazing but it drives the game forward but the game play mechanics are very interesting because you can play a stealth-based game or go all out action if you prefer and we liked that. It’s had its problems with bugs but if the game does work for you, it’s about as close as you can get to console quality gaming on mobile.
Duet is a game that shows that minimalism can be fun too. The game has you spinning two balls around an axis to avoid obstacles that are falling which get progressively harder to avoid. Little things in this game like seeing the paint splatters on obstacles you hit and the challenges to complete levels in a certain number of moves are a nice touch and the soundtrack is better than anyone could reasonably expect for a game like this. It’s a great time waster, no doubt about it.
Eliss Infinity was originally an iOS exclusive dating back to 2009 and was finally released on Android in 2014. The game uses multi-touch to let you move, combine, split, and otherwise play with planets and stars. The retro style graphics, minimal interface, unique soundtrack, and fun animations work together to bring a game that is way more fun than it looks. There are also no in app purchases which is good news too.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror survival game that has literally stolen the genre for itself. The premise is you’re working as a security guard who is looking over a pizzeria with some really creepy animatronics. If they catch you without your Freddy Fazbear head on, you’re dead. There is above average graphics with simple game play mechanics along with some brilliant lighting that both illuminates and hides some genuinely creepy characters. It’s really good.
Godus is a simulation game where you play God and rule a world populated by people. The graphics have a cartoon quality to them but the world around it is almost totally customizable by you. You can create lakes or dry them up, build mountains or tear them down. All the while you control and watch over humanity. It’s a fun game but the sandbox style is something unique and we liked that.
Leo’s Fortune was originally demo’d at Google I/O earlier this year and that automatically launched this game into stardom. Thankfully, it’s actually pretty good. The controls are very easy to learn and use sides of the screen instead of weird gestures or on screen keypads and that adds a level of simplicity that perfectly augments the difficulty of the levels. The graphics and scenery are very colorful and eye catching and this may be among the most beautiful 2D platformers ever made.
It would be blasphemy not to include Monument Valley on this list so we included on this list. Every level is an optical illusion built into a puzzle built into another optical illusion that just pleasing to play. The pastel colors and simple but surprisingly effective story line and music all line up perfectly to create an unforgettable game. It’s charmed the shoes off of pretty much everyone who has played with the only real complaint being how short it is.
At first glance this game doesn’t look like anything special but it’s in the details here. This game was developed by Cancer Research UK. What it does is borrow some of your phone’s processing power to crunch numbers for cancer research. In the game you collect Element Alpha which you trade for upgrades. All the while, a small part of your system is crunching numbers in the name of cancer research. It’s an ingenious way to get people to help out without costing them any money and the game is free. Everyone should have this. Really.
Republique is an action adventure game where you play as a guy who hacked into the security cameras of a huge complex and you’re using them to help a woman escape captivity. The graphics are far above average and the game play is something unique and enjoyable. Combined that with a story that leaves you almost in a constant state of suspense and you have a game that really stands apart from the rest. It is episodic so new episodes will be released as in app purchases.
The Room 2 is a puzzle game that relies a lot on hidden clues and intricate puzzles that are built into various objects in the game. It has amazing graphics and the puzzles carry you on a story that is arcane and dark. To give you an idea of how much people like this game, it has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on the Google Play Store with over 80,000 reviews. It’s a masterpiece in the puzzle game genre and makes other puzzle games look unpolished and amateur by comparison.
Shadow Fight 2 was already a popular Facebook game when it was released on Android but that doesn’t take away from how good it is. It’s a 2D fighting game that uses silhouettes instead of character sprites and the backgrounds are colorful and artsy. This gives it an oddly relaxing and calming feeling that contrasts very nicely with the intensity of one-on-one, hand-to-hand combat. Add to that some fun moves, fluid animations, and interesting touch controls and you have a fighting game worth playing.
Smash Hit is an infinite runner that was released earlier this year. As far as infinite runners go, Smash Hit is gorgeous. Instead of avoiding obstacles, you throw metal balls at panes of glass to avoid getting hit. If you get hit too many times, it’s game over. It features smokey, dark, and colorful levels that works well with the simplicity of the game play and the glass objects. It’s about as close as an infinite runner can get to being sophisticated.
Telltale Games has been on fire this year with their The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones franchises. Both games feature above average graphics and are set in the world of their perspective TV shows in a way that lets people experience the story from a more peripheral perspective. In both cases, Telltale Games manages to do extremely well conveying the feel of the TV shows in video game format and they do it all while working very well within the confines of mobile gaming. These are both great games.
If there was a game that came out that had an amazing design you thought would be worthy of this list, let us know about it in the comments!