The best Android games of 2018: our top picks

Ten years have passed since Android was announced for the first time and at that time we have seen hundreds of thousands of games in the Google Play Store, but obviously not all of them are of high quality, and with so many available, it can be difficult to make sure to put your money in the right place.

Some titles are expensive and are nothing more than simple ports of a console game. Others are only a small amount, but they are really more entertaining and fascinating than anything found on a console a few years ago.

When deciding which Android game is best for you, well … you have some options to consider.

First, remember that you will not have a single game on the fly at a time. You may have a degree that is excellent for playing on the couch or to go to work, and another when you stand in line at the bank.

Some work better with headphones, others do not, and we strongly recommend playing some regularly to find the games that work best for you. Nothing better than finding something that you simply can not wait to play over and over again!

  • Do you want to improve your Android phone in other ways? See the best Android apps in 2018

Unlike the iPhone, the number of dedicated game controllers for Android phones is a bit more insipid, as there are not so many for specific phone models … and the games that they admit them. It can also be varied.

That does not mean you should not take a good look at what's out there, and many drivers are not too expensive.

Back to games: think of The variety of titles you can see, whether you want something that charges you, is a frenzy of fast fire or a role-playing game that you can play locally with friends.

That's why we're here: we tell you about the games you're in. We need to play because we've tried them ourselves. We go through the new and bubbly lists of titles every week, we take a look at what is good and we will let you know.

We try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible, so if your favorite falls off the list, then; It is not a bad game … there is more to try.

So get ready to visit our gallery … we guarantee you'll find something to play before you know it. 19659013] New: In The Dog House (US $ 3.99 / £ 2.99 / AU $ 5.49)

In The Dog House is a sweet character puzzle featuring a voracious puppy and a strange house with mobile rooms, floors and corridors. . Unfortunately for the dog, his dinner is on the other side of the house, and you must discover how to get there.

The mechanics of the game is a classic sliding puzzle, with some twists. The components of the house can slide and, sometimes, rotate, but it is also necessary to use a bone to urge the dog towards the goal. The problem is that you can not move any room in which the pooch has been placed.

In The Dog House quickly becomes a big problem for brains, and it's annoying that there's no level-jumping option when you're stuck. Even so, perseverance gets rewards, because after the most arduous tests you will feel like a champion when you reach that bowl.

Holedown is an arcade shooting game that makes you explode strings of balls in numbered blocks. When the blocks are hit enough times, they explode, allowing you to dig deeper. Some blocks hold others and must be prioritized, like the gems that allow you to update your kit (more balls, new levels, a larger bag of gems) when you run out of shots and return to the surface.

Mechanics is nothing new in Android: there are lots of similar gorillas. What is new is the sense of personality, elegance and fun that Holedown brings to this style of play. This is a premium title and a love job. There are still reps at its core, but Holedown feels hypnotic and encouraging, instead of giving you the feeling that you are rummaging through your wallet, in contrast to your free contemporaries.

Osmos HD is a rare arcade game about patience and subtlety. Each unique level makes you lead a "mote" that moves when you eject small pieces of yourself. Initially, it moves inside the microscopic glob, eating smaller specks, to expand and reign supreme.

At first, other specks do not defend themselves, but the game soon immerses you in the war of the Petri dishes, as the specks tear any number of times – other and other faces. Then there is the strange curved ball, while challenges find you grappling with gravity like specks similar to a planet in a deadly floating orbit & apos; stars & apos;

It's a beautiful and captivating game, with perfect touchscreen controls. And if you can convince a friend to join, you can face up on Wi-Fi in six different arenas.

Kevin Toms Football * Manager is what happens when the man who created the original Football Manager game (the one released in 1982 for computers with 16k of RAM) brings the same spirit of "pick-up-and- play "to Android. It is raw. It is simplistic. It is also, as it turns out, very funny.

Ultimately, the game mainly involves the selection / basic management of the team, a bit of tactics and highlights of tense matches. It may seem prehistoric to anyone who mocks modern football management games, but it is a delight for anyone who craves the immediacy of a management game, rather than something so deep that it threatens to take their own lives.

Motorsport Manager Mobile 3 is a racing management game without boring bits. Instead of sitting in front of a glorified spreadsheet, the game is a balanced combination of accessibility and depth, which allows you to delve into the core of teams, sponsors, mechanics and even livery.

When you're all set, you can see surprisingly tense and exciting top-down races. (This is surprising because you are largely seeing numbered discs that circle circuits). The unique races give you an idea of ​​things, but the real meat is starting from the end of the stack in career mode, with the ultimate goal of becoming a winner.

It's all simplified, elegant and easy to use for mobile devices, and a big leap from the relatively simple Motorsport Manager Mobile .

Supertype is a word game more concerned with the shape of the letters than the words they could create. Each level designed by hand finds you looking at a configuration of lines, points and empty spaces in which to write. Touch some letters, press the checkmark and everything starts to move.

The goal is to get the letters you write in the points. In some cases, the solution can be quite obvious, for example, placing a lowercase letter l in each "step" to a point out of reach at the top of a ladder, and then having a p at the start point to put everything in motion. More often, he will scratch his head, experiment, try new approaches and then smile from ear to ear as he deciphers a solution.

Typeshift rethinks word searches and crossword puzzles. You get a tactile interface of mixed letters within columns that can be dragged. Your goal is to change the color of each tile, and the tiles only change when they are part of a word that you do in the middle row.

The game occasionally delves into the traditional territory of crossword puzzles, adding clues to the mix, which must match the words you find. Either way, it's a word game experience optimized for touch.

There are also cheerful animations and audio touches everywhere, and everything feels handmade, instead of being sent to you endlessly generated algorithmically puzzles. Naturally, such enamel costs money: beyond the free download, you pay for puzzle packages. But they are worth every penny.

AR Smash Tanks appears as a one-to-one Angry Birds, only you're pinging tanks instead of furious avians, and all this takes place in augmented reality.

You face a friend or opponent of the AI, on a battlefield that can be squeezed on a table or resized to fill a large part of the turf. Your mission is to destroy the three tanks of your opposite number using yours, or cunningly demolish buildings and use power-ups.

Although AR Smash Tanks could have worked without AR, it's much better with that. You can consider shots from all angles, as if you were playing a definitely surreal pool game. The lack of online play is a pity, but for the local multiplayer, as the British say in praise,

Lichtspeer is a trippy version of tower defense, like Plants vs. Zombies, only you fighting against the Nordic and futuristic Germanic enemies, are armed with an endless supply of bright javelins (the titular Lichtspeer), and act under the watchful eye of an angry and demanding heavy metal god.

So, this one has a strange appearance, but the underlying mechanics are quite simple: aim your spear in the style of Angry Birds, launch and repeat. Get some shots in the head, and the game rewards you. Miss too often and God's wrath freezes you briefly, making you temporarily vulnerable.

The main disadvantages of the game are repetition and brevity. However, the special moves acquired gradually stir things up (and they are a blessing in the levels), and when you are in the neon zone of Lichtspeer, you have a focused and hypnotic quality, along with a nice sense of madness.

Simulator is a matching game with a difference. Instead of presenting a wall of gems that are replenished when you make matches, Dissembler levels are similar to modern art: abstract creations that include colored tiles.

You still exchange two elements to try to combine three (or more), but here the parties vanish. The idea is to finish with a blank canvas. At first, this is easy, but Dissembler soon presents challenges in which you end up isolating chips unless you are very careful.

This makes the game more of an intricate strategic territory, and it's much better. You will feel like the smartest person to figure out the precise sequence of movements to erase later levels. And even when you have finished them all, there is a daily puzzle and an infinite way to keep you occupied.

The Room: Old Sins finds you investigating the disappearance of an engineer and his wife. The road takes you to a spooky attic. When you turn on the lights, you see a strange doll house, which then sucks you inside.

You discover that the toy is actually a complete reconstruction of a mansion, with a side order of Lovecraftian horror. Unraveling the mystery at the heart of the game and its impossible world then happens through intricate, complex tactile tactile puzzles.

Old Sins looks and sounds good, and moving is fast, there's nothing of the trick you find in the likes of Myst. Of course, if you've played The Room The Room Two and The Room Three you'll know all this. If you have not done so, take Old Sins immediately, and also your predecessors. They are some of the best games for Android.

SiNKR is a puzzle game based on pucks, hooks and holes (or, if you like, hooks, lines and sinkers). It has timers, scores, text and IAP, it's just your brain against its challenges.

The abstract images of the game are amazing, and the way they reproduce feels fresh. The discs are splashed, and you must drag them into the holes by using hooks that retract when you press the hexagonal buttons.

The smart part is how the SiNKR works with such basic elements to create puzzles that have it looking at the screen, baffled as to the correct order to retract the hooks, and when to flip them.

It gets complicated later, with new ideas and obstacles, but it is likely to be completed in a few hours. However, this type of premium experience without advertising should be encouraged on Android, and SiNKR is worth the small outlay.

.projekt is a relaxing minimalist puzzle with a brilliant design that twists your brain by forcing you to think in two and three dimensions simultaneously. In the center of the screen there is a five by five grid, which you touch to build block structures from cubes. The goal is for the shadows that project to match the patterns on two visible walls.

At first, this is somewhat simple, but .projekt subtly increases the challenge as you move through its levels. You are forced to rotate the canvas several times and often to destroy your structure and rebuild it, as an approach turns out to be a dead end.

However, never .projekt becomes a frustrating experience. You are not on the clock, there are no movement limits and there is no IAP on the prowl. It's just about you and the blocks, and imagine what an object looks like from two points of view.

Super Hexagon is an endless survival game that laughs implacably at your incompetence. Start with a small spaceship in the center of the screen, and the walls close quickly. All you need to do is move left and right to go through the gaps.

Unfortunately for you, the walls keep changing and changing, The screen pulses on the Chiptune soundtrack, and the whole experience turns and shakes as if you were inside a particularly violent washing machine. It seems impossible, but soon you begin to recognize patterns on the walls.

Join some skillful movements, survive a minute through the skin of your teeth and you will feel briefly like a boss as new stadiums open. And although complacency is erased from your face the instant you venture near them, Super Hexagon has a heady and compelling nature to compensate for its one-mile-long sadistic streak.

Florence is an interactive experience on the sidelines of the game: a short story book illustrated with game elements. These are designed to help you empathize with the protagonist, the titular Florence, and to advance the story.

Here is a small challenge, plus an invitation to delve into the life of a young woman while moving away from the monotony of the everyday. to the dizzying emotion of experiencing their first love. His input is light and sporadic, but cleverly conceived, whether he's touching without thinking in figures on a spreadsheet or arranging pieces of puzzles in speech balloons, the pieces decrease in number as the conversation becomes easier.

The story is short, and there is perhaps little repetition value, but Florence should please anyone looking for a moving way to spend an hour with their Android device that is a bit different from the typical game rate.

ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun finds a madman in his own way through the extremely angry, heavily armed extraterrestrial corridors, while he alone is armed with a really big gun. That may sound good, until you realize that the weapon is also your means to stay in the air.

This means that to go higher, you must shoot down, becoming temporarily vulnerable to incoming fire. If it shoots forward, it begins to plummet towards the hard and deadly terrain. Therefore, ATOMIK becomes a manic and balancing act of high octane gymnastics with the fingers, with the potential to be killed very frequently.

In each kill, the game rewinds the level so you can try again and collapse on your failure to complete the challenges that last only 20 seconds without dying dozens of times first. But when you break one, you really feel like a boss.

Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery is an adventure game about discovery and exploration. It's a relentlessly beautiful experience, with plenty of retro-infused artwork and an exuberant soundtrack. The game encourages you to breathe everything, take your time and work at your own pace.

Unlike most adventures, which are often obsessed with inventories, Sworcery deals mainly with puzzles that are limited to a screen. The solutions are often abstract, involving the manipulation of their environment or even time itself. You can free the forest spirits with musical dexterity, or discover that a solution requires touching at fixed points during the lunar calendar.

Sometimes it may seem a little valuable, and there are some mistakes, such as clumsy and unpleasant combat. , but Sworcery is evocative and expressive, and is full of rewards that tend toward the magical, unless you're dead inside.

Part Time UFO is a physics-based stacking game that features a cute UFO that has landed on Earth and now has to make a living. That's right, in this era, extraterrestrials are not sent to Area 51, and instead, they track job ads to earn some money.

Fortunately, this little UFO is made of severe things and has a huge claw to pick things up. This is useful for part-time jobs, doing everything from stacking deliveries on a truck to attending the grand finale of a circus elephant: balancing on a tightrope, with five animals precariously trained on a pole.

Since the part-time UFO embraces the frustration of claw machines can enrage, especially when it knocks down a structure as the clock progresses. However, mainly, this is a charming and very silly game that is very fun.

Meteorfall is a "roguelike" role-playing adventure that poses as a card game. You choose a hero, and then you embark on a semi-random journey, which largely involves traversing a horde of monsters. Just instead of sliding a trust sword or moving a grid in turn, your actions, attacks and strategy revolve around the cards.

With each card that is dealt, you choose, Tinder style, to slide to the left or right. Each direction has its own result, which may involve hitting your enemy in the face or replenishing energy. Over time, you increase your deck, gradually increasing your strength and abilities, until the moment you stretch too much and kill yourself horribly.

Given the simple interface, here is a lot of depth. And with every game that is unique, Meteorfall is an Android title that will keep you playing for months.

Warlock & # 39; s Tower is a turn-based puzzle game that finds you on a quest to convince the titular sorcerer, about to destroy it. world: in fact everyone likes it a lot and I would appreciate it if it calmed down a bit.

Upon entering each small single screen dungeon, you will leave, knowing that each step you take exhausts your life force. The regeneration gems are dotted, which means that your route is usually done along serpentine lines.

If so, the Warlock Tower would still be recommended, but it does not rest on its laurels. Make your way through the levels and there is more than a limit of moves to deal with, as the game features moving corridors, changing characters and slow-moving zombies, eager to rip your face off.

Sonic Runners Adventure tries to do the same trick as Super Mario Run, distilling the essence of a well-loved traditional console game platform in a self-runner with a thumb. The difference with Sonic is that it advances at a dizzying pace, which translates into a colorful effort that has more in common with Canabalt than the precision nature of the Nintendo game.

That does not mean that there is no case of care and precision. Sonic Runners Adventure presents carefully designed multi-level landscapes, each with its own rhythm.

Break the choreography and you will grab the rings, you will give the monsters on the head pretty and you will give a serious kick to the evil Dr. Eggman. If not, at least it can be reassured because the friendly levels for mobile devices of this game are not terribly expansive, so they are geared to have another opportunity immediately.

60 seconds! Atomic Adventure is an initially jovial version of the apocalypse. The first short part of the game gives you a minute to run around the house, pick up supplies and family members and throw them into a shelter.

The second part makes you make decisions about distributing supplies and looking for more in the hope of surviving long enough to be rescued, assuming someone is left to do so.

The electronic games section could do with marking the madness in the controls. It is too easy to end up crashing into the walls at random, giving a chaotic touch to the frustration. Still, take the time to master the strange physics and you will do well.

The strategy section has more legs to repeat playback (and you can skip the arcade part if you prefer to go directly there). It offers many unexpected events, and a dark and comically dark edge that contrasts with the awkward arcade section that comes before.

Vignettes is at the extreme end of the games, sometimes it feels more like an interactive toy. But there's a lurking game, it's just an abstract one.

Initially you are invited to interact with the name of the game. Turn it through a flat edge and this object suddenly becomes a chest, inside which there is a phone that, when handled properly, becomes several other items in rapid succession.

The ultimate goal is discovery: discover how to access each of them. The objects within the game. There are also many secrets to discover, such as a landing on the moon with small cartoon astronauts and a suitcase in which you can throw an endless succession of socks.

Everything is very strange, but it is a convincing and stress-free experience that feels adequately different from anything else on the platform.

Hidden Folks is a hidden object game with a soul. It's reminiscent of those mass-produced posters where you go through a massive and messy scene, trying to find the only person with a silly hat. The difference is that everything here has been done with love and care, from interactive hand-drawn illustrations to fun oral sound effects.

The basic concepts are, without a doubt, much more than what is expected: go through the screen to find specific objects or characters, and continue when it is complete.

We realize that that does not seem like much, but Hidden People has a charm and a humor that sets it apart from any of its contemporaries. On a larger Android phone or tablet, this is a particularly relaxing and absorbing game in which to lose a few hours.

Reigns: Her Majesty is the follow-up to the well-received Reigns that was roughly a mixture of kingdom administration and Tinder. Again, the sequel makes you perform real tasks, slide to the left and right to make decisions, responding to the demands of your subjects.

At all times, you must balance the church, the army, the people and the treasury. If someone becomes too powerful or angry, your reign is over. In that moment, you will reincarnate for another opportunity.

Like its predecessor, this is an intelligent game with recurring themes, along with plots and achievements that make their way through the centuries. But the writing is stricter this time, there is an inventory to work with, and you are playing the Queen, and she has it much harder than a man.

Zenge is a sliding puzzle game whose first levels almost insult your intelligence, it simply asks you to slip some shapes instead. However, do not be fooled: Zenge is deceptive in a way that should make even the puzzle game fan smile.

At the beginning, it is only the cutting of the forms that frustrates the efforts to place them in their place, but every now and then, new mechanics come into play, like pieces that stick to each other or buttons that invert the shapes.

All this takes place in a stress-free environment. There are no timers, movement limits, stores, points or stars, it's just you and the puzzles. The purity of Zenge would only make it interesting, but the quality of the puzzles makes it essential.

Million Onion Hotel is a deceptively simple game of matches. At first, it seems that you simply hammer onions the second that appear in a five by five grid, with the goal of making complete lines and increasing your score. But Million Onion Hotel is full of secrets, allowing you to discover how your mysterious world works.

This extends to both the game and the background story. Soon you realize that a combination of speed and strategy is vital, as well as an eye to prioritize actions when the screen is being bombarded by surrealistic and crazed animated vegetables.

Then there are the scenes, which seem to involve a hotel, a wormhole in a distant galaxy, and a lot of sex (caricature) and violence.

The Million Onion Hotel is certainly not your average gem swapper, it is much, much more.

Framed 2 follows in the footsteps of Framed : a puzzle game based on the reorganization of the panels of an animated comic.

The story has a mysterious ship, contraband and many sneaky spies. As you play a scene, something inevitably goes horribly wrong for the protagonist and you have to swap frames for things to look differently. Like the original, all this is wonderfully tactile, but the puzzles are better this time, with more emphasis on the reuse of panels.

It's even funny when it goes wrong. It is not often that you entertain yourself by failing in a puzzle game, but here you will want to fail at each level if you succeed the first time, just to see what the funny cast of Frapes 2 would do [19659016] Bury Me, My Love is another game of the mold Lifeline : a branched narrative similar to a book Choose Your Own Adventure, which is developed in real time.

What is different is that the narrative of this game is based on the real-life stories of the Syrian refugees. You play Majd, whose wife Nour is trying to reach Europe. She communicates with you through a messaging application, and you respond with advice, which can have a great impact.

This kind of adventure can be tense, filter into your real life while waiting for the answers, but Bury Me, My Love accepts. This is extreme, for example, when it has been 24 hours since he heard Nour, who was heading to a heavily armed border.

This type of theme will not be for everyone, but if you want a game that will make you think a bit, it is recommended.

Monument Valley 2 is the follow-up of a landscape puzzle game Monument Valley . As in your predecessor, you create impossible paths by manipulating constructions similar to Escher to achieve your goals.

This is a magnificent game. The minimalist architecture is dotted with optical illusions. Imagination abounds and the color palette dazzles, half makes you want to be able to print all the levels like a massive poster to stick on the wall.

The real puzzles are slight and the game itself has been criticized for being short, but the thoughts of brevity evaporate when you face one of the many beautiful and spectacular moments of Monument Valley 2, as a lateral level that is It resembles modern art and a section where trees explode from pots when they are bathed in sunlight. In summary, this is a mobile experience to savor.

Caterzillar se siente un poco como Super Mario Galaxy renderizado en 2D, protagonizada por una larva voraz. Cada nivel comprende una serie de estructuras flotantes, entre las que puedes saltar. Estos giran por debajo de sus muchas piernas, lo que lo convierte en una experiencia de juego decididamente desorientadora.

Por lo tanto, gran parte del juego consiste en averiguar cómo sortear niveles en los que, en cuestión de segundos, puede llegar a estar arriba. Y justo cuando te orientas, el juego te disparará amablemente a la mitad del nivel en un cañón, o disparará vides al aire, creando bucles en el aire.

El resto del juego subyacente es bastante simple: recoger un montón de cosas; evitar enemigos llegar a una salida. Además, algunos niveles requieren una gran cantidad de retroceso. Aun así, la locura antigravitacional de Caterzillar lo convierte en un ganador.

Thimbleweed Park es una aventura que te remonta a los días más cálidos de 1987. Principalmente porque es cuando se establece, en el parque titular de Thimbleweed, y hay Ha sido un asesinato. Pero también, este juego recuerda al clásico PC Maniac Mansion, en todo, desde el estilo visual hasta la interfaz.

Eso no significa que esta sea una reliquia antigua. Los veteranos de la industria, Ron Gilbert y Gary Winnick, han escrito un guión ganador (que se vuelve cada vez más extraño a medida que juegas), y crean docenas de acertijos astutos y complicados para que tu cerebro pierda velocidad durante las 15 a 20 horas de duración del juego. 19659002] De vez en cuando, tal vez se vuelve un poco demasiado obtuso. Pero sobre todo, este es un juego que sabe que es un juego, y que también quiere que sepas que es un juego de acertijos para no tomar prisioneros. Uno que cuenta con los fontaneros que también son investigadores paranormales, vestidos como palomas. (Dijimos que era extraño.)

Death Road to Canada es una película de zombis que se estrelló en un juego retro clásico. Pequeños héroes pixelados hablan sobre un mundo distópico, golpean a zombis con lo que venga a la mano, saquean casas y tratan de no ser devorados.

El viaje por carretera es de naturaleza impecable. El juego intenta constantemente descarrilar tu ritmo y tu impulso. En los bits de texto Elegir tu propia aventura, la decisión equivocada puede encontrarte salvado por un alce. En otros lugares, los intensos desafíos del "asedio" te dejan en un espacio confinado con hordas de zombis, a menudo armados solo con un palo. Handy.

Estos elementos abruptos pueden rallar, al igual que los controles ligeramente deslizantes que no siempre son lo suficientemente ajustados; pero, por lo demás, se trata de una ambiciosa combinación de juegos de rol y arcade, con generosas muñecas de humor negro, y BRAIINNZZZ.

Love You To Bits es un puzzler visualmente deslumbrante e implacablemente ingenioso para apuntar y hacer clic. Presenta a Kosmo, un explorador del espacio que busca las piezas dispersas de su novia robot, y la cabeza sin vida que todavía está en sus garras. Lo que es un poco complicado.

No pienses demasiado en eso, porque este juego es magnífico. A través de sus muchas y variadas escenas, juega rápido y suelto con referencias de la cultura pop, desafiándote a vencer a un 2D Monument Valley enviando Star Wars y, en un momento dado, arrojándote a un planeta de simios. [19659002]Now and again, you'll need to make a leap of logic to complete a task, and puzzles mostly involve picking things up and using them in the right place – hardly the height of innovation. But this game’s so endearing and smartly designed you’d have to be lifeless yourself to fail to love it at least a little.

Run-A-Whale is a sweet-natured endless runner. Well, endless swimmergiven that its protagonist is a friendly whale giving a lift/thrill ride to a shipwrecked pirate.

There’s no tapping to leap here, though; in Run-A-Whale, you hold the screen to make the whale dive. When you let go and he breaks the surface, he soars (very) briefly into the air, before returning to the water with a splash.

As ever, the aim in Run-A-Whale is survival – and that in itself isn’t simple. The game’s one failing is it sometimes makes it really tough to avoid hazards, which can include whale-stopping walls someone’s carelessly built beneath the waves.

Mostly, though, this one’s a gorgeous romp through beautiful landscapes, grabbing coins, occasionally being fired into the sky by a cannon, and regularly fending off giant crabs and octopodes.

Sidewords is a rare word game that isn’t ripping off Scrabble or crosswords. Instead, you get blank grids with words along two edges. You must use at least one letter from each edge to make new words of three or more letters. Each selected letter blasts a line across the grid; where lines meet become solid areas filled with your word. The aim is to fill the grid.

On smaller levels, this is simple, but larger grids can be challenging – especially when you realize a massive word (that on discovery made you feel like a genius) leaves spaces that are impossible to fill. Fortunately, Sidewords encourages experimentation, and so you can remove/replace words at will.

It’s clever and a bit different; and if you tire of the main game, you can fire up mini-game Quads, which marries word-building and Threes!-style sliding tiles. Two for the price of one, then – and both games alone are worth the outlay.

Freeways is one of those games that doesn’t look like much in stills, but proves ridiculously compelling from the moment you fire it up. In short, it’s all about designing roadways for autonomous vehicles.

It comes across a bit like a mash-up of Mini Metro and Flight Control. You link roads together, often by designing monstrous spaghetti junctions, only you’re armed with tools that make you feel like an urban planner drawing with chunky crayons while wearing boxing gloves.

The game’s crude nature is part of its charm. It’s more about speed and immediacy than precision, a feeling cemented when you realize there’s no undo. When your road system gets jammed, your only option is to start from scratch and try something new.

In truth, the inability to remove even tiny errors can irk, not least when roads don’t connect as you’d expect. Otherwise, Freeways is a blast.

Card Crawl mixes solitaire and dungeon crawling, and does an awful lot with a four-by-two grid of cards.

In each round, an armor-clad ogre deals four cards, which may include monsters, weaponry, potions, and spells. Beneath sits your adventurer’s card, two spots for items to hold, and one to stash a card for later.

To progress to the next draw, you must use three of the cards dealt to you. For example, you might grab a sword, use that to kill a demonic crow, and then quaff a potion.

Getting through the entire deck requires strategy more than luck. For example, down health potions when you don’t need to, and you may not survive later when weaponless and battling multiple enemies.

Generously, the basic game is free; but we recommend buying the one-off IAP to unlock the full set of cards and game modes.

Miracle Merchant has you mix potions for thirsty adventurers, fashioned from stacks of colored cards. Each customer asks for a specific ingredient, and mentions another they like. Across 13 rounds, you must manage your deck to ensure everyone goes away happy. Fail once and your game ends.

Decisions must be made carefully, because once cards are placed, they can’t be moved. Combinations prove vital for success: pairs of cards boost your score, as does matching cards to the colored icons found on those already in play. There are also ‘evil’ cards with negative values to overcome.

The game doesn’t feel as refined as the developer’s own Card Thief, but we enjoyed its elegance. There’s no messing about with special powers and leveling up – it’s just you, cards, and a set of rules. There’s perhaps a touch too much reliance on card counting and luck, but Miracle Merchant’s nonetheless a simple, engaging, unique stab on solitaire.

Linelight is a gorgeous, minimal puzzler that pits you against the rhythmic denizens of a network of lines levitating above a colored haze. Your aim is simply to progress, inching your way along the network, triggering gates and switches, and collecting golden gems.

Early puzzles are content to let you get to grips with the virtual stick (one of the best on Android). Soon, you’re faced with adversaries that kill with a single touch. But these foes aren’t merely to be avoided – they must also be manipulated into position to trigger switches that open pathways that enable you to continue.

Now and again, new mechanics keep things fresh, as do abrupt changes in pace, such as a memorable several-screens-long pursuit/dance with an enemy towards the end of the game’s first section. In all, Linelight’s an enchanting, vibrant, superbly designed experience – an essential purchase for your Android device.

is a playable, immediate old-school arcade game featuring an owl who’s trapped in hell “for some reason”. As you tap the left or right of the screen, he briefly flaps in that direction before gravity does its thing. Your aim: survival – easier said than done in endless rooms of angry demons.

Fortunately, you can fight back. Smacking into a demon destroys it. (Note: this really doesn’t work with massive whirling buzz-saws.) Some demons spit out loot when they expire, enabling you to power-up your owl in its subsequent lives.

And it turns out you’ll be grateful for rockets that shoot out of your behind when tackling giant (and oddly goofy) caterpillar-like bosses and the huge flame-spewing demons determined to make your time in hell, well, hell.

is a single-screen shoot ’em up that marries the best of old-school retro blasters with modern touchscreen controls.

As its name suggests, there are no virtual D-pads to contend with. Instead, as the aliens menacingly descend towards your planet, you tap their general location to fling something destructive their way.

The key to victory doesn’t involve tapping the screen like a lunatic, though. Your weapons need time to recharge, and specific armaments work well against certain foes. In a sense, it all plays out like a strategy-laced precision shooter on fast-forward, with you clocking incoming hostiles, quickly switching to the best weapon, and tapping or swiping to blow them away.

There are just 30 levels in all, but only the very best arcade veterans are likely to blaze through them at any speed – and even then, getting all the achievements is a tough ask.

is a manic swipe-based high-score chaser, featuring a samurai who has – for some reason – been provoked into a relentless rampage.

Said rampage is dependent on you swiping. Swipe left and you lunge in that direction, slicing your sword through the air. Swipe up and you majestically leap, whereupon you can repeatedly swipe every which way, fashioning a flurry of airborne destruction akin to the most outlandish of martial arts movies.

Along with dishing out death, you must ensure you don’t come a cropper yourself. And attack is your only form of defense, because when you’re moving, you’re also deflecting incoming projectiles. You’re also likely racking up quite the body count, which accumulates in bloody retro-pixel form at the foot of the screen.

It’s of course entirely absurd, and without much nuance; but Super Samurai Rampage is an arcade thrill that’s entertaining, and where repeat play is rewarded with gradual mastery – or at least lasting a few seconds longer before your inevitable demise.

is a puzzle game that combines box-pusher Sokoban, pyramids, and the evil mind of a sadistic games creator, intent on making you weep.

The basics are simple: each level plays out atop a triangular grid. Your blue pyramid must nudge colored pyramids onto matching triangular spaces. Movement and nudges come by way of flipping your pyramid in one of three directions, or ‘pinning’ one of its corners and having it spin, taking along anything it touches for the ride.

The manner in which pyramids interact is far more complex than the square boxes found in Sokoban, and that’s what transforms Yankai’s Peak into a truly testing challenge. Even early levels can stump, until you hit upon the precise combination of moves required to achieve your goal.

Deep into the game, it may take days to crack a particularly tough challenge, although you’re at least aided by unlimited undos, and a level map that gives you access to several puzzles at once.

is an oddball combination of territory-snagging board game Risk, and classic defense arcade title Missile Command. You pick a nuclear power and set about building missiles, researching technologies, annexing adjacent states, and – when it comes to it – blowing the living daylights out of your enemies.

The high-tech interface balances speed and accessibility, although games tend to be surprisingly lengthy – and initially sedate, as you gradually increase your arsenal, and shore up your defenses.

Eventually, all hell breaks lose, including terrifying first strikes, where enemies lob their entire cache of missiles at an unlucky target. If that’s you and your defenses aren’t strong enough, prepare more for ‘the end’ than ‘game over’ as the screen shakes amid all the destruction.

It’s thoughtful and clever (and often chilling), but First Strike never forgets it’s a game – and a really good one for real-time strategy fans.

The first two Riptide games had you zoom along undulating watery circuits surrounded by gleaming metal towers. offers another slice of splashy futuristic racing, but this time finds you immersed in the seedy underbelly of the sport.

As with the previous games, you’re still piloting a hydrofoil, and racing involves not only going very, very fast, but also being a massive show-off at every available opportunity.

If you hit a ramp or wave that hurls you into the air, you’d best fling your ride about or do a handstand, in order to get turbo-boost on landing. Sensible racers get nothing.

The career mode finds you earning cash, upgrading your ride, and probably ignoring the slightly tiresome story bits. The racing, though, is superb – an exhilarating mix of old-school arcade thrills and modern mobile touchscreen smarts.

is a love letter to classic point-and-click adventure games. You explore your surroundings, unearth objects, and then figure out where best to use them. Straightforward stuff, then (at least in theory – many puzzles are decidedly cryptic), but what sets Samorost 3 apart is that it’s unrelentingly gorgeous, and full of heart.

The storyline is bonkers, involving a mad monk who used a massive mechanical hydra to smash up a load of planetoids. You, as an ambitious space-obsessed gnome, must figure out how to set things right.

The game is packed with gorgeous details that delight, from the twitch of an insect’s antennae to a scene where the protagonist successfully encourages nearby creatures to sing, and starts fist-punching the air while dancing with glee. Just two magical moments among many in one of the finest examples of adventuring on Android.

finds you exploring the decaying ruins of a devastated world. And you do so as a blob of green goo. Movement comes by way of you ‘erasing’ chunks of this creature with a circular ‘brush’. Over time, you learn how this can urge the blob to move in certain ways, or how you can split it in two, so half can flick a switch, while the other half moves onward.

This probably sounds a bit weird – and it is. But Mushroom 11 is perfectly suited to the touchscreen. The tactile way you interact with the protagonist feels just right, and although your surroundings are desolate, they’re also oddly beautiful, augmented by a superb ethereal soundtrack.

There are moments of frustration – the odd difficulty wall. But with regular restart points, and countless ingenious obstacles and puzzles, Mushroom 11 is a strange creature you should immediately squeeze into whatever space exists on your Android device.

In the late 1970s, Space Invaders invited you to blast rows of invaders. In the mid-1980s, Arkanoid revamped Breakout, having you use a bat-like spaceship to belt a ball at space bricks. Now, mashes the two titles together – and, surprisingly, it works very nicely.

Instead of a ball, you’re deflecting the invaders’ bullets back at them, to remove bricks and the invaders themselves. Now and again, Arkanoid is recalled more directly in a special attack that has you belt a ball around the place after firing it into action using a massive space bow.

Increasingly, though, the game is laced with strategy, since your real enemy is time. A couple of dozen levels in, you must carefully utilize powerful invaders’ blasts and onscreen bonuses to emerge victorious – not easy when neon is flying everywhere and the clock’s ticking down.

In platform adventure , fat cat Mr. Whiskers is on a mission. The chef behind his favorite dumplings has disappeared, and so the brave feline sets out to find him. The journey finds the chubby kitty rolling and leaping across – and through – all kinds of vibrant landscapes, packed with hills, tunnels, and enemies.

The game comes across a lot like PSP classic LocoRoco, in you tilting the screen to move, the protagonist’s rotundness increasing over time, and several of the landscape interactions (oddball elevators; smashing through fragile barriers).

But The Big Journey very much has its own character, not least in the knowing humor peppered throughout what might otherwise have been a saccharine child-like storyline about a gluttonous cartoon cat.

As it is, The Big Journey isn’t terribly challenging, but it is enjoyable, whether you drink the visuals in and just dodder to the end, or simultaneously try to find every collectible and beat the speed-run time limits.

Initial moments in point-and-click adventure are so sedate the game’s in danger of falling over. You play as Ruth, a young woman living on a remote farm in a 1920s Norwegian fjord. She makes dairy products, sold to a town several hours away. Then, without warning, a massive gold spaceship descends, stealing her cows.

Fortunately, Ruth decides she’s having none of that, leaps aboard the spaceship, and finds herself embroiled in a tale of intergalactic struggles. To say much more would spoil things, but we can say that this old-school adventure is a very pleasant way to spend a few hours.

The puzzles are logical yet satisfying; the visuals are gorgeous; and the game amusingly provides all of its narrative in rhyme, which is pleasingly quaint and nicely different.

Hero of the hour Dennis finds himself unicycling naked in this gorgeous platform game best described as flat-out nuts. In , you dodder left or right, leap over obstacles, and break your fall with a handy umbrella, all the while attempting to grab ice as surreal landscapes collapse and morph around you.

The mission feels like a journey into what might happen if Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam were let loose on game design. One minute, you’re entering a top-hatted gent’s ear to find and kiss a ‘reverse mermaid’ on a levitating bike; the next you’re in a terrifying silhouette funfair that might have burst forth from a fevered mind during a particularly unpleasant nightmare.

Some of the levels are tough, and there’s a bit of grinding to unlock new outfits. But if you want something a bit more creative on your Android, you can’t do much better than iCycle.

It’s wrong to coo about graphics when a game is otherwise uneven, but with we’re going to do it anyway. And that’s because this puzzle-oriented adventure is drop-dead gorgeous, with truly stunning hand-crafted scenes that feel like someone squeezed a ridiculously expensive animated movie into your Android device.

The puzzling is more variable. The quest to locate your kidnapped grandfather requires defeating numerous logic puzzles. Some are irritating, with plug/switch events becoming old long before the end. But it’s hard to grumble on encountering a pathfinding puzzle involving a house that literally spins round, and a really sweet scene where you learn a song on a guitar.

Our advice: gawp at the visuals, drink in the atmosphere, and use a walkthrough to speed through the boring bits.

Anyone who thought Nintendo would convert a standard handheld take on Mario to Android was always on a hiding to nothing. But that’s probably just as well – Nintendo’s classic platformers are reliant on tight controls, rather than you fumbling about on a slippy glass surface.

tries a different tack, infusing plenty of ‘Marioness’ into an auto-runner, where you guide the mustachioed plumber by tapping the screen to have him perform actions.

You might consider this reductive; also, Super Mario Run is a touch short, and the ‘kingdom builder’ sub-game alongside the main act falls flat. Still, really smart level design wins the day, and completists will have fun replaying the world tour mode time and again to collect the many hard-to-reach coins.

If you never thought a solitaire-like card game was an ideal framework for a tense stealth title, you’re probably not alone. But somehow cleverly mashes up cards and sneaking about.

The game takes place on a three-by-three grid of cards. For each move, you plan a route to avoid getting duffed up by guards (although pickpocketing them on the way past is fair game, obviously), loot a chest, and make for an exit.

Card Thief is not the easiest game to get into, with its lengthy tutorial and weird spin on cards. But this is a game with plenty of nuance and depth that becomes increasingly rewarding the more you play, gradually unlocking its secrets. It’s well worth the effort.

A young boy hurls himself down a massive well, with only his ‘gunboots’ for protection. There are so many questions there (not least: what parent would buy their kid boots that are also guns?), but it sets the scene for a superb arcade shooter with surprising smarts and depth.

At first in , you’ll probably be tempted to blast everything, but ammo soon runs out. On discovering you reload on landing, you’ll then start to jump about a lot. But further exploration of the game’s mechanics reaps all kinds of rewards, leading to you bounding on monsters, venturing into tunnels to find bonus bling, and getting huge scores once you crack the secrets behind combos.

The game might look like it’s arrived on your Android device from a ZX Spectrum, but this is a thoroughly modern and hugely engaging blaster.

That game where you cast a shadow on the wall and attempt to make a vaguely recognizable rabbit? That’s , only instead of your hands, you manipulate all kinds of levitating detritus, spinning and twisting things until you abruptly – and magically – fashion a silhouette resembling anything from a seahorse to an old-school telephone.

The game looks gorgeous, with stunning lighting effects and objects that look genuinely real as they dangle in the air. Mostly though, this is a game about tactility and contemplation – it begs to be explored, and to make use of your digits in a way virtual D-pads could never hope to compete with.

You might have played enough automatic runners to last several lifetimes, but nonetheless deserves to be on your Android device. And although the basics might initially seem overly familiar (tap to jump and ensure your sprinting chap doesn’t fall down a hole), there’s in fact a lot going on here.

Each level has been meticulously designed, which elevates Chameleon Run beyond its algorithmically generated contemporaries. Like the best platform games, you must commit every platform and gap to memory to succeed. But also, color-switching and ‘head jumps’ open up new possibilities for route-finding – and failure.

In the former case, you must ensure you’re the right color before landing on colored platforms. With the latter, you can smash your head into a platform above to give you one more chance to leap forward and not tumble into the void.

There’s a distinct sense of minimalism at the heart of , along with a knowing nod to a few arcade classics of old. Bereft of a story, the game simply tasks you with guiding a trundling cube to the end of each blocky level. Along the way, you grab tiny glowing cubes. On reaching the goal, you get graded on your abilities.

This admittedly doesn’t sound like much on paper, but Edge is a superb arcade game. The isometric visuals are sharp, and the head-bobbing soundtrack urges you onwards. The level design is the real star, though, with surprisingly imaginative objectives and hazards hewn from the isometric landscape.

And even when you’ve picked your way to the very end, there’s still those grades to improve by shaving the odd second off of your times.

Still not sure? Try out the . Eager for more? Grab , which is every bit as good as the original.

Harking back to classic side-on platformers, dumps an Indiana Jones wannabe into a massive pyramid, filled with mummies, spiders and traps; from here he must figure out how to steal all the bling, uncover all the secrets, and then finally escape.

Beyond having you leap about, grab diamonds, and keep indigenous explorer-killing critters at bay, Traps n' Gemstones is keen to have you explore. Work your way deeper into the pyramid and you’ll find objects that when placed somewhere specific open up new pathways.

But although this one’s happy to hurl you back to gaming’s halcyon days, it’s a mite kinder to newcomers than the games that inspired it.

Get killed and you can carry on from where you left off. More of a hardcore player? Death wipes your score, so to doff your fedora in a truly smug manner, you’ll have to complete the entire thing without falling to the game’s difficult challenges.

There’s more than a hint of Zelda about , but that’s not a bad thing when it means embarking on one of the finest arcade adventures on mobile.

You awake to find a letter from your father, who it turns out has gone from your life. You’re merely left with his notebook and a necklace. Thanks, Dad!

Being that this is a videogame, you reason it’s time to get questy, exploring the islands of the Uncharted Seas, chatting with folks, stabbing hostile wildlife, uncovering secrets and mysteries, and trying very hard to not get killed.

You get a chapter for free, to test how the game works on your device (its visual clout means fairly powerful Android devices are recommended); a single IAP unlocks the rest. The entire quest takes a dozen hours or so – which will likely be some of the best gaming you’ll experience on Android.

Some people argue programming is perhaps the best ‘game’ of all – and a brilliant puzzle. Those might be people you’d sooner avoid at parties, but suggests they could have a point. In this compelling and unique puzzle game, you control the actions of a worker drone by way of programming-like sequences.

The premise is to complete tasks by converting items in your inbox to whatever’s required in the outbox – for example, only sending zeroes. Like much programming, success often relies on logic, with you fashioning loops, and using actions such as ‘jump’, ‘if’ statements, and ‘copy’. These are arranged via drag and drop on a board at the right-hand side of the screen.

That might all sound impenetrable, but Human Resource Machine is in fact elegant, friendly, and approachable, not least due to developer Tomorrow Corporation’s penchant for infusing games with personality and heart.

Coming across like a sandbox-oriented chill-out ‘zen’ take on seminal classic Boulder Dash, has your little space-faring hero exploring a massive handcrafted world peppered with walls, hero-squashing boulders, and plenty of bling.

Much like Boulder Dash, Captain Cowboy is mostly about not being crushed by massive rocks – you dig paths through dirt, aiming to strategically use boulders to take out threats rather than your own head. But everything here is played out without stress (due to endless continues) and sometimes in slow motion (when floating through zero-gravity sections of space).

The result feels very different from the title that inspired it, but it’s no less compelling. Tension is replaced by exploration, and single-screen arcade thrills are sacrificed for a longer game. As you dig deeper into Captain Cowboy’s world, there are plenty of things awaiting discovery, and even tackling the next screen of dirt and stones always proves enjoyable.

In the fantasy world of , battles are fought to the death by way of cards. The foes barring the way to your quest’s goal set up walls of cards before them, which you smash through by matching those one higher or lower than the one you hold.

Then there are spells you cast by way of collected energies. Meanwhile, the creatures strike back with their own unique attacks, from strange worm-like beings nibbling your head, to grumpy forest dwellers making your cards grow beards.

In short, then, a modicum of fantasy role-playing wrapped around an entertaining and approachable card game. And on Android, you have the advantage of the game being free – a one-off IAP only figures if you want to avoid watching adverts, and have access to alternate decks to try your luck as a different character.

For a game that eventually pushes your observation skills, precision and nerve to breaking point, is almost absurdly easy at first. At the top of the screen, you’re given a small selection of colors. The aim is to spear them in order, by slicing through shapes below.

This is simple enough when the shapes are static. It’s more than a tad tougher when the little blighters won’t stay still, or when they unsportingly evolve and mutate, doing everything they can to try and make you fail.

The end result is kind of a minimal, artistic, exactness-obsessed take on Fruit Ninja. And for our money, it’s an essential download – especially on devices with larger displays.

Anyone expecting the kind of free-roaming racing from the console versions of this title are going to be miffed, but is nonetheless one of the finest games of its kind on Android. Yes, the tracks are linear, with only the odd shortcut, but the actual racing bit is superb.

You belt along the seedy streets of a drab, gray city, trying to win events that will boost your ego and reputation alike. Wins swell your coffers, enabling you to buy new vehicles for entering special events.

The game looks gorgeous on Android and has a high-octane soundtrack to urge you onwards. But mostly, this one’s about the controls – a slick combination of responsive tilt and effortless drifting that makes everything feel closer to OutRun 2 than typically sub-optimal mobile racing fare.

The original and best of the GO games, should never have worked. It reimagines the console stealth shooter as a dinky clockwork boardgame. Agent 47 scoots about, aiming to literally knock enemies off the board, and then reach and bump off his primary target.

Visually, it’s stunning – oddly adorable, but boasting the kind of clarity that’s essential for a game where a single wrong move could spell disaster. And the puzzles are well designed, too, with distinct objectives that often require multiple solutions to be found.

If you’re a fan of Agent 47’s exploits on consoles, you might be a bit nonplussed by Hitman GO, but despite its diorama stylings, it nonetheless manages to evoke some of the atmosphere and tension from the console titles, while also being entirely suited to mobile play.

Based on cult web hit Gimme Friction Baby by Wouter Visser, has you fire orbs into a tiny galactic void. Each bounces, comes to rest, and expands until touching something else. If one crosses the danger line above your cannon, well, it's game over.

It’s much harder to explain this game than to play it, but we’ll do our best. The screen rapidly fills, but you can obliterate existing orbs by firing others at them. During collisions, the numbers within static orbs decrease by one. Should any orb's number hit zero, it explodes, the wake depleting nearby orbs.
See, we told you.

Density of explanation aside, this is a beautiful game of dazzling neon and increasing tension. Larger balls create huge explosions and the potential for combos and higher scores, but leave you less room to maneuver.

Varied modes test your timing (Pure's oscillating gun), aim (Supernova's manual cannon), and whether you're Brian Cox (Gravity's orbs that arc around those already on the screen).

You have to feel for the little beastie in Badland 2. Having somehow survived all manner of horrors last time round, the winged critter is now hurled into an even deadlier circle of hell. As before, the aim is to reach an exit, avoiding traps such as massive saw-blades, bubbling magma, and flamethrowers belching toasty death in all directions.

Your means of survival is mostly to flap a bit. This time, though, rather than prod the screen to flap rightwards, you can flap left or right, which comes in handy for navigating deranged levels that now scroll in all directions.

There's perhaps a lack of freshness in this sequel, despite such new tricks and a smattering of unfamiliar traps, but Badland 2 remains a visually stunning and relentlessly cruel arcade experience among the very best on Android. (Do, though, buy the IAP – the atmosphere and momentum is obliterated when ads appear.) 

One of the most exhilarating games on mobile, finds a featureless white ball barreling along a ribbon-like track that twists and turns into the distance. The aim is survival – and the more gates you pass through, the higher your score.

The snag is that Impossible Road is fastand the track bucks and turns like the unholy marriage of a furious unbroken stallion and a vicious roller-coaster.

Once the physics click, however, you’ll figure out the risks you can take, how best to corner, and what to do when hurled into the air by a surprise bump in the road.

The game also rewards ‘cheats’. Leave the track, hurtle through space for a bit, and rejoin – you’ll get a score for your airborne antics, and no penalty for any gates missed. Don’t spend too long aloft though – a few seconds is enough for your ball to be absorbed into the surrounding nothingness.

There’s a disarmingly hypnotic and almost meditative quality to the early stages of . You sit before a blank underground map of a major metropolis, and drag out lines between stations that periodically appear.

Little trains then cart passengers about, automatically routing them to their stop, their very movements building a pleasing plinky plonky generative soundtrack.

As your underground grows, though, so does the tension. You’re forced to choose between upgrades, balance where trains run, and make swift adjustments to your lines. Should a station become overcrowded, your entire network is closed. (So…not very like the real world, then.)

Do well enough and you unlock new cities, with unique challenges. But even failure isn’t frustrating, and nor is the game’s repetitive nature a problem, given that Mini Metro is such a joy to play.

A massive upgrade over the developer’s own superb but broadly overlooked , is a mash-up of puzzler, city management and deck builder.

The basics involve the strategic placement of buildings on a grid, with you aiming to rack up enough points to hit a row’s target. At that point, the row vanishes, and more building space scrolls into view.

Much of the strategy lies in clever use of cards, which affect nearby squares – a factory reduces the value of nearby land, for example, but an observatory boosts the local area. You quickly learn plonking down units without much thought messes up your future prospects.

Instead, you must plan in a chess-like manner – even more so when facing off against the computer opponent in brutally difficult head-to-head modes. But while Concrete Jungle is tough, it’s also fair – the more hours you put in, the better your chances. And it’s worth giving this modern classic plenty of your time.

There are varied mobile takes on limbless wonder Rayman's platform gaming exploits. The 1995 original exists on Android in largely faithful form, but feels ill-suited to touchscreens; and Rayman Adventures dabbles in freemium to the point it leaves a bad taste.

But Rayman Jungle Run and Rayman Fiesta Run get things right.

They rethink console-oriented platformers as auto-runners – which might sound reductive. However, this is more about distillation and focus than outright simplification.

Tight level design and an emphasis on timing regarding when to jump, rebound and attack forces you to learn layouts and the perfect moment to trigger actions, in order to get the in-game bling you need to progress.

Both titles are sublime, but Fiesta Run is marginally the better of the two – a clever take on platforming that fizzes with energy, looks fantastic, and feels like it was made for Android rather than a 20-year-old console.

A decidedly dizzying take on platform games, Circa Infinity exists in a sparse world of concentric circles. Your little stick man scoots around the edge of the largest, and a prod of the action button when he's atop a pizza-slice cut-out flips him inside the disc.

He can then make a leap for the bobbing circle within, at which point the process repeats.

Only the next disc may be patrolled by any number of critters intent on ejecting the stick man from their particular circle.

The net result is an odd-looking, disorienting arcade title that proves fresh and exhilarating. With 50 levels and five boss fights, making it to the end of Circa Infinity is a stern challenge; getting there quickly should test even the most hardened mobile gamer.

The Room is a series about mysteries within mysteries. It begins with a box. Fiddling with dials and switches causes things to spring to life elsewhere, and you soon find boxes within the boxes, layers unravelling before you; it's the videogame equivalent of Russian dolls meets carpentry, as breathed into life by a crazed inventor.

The Room's curious narrative and fragments of horror coalesce in follow-up The Room Two, which expands the 'boxes' into more varied environments – a séance room; a pirate ship. Movement remains restricted and on rails, but you're afforded a touch more freedom as you navigate your way through a strange clockwork world.

The Room Three is the most expansive of them all, featuring intricate, clever puzzles, as you attempt to free yourself from The Craftsman and his island of deranged traps and trials.

Get all three games, and play them through in order, preferably in a dark room when rain's pouring down outside for best effect. It's a terrifying and – ultimately – infuriating experience that will have you toying with the idea of having to go online for walkthroughs until you finally crack the mystery.

There are some clues, but generally these are very gentle hints at best.

In Her Story, you find yourself facing a creaky computer terminal with software designed by a sadist. It soon becomes clear the so-called L.O.G.I.C. database houses police interviews of a woman charged with murder.

But the tape's been hacked to bits and is accessible only by keywords; 'helpfully', the system only displays five search results at once.

Naturally, these contrivances exist to force you to play detective, eking out clues from video snippets to work out what to search for next, slowly piecing together the mystery in your brain.

A unique and captivating experience, Her Story will keep even the most remotely curious Android gamer gripped until the enigma is solved.

You probably need to be a bit of a masochist to get the most out of Snakebird, which is one of the most brain-smashingly devious puzzlers we've ever set eyes on. It doesn't really look or sound the part, frankly – all vibrant colors and strange cartoon 'snakebirds' that make odd noises.

But the claustrophobic floating islands the birds must crawl through, supporting each other (often literally) in their quest for fruit, are designed very precisely to make you think you've got a way forward, only to thwart you time and time again.

The result is a surprisingly arduous game, but one that's hugely rewarding when you crack a particularly tough level, at which point you'll (probably rightly) consider yourself some kind of gaming genius.

It's always the way: you're minding your own business when – BOOM! – you're suddenly propelled into a gargantuan space maze. At least it's the way if you're Captain Cowboy. This smart arcade title comes across like seminal classic Boulder Dash in space. You dig through dirt, grab diamonds, and avoid being crushed by boulders within the asteroid.

There are also floaty space bits, nasty space laser turrets, space bus stops and a space disco. At least, we're told that's the case, because we've never found the last of those things; but we'll keep trying, because Captain Cowboy is superb.

(The trailer is also one of the best we've seen, so watch it and then buy the game.)

One of the most gorgeous games around, FOTONICA at its core echoes one-thumb leapy game Canabalt. The difference is FOTONICA has you move through a surreal and delicate Rez-like 3D vector landscape, holding the screen to gain speed, and only soaring into the air when you lift a finger.

Smartly, FOTONICA offers eight very different and finite challenges, enabling you to learn their various multi-level pathways and seek out bonuses to ramp up your high scores. Get to grips with this dreamlike runner and you can then pit your wits (and thumbs) against three slowly mutating endless zones.

You might narrow your eyes at so-called 'realism' in mobile sports titles, given that this usually means 'a game that looks a bit like when you watch telly'. But Touchgrind Skate 2 somehow manages to evoke the feel of skateboarding, your fingers becoming tiny legs that urge the board about the screen.

There's a lot going on in Touchgrind Skate 2, and the control system is responsive and intricate, enabling you to perform all manner of tricks. It's not the most immediate of titles – you really need to not only run through the tutorial but fully master and memorize each step before moving on.

Get to grips with your miniature skateboard and you'll find one of the most fluid and rewarding experiences on mobile. Note that for free you get one park to scoot about in, but others are available via IAP.

The bar's set so low in modern mobile gaming that the word 'premium' has become almost meaningless. But Leo's Fortune bucks the trend, and truly deserves the term. It's a somewhat old-school side-on platform game, featuring a gruff furball hunting down the thief who stole his gold (and then, as is always the way, dropped coins at precise, regular intervals along a lengthy, perilous pathway).

The game is visually stunning, from the protagonist's animation through to the lush, varied backdrops. The game also frequently shakes things up, varying its pace from Sonic-style loops to precise pixel-perfect leaps.

It at times perhaps pushes you a bit too far — late on, we found some sections a bit too finicky and demanding. But you can have as many cracks at a section as you please, and if you master the entire thing, there's a hardcore speedrun mode that challenges you to complete the entire journey without dying.

At its core, Forget-Me-Not is Pac-Man mixed with Rogue. You scoot about algorithmically generated single-screen mazes, gobbling down flowers, grabbing a key, and then making a break for the exit.

But what makes Forget-Me-Not essential is how alive its tiny dungeons feel. Your enemies don't just gun for you, but are also out to obliterate each other and, frequently, the walls of the dungeon, reshaping it as you play.

There are tons of superb details to find buried within the game's many modes, and cheapskates can even get on board with the free version, although that locks much of its content away until you've munched enough flowers.

If there was any justice, Forget-Me-Not would have a permanent place at the top of the Google Play charts. It is one of the finest arcade experiences around, not just on Android, but on any platform – old or new.

Giving you a sense of the emptiness and vastness of space, and the risks in exploring the void, isn't easy for a bite-sized survival game, but Last Horizon somehow succeeds.

The idea is to leave your broken world behind, roam the galaxy in your rocket, and 'harvest' living worlds. Doing so loads information into your terraforming kit, for when you reach your destination.

During your journey you battle massive suns, asteroids, black holes, alien lifeforms, and lots of gravity. This is simple fare – more Lunar Lander than EVE Online – but it has a great sense of atmosphere. And although repeating the first three flights can be a little tiresome if you keep dying (hint: be more patient), Flight X mode's procedurally generated maps provide great replay value.

If you're fed up with racing games paying more attention to whether the tarmac looks photorealistic rather than how much fun it should be to zoom along at insane speeds, check out Horizon Chase. This tribute to old-school arcade titles is all about the sheer joy of racing, rather than boring realism.

The visuals are vibrant, the soundtrack is jolly and cheesy, and the racing finds you constantly battling your way to the front of an aggressive pack.

If you fondly recall Lotus Turbo Esprit Challenge and Top Gear, don't miss this one. (Note that Horizon Chase gives you five tracks for free. To unlock the rest, there's a single £2.29/US$2.99 IAP.)

There's a great sense of freedom from the second you immerse yourself in the strange and futuristic world of Power Hover. The robot protagonist has been charged with pursuing a thief who's stolen batteries that power the city.

The droid therefore grabs a hoverboard and scythes across gorgeous minimal landscapes, such as deserts filled with colossal marching automatons, glittering blue oceans, and a dead grey human city.

In lesser hands, Power Hover could have been utterly forgettable. After all, you're basically tapping left and right to change the direction of a hoverboard, in order to collect batteries and avoid obstacles. But the production values here are stunning.

Power Hover is a visual treat, boasts a fantastic soundtrack, and gives mere hints of a story, enabling your imagination to run wild. Best of all, the floaty controls are perfect; you might fight them at first, but once they click, Power Hover becomes a hugely rewarding experience.

(On Android, Power Hover is a free download; to play beyond the first eight levels requires a single £2.29/$2.99 IAP.)

It turns out what makes a good snowman is three very precisely rolled balls of snow stacked on top of each other. And that's the core of this adorable puzzle game, which has more than a few hints of Towers of Hanoi and Sokoban about it as your little monster goes about building icy friends to hug.

What sets A Good Snowman apart from its many puzzle-game contemporaries on Android is a truly premium nature. You feel that the developer went to great efforts to polish every aspect of the production, from the wonderful animation to puzzles that grow in complexity and deviousness, without you really noticing — until you get stuck on a particularly ferocious one several hours in.

This one's all about the bling – and also the not being crushed to death by falling rocks and dirt. Doug Dug riffs off of Mr Driller, Boulder Dash and Dig Dug, the dwarf protagonist digging deep under the earth on an endless quest for shimmering gems. Cave-ins aren't the only threat, though – the bowels of the earth happen to be home to a surprising array of deadly monsters.

Some can be squashed and smacked with Doug's spade (goodbye, creepy spider!), but others are made of sterner stuff (TROLL! RUN AWAY!). Endlessly replayable and full of character, Doug Dug's also surprisingly relaxing – until the dwarf ends up under 150 tonnes of rubble.

This is one of those 'rub your stomach, pat your head' titles that has you play two games at once. At the top of the screen, it's an endless runner, with your little bloke battling all manner of monsters, and pilfering loot. The rest of the display houses what's essentially a Bejeweled-style gem-swapper. The key is in matching items so that the running bit goes well – like five swords when you want to get all stabby.

Also, there's the building a boat bit. Once a run ends, you return to your watery home, which gradually acquires new rooms and residents. Some merely power up your next sprint, but others help you amass powerful weaponry. Resolutely indie and hugely compelling, You Must Build a Boat will keep you busily swiping for hours.

If you're of a certain age, the words 'Pro Pinball' will bring a huge grin to your face. In the 1990s, it was the pinball simulation series for your PC, featuring amazing physics, great table designs, and stunning visuals.

Pro Pinball for Android is a remastered take on Timeshock!, bringing the original table bang up to date with high-quality graphics and lighting, touchscreen controls, and a top-notch soundtrack. It still plays wonderfully, and we can only hope loads of people buy it, enabling the developer to bring other Pro Pinball tables to mobile.

The term 'masterpiece' is perhaps bandied about too often in gaming circles, but Limbo undoubtedly deserves such high praise. It features a boy picking his way through a creepy monochrome world, looking for his sister. At its core, Limbo is a fairly simple platform game with a smattering of puzzles, but its stark visuals, eerie ambience, and superb level design transforms it into something else entirely.

You'll get a chill the first time a chittering figure sneaks off in the distance, and your heart will pump when being chased by a giant arachnid, intent on spearing your tiny frame with one of its colossal spiked legs. That death is never the end — each scene can be played unlimited times until you progress — only adds to Limbo's disturbing nature.

People who today play mobile classic Canabalt and consider it lacking due to its simplicity don't understand what the game is trying to do. Canabalt is all about speed — the thrill of being barely in control, and of affording the player only the simplest controls for survival. ALONE… takes that basic premise and straps a rocket booster to it.

Instead of leaping between buildings, you're flying through deadly caverns, a single digit nudging your tiny craft up and down. Occasional moments of generosity — warnings about incoming projectiles; your ship surviving minor collisions and slowly regenerating — are offset by the relentlessly demanding pressure of simply staying alive and not slamming into a wall. It's an intoxicating combination, and one that, unlike most games in this genre, matches Canabalt in being genuinely exciting to play.

It's not often you see a game about the "joy of cultivation", and Prune is unlike anything you've ever played before. Apparently evolving from an experimental tree-generation script, the game has you swipe to shape and grow a plant towards sunlight by tactically cutting off specific branches.

That sounds easy, but the trees, shrubs and weeds in Prune don't hang around. When they're growing at speed and you find yourself faced with poisonous red orbs to avoid, or structures that damage fragile branches, you'll be swiping in a frantic race towards sunlight.

And all it takes is one dodgy swipe from a sausage finger to see your carefully managed plant very suddenly find itself being sliced in two.

Of all the attempts to play with the conventions of novels and story-led gaming on mobile, 80 Days is the most fun. It takes place in an 1872 with a decidedly steampunk twist, but where Phileas Fogg remains the same old braggart. As his trusty valet, you must help Fogg make good on a wager to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. This involves managing/trading belongings and carefully selecting routes.

Mostly, though, interaction comes by way of a pacey, frequently exciting branched narrative, like a Choose Your Own Adventure book on fast-forward.

A late-2015 content update added 150,000 words, two new plots and 30 cities to an adventure that already boasted plenty of replay value — not least when you've experienced the joys of underwater trains and colossal mechanical elephants in India, and wonder what other marvels await discovery in this world of wonders.

Lara Croft games have landed on Android to rather variable results. The original Tomb Raider just doesn't work on touchscreens, and although Lara Croft: Relic Run is enjoyable enough, it's essentially a reskinned Temple Run.

Lara Croft GO is far more ambitious and seriously impressive. It rethinks Tomb Raider in much the same way Hitman GO reimagined the Hitman series.

Croft's adventures become turn-based puzzles, set in a world half-way between board game and gorgeous isometric minimalism. It shouldn't really work, but somehow Lara Croft GO feels like a Tomb Raider game, not least because of the wonderful sense of atmosphere, regular moments of tension, and superb level design.

If you've played Laser Dog's previous efforts, PUK and ALONE…, you'll know what you're in for with HoPiKo. This game takes no prisoners. If it did take them, it'd repeatedly punch them in the face before casually discarding them. HoPiKo, then, is not a game to be messed with. Instead, it feels more like a fight. In each of the dozens of hand-crafted tiny levels, you leap from platform to platform via deft drags and taps, attempting to avoid death.

Only, death is everywhere and very easy to meet. The five-stage level sets are designed to be completed in mere seconds, but also to break your brain and trouble your fingers. It's just on the right side of hellishly frustrating, meaning you'll stop short of flinging your device at the wall, emerging from your temporary red rage foolishly determined that you can in fact beat the game on your next go.

Quite possibly one of the best uses of the mobile phone accelerometer tech there's ever been, this, with motion control sending your fishing line down to the depths of the sea while you avoid fish. Then, on the way up, it's how you catch them. That's when it goes ridiculous, as the fisherman chucks them up in the air – and you shoot them to bank the money. Silly, but a must play.

The sort of silly maths game you might've played in your head before mobile phones emerged to absorb all our thought processes, Threes! really does take less than 30 seconds to learn.

You bash numbers about until they form multiples of three and disappear. That's. There are stacks of free clones available, but if you won't spare the price of one massive bar of chocolate to pay for a lovely little game like this that'll amuse you for week, you're part of the problem and deserve to rot in a freemium hell where it costs 50p to do a wee.

The build 'em up phenomenon works brilliantly well on Android, thanks to the creator of the desktop original taking the time to do it justice.

It's a slimmed down interface you see here with on-screen buttons, but the basics are all in and the Survival and Creative modes are ready for play — as is multiplayer mode over Wi-Fi.

Since Pac-Man graced arcades in the early 1980s, titles featuring the rotund dot-muncher have typically been split between careful iterations on the original, and mostly duff attempts to shoe-horn the character into other genres. CE DX is ostensibly the former, although the changes made from the original radically transform the game, making it easily the best Pac-Man to date.

Here, the maze is split in two. Eat all the dots from one half and a special object appears on the other; eat that and the original half's dots are refilled in a new configuration.

All the while, dozing ghosts you brush past join a spectral conga that follows your every move. The result is an intoxicating speedrun take on a seminal arcade classic, combined with the even more ancient Snake; somehow, this combination ends up being fresh, exciting and essential.

Telltale has made a name for itself with story-driven episodic games and The Wolf Among Us is one of its best. Essentially a hard boiled fairy tale, you control the big bad wolf as he hunts a murderer through the mean streets of Fabletown.

Don't let the fairy tale setting fool you, this is a violent, mature game and it's one where your decisions have consequences, impacting not only what the other characters think of you but also who lives and who dies. Episode One is free but the remaining four will set you back a steep £9.59 / $14.99 / around AU$18. Trust us though, you'll want to see how this story ends.