They say there’s no free lunch, and nowhere is that truer than in mobile games. Even those Android games that claim to be free end up having irritating ads locked behind an in-app purchase.
It can be difficult to find games on Google Play without ads or microtransactions. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best Android games with no ads and no in-game purchases.
Cashing in on a popular television series with a video game isn’t uncommon. But making this game completely free, devoid of any microtransactions or ads, is certainly unique.
When stranger things first announced a series of companion games, the public was reasonably skeptical. Their apprehensions only grew when the game turned out to be an old-school game with pixelated graphics.
But when the game finally came out, it did surprisingly well. Fans of the series loved having the opportunity to explore the setting more while waiting for the next season, and retro fans enjoyed the authentic 16-bit experience.
We are now in the third iteration of the game, and the quality has only gotten better. Stranger Things 3: the game is absolutely free for Netflix subscribers and does not include any sort of in-game ads or microtransactions. A must-play game for anyone who’s seen the show or just loves nostalgic retro games.
2D racing games have long been a staple of arcade games. With their simple mechanics and intuitive touch controls, these games are easy to pick up and sink into quickly within hours.
Data wing is a graphically simple recreation of the formula. But what it lacks in visual detail, it makes up for in storytelling and gameplay. That’s not to say its graphics are mediocre; the visual design blends beautifully with the EDM soundtrack to create a highly engaging gaming experience.
The level of difficulty increases over time, although the game remains easy to pick up for everyone. And at the low cost of being free, there’s no reason not to.
Puzzle games are another staple of arcade games. And if we’re talking about puzzles, it would be remiss not to mention Ultraflow.
To like Data wing, Ultraspeed is a distilled version that best represents its genre. The visuals are clear and easy to read, with seemingly simple puzzles that will have you trying to get the perfect shot for hours.
The minimalist visuals are uncompromised by any advertising or in-game purchases, giving you a pure gaming experience that will keep you engaged. And with Ultraflow 2 now also available, there’s never been a better time to get in the game.
Anyone who has ever played a Civilization title on their computer knows how engrossing and addictive the game can be. The grandfather of 4X strategy games, Civilization is a timeless classic that remains a favorite of many gamers even today.
Unfortunately, the game is not exactly available on smartphones. Officially, at least. But thanks to the efforts of the Civilization fan community, you can also play a form of Civ on your Android phone.
Unciv is an open-source reconstruction of Civilization 5, recreating the game’s deep mechanics and strategic variety in a simpler visual presentation. Although this is not an official port, it still manages to stay true to the game, giving you the quintessential Civilization experience on your mobile for free.
Point-and-click adventure games used to be a very popular game genre. You explored a sprawling 2D environment, interacting with the world and solving puzzles. The emphasis was less on the combat and more on the whole adventure, which gave these games a more relaxed pace that is rarely found in a modern RPG title.
The rise of the indie game scene, however, has breathed new life into the dying genre. And while the bulk of these titles are aimed at the PC, there are some great releases targeting mobile devices as well.
frostrune is a magnificent point-and-click adventure with an interesting story and mysteries galore. Inspired by Norse mythology, frostrune builds a world that is both captivating and disturbing. A must-have game for anyone who grew up playing Myst games and wants to recapture that nostalgia.
card games like Magic: The Gathering have a long history. Players have always loved collecting rare cards, building their own unique decks, and then using them to destroy their opponents to excess.
And thanks to mobile gaming, it has become easier than ever to get into this genre. Sly is a completely free deckbuilder with an interesting premise – You are the leader of a Lovecraftian cult, aiming to summon the Elder. No, we are not kidding.
Aside from Cthulhu cultists, Sly is a fun and surprisingly deep card game with a huge variety of cards on offer. And since there are no annoying pop-ups to break your immersion, be prepared to waste entire nights in your quest for the perfect deck.
Any list of games would be incomplete without a good roguelike on the list. Popularized by titles like NetHack and Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, the roguelike genre has become quite a popular gaming niche these days.
Pixel Dungeon is a true roguelike game built in the mold of Richelieu and Angband rather than the more action-oriented Potholing or The Binding of Isaac. The graphics are simple, but the mechanics are deceptively complex, providing a level of depth and replayability rarely seen in games these days.
And the most important thing is that it is absolutely free. There has been no attempt to monetize the game’s popularity using poorly targeted ads or microtransactions, and that’s always welcome.
Fast as a fox is a unique blend of platforming mechanics with endless runner gameplay. Endless runners have a long history in mobile gaming, as they are rather easy to integrate and play for a few minutes or even hours during commutes.
How about an endless runner where you also control your character’s speed and have to grab a bunch of collectibles along the way? That’s exactly what Fast as a fox promises.
Unlike most endless runners where all you can tap to jump, you have to keep tapping the back of the phone to make the fox run. The faster you tap, the faster he runs and the faster you complete each level. A fast and addictive game, Fast as a fox is available for free on Google Playstore.
Thanks to the incredible success of Factor, the genre of factory building games has really taken off. While the specific mechanics differ, all of these games offer satisfying crafting mechanics as well as the ability to build automated crafting machines.
Industry blends this addictive formula with the tower defense genre, creating an explosive gaming experience. The graphics might not be incredibly complex (and that’s not a theme for this article), but the unique gameplay makes up for that. Even better, you can play both single-player and multiplayer.
If our description has not grabbed you yet, Industry can get a bit overwhelming for a beginner. Factory builders are notorious for scaling out of the blue, and pairing that with tower defense mechanics doesn’t make it any easier either. But for fans of the genre, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching your cleverly constructed defenses easily disappear in incoming waves.
Mindustry had a different pricing model for Android and iOS devices. Although the game is free to download from the Play Store, it costs a one-time charge from the Apple App Store. Keep in mind that even then there are no ads or microtransactions, and a player on an iPhone would get the same experience as someone using a Samsung Galaxy.
The classic Loss is still a great game for many, even after the success of the game’s modern remake. For those who grew up shooting pixelated demons in the pseudo-3D wasteland of Lossthere really is no other solution.
You can easily play it on PC using DOSBox, but what if we said you could enjoy the same experience on your mobile as well? Not officially, of course, since the mobile spinoffs released by the developer have been RPGs. No, we’re talking about FreeDOOM, a community-developed game that aims to retain the feel of the original.
FreeDOOM is basically a remake of the original LOSS with similar art style and gameplay mechanics on mobile. It looks and plays great, as it uses the same game engine and first-person perspective. For those who still have a copy of the old game, this app can be used to open and run the classic game itself on Android, which is just amazing.
What are the best free Android games?
When exactly can you call a game for free? Is the free download enough, even if it bombards you with ads? Does an in-app purchase to disable ads pay?
For most gamers, a truly free game is one that has no ads or microtransactions, in addition to being available for free in the first place. As you might expect, there aren’t many games in this category, especially when looking for quality as well.
But the are some gems there if you know where to look. And to save you from having to sift through the crowds yourself, we’ve compiled a list of the best of them.
From deck builders to roguelikes, there are a wide variety of game genres represented in this list, giving every type of player something they would love. And since the games are free, trying them out is as easy as installing them.