Whether you’re a committed PC gamer, a console player, or someone who wouldn’t dream of going out and purchasing an expensive piece of kit with the sole purpose of playing games, you’ve probably played a game at some point or another on your mobile phone.
Mobile gaming is driven by our shared need for distraction and entertainment. Anyone who’s done a 30-minute morning commute knows just how crucial it is to have a device that’s well-stocked with a mobile game or two. The trouble is, with so many games now available for Android phones, it’s not easy to decide which ones to download.
In this article, we’ll recommend the best gaming apps to download on your Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy, so you’ll never have to suffer a boring journey to work again. And, for those of you who take mobile gaming very seriously indeed, we’ll give you the lowdown on the premium gaming apps to check out over the coming 12 months.
Playing Games on Android Phones
Unlike poor iOS users, as an Android owner, you’ve never had to deal with a scarcity of mobile gaming apps. Ever since the early days of mobile gaming, the Google Play store has been well-stocked with hypercasual puzzles, indie sleeper hits, retro games and even Nintendo or SEGA originals. Now, as we move forward into 2023, you’ve even more choice than ever before.
While there are plenty of AAA games on the books, there’s also much more diversification for how to access and play games on the Android platform. Cloud gaming is likely to play a pivotal role in accessing games during 2023 and beyond, meaning that you can sign up for one single service like Xbox Game Pass and play the same games on your Android phone as you do on your Xbox.
Services like GameClub, meanwhile, are mobile-only subscriptions that give you access to hundreds of classic games. Good old Google’s Play Pass also still ranks highly, particularly since it’s still priced at less than $5 per month and means you can play over 300 mobile gaming apps without having to sit through annoying in-app advertisements.
If you really want to take playing games on your Android smartphone to the next level, you can also get your hands on numerous peripherals. Gaming controllers are pretty much universal these days, particularly those with Bluetooth connectivity, while one-handed keyboard/mouse combos and noise-cancelling headphones can add new levels of immersion when you’re playing on the go.
The Top Android Games for 2023
Without further ado, keep reading to discover the hottest Android gaming apps that you should be playing throughout 2023 and beyond.
1. Among Us
This game may be vintage as far as mobile apps go – Among Us was first released in 2018 – but it still ranks highly as one of the best games to play on Android devices. The main appeal of this game lies in its psychological effect; will you discover which of your crew members is sabotaging your efforts to fix your faulty spacecraft before it’s too late? Or, maybe you’re the duplicitous player and need to use all your Machiavellian cunning to continue the ruse.
2. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
This iconic gaming franchise has been played worldwide on numerous platforms since 1986. Now, one of the most beloved instalments in the Konami-developed series has made a grand entrance onto the Android platform. In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, you take control of Alucard, the demon-hunting vampire who is the only creature able to prevent the monstrous Dracula from resurrection and enslaving the world.
An absolute must for any horror fiend, Symphony of the Night also weaves in plenty of RPG elements, making it a game that will appeal to a diverse group of players.
3. Final Fantasy VII
Sony may be going all out on its big-budget remake, but we still can’t get enough of this classic JRPG that elevated Final Fantasy into the mainstream. Now as much of a cultural institution as The Sims and Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy VII can be played on mobile in all its old-school glory.
4. Genshin Impact
We may have seen several imitations hit the Play Store in 2023, but Genshin Impact was the first and is still the best gaming app for Gacha-style play. Not only does this action-RPG appeal to gamers who enjoy using monetisation systems to unlock new characters and rewards, but it also appeals to players who just want a rich and immersive mobile game world to explore.
Taking place in the ancient realm of Teyvat, chargers are tasked with completing an epic journey to reunite with lost siblings and defeat a horde of mythical monsters along the way. Sure, it bears a notable resemblance to The Legend of Zelda. Still, with its top-quality cinematography, gorgeous soundtrack and genuinely convincing voice acting, Genshin Impact takes the capability of mobile to the next level.
5. Mobile Poker
Ok, so poker is a game that’s been around for a fair while – or since 10th century China if the word of historians is anything to go by – so, why play it on mobile? Only because it’s one of the most accessible ways to play this top card game and there’s a raft of mobile exclusives that you can get your hands on when you do.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran card shark or you’ve never played a hand before; the top poker apps make this classic game accessible to everyone. With a range of formats to play, including cash games and tournaments, as well as free-to-play games and bonus offers, mobile poker is effortless and convenient.
6. Rocket League Sideswipe
Rocket League has ranked highly with PC gamers for fusing rocket-powered cards, soccer and billiards into one adrenaline-fuelled game. In Sideswipe, it’s also available for mobile gamers.
Still as nuanced as the original, Rocket League: Sideswipe has streamlined all that frenetic action, so it plays seamlessly on Android devices. It’s not without deep gameplay, thanks to its head-scratching ball physics, and you also have the option to play PvP or 2v2 for an extra challenge.
7. Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go stands out as one of the hottest Android gaming apps, revolutionizing the mobile gaming landscape with its innovative approach. Launched in 2016, it quickly captured the imagination of millions worldwide, becoming much more than a game – it was a cultural phenomenon. By leveraging augmented reality (AR) technology, Pokémon Go brought the beloved Pokémon universe into the real world, blurring the lines between virtual and physical spaces.
Players were tasked with exploring their surroundings to catch virtual Pokémon that appeared on their device screens as if they were in the actual environment. This unique gameplay encouraged physical activity, exploration, and interaction with the world, a stark contrast to traditional mobile games that are often played stationary. Pokémon Go’s design also fostered a strong sense of community among players, who would gather at local landmarks to battle in ‘Gyms’ or catch rare Pokémon.
Furthermore, Pokémon Go’s appeal wasn’t limited to a specific demographic. It resonated with a broad audience – from children to adults who had grown up with the Pokémon series, making it a unifying experience for all ages. If you’re into it and don’t want to be misguided on Pokemon location by friends and foes read this article.