Though you’ll find no end of free games in the Google Play Store, there are also plenty of premium games for Android players that are well worth a few dollars’ investment. Here’s our top 10 list of the very best.
Rayman Jungle Run ($0.99)
Speed and precision are at a premium in Rayman Jungle Run. Players tear through each of the game’s side-scrolling levels as Rayman, who runs at a set speed throughout, and it’s your job to carefully time jumps and dodges to get him through to the end of each run. Along the way are pickups and secrets to nab, and you’re scored for your efficiency. Levels feature lots of different elements to challenge you and change up gameplay as well.
Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99)
Ridiculous Fishing is one of those great “easy to learn, tough to master” titles. Players guide a fishing lure down through the depths using tilt controls, careful to avoid hitting any fish until they get as deep as possible. On the way back up, the goal switches to snagging as many fish as possible, because at the top, the fish all get tossed in the air for you to blast with your shotgun. The more fish you grab, the higher your score, and finding rare fish keeps Ridiculous Fishing fun for quite a while.
Call of Duty: Strike Team ($6.99)
Capturing the Call of Duty experience -- that high-fidelity first-person shooter gameplay that has created a billion-dollar franchise on PC and consoles -- is a tall order for mobile devices. Call of Duty: Strike Team manages to go one better, however. It brings players the FPS gameplay they know and love and mixes it with third-person strategy, allowing you to command the battlefield from above, or take part in the battle on the ground.
Kingdom Rush ($0.99)
When it comes to tower defense, Kingdom Rush is among the best in the genre. Players build defenses against incoming enemies of lots of different kinds, using each tower type to its fullest extent to stop the oncoming hoard. You’ll also upgrade your towers and abilities, and dispatch soldiers from special towers that can hold up enemies and force them to fight while your defenses cut them down.
Puzzler Threes! is about matching numbers. Players get tiles on a grid that are marked with a number, and the goal is to make the highest multiples of three possible. That means combining ones with twos, threes with threes, sixes with sixes and so on. You swipe the grid to move the numbers, but the trick is that all the numbers move simultaneously, forcing you to think strategically about where you put new tiles as they come onto the board.
Cut The Rope: Time Travel ($0.99)
The follow-up to the puzzler Cut the Rope adds a lot to the original formula of timed swipes to cut ropes and manipulate a hanging piece of candy. You still need to get that piece of candy into the mouth of Om Nom, but now you have new mechanics at your disposal, and the time travel mechanic creates new situations in which you need to carefully complete two puzzles simultaneously. Each time has a different theme and a different set of mechanics, so you’ll find new challenges throughout.
Scribblenauts Remix ($0.99)
You can add just about anything you can think of to side-scrolling puzzler Scribblenauts Remix. Each new level challenges players to solve a problem, and usually that problem involves creating new items that aren’t already in the level by typing in words. You can create things like boats, books, bears and whatever else you might need, and then set them loose to see if they can solve your problems. Scribblenauts is an imaginative game that, in many ways, is unlike anything else in the Google Play Store.
Ski Safari ($0.99)
There’s no end of endless runners in mobile gaming, but Ski Safari manages to create a challenging and addictive experience that feels different from other entries in the genre. Players take on the role of a skier fleeing an oncoming avalanche, and in order to maintain the speed necessary to survive, they need to do tricks, jump on the backs of animals, and avoid obstacles. The emphasis on doing cool things like grinding on rooftops or skiing on penguins makes Ski Safari stand out from the crowd.
Out There ($3.99)
Exploring the vast reaches of space is a scary situation in Out There, a game in which players try to cross a galaxy by jumping their spaceship from star system to star system. In each situation, you have to weigh pros and cons -- do you risk exploring dangerous territory for great rewards? Do you land on a planet knowing it’ll damage your ship in hopes of grabbing necessary resources? Out There is a tough title that forces players to balance resources and make tons of hard decisions.
Super Hexagon ($2.99)
Arcade title Super Hexagon will test your speed, precision, and reflexes -- and it’ll beat you. Repeatedly. Your goal is just to press the sides of the screen in order to rotate a small triangle around a circle, as hexagon-shaped walls collapse toward it. As the walls close in, you dodge them, quickly moving from opening to opening for as long as you can. It’s an addicting experience that’s got no shortage of challenge, and it’s great for killing a few seconds at a time.