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.

Threes! ($1.99)

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.

Doodle Jump ($0.99)

The bestselling iPhone app remains just as addictive on Android devices. The quirky green Doodler must jump higher than high from platform to platform using his many legs, jetpacks, spaceships, propellers, and anything else he can find to press onward and upward. Perhaps the best feature of the game – the character’s trumpet-like nose through which he can blast deadly “nose balls” to take out baddies and obstacles attempting to bum his high. The ever-changing themes and surprising accessories keep it fresh. The upbeat soundtrack will keep you bouncing along with the Doodler.

Fruit Ninja ($0.99)

Fruit salad, anyone? If you don’t know anyone under the age of 18 or live underground somewhere, you may not know of the popular iPhone game, Fruit Ninja. It’s pretty simple, but strangely addictive. Fruit flies in the air, thrown by someone or something off-screen. You control a samurai sword with your finger and you slash, slash, slash until you’ve sliced enough fruit to cater a massive luau. The brilliance comes from the details – the sliced fruit pieces look luscious but the juice spray across the backdrop looks more like a CSI crime scene.

X Construction ($1.49)

You’ll never look at a train bridge the same way again. You’re a contractor on assignment to build bridges across ditches, gaps, and full on chasms so that passenger trains can safely pass. The easy to use tools allow you freedom to construct elaborate support systems and lay track across them. It’s a slow paced game, but X Construction will challenge your understanding of physics and framework structures. The final test comes as the train arrives. You’ve succeeded when the train makes it over, otherwise you must watch the disastrous wreck and listen to the tortured screams of the passengers as they announce your epic failure.

Robo Defense ($2.99)

Ever hear of the game category called tower defense? Enemy soldiers are marching across a field of battle. You must strategically place your weapon-filled towers in their way to stop them. Robo Defense is the best in this category. The paid version features three different maps and over 40 levels of difficulty. You can even upgrade towers for more powerful armaments and special features. For every robot soldier you stop, you earn points that can be cashed-in for permanent artillery upgrades. Cleverly, the game features a fast-forward button so once you’ve set your towers, you don’t have to wait to see the outcome.

Homerun Battle 3D ($4.99)

Major League Baseball’s homerun derby is a blast to watch. Get in the game yourself with Homerun Battle 3D. Tilt your phone to set your position and then tap to swing the bat. The more home runs you hit, the more points you score, which you can use to customize your batter’s look and equipment. Where HB 3D hits it out of the park is in multiplayer mode. Play against strangers or friends, each of you on your phone, which can be an Android or an iPhone.

Cut the Rope ($0.99)

With its cute graphics and puzzle gameplay, Cut the Rope is a classic title which everyone young and old can enjoy. You get a lot here for your $0.99, too. There’s hundreds of levels that get increasingly tough with the simple premise: get the candy into the mouth of the awaiting little monster Om Nom. With ropes to cut, obstacles to watch out for and gameplay that demands both timing and quick reflexes, Cut the Rope is definitely one of the top puzzle games around.

Bejeweled 2 ($2.99)

Imitated, but very rarely bettered, Bejeweled 2 is a match-three game full of jewel-swapping fun and color. There’s four different modes on offer here. The classic mode offers simple, familiar match-three gameplay. Next up is action mode, which challenges you to beat the clock and score as many points as you can. Puzzle mode ups the ante with its mind-bending puzzles that should keep you busy while zen mode cuts the challenge to help you relax and play as along as you choose. Missing the familiar ‘Blitz’ mode however is disappointing — let’s hope that appears in the Android Market soon.

World of Goo ($4.99)

A huge indie hit on PCs, World of Goo (after a successful launch on iOS) finally arrived on Android in 2011. It’s an innovative construction game in which you must connect goo balls together to build structures so that other goo balls can get to the end of each stage. With five chapters to overcome and an environmentally-conscious narrative, World of Goo continues to challenge and puzzle throughout. It offers a huge amount of personality and charm with its great art style, sound effects and music, and its easy to see why this game has won so many awards.

Zenonia 2 ($0.99)

Here’s a popular and engrossing role-playing game for fans of the genre, and it offers a lot of action and fun for just $0.99. If you were enchanted by nostalgic Nintendo games like Legends of Zelda, you will find some similarities here. There are 152 maps and 98 quests to embark upon here, the ability to customize your character in numerous ways and a fantastical adventure that old-school RPG fans should thoroughly enjoy.

Robot Unicorn Attack ($0.99)

Robot Unicorn Attack is a psychedelic, crazy, endless running game that’s totally out there, yet thoroughly enjoyable too. With its colorful graphics, rocking soundtrack and addictive gameplay, it’s just too funny and bizarre not to love. You play as a unicorn with a rainbow mane who must bound from platform to platform avoiding the obstacles in his path while Erasure’s “Always” blasts away in the background. You get three chances to see how far you can run, and the title is a great example of the creativity and randomness that often goes into game design.

Others in this series:

1. Best free Android games of all time

2. Best paid Android apps of all time

2. Best free Android apps of all time