The 5 Best Free Android Games in 2017

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Mobile games exist in an odd space. They're often looked down upon by more "serious" console and PC gamers as being "casual". It's not hard to see where this perception comes from -- not only do mobile games need to be smaller in size than those on other platforms, but they also have to adhere to a touch-only control scheme. The end result is that they tend to be simpler in comparison to console games.

The thing is, though, this perception evaluates mobile games as console games. Most AAA console releases are trying to get you immersed in the game's world, or tell a compelling story. Mobile games (with a few exceptions) aren't trying to do that. Often times, when it comes to mobile, simplicity is the goal. With all these games literally at our fingertips, mobile games run on a "pick up and play" policy. They're meant to be accessible, fun, and (more often than not) free.

But the proliferation of the mobile market also means that there are a lot of bad games to sort through before you find the really good ones. Luckily, we've done the work for you. From the vast library of mobile entertainment available to you, here are five Android picks worth checking out.

5. Injustice 2 Mobile

Translating a high-profile fighting game into an equally enjoyable mobile version is no easy feat. But Injustice 2 Mobile handles the transition surprisingly well, and even brings some welcome surprises with it.

Injustice 2 boasts a massive roster of over 30 classic (and less classic) DC characters. Its controls handle better than one might expect from a mobile fighting game, and it even has a story mode (with a slight caveat). This is the same story as in the console version, so if you don't care about the simplified control scheme, you can experience it for free -- eventually. Right now only the first chapter of the story is in the mobile version, but it looks like that could change in the future.

If you own Injustice 2 on console already, you can get some pretty sweet unlocks for the full game by picking up the mobile version as well. 

4. Skullgirls Mobile

Skullgirls Mobile is another recent fighting game adaptation that has many similarities to Injustice, but also many differences. Its cartoonish aesthetic, for example, feels much more suited to mobile devices than the faux-realistic (and demanding) graphics of Injustice. 

Skullsgirls Mobile has a full story mode, complete with a branching map that lets you pick between higher risk and reward missions, or playing it safe. It also lets you customize your characters in several ways, including via skill trees and unlocking new moves. As for the actual gameplay, it has surprising depth for a mobile game -- so much, in fact, that another writer here at GameSkinny called it a perfect example of mobile ports done right. There are still only a handful of possible inputs, but the combos you can execute are fairly robust.

3. Fallout Shelter

Resource management games are a common genre on mobile, thanks to the low amount of input needed. Fallout Shelterbased on the acclaimed Fallout series, is a great example. The game makes sure you know what you're doing as fast as possible, and then lets you get to work managing a Vault full of Dwellers that are all probably going to die gruesomely (and hilariously). The Wasteland is not a hospitable place.

The game, on the other hand, is quite welcoming. Its simple control scheme makes it easy to pick up and put down as needed, and developing your shelter over the span of many days or even weeks gets you invested in its well-being. This is a spin-off game done right.

2. One More Brick

You may have heard of a mobile game called BallzIt's a game where you launch tiny spheres at an advancing wall of bricks to knock them out. As the game progresses, the bricks get stronger, and the amount of balls you launch each turn increases proportionally.

Ballz, however, is a pretty direct copy of One More Brickwhich came several months earlier. Not only that, but OMB has more features -- like special icons you can hit to make your balls double, bounce, spray in all directions, or damage an entire row or column. The gameplay is simple and addicting, making it a perfect time-waster game.

One particularly fun feature is the ability to make custom balls. For enough stars (the in-game currency), you can make a ball of any size and speed with two special traits of your choice. Careful, though -- the better the ball, the pricier it'll be.

1. Leap Day

Arguably the most important aspect of a mobile game is longevity. In a good mobile game, I look for a simple but fun experience that I can sink an indefinite amount of time into and not get bored with it. And what better fits that description than a game that you'll never run out of content for?

Technically, you'll eventually run out of levels to play in Leap Daybut you'll only have to wait till midnight to have another one available. The game literally gets a new (and decently-sized) level every single day. Granted, most levels are randomly generated with sections copied from older levels, but Nitrome is constantly adding new features to keep things from getting stale.

The gameplay couldn't be simpler, because the only button is jump. But enough is going on around you that you won't get bored. I could go on and on about how much fun you can get out of this game, but... it's past midnight where I am. I have a new level to play.

That wraps up our list! What are some of your favorite Android games? Did I miss any big ones? Let me know in the comments!

Published Jun. 13th 2017

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