Android gaming has come a long way in the past decade. Initially it was nothing more than a side note, but it’s become big business these days, with mobile gaming earning $40.6 billion in revenue in 2017. This doesn’t include the games (known as ROMs) you can play with console and handheld emulators like PPSSPP, a popular PSP emulator.
Gaming on Android is no longer limited to the casual genre. The Play Store has a lot of gems that are every bit as fun to play as those found on dedicated video game consoles. Android-powered systems like Nvidia Shield and smart TVs make it even easier to play with friends. While cross-platform gaming between Xbox and PlayStation consoles remains a pipe dream, many developers allow cross-platform play between Android devices and these consoles, PCs, and the Nintendo Switch.
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We’re sorting through the most addictively fun Android games you can download in the Google Play Store right now. We’re not including games played through emulators or streaming services like GeForce Now. To make the list, they have to be available in the Play Store and run on Android devices with no PC or console needed.
This list is the top multiplayer games for Android. This means you can play them with other people, either on the same device, connecting devices through Bluetooth, or through online multiplayer. Gaming with others comes in the form of competition or coop and adds a whole new level to the gaming experience.
10. Words with Friends 2
Developer Zynga was founded in 2007. It made a name for itself with casual Facebook games like Mafia Wars and Farmville. Words with Friends and its sequel brought a whole new level of fun to mobile games. They let players connect with Facebook friends or strangers online to compete in an updated version of the Scrabble board game.
The premise is simple – draw letter tiles and use them to create words to outscore your opponent. This game appeals to players of all ages. In fact, a 22-year-old rapper recently met an 81-year-old grandma through the game. It’s not uncommon to make friends while playing online games. Words with Friends is a testament to the social aspect of mobile gaming.
9. Riptide GP: Renegade
If you love racing games, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one than Riptide GP: Renegade. This isn’t just your average runner like Subway Surfers and Super Mario Run. Players praise its smooth, console-like gameplay and beautiful 3D graphics. Water is one of the most difficult textures to animate. Riptide does it better than you’d think possible on Android smartphones.
It also works great with an Nvidia Shield controller and still looks as good as any console’s graphics when played on a big screen through the Shield TV. The premise is similar to the classic Road Rash console series. You play as an illegal hydrojet rider climbing your way through the underground racing scene. Multiplayer is available either online or via local split screen. Although it’s missing the fighting element, it’s a much better racing game than the actual Road Rash Android port.
Ever since the rise of Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends, the MOBA is the most popular free-to-play genre on the planet. Vainglory brings this popular genre to Android in a big way. The matches are short and sweet while still providing a ton of addictive action. With over 30 characters to choose from, you’ll be able to compete in online multiplayer modes from battle arenas to ranked matches.
Vainglory is easily one of the deepest games on Android. Each hero has a unique RPG archetype (i.e. tank, healer, mage) and strategy. Join a guild and keep grinding for in-game currency to buy new heroes, skins, and more. Super Evil Megacorp regularly updates the game, so you’ll find seasonal and holiday offerings matching whatever’s happening in the real world. If you haven’t played a MOBA yet, crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under and download Vainglory.
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies
Anyone who’s played Call of Duty on consoles is aware of zombie mode, where you and a friend battle it out with endless waves of Nazi zombies. Activision Publishing brought this experience to the Android platform with this beautiful FPS based solely on that game mode. You start off with minimal weapons and upgrade your arsenal between waves. And the waves get more and more difficult as you go along.
Online multiplayer does have some connection issues, and you’ll find yourself waiting longer than you want for a match. However, Bluetooth multiplayer is fantastic and easily the best way to enjoy a game with your friends. Look for popular maps from the series like Kino Der Toten and my personal favorite, Ascension. It’s only a matter of time before we see the coveted moon map.
6. Asphalt 8: Airborne
Developer Gameloft has a deep archive of mobile games, especially runners and racers. Asphalt 8 is the cream of the crop. Silky smooth steering and sleek graphics make it look and feel like a console-quality game. It’s not just your average car-racing game either. The in-air stunts add a level of extreme to this already fast-paced game.
The Asphalt series has long been a favorite around the Updato office, and you can check out some of our multiplayer tips here. Choose your favorite cars, tune them to the maximum speed, and don’t be afraid to spend those boosts if you really want to win multiplayer PVP matches.
When it first appeared on Android, Minecraft: Pocket Edition forced die-hard Minecraft players to rebuild everything they created on the original. It was a fun diversion, but lacked the depth of the original. Earlier this year, Mojang and Microsoft finally made the game cross-platform. Now it’s synced between Windows 10, Xbox One, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Nintendo Switch, and even VR (making it one of the top VR games on Android).
Now called simply Minecraft, everything you do on the Android version transfers over to other platforms. This functionality is the holy grail of gaming. We’re all holding our breath that Sony jumps on the bandwagon to allow PS4 owners to join the party. Also, if you haven’t played Minecraft in VR yet (whether on Gear VR or Oculus Rift), you’re missing out on an amazingly immersive experience.
4. NBA Jam
Electronic Arts is one of the premier video game developers in the world. Granted, NBA Jam eschews realistic basketball strategy for an over-the-top, arcade-style 2v2 game, but it’s still an amazing game. Score three unanswered baskets in a row and your player will end up on fire. This lets him perform acrobatic dunks from behind the 3-point line.
All 30 NBA teams are represented. But as you probably noticed from the screenshot above, the player rosters are in desperate need of an update. Both local and online multiplayer are available. You’ll love playing with friends on Android TV with a gamepad instead of the touchscreen (which is also super easy to use).
The world is still waiting for Nintendo to release a legitimate version of its acclaimed Mario platformer series on mobile platforms. However Frogmind came through, given that Badland is easily one of the best side-scrolling adventure games on any platform. It’s fun, easy to control, and has breathtaking visuals.
Up to four players can play on the same device. It also has full support for all controllers, and the level editor increases the game’s value. Furthermore, the Badland developers and community both contribute new content on a regular basis. Whether playing solo, coop, or multiplayer, it has easily the most replay value of any game you’ll ever download.
2. World of Tanks Blitz
Wargaming is a master of vehicle-based MMOs, and World of Tanks Blitz brings the genre to Android devices. Choose one of over 250 WWII-era vehicles from different nations to participate in 7v7 battles on 23 different maps. Like you’d expect from an MMO, the depth of levelling your tanks provides an almost better experience than playing the game itself.
And would you believe this game is actually free-to-play? Many freemium games suffer from paywall problems. You either can’t beat the game without paying (Super Mario Run) or are constantly bombarded with purchase requests (Asphalt 8) or ads (Plants vs Zombies Heroes). World of Tanks Blitz is the bar every mobile game should clear moving forward.
Card games are a trend these days, and Hearthstone is the reason why. Developer Blizzard created this game based on its popular World of Warcraft mechanics, and it surpassed WoW in popularity over time. Dueling either with friends or random opponents online through multiple platforms has never been as much fun as it is in Hearthstone.
Unlike its clones, Hearthstone has a great matchmaking system. I’ve never once been mismatched with an opponent too far above or below my skill level. Not to mention regular updates create all-new strategies with new card releases, and you’ll never have to spend a dime. You can simply grind through to build your collection and build deadly combos like my epic Priest deck.
So that’s our list of the best multiplayer games for Android. Do you have a favorite game that’s not listed? Let us know – we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing.
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