The Best Android Games Of 2018 For Your New Phone, Tablet, Or Chromebook

Pop bubbles, play pool, become a neighbourhood god, a viking hero, or start a craft beer empire in 2018’s best new mobile games for iPhone and Android.

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Photograph: ChucklefishFarming’s far from the whole story in this charming sim: there’s plenty of crop management and animal-rearing, but getting to know the other inhabitants of the town around you is just as important, with some touching stories to be uncovered. Inspired by the Harvest Moon games, it’s more accessible, but with lots of scope for endless tinkering with your farm alongside ticking off in-game achievements.


Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)


Photograph: Hipster WhalePiffle comes from the same developer as Crossy Road, and it’s just as characterful and compulsive. It’s a puzzler with shades of classic brick-breaking games Breakout and Arkanoid. Dressed in a cat onesie, you fire “Piffle balls” to clear each level’s screen of blocks, while taking advantage of bowling-ball power-ups, explosive dynamite block and other power-ups. The in-app purchases – for coins that can be used to keep playing when you fail a level, or to buy power-ups to help – aren’t aggressively forced upon you, while daily challenges and themed levels stop it from getting samey.

Football Manager 2019 Mobile

Android/iPhone, £8.99


Photograph: Sports Interactive/SegaThe 2019 edition of this ever-popular football management sim adds new features to an already excellent game. Those include a new training system, the ability to manage in Russia or China, and transfers negotiated in real-time for quicker offers and counter-offers. Otherwise, what’s not broken ain’t been fixed: FMM zeroes in on tactics, transfers and training, so you can blast through seasons quickly whether you’re playing on a train, in front of the TV or (heaven forbid) at work.

Reigns: Game of Thrones

Android/iPhone, £3.79/£2.99


Photograph: Devolver DigitalThe Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty games are marvellous, using a Tinder-style interface to test your skills as a monarch by swiping left or right on binary decisions. The third game in the series comes with a high-profile licence: HBO’s Game of Thrones. You’ll be ruling Westeros as Cersei, Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion or Sansa, making your decisions ahead of the ever-coming winter. It’s a perfect fit, and while you will regularly meet an untimely, brutal end, the game’s structure means you’ll face new situations every time you replay it. And you’ll want to do that a lot.

Pocket City

Android/iPhone, £3.49/£3.99

Photograph: Codebrew GamesThere is an official version of the classic town-planning game SimCity on mobile called SimCity BuildIt, but its freemium moneygrubbing makes my teeth itch. Pocket City is a great alternative. This is a loving homage to classic SimCity, as you plan residential, commercial and industrial zones, plus the utilities and entertainment required to keep your growing population healthy and happy. It’s sensibly stripped down for phones, too, never burying you in sub-menus or overloading the economic complexity. Whether you work your way through its quests to build a megalopolis or let loose in its no-restrictions sandbox mode, it’s a reminder of why virtual town planning was so addictive all those years ago.

Donut County

iPhone, £4.99

Photograph: Annapurna InteractiveYou wait ages for a game where you play a hole in the ground, then two come along at once. Donut County heavily “inspired” a similar game called, which topped app-store charts earlier this year. Donut County the better of the two, thanks to a storyline that amps up the quirk factor with its anti-hero, a scenery-swallowing raccoon (he “drives” the hole) called PJ, who is trying to make amends for landing his friends and their homes 999 feet underground. The physics are the satisfying thing here: swirling your hole underneath objects to tip them in feels just right, while the way it grows each time turns the levels into a careful puzzle of progression from small to big items, rather than a pure rampage.

Wonder Blade

iPhone, £2.99

Photograph: Huang YueFengIts princess-rescuing trope may feel over-familiar, but there’s nothing else tired about Wonder Blade. It’s a sparky side-scrolling action game in which you set about groups of enemies with sword-swipes, magic spells and Mortal Kombat-esque execution moves. There’s plenty of humour in the bug-eyed characters you meet. On the grounds that there aren’t enough games that also feature chase scenes where you ride a pig, dressed as a block of Swiss cheese, pursued by a giant castle-shaped monster, this one’s a keeper.

One Hour One Life for Mobile

Android/iPhone, £4.99

Photograph: Jason RohrerThis PC-game port starts with an inventive premise: you play a character for 60 years from baby to old age, with each year taking a minute of real-world time. When they die, you start again as a baby – but benefiting from the actions and inventions of your first character. This, in a massively multiplayer world where other players are buzzing about with their own life cycles – including some who will be parenting you when you respawn as a helpless infant. The fascination comes from exploring the world and its objects, and figuring out how you can break them down and then recombine them to create new items that will help you and your descendants. Unselfish planning for future generations? Given current issues from Brexit to climate change, it’s a timely conceit for a game.

Asphalt 9: Legends

Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: GameloftThe Asphalt racing franchise is firmly in Need for Speed street-racing territory, featuring physics-defying jumps and drifts, as well as nitro boosts that remain sadly unavailable for your real-world hatchback. Asphalt 9 has been engineered for mobile gamers who aren’t that experienced with racing games: it can optionally handle acceleration and steering automatically, leaving you to focus on the stunts and scenery – even if that scenery is often about to slam itself into your bonnet. The game’s system of in-app purchases also seems fairly tuned. Its timers system means you’ll need to switch cars sometimes to keep playing, but you’re not overly pressured to pay.

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Alphabear 2

Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: Spry FoxMobile games where you make words from letter tiles with a Scrabble-style points system are 10-a-penny. Alphabear, launched in 2015, was one of the better ones, and this sequel builds on it well. It’s designed as a single-player game, with a story mode leading you through levels with various gameplay restrictions to keep you on your toes – from time limits to bonuses for specific kinds of tiles. Around this, there is a system of cartoon bears to be unlocked. These have their own special powers and score-multipliers (such as earning you extra points for words ending with ‘s’). If turn-based multiplayer word games such as Words With Friends feel a bit intimidating, this is a more relaxed alternative.

My Child Lebensborn

Android/iPhone, £2.59/£2.99

Photograph: TeknopilotLebensborn was an initiative in Nazi Germany that involved sending children to be adopted by “racially pure” parents, both within Germany and occupied countries. Factor in themes of bullying and abuse, and it’s no wonder that a content warning about potential distress is the first thing you see. The game has you trying to parent a Lebensborn child in Norway, and their experience at school is far from idyllic. In fact, you’ll probably feel increasingly bleak the more you play, as your desire to fix things surges at the same rate as your fury that you can’t. A worthwhile, if not always pleasant experience. Read the full review

Pocket-Run Pool

iPhone, free

Photograph: Zach Gage with Denver CoulsonPocket-Run Pool seems very simple: it’s a top-down, drag-to-aim pool simulator with decent ball physics. But there are some twists that make it much more interesting. There are score-multiplier pockets, which rotate after every shot – hitting the 10-ball into the 10x pocket scores 100 points. High Stakes mode introduces a gambling element where you play for chips with quirky challenges such as bumpers on the table, or “death balls” that instantly end your game. Insta-Tournament gets you competing in your own time against other players’ best scores. It’s ideal for quick goes when you have five minutes to kill, and more than capable of making you miss your train stop or bedtime.

Space Pioneer

Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: Vivid GamesThis is a game about exploring an infinite galaxy, exploring planets, collecting loot and uncovering the odd ancient mystery. It’s firmly action-focused: when you beam down to a planet, you’ll run around blasting aliens while keeping a close eye on your health, sometimes encountering satisfyingly big bosses to take on. What keeps you playing is everything around that – turning loot into upgrades for your weapons and fighting skills, for instance, or building a space base. Space Pioneer is not aggressive about asking for money, either. There are no sudden difficulty-level lurches to nudge you towards in-app purchases, so you can play at your own pace.

The Sims Mobile

Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: Electronic ArtsMobile gamers have been playing neighbourhood-god in The Sims: FreePlay, a cut-down version of the life-simulator Sims games on PC tuned for smartphone habits, since late 2011. It’s now been superseded by The Sims Mobile, which is much closer to the bigger, better PC games. It suits the rhythm of mobile play (short bursts rather than long sessions), letting you micromanage your Sim people and see their work, love lives and home decor evolve. There are energy meters and a timer that locks you out of the game, both designed to nudge you towards in-app purchases, but it nonetheless retains the magnetism of the PC games as your community develops.

Evoland 2

iPhone/Android, £6.99

Photograph: Shiro GamesThe first Evoland was essentially a megamix of the best bits from the history of role-playing games, from monochrome Game Boy questing to Final Fantasy-style battles. The sequel continues in that vein, packing in knowing references for long-time game and anime fans without bamboozling everyone else. From pixel-art platforming to 3D open-world exploring, Evoland 2 sends you through a montage of fun moments, both familiar and novel.


iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: Epic GamesA playground craze the likes of which we’ve not seen since Minecraft, Fortnite is a colourful, rather creative battle-royale shooter: 100 players begin a match, one remains at the end. Where Fortnite prevails over its rival PUBG, which also appeared on phones this month, is that it feels natural on a touchscreen, from the smart placement of the on-screen buttons to double-tap gestures that make aiming while running painless. You might it for your kids, but you’ll want to play it yourself.

Alto’s Odyssey

iPhone/Android, £4.99

Photograph: Team AltoAlto’s Adventure, from 2015, was a beautiful-looking, endless snowboarding game, but developer Snowman has swapped snow for sand for the sequel, with a desert theme providing plenty more scenery to gawp at. You’ll be swooping down slopes, flipping somersaults while airborne, and avoiding obstacles from rock-piles to chasms, taking in sunsets and storms. It’s calming and meditative, with a zen mode that strips out the scoring aspect for an even more relaxed experience.

The Room: Old Sins

iPhone/Android, £4.99

Photograph: Fireproof GamesThe fourth in a series of super-tactile puzzle-box games, Old Sins bucks the law of diminishing returns: it’s the best yet. Exploring a ghostly doll’s house, you solve a physical puzzles by manipulating the objects you find there, sliding open secret compartments, rotating statues and ringing bells. Experimental tapping will only get you so far: real progress (and intense satisfaction) comes once you tune in to The Room’s twisty logic.

Hero Academy 2

Android/iPhone, free (with in-app purchases)

Photograph: Robot EntertainmentThis turn-based strategy game sits somewhere between Hearthstone and Clash Royale, because you battle with fantasy character cards. There’s a well-designed solo mode to teach you how to fight and build a decent deck, ready for taking on other players online. There’s a lot of scope to sculpt a deck for your preferred battling style, using archer- and spell-heavy ranged attack tactics to up-close brawny brutes, but the intricacies don’t feel overwhelming.

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Meteorfall: Journey

Android/iPhone, £2.59/£2.99

Photograph: Eric FarraroMore fantasy deck building here, but Meteorfall is focused on solo play, with elements of dungeon adventuring woven in to its card battling. You choose a character, get a basic deck of attack cards, then swipe your way through fights with monsters, stopping off to expand and upgrade your deck and level-up your hero. Deaths are unavoidable, but you can save the gems earned by playing to unlock some new cards for the next time round. It’s a tight, cleverly focused card battler with an irresistible one-more-go factor.

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