I think it’s safe to say that most Android users have a favourite game. Whether you prefer puzzle games, titles from the arcade and action genre or perhaps sports simulations, there must be one that has, in some way, engrossed you.
I’ve had the privilege of writing Android reviews now for around eighteen months and have probably scribbled somewhere around 500 or more pieces on Android Appstorm and elsewhere. Of these, very many have been games and certain titles have stood out as being particularly addictive. Namely, the ones I carry on playing long after the review has been published.
So here, for your perusal, debate and discussion, are my top 50 addictive Android games. You should be warned that these can swallow your spare time without mercy, often leaving you groggy and disorientated, sometime after midnight and hours of hardcore playing. With that as a small warning, say goodbye to productivity and read on…
In each round-up element, click on the link inside the description — when available — for our full review of the game.
Tiny Tower is a cute, retro tycoon game where you build a tower and populate it with cool characters. It’s a perfectly casual game where you can dip in and out when the time suits you.
From the quirky characters and the ability to dress them in various uniforms, to the Bitbook posts which tell you how they are getting on, gameplay is compulsive and immediately engrossing. It also featured in Android Appstorm’s 33 Fantastic Retro Games to Get Nostalgic About, such is it’s old-school appeal.
Game Dev Story is another top retro title that has the tightest of gaming grips. Here you have to run your own game development company by creating a series of awesome games and managing a cool team of developers and creatives.
This game chills me when I think of quite how addicted I was to it. 3am finishes with bleary eyes and a dying phone battery weren’t uncommon. Kairosoft have made several similar titles so definitely check them out in the Google Play Store.
WarGames: WOPR is a puzzle game based on the 80’s movie of the same name. Essentially you have to link similar icons together to build high scores and defeat your competitor (made up of characters from the film).
Wrapped in images and dialogue from the movie, the gameplay is challenging and has you hooked almost immediately. Not many games have me desperate to complete them but this did, literally “unputdownable”.
In New Star Soccer you have to live the life of an up-and-coming football player. With both on-field and off-field elements to gameplay, it’s a fantastic time-waster for any fan of the game.
A football journalist I follow tweeted about New Star Soccer, along with an apology for the ensuing loss of productivity the game would cause him. After 3 weeks, I had to wean myself off it and deploy levels of willpower I was unaware I had. Outstanding game, but it seriously dents your real life.
Dead Trigger is an immersive and haunting first-person zombie shoot’em-up that sees you completing missions and wiping out the undead in the most detailed and richest of mobile environments.
The gameplay, visuals and sound combine to stunning effect to deliver a game that demands your attention and doesn’t like letting go. Play it on a tablet in the dark and you’ll find it more chilling than some horror films.
Requires: Android Varies with device
Google Play Link: DEAD TRIGGER
Developer: MADFINGER Games
Sticking with the zombie theme, in Rebuild you have to strategically help build a small community of survivors. You need to expand your compound and protect your assets from the burgeoning undead who attack frequently. The game is rife with terrible moral decisions and devastating events that continually rock your progress.
The game somehow evokes compassion in you for the welfare of your community members. When one dies you can’t help but feel saddened at the loss. Quite possibly one of the most engrossing titles in this round-up, it has a vice like grip that is incredibly hard to ignore.
An Angry Birds game had to make the list, didn’t it? The premise is beautifully simple; fire various birds at buildings in order to destroy the evil thieving pigs. There are hundreds of levels and several bird types to deploy as the story unravels.
The series has spawned a number of titles now and has been downloaded millions of times across various platforms. It is the quintessential ‘must-play’ game. I can’t rightly choose one as being more addictive than another, so here is the latest and graphically richest of the series, Angry Birds Space.
100 Doors is a challenging puzzle game where you have to open a door on every level. Using logic, patience and a dash of strategy, gamers must work out exactly how to open each door to progress.
The game has gathered an army of fanatics online where solutions are shared like commodities. It’s often very simple to play but really tests and challenges your lateral thinking. As such it’s tough to put down and highly addictive for puzzle fans.
Temple Run burst onto the Android scene after being hugely popular on iOS. Run, jump, slide and turn your way along an ancient wall as you escape from rabid demon-monkeys. The game requires fast reactions and nerves of steel to do well.
The challenge is to last as long as you can and complete various missions as you do so. Subsequently it’s one of the most casual and aggressively engrossing games available in the Google Play Store.
A Story of a Band is an awesome retro-style title where you manage and develop an emerging rock band and guide them to super stardom. Not a million miles away from the kind of gameplay you find in Game Dev Story and it’s ilk, A Story of a Band sees you guide your group through a history of contemporary music.
Want to be the first band to establish punk? Go on tour, produce new albums and manage your hard-drinking band members in a game that rocks very hard indeed.
If you like word games, definitely be sure to check out Word Weasel. In a nutshell it’s like playing Boggle at gun point. You play against other online gamers to get the highest score in two minutes. It also made it’s way into our round up of the quintessential word games.
It’s fast paced, highly addictive and massively rewarding if you do well. Your average score changes with each round so make sure you do as best as you can. Another game I’ve played long into the night and it continues to draw me back time and time again.
One of my more recent obsessions, My Singing Monsters is a game where you grow a breath-taking choir of quirky creatures. Breed, grow eggs and place new monsters on a variety of harmonious islands.
Keeping monsters happy and belting out catchy tunes is one thing, but leaving the game alone for more than a day is really challenging. A great casual game, it’s something both adults and children can get heavily addicted to.
Monsters Ate My Condo comes from the wacky imagination of the folks at Adult Swim. Simply combine and/or swipe away apartment levels into the hungry mouths of deranged monsters.
Quite unlike anything you will have ever seen before, it’s easy to play but tricky to put down. The monsters are incredibly silly but gameplay is insanely addictive.
There are probably hundreds of tower defense games in the Google Play Store but this one stands out for me. Tied closely to the original film of the same name, Night of the Living Dead features effects and sound bites from the movie which make it incredibly immersive and compelling.
What really kept me coming back to the game over and over again however was the gripping atmosphere which just permeates through every level. It’s eerie, engaging and ultimately one of the most compulsively playable tower defense games available today.
Trainyard is another gem for puzzle fans. Simply create the right tracks for the trains to pass along, ensuring they reach their stations without a problem. A keen sense of timing is absolutely essential in this gorgeously animated and perfectly designed game.
There are dozens of levels and the logic required will test even the most dedicated fans of the genre. The thing with logic puzzles is that you know there is a solution and that fact keeps you trying again and again until you find it.
Spirits is like an ethereal version of Lemmings. Rich with sounds and engaging gameplay, the welfare of the spirits in the game becomes your main concern as you guide them towards a goal.
Lemmings was one of the most addictive and popular PC games in its day, and Spirits is just as engrossing. Another game that comes with a fantastic and immersive atmosphere, it’s a title you don’t just play but also experience.
Football Manager (and its predecessor Championship Manager) was on record as being the cause of several divorces in the UK. In a nutshell, players spent more time managing their virtual teams than they did with their spouse, such is the strong draw.
The series’ 2012 Handheld edition is brilliant fun to play and can be obsessively addictive. It should perhaps come with the following warning – “May detrimentally affect professional and personal relationships after prolonged usage”.
Flick Kick Football is yet another football game (sorry about that) but one that I found myself equally smitten with. All you have to do is flick the ball net-wards and score goal after goal. The game comes with several modes and cool retro-soccer visuals.
Perhaps this made it into the list because of my own love for “the beautiful game”, but there’s no denying the popularity of ‘flick’ style games in the Google Play Store. This, for me anyway, is the very best of its kind.
Riptide GP is a stunning futuristic jet ski racing game that requires a hot Tegra device to run it. The visuals are out of this world, from the way the splashes drip on your screen to the realistic wave and water dynamics.
Races are fast and brilliant fun. It is the kind of game which really shows off the graphic ability of your high-end Android device. Subsequently I found myself playing it over and over, somewhat mesmerised by the gorgeous graphics and immersive environments. Genuinely breath-taking, it absorbs you from the off and is tough to put down.
Dude Perfect are a group of guys who pull off truly audacious basketball trick shots and create incredible YouTube videos of their exploits. The game plays a little like Angry Birds, but there you have to use various obstacles to land the perfect shot.
There are loads of challenging levels to progress through and some are really tough and take a lot of practice. The rewards associated with landing a perfect shot is huge and keeps you coming back for more.
R-Type is another brilliant game from yesteryear. Battle through level after level of retro space shooting action in the game that helped define the whole genre.
I can’t put my finger on why it’s so addictive; it could be the nostalgic memories it brings up or maybe the stunning end of level bosses that are massively rewarding to beat. Regardless, as soon as I played it again I felt like I was right back there in front of a Sega Master System with a sweaty game controller and a universe to conquer.
Pocket Frogs is a laid back ‘breed’em-up’ for lack of a better descriptive. Breed frogs to create new frogs to race and sell. It’s like Pokemon, only with amphibians.
Collecting different frogs is one thing but constructing environments for them to live in, buying in rare varieties, breeding to best effect and racing your frogs is all magnificent fun and very addictive.
If zipping around in a clunking flying saucer picking up rednecks and collecting cattle is your idea of fun, then definitely check out Grabatron.
What makes this so compelling is the pure fun factor involved. Learning how to pick up and throw vehicles, finding the big grabber and making things smash together is just altogether brilliant. The graphics and sound too are top notch, making it a game you want to play again and again.
Age of Zombies sees Barry Steakfries, lately of Jetpack Joyride fame, leaping through time as he takes down a zombie apocalypse in various historical settings. Incredibly silly, it’s unadulterated joy to make squishy mincemeat of hundreds of hungry little zombies.
Ever thought you’d find yourself taking down a zombie T-Rex with a really big gun? You can here. It’s extremely addictive and despite being a little on the short side, it’s a game you’ll struggle to leave alone for very long.
Flow Free is a very simple puzzle game where you have to fill a grid with coloured lines. Grids start off small but get trickier as they grow in size. There are hundreds of levels in the game and it’s the perfect occupation to wind down with.
This is the kind of game where you choose to play a couple of levels and before you know it, an hour has passed. It just lures you in with bright colours and canny gameplay then, suddenly, you can’t put the darned thing down!
Name your virus, give it some features and adjust how it will spread. Then sit back and watch it wreak havoc across the globe. It’s the ultimate apocalypse game that you control.
Playing a warped evil genius is certainly fun. Plus, challenging yourself to wipe out more humans next time around adds to the games’ high level of addictiveness.
Reckless Getaway is a breathtaking racing game where you attempt to out-race the police in busy traffic at break-neck speed. The graphics are stunning and the sound is excellent, making it a polished and rewarding game to get stuck into.
While I enjoy racing games I do not often find they fall into the ‘addictive’ category. Reckless Getaway however is an exception to the rule. It’s very simple to play and every turn asks you whether you can reach the end of the level. A top, top casual game, it is something you’ll really get a buzz from whenever you fire up.
HexDefense is a dark and brooding tower defense game that utilizes retro neon graphics and immersive sound. Set against an inky black background, destroyed baddies explode in a shower of fireworks.
I love good tower defense games and this was one of the first I became addicted to. The game just seems to pulsate as you play and it’s very easy to become swept away by the atmosphere and gameplay. If you’re a big fan of tower defense titles, be sure to check this out if you haven’t already.
Muffin Knight is an adorably playable platform game chock full of cute characters and fun gameplay. Collect muffins and avoid level after level of baddies.
Another game that I just could not put down for quite a few weeks, it’s full of quirky phrases and brilliant action. How can you not love a game which features a Ninja Kitty?
Osmos HD is a very absorbing game, quite literally! You control a mote as it moves around a universe of other motes. Absorb smaller ones to grow and avoid larger motes to survive.
Winner of multiple game awards and wonderfully challenging and addictive, Osmos HD is another game you ‘experience’ rather than just play. Worth every last penny of the price, you can try before you buy with this demo.
They Need to be Fed is another excellent indie game that is both engrossing and fun. Guide your little character towards the hungry mouth of an end of level monster. Avoid obstacles and traps in this simple and yet very original game.
The level design in They Need To Be Fed is insanely fiendish and there are sometimes different paths to take for the same goal. If you fail a level you almost feel obliged to try again, making it outrageously addictive throughout.
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Google Play Link: They Need To Be Fed
Developer: YoYo Games Ltd
Birzzle is another bird-based puzzle game that just sucks you in. Not overly different to the better-known ‘Chuzzle’, you have to group together and swap coloured birds to make them pop.
The graphics are delicious and, if you’ve played and enjoyed games like Bejeweled, you will find this lots of fun and very addictive.
Star Dunk is a beautiful multiplayer basketball game based in space. If that wasn’t compelling enough, you can upgrade backgrounds, ball types and qualities and play against thousands of players around the world.
Games are incredibly quick and over in no time so the pressure is on to make every shot count. As soon as one game is over, the countdown starts for the next. You can easily lose hours at a time playing this game. It’s just brilliant fun that impulsively draws you in.
Diversion is a 3D running game where you traverse platforms and jump from section to section. There are hundreds of characters to work through and loads of levels to complete.
Timing is utterly crucial here and if you miss a jump it can often mean you have to start again. It sometimes seems incredibly unjust when you miss a jump so you feel perpetually inclined to try again, hence the stupidly high addictiveness level.
Fieldrunners HD is a gorgeous tower defense title that, thanks to its fun graphics and brilliant music and sound, is excellent to play and very engrossing from the very first level. The animation involved in Fieldrunners HD is great and makes the game enjoyable whether you play for a few minutes or a few hours.
The learning curve involved in the game is perfect so it is persistently challenging and yet very rewarding. It’s a game you just can’t stop playing, you just have to see each level through. Then, you have to face the ultimate gamer question; “one more level?”
Air Control sees you guiding planes, jets and helicopters into land at a busy airport. Simply draw a line from the plane to the landing strip and it will follow the line. If two lines converge it can lead to a crash so make sure you get it right.
Expert timing and spacial awareness is vital as the number of aircraft in view grows. The more craft that land the higher your score. Really simple controls make it easy to play and highly addictive.
Gyro is an incredibly simplistic game that requires you to match colours with incoming balls by rotating the centre circle. Gameplay is intuitive and straightforward.
Successfully catching a number of balls in this way is very rewarding but you always feel like you can do better. This pushes you to play time and time again. A brilliant casual game, it’s easy to pick up but very difficult to put down.
Cut the Rope is a much-loved physics game where you feed a little monster called Om Nom candy. There are various objects and obstacles that can hinder you, but also a number of items which can help, such as bubbles and string.
For me, Cut the Rope is right up there with the likes of Angry Birds in terms of addictiveness. Levels are truly cunning and brilliantly well designed, meaning every stage is engrossing for various reasons.
Draw Something came out of nowhere and became an almost overnight sensation. A multi-player drawing game that relies on the person you are playing with to guess your pictures and vice versa.
People can and do lose many, many hours over this game. Probably best played on a tablet with a stylus, it’s lots of fun and not unlike the board game Pictionary. Once you start playing Draw Something, it takes an iron will to stop. Be warned!
Four hours. That’s how long I played the game when I first launched it and it totally messed up my day. Just race cars along a drag strip by hitting the gears at just the right time, it couldn’t be simpler. Good timing is essential.
Then, as you upgrade your car and take on harder and harder competitors, your times get faster and faster. Drag Racing is a massive time killer that is best avoided if you want a productive lifestyle. That said, it’s brilliant fun and fulfilling to play, especially if you like racing games.
Head skywards in this gorgeously visual jumping game that sees you guiding creatures as high as possible. Rammed full of bonuses and boosts there are lots of items to discover in order to better your score.
Mesmerically simple to play, it absorbs time and an hour can seem like just a few minutes. Not massively different to the classic ‘Abduction’ game, this adds loads of features and a far richer experience.
Another Adult Swim title, here you control a robotic unicorn as it glides from platform to platform to the sound of 80’s synth band Erasure. Jump and rush as far as you can, accumulating as high a score as is possible.
The idea of a robot unicorn is intriguing enough but gameplay is so incredibly addictive that your eyes will be glued to the screen as you hum along to the kitsch music.
Rayman made it onto the Android platform just a few weeks ago now and I was immediately blown away by the exciting gameplay. There are lots of challenging levels and the graphics are perfect for the platforming genre.
You often complete levels only by the very skin of your teeth, making the game as thrilling as it can get on Android. It also makes the game highly addictive as you feel inclined to try again whenever you die. Pretty much the perfect port for the popular Rayman series, it is worth every penny of the price.
Flick Golf is simple golf game where you flick shots towards the hole. Addictive and fun, it drips in quality and is hard to put down.
The title is part of Full Fat’s range of ‘Flick’ games which includes all kinds of sports and action titles that all require simple yet accurate flicks to play. Be sure to also check out Flick Golf Extreme for even more exciting gameplay.
Stupid Zombies has been in the Google Play Store for a very long time, but the compulsion to shoot numerous zombies with a single bullet is still very strong for some people.
Now the game has a sequel- Stupid Zombies 2, so be sure to check that out too.
As we move towards the end of this extensive list, how can we not include the mighty Plants Vs Zombies? It’s a gentle defense game where plucky garden plants fight off the zombies hordes.
The game is also painfully addictive and thoroughly consuming. It is a game that essentially created a new genre of lateral defense games that has been replicated in various guises throughout the Google Play Store. It’s lots of fun but more than distracting enough to ruin your productivity levels.
Jetpack Joyride sees the return of dumb action hero Barry Steakfries who we last met fighting time-travelling zombies. Here he breaks into a scientific lab in order to play around with a powerful jetpack.
The game blends very simple controls with fun visuals and loads of power-ups, bonuses and items to collect. This gives it that crucial ‘one more go’ factor that makes some games so incredibly compulsive to play.
How can any round up of addictive apps not include Tetris? Tetris was addictive before Android even existed so it has to be included here.
Gameplay is as familiar and as challenging as ever in the Android version of the game, bringing that blocky puzzle goodness to mobile screens. I think everyone must have lost sleep playing Tetris, it’s pretty much a rite of passage for gamers everywhere.
Bejewelled is another addictive classic where gamers have to group jewels into combinations of three or more to remove them and gain points.
It’s an utterly mindless yet often inexplicably time-consuming affair where your aim is to score as highly as possible. Like Tetris, it probably found its fame outside Android, but now it is available on the platform and it continues to be engaging and fun to play.
Last, but by no means least, Word Mix is probably the word game I’ve spent the most time playing. It’s a much-copied anagram game where you have to create as many words as you can in a set time. You have to solve the anagram of six letters to progress to the next level.
An absolute favourite of Android ‘wordies’, it makes for addictive gameplay and enjoyably mind-bending fun.
So there you have it, 50 absolutely brilliant examples of addictive and highly compelling games on the Android platform. The list is by no means exhaustive however, I probably had to cut a dozen or more just from my initial list. So, dear reader, what have I missed? What game keeps you up until the wee hours? Which Android titles have destroyed your productivity? Make sure you add your favourites below!