Sometimes it's hard being an Android user. Google's mobile operating system may be one of the big dogs, but Android users still get some of the best games dead last, if we even get them at all. Android is forever playing catch-up to iOS even though it punches just as hard as Apple's ecosystem. Sure, part of the problem is iOS is on relatively few devices, while Android is on hundreds, but that's not too far away from PC development, right?
While everyone else on the USgamer team owns iOS mobile devices, I stand before you as the sole Android user. I've scoured the internet with my trusty HTC One and 2013 Nexus 7 in hand to bring you the best Android games around.
Let's start with just a few of the best strategy games available on our lovely platform.
Inspired by the Dyson Tree Theory which hypothesizes the ability of genetically modified plants to grow on asteroids, Eufloria is an ambient real-time strategy game that begins on a comet with your very own Dyson Tree. As a ‘Euflorian’ you live on top of a comet and farm all of your recourses there. You use the seedlings that grow from the procedurally-generated branches of your Dyson Tree to conquer and colonize other asteroids. The trees act as units and different trees have different purposes. Defense trees, for instance, protect your asteroid from lurking enemy seedlings.
On a journey to restore balance to the galaxy, you travel through space. The game’s relaxing atmospheric music and calming aesthetic has you drifting through the stars. Aside from Story mode which includes over 25 levels and hours of gameplay, there are a number of other modes, each with their own style such as Relaxed Mode (aka easy,) and Dark Matter Mode (aka hard.) Low cost… no adds… great design… Eufloria is everything a mobile game should be. The only problem is ...it’s so nice, it will most likely leave you thirsting for more!
If you didn’t know, the jump-scare extravaganza that is Five Nights at Freddy’s has been available on Google Play since last December. Its a port of the original game, so if you’ve played it you’ll know what to expect: jumpscare brought on by a group of creepy animatronics out to kill you.
You’re a security guard hired to monitor Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza and its crew of malicious animatronic robots. From your office you monitor the various areas of the shop. You only have a limited about of electricity to use each night which means if you run out, you lose operation of the lights and the automatic doors --the only thing separating you from the likes of Freddy Fazbear and his gang. By keeping a close eye on the security cameras and monitoring the unlocked doors, you’ll hopefully conserve enough energy to make it through the night ...hopefully.
One part tower defense, two parts strategy, the zombies are coming and it’s up to you to defend the city. How will you do that? Manage your recourses closely and expand your outposts. There are a number of units that you can place to expand your safe zone and they each come with unique benefits. Factories, for instance, increase your recourses. You can upgrade your units with technology points you earn whether you win or lose a mission. If you want to speed up the games, technology points can be purchased with real money, although, it doesn’t seem necessary. There are a good number of maps available to choose from and the missions are quite fun and lengthy which makes this games well worth the $1.50.
This super simplistic abstract strategy game was never intended to be a game at all. Initially developed as a test project to study the user’s interaction with iOS, Dots: A Game About Connecting was at 1 million downloads within weeks of its release. Now at over 100 million games played, Dots has come over to Android. The rules are simple. There are various colored dots lined up in a 6x6 grid. Using your finger to trace, try to line up as many of the same colored dots as possible. The more dots, the higher the score. At 60 seconds your time is up. The secret to its addictiveness lies in it’s flat and minimalistic nature. It’s pleasing to the eyes, relaxing, and an easy strategy game to exercise your brain and pass the time.
If you're looking for something with the same hardcore strategy chops of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but for a fraction of the price, here's a game for you. Breach and Clear skips the sci-fi feel of XCOM and instead focuses on providing a real-world inspired strategy experience. Pick your Special Forces unit - the game includes US Army Rangers, US Navy Seals, Canada's JTF2 - and take them around the world, dealing with opposing forces through superior firepower and tactics. Breach and Clear might have a large number add-ons to purchase, but the base experience is still pretty solid.
Anomaly 2, like its predecessor, flips the Tower Defense genre on its head. Instead of controlling the defending towers, you're given control of the creeps doing the assault. There's a number of varied units in the game and each unit can morph to switch up their abilities. You'll need to balance those abilities against those of the opposing towers in order to clinch victory. In addition, Anomaly 2 is one of the best-looking games on this list and there's even an optimized version for the Nvidia Shield Tablet or other Tegra K1-powered device.
Look, you didn't think that you'd get through this list without seeing Clash of Clans or another free-to-play Android game, did you? I know there's a lot of hate in this direction, but Clash of Clans is successful partially because it's a great strategy game. Clash of Clans doesn't give you direct unit control like a number of the games on this list, but there's a great deal of strategy in building and expanding your tiny town. Sure, things take time and there's a ton of stuff to buy with real money, but if you control your urges, you'll find a fun experience here. And if you have friends who play the game, Clash of Clans is one of the most socially-connected strategy games around.
First Strike is all about nuclear war. It's somewhere in-between a game and a statement on why nuclear war is bad. (I'm not sure we need a statement, as most of the people that would play First Strike aren't in a position to do anything about nuclear arms, but whatever.) First Strike is all about expanding your territory, stockpiling your rockets and missiles, and then unloading on everyone else before they can attack on you. The game has a real push-and-pull between expansion, stockpiling, and attacking. There's no real winning in this game - you're still destroy countless fictional countries in the end - but it requires keen planning to be the first to the top.
Autumn Dynasty is a real-time strategy game that places you in control of mid-sized squads of Chinese soldiers. The entire game has a painted aesthetic, with combat taking place on painted backgrounds and a control scheme that involves you painting where you need units to move. This is probably the strategy game that's closest to actual combat; positioning is as important as resource management here. There aren't a ton of units, but resources, economy management, structures, and unit production are critical to winning each and every battle. Autumn Dynasty is a bit short, but it's great for the campaign's limited running time.
Look, we still don't have FTL on Android. Of all the games I want on Android, FTL is at the very top. But in the absence of FTL, we have Out There. It's a roguelike-like, there's randomly-generated obstacles, resource management is critical, and your spaceship will probably explode in the end. It's missing the unit control of FTL - which is critical to that awesome Star Trek feel - but overall it provides an excellent space-facing strategy experience. There's a bigger focus on the worlds your starship visits and how their wonderfully-unknown atmospheres and compositions will destroy everything you've worked for. And unlike FTL, you'll never feel safe. Do you want that feeling? Out There is for you.
Does hearing about those Ebola outbreaks create fear in your brain? Well here's a game that will show you how quickly a deadly virus can spread and destroy humankind. In Plague, Inc., you are that virus. Pick your biological weapon and do your best to spread it to billions. Augment and improve your diseases, increase their severity and infection rate, avoid those who would stop your spread, and wipe out all of humanity. Really, Plague, Inc. is probably better for you on a bad day than ice cream. Fewer calories and digital genocide isn't as bad for your heart.