12 Essential Android Games

These Android games will get you tapping your phone frenetically until your phone runs out of juice

  • Bonsai Blast (Free) Bonsai Blast is not a complicated game, but it packs in hours of great fun. Colored marbles travel down a path, and you have to stop them from reaching the end by shooting more marbles at them. Once you've linked three or more marbles of the same color, they disappear and you get points. Fans of puzzle games will appreciate the 90 Zen-themed maps in Bonsai Blast, as well as the single-tap control method, which saves you the hassle of positioning the cannon before shooting.

  • Kumpa (Free) Kumpa is a labyrinth game that makes use of the accelerometer in your Android phone to help you navigate around the maze and light up various symbols in the levels, which in turn gives you points. As you level up, more obstacles, such as the “hole of death,” appear in your way while you try to collect items before the time expires. It's a great casual game; fans of pinball-like action will like Kumpa.

  • ToonWarz ($4.00) ToonWarz is a great 3D first-person shooter, with two gameplay modes available over four missions. In addition to offering nice graphics, it supports multitouch on Android 2.0 devices. Once you get used to the on-screen controls, the gameplay becomes fluid. After you complete the missions, you can play against other people in real-time deathmatches. If you like ToonWarz, you might also want to check out ExZeus.

  • Gem Miner: Dig Deeper ($2.00) Gem Miner is another simple game from the creator of Abduction. This time you have to raise a fortune by digging and exploring a mine. You mainly mine for coal, but you can also unearth bonuses such as gems or maps. It’s critical that you have enough ladders to get back out of the mine; but the more money you raise, the better tools you obtain to dig deeper and find more-valuable items. Again, the graphics are uncomplicated but the gameplay is highly entertaining.

  • Cestos (Free) Though it looks confusing at first glance, Cestos is an interesting game. You have to knock all of your opponents’ (up to four) marbles into space by dragging your own marble in the direction you want to shoot. Cestos requires a bit of strategy, as all players must enter their moves at the same time--and a match can last up to 5 minutes. The game is very social, too; you can friend/ignore anyone from the growing online community, and chat with or send private messages to fellow gamers.

  • UniWar ($4.99) UniWar is a well-developed online multiplayer turn-based strategy game that can connect up to eight players at a time in up to 20 games at once. Fans of StarCraft will appreciate UniWar, especially as the game also allows for a campaign mode against the AI with 21 missions altogether. You'll find over 50 maps, and you can play two-versus-two, three-versus-three, or four-versus-four games online with integrated in-game chat.

  • Speed Forge 3D (Free) Speed Forge 3D sets its racing action in the future, on an inhospitable planet. The illegal races involve heavy-duty hover vehicles; you can choose from among three styles. You can compete on six different tracks, and add weaponry such as mines and homing rockets to your vehicle. One quick tip to increase the game's performance: Turn the music off. If you prefer race cars of our time, consider Raging Thunder.

  • Buka (Free/$2.00) Buka is a cheerful orb, but mean asteroids stand in its way. With an arsenal of weapons such as shockwaves and spark attacks at your fingertips, your mission is to get Buka home, referred to as “The Happy Place.” Overall, this is a great little game with plenty of levels and variety; it will keep you busy constantly. You'll have to strategize carefully: Sometimes you'll encounter too many asteroids to eliminate, so you'll have to avoid some of the obstacles--which, unfortunately, awards you no points.

  • Let the Games Begin 3D games are becoming more common on Google's Android OS, and in this slideshow we've gathered some of the best to get you started. Even those titles without snazzy graphics are pretty addictive. Let's take a look.

  • Robo Defense (Free/$2.99) Robo Defense is a classic tower-defense game packed into your mobile phone. Addictive and fun, the game features above-average graphics and allows you to get new weapons through sell-backs or upgrades. Depending on your strategy, you can spend your points to upgrade the towers, so you’re not stuck with insufficient defenses later in the game. If you want more maps or to save your game progress, though, you'll have to go for the paid version.

  • Mystique Chapter 3 Obitus ($2.99) One of the latest 3D games to grace Android phones, Mystique Chapter 3 Obitus is an immersive first-person adventure with great graphics and a haunting soundtrack. The horror action takes place in two distinct environments (a hospital basement and a hellish alternate world), and the game features fully animated characters. You'll find plenty of challenging puzzles, too. But it's best not to play this game for the first time with the lights off.

  • Abduction (Free) UFOs have abducted your fellow animal friends, and you have to save them. To get to the aliens, though, you must jump on platforms and control your direction by tilting the phone sideways. Abduction is a fun game with lots of power-ups, level schemes, and unlockable levels and animals (you start as a cow) along the way. The concept is simple yet entertaining--and if you have kids, you might not get your phone back anytime soon.

  • Armored Strike (Free/$3.99) The premise for Armored Strike is simple: Eliminate your opponent, in multiplayer mode against the AI or a friend (nonnetworked). Essentially a turn-based strategy game in the style of Worms and Scorched Earth, Armored Strike stands out with its smooth graphics and fun gameplay. The game gives you many weapon choices, and once you get used to the angles and velocities, it becomes pretty entertaining. If you’re not sure about spending $3.99, though, fiddle with the free trial first.

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