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They say that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no place where it holds more true than in mobile games. Even those Android games that call themselves free eventually turn out to have irritating ads locked behind an in-app purchase.
Finding games on Google Play that have no ads or microtransactions can be hard. This is why we have compiled a list of the best Android games that are ad-free and don’t have any in-game purchases.
Cashing in on a popular television series with a video game is not unheard of. But making that game completely free, devoid of any microtransactions or ads, is certainly unique.
When Stranger Things first announced a companion game series, the audience was reasonably skeptical. Their misgivings only grew when the game turned out to be an old-school game with pixelated graphics.
But when the game finally came out, it did surprisingly well. Fans of the series loved a chance to explore more of the setting while they waited for the next season, and retro lovers enjoyed the authentic 16-bit experience.
We are into the third iteration of the game now, and the quality has only improved. Stranger Things 3: The Game is absolutely free-to-play for Netflix subscribers, and doesn’t include any sort of advertisements or microtransactions in the game. A must-play for anyone who has seen the show, or just likes nostalgic retro games.
2. Data Wing
2D racing games have long been a staple of arcade games. With their simple mechanics and intuitive touch controls, these games are easy to get into and quickly sink a couple of hours in.
Data Wing is a graphically simple recreation of the formula. But what it lacks in visual detail it makes up for in storytelling and gameplay. That’s not to say that its graphics are poor; the visual design comes together wonderfully with the EDM soundtrack to create a very engaging gaming experience.
The difficulty level rises with time, though the game remains easy to pick up for anyone. And at the low, low cost of free, there is no reason not to.
Puzzle games are another staple of arcade gaming. And if we are talking about puzzles, it would be remiss not to mention Ultraflow.
Like Data Wing, Ultraflow is a distilled-down version that best represents its genre. The visuals are clear and easy to read, with seemingly simple puzzles that will have you trying to get a perfect shot for hours.
The minimalist visuals are not compromised by any advertisements or in-game purchases, giving you a pure gameplay experience that will keep you engaged. And with Ultraflow 2 now out as well, there has never been a better time to get into the game.
Anyone who has ever played a Civilization title on their computer knows just how gripping and addictive the game can be. The granddaddy of 4X strategy games, Civilization is a timeless classic that remains the favorite of many players even today.
Unfortunately, the game isn’t exactly available on smartphones. Officially, at least. But thanks to the efforts of the Civilization fan community, you can actually play a form of Civ on your Android phone as well.
Unciv is an open-source reconstruction of Civilization 5, recreating the game’s deep mechanics and strategic variety in a simpler visual presentation. While not an official port, it nevertheless manages to remain true to the game, giving you the quintessential Civilization experience for free on your mobile.
Point-and-click adventure games were once a quite popular genre of gaming. You explored a sprawling 2D environment, interacting with the world and solving puzzles. The focus was less on combat on more on the whole adventure, which gave these games a more relaxed pace rarely found in a modern RPG title.
The rise of the indie gaming scene, however, has sparked new life into the dying genre. And while the bulk of these titles is for the PC, there are some great releases targeting mobile devices as well.
Frostrune is a gorgeous point-and-click adventure with an interesting story and mysteries galore. Taking inspiration from Norse mythology, Frostrune builds a world that is riveting and foreboding all at once. A must-play for anyone who grew up playing the Myst games and wants to recapture that nostalgia.
Card games like Magic: The Gathering have a long history. Gamers have always loved collecting rare cards, building their own unique decks, and then using them to destroy their opponents with overkill.
And thanks to mobile gaming, it has become easier to get into this genre than ever before. Underhand is a completely free-to-play deck builder with an interesting premise – You are the leader of a Lovecraftian cult, aiming to summon the Ancient One. No, we are not kidding.
Cthulhu cultists aside, Underhand is a fun and surprisingly deep card game with a great variety of cards on offer. And as there are no annoying pop ups to break your immersion, be prepared to lose entire nights in your pursuit of the perfect deck.
Any gaming list would be incomplete without a good roguelike on the list. Popularized by titles like NetHack and Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, the roguelike genre has become quite a popular gaming niche these days.
Pixel Dungeon is a proper roguelike game built in the mold of Brogue and Angband rather than the more action-oriented Spelunky or The Binding of Isaac. The graphics are simple, but the mechanics are deceptively complex, affording a level of depth and replayability rarely seen in games these days.
And the biggest thing is that it is absolutely free. There have been no attempts to monetize the popularity of the game using poorly targeted ads or microtransactions, and that is always welcome.
Fast Like A Fox is a unique blend of platforming mechanics with an endless runner game. Endless runners have a long history in mobile gaming, as they are rather easy to get into and play for a few minutes, or even hours while commuting.
What about an endless runner where you get to control the speed of your character as well and have to grab a bunch of collectibles on the way? That’s exactly what Fast Like A Fox promises.
Unlike most endless runners where all you can just tap to jump, you have to keep tapping the back of the phone to get the fox to run. The faster you tap, the faster he runs, and the quicker you finish each level. A fast-paced and addictive game, Fast Like A Fox is available on Google Playstore for free.
Thanks to the incredible success of Factorio, the genre of factory-building games really took off. While specific mechanics differ, all these games offer satisfying crafting mechanics along with the ability to build automated crafting machines.
Mindustry mixes this addictive formula with the tower defense genre, creating an explosive gaming experience. The graphics may not be incredibly complex (and isn’t that a theme for this article), but the unique gameplay makes up for it. Better yet, you can play both single-player and multiplayer.
If our description hasn’t keyed you in yet, Mindustry can get a bit overwhelming for a beginner. Factory builders are known for scaling out of hand, and pairing that with tower defense mechanics doesn’t simplify things either. But for fans of the genre, there is nothing more satisfying than watching your smartly constructed defenses wipe out in incoming waves with ease.
Mindustry had a different pricing model for Android and iOS devices. While the game is free to download on the Play store, it costs a one-time charge on Apple’s App Store. Keep in mind that even then there are no ads or microtransactions, and a player on an iPhone would get the same experience as someone using a Samsung Galaxy.
The classic Doom is still a great game by many, even after the success of the modern remake of the game. For those who grew up shooting pixelated demons in the pseudo-3D wasteland of Doom, there really is no other fix.
You can easily play it on PC using DOSBox, but what if we said that you could enjoy that same experience on your mobile too? Not officially, of course, as the mobile spinoffs released by the developer have been RPGs. No, we are talking about FreeDOOM, a community-developed game that aims to retain the feel of the original.
FreeDOOM is essentially a remake of the original DOOM with a similar art style and game mechanics on mobile. It looks and plays a lot similar, as it uses the same game engine and the first-person perspective. For those who still have a copy of the old game lying around, this app can be used to open and run the classic game itself on Android, which is simply amazing.
Which Are the Best Free Android Games?
When exactly can you call a game free? Is being free to download enough, even if it bombards you with advertisements? Does an in-app purchase to turn off the ads make it paid?
For most gamers, a truly free game is one that has no ads or microtransactions, besides being available for free in the first place. As you might expect, there aren’t many games in this category, especially when you are also looking for quality.
But there are some gems there if you know where to look. And to save you from having to sift through the crowd yourself, we have compiled a list of the best of them.
From deck builders to roguelikes, there is a great variety of gaming genres represented in this list, giving every type of gamer something they would like. And since the games are free, trying them out is as simple as just installing them.