When it comes to free video games, no platform comes close to the amount of choice and variety that mobile can offer. Hundreds of thousands of apps and games can be downloaded, spanning multiple genres, often supported by either in-game purchases or advertising.
With all these games, though, you could say there’s almost too much choice to digest.
This guide contains some of the best games that you can play on mobile without paying a cent. Some may take time to fully get to grips with, but for a game that’s free to play from wherever you happen to be at the moment, it’s easy to appreciate how quick it is to find a great game at the touch of a button.
Marvel: Contest of Champions
A fighting game with a lot of depth and addictive combat, Contest of Champions gives players the chance to unlock some of their favorite characters from the Marvel comic-book universe – whether that’s Captain America, Hulk, or even Thanos. Some grinding will be required to reach the higher levels, but the more time you are willing to invest, the greater the output will be for you.
Spending time picking and upgrading new characters is a big part of the appeal, so if you have any interest in fighting games or the world of Marvel, Contest of Champions is worth a try.
Fallout: Shelter is a fun world-building simulation that allows players to be the overseer of their very own vault. At first, a lot of the gameplay is passive, as wastelanders come to your vault and you place them to work as you see fit. But later in the game, there are various missions that you can send vault-dwellers out on, gaining experience, new equipment, and weapons. There’s a lot of loot out to find in the wasteland, so these missions are vital to the survival of the vault.
Bandit raids on the vault keep players on their toes, while managing the resources and economy of the vault make this a game for those who enjoy the micromanagement of a game, such as The Sims or Theme Hospital. Just don’t let your dwellers starve to death.
Plants vs. Zombies
One of the most legendary puzzle games in modern gaming, Plants vs. Zombies is the classic formula of deep, addictive tower defense-style gameplay without the price tag. Take on the brain-dead horde of zombies with your trusted selection of flowers and plants, with more stars offered for completing a stage with less overall damage taken. It’s simple, meaning anyone can play, and low intensity, so almost all devices can handle it.
With plenty of challenges and a number of sequels that are also free and available to continue, Plants vs. Zombies makes for an easy recommendation on any mobile device.
Related: The Best Free Offline Android Games
A favorite among the younger audience, Roblox is an open-world sandbox game that allows you to not only play around in worlds that include a huge number of creative games and landscapes but also create your own to share and play with friends. Think of Minecraft, but in a more casual-friendly game.
Events and mini-games provided by the developers keep players active while continuously adding new things to the game to stimulate creative juices. Roblox is an excellent choice for those who want to bring their friends together for an almost limitless amount of user-created fun.
Running with the joke of “why did the chicken cross the road,” Crossy Road plays much like the original Frogger games, where players must get the chicken across dangerous highways, railroad tracks, and ponds with floating logs.
Although very reminiscent of its inspiration, the game stands on its own with its unique art style, new challenges, and a few curveball obstacles to make the challenge that little bit more difficult. Beyond that, there are numerous characters to choose from, including a cat, a basketball player, and even a unicorn.
One of the most innovative uses of mobile devices at the time of release, Pokémon Go gives you the chance to be a Pokémon trainer by allowing you to catch wild creatures out in the real world. Use them to either battle with friends in a simplified version of the mainline game, or join together to take down powerful Pokémon in raids together.
The game is a great experience that encourages interaction with other players, regular exercise, and real-world exploration using the camera and augmented reality technology. Updates take place on a regular basis, and more Pokémon generations and challenges are constantly added to keep the game fresh.
A fast-paced side-scrolling shooter, Jetpack Joyride proves that arcade gaming is alive and well. It’s an infinite runner where touching your screen will cause your character to rise up in his jetpack to avoid the obstacles, while power-ups mean you can blast past obstacles and enemies.
The game is simple but incredibly effective in short bursts for fast-paced enjoyment. It’s an easy play after a long day, something not many games can claim. It’s also a big hit with kids, and it’s fairly easy on tech requirements too.
Garena Free Fire
Battle royale games have become a dime a dozen in video games, and mobile gaming is no exception. You’ll find that the majority will be derivative of the two biggest games that caused the genre to blow up, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, just like the number of games that mimicked the MOBA genre before them. But that doesn’t mean all of them are poor imitations, as Garena Free Fire demonstrates.
The game offers lots of guns and is optimized to work on even the lowest grade phones, producing some splendid action on a big map in the small form. Free Fire is almost certainly going to be your best option for mobile MOBA, and even the esports scene is taking notice.
One of the biggest games in the world and the king of the battle royale genre, Fortnite on mobile is a game that’s one of the closest to the full-fat experience on its console and PC counterpart. Building, shooting, and survival are the aims in Fortnite, as you compete in a match of 100 people to be the last to survive.
Cross-play allows friends to join up with each other regardless of what their platform of choice, and the fact that the experience is also free means that the barrier to entry is low across the board. Want a game that’s easy to play, but difficult to master? Fortnite is it.
Fire Emblem Heroes
Nintendo’s history of mobile gaming isn’t long, and many of their releases come across a little aggressive in the microtransaction department. Fire Emblem Heroes, though, is the best of the selection, and one of the best games you can play on mobile without dropping a dime.
Classic Fire Emblem gameplay of strategy over a grid might not sound too exciting, but it takes some real ingenuity to defeat some of the stages here, and the hero collection element is the perfect gateway to getting to know characters from the mainline series if it does interest you. Heroes in its own right is a fantasy mobile version of the franchise, and well worth your time investment.