If you’ve been a bad kid, Santa leaves a lump of coal in your stocking. If you’ve been a bad grown-up, Santa takes away your internet connection. What do you do when you’re stuck without data or Wi-Fi? Play some games that work perfectly offline.
On Android, even if you have downloaded a full game, it sometimes requires an internet connection to start. It’s something we’ve seen on games like Dead Trigger 2 already. But there are still plenty of fully functional games that don’t need an internet connection.
Situations without internet can drag on for quite a long while. Whether it’s a long flight or a frayed broadband cable, you need to be prepared for the long haul. Accordingly, we had a few requirements for games in this list:
- It should be free. This is a “backup” game, so no point spending hard-earned dough on it.
- It should have plenty of playable levels. If the game finishes in half an hour, what’re you going to do after that?
- It should be ridiculously fun and addictive.
We’ve already told you the best Android apps to live without data or Wi-Fi. Depending on what types of games you enjoy, here are our top offline picks for every major genre:
Action/Shooter: Major Mayhem
It’s difficult to state just how much fun Major Mayhem is. It’s another one of Adult Swim’s fantastic mobile games with a long single-player campaign. You’ll be playing as the titular character, taking down a string of bad guys.
The game is staged like a shooting gallery. Enemies pop out from hiding spots, and you tap to kill them (or throw bombs if you’re especially angry). The enemies will also try to shoot you, so make sure Major Mayhem doesn’t take too much damage himself. Earn bonuses for headshots, killing sprees, and cool kills, and upgrade your weapons when you can.
Major Mayhem is the relief you need when the frustration of internet-less life gets to you.
Download: Major Mayhem for Android (Free)
Fighting: Shadow Fight
From the days of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, one-on-one combat games have been a great way to pass the time. On Android, you might want to give Shadow Fight a try.
You’ll need to learn a whole bunch of moves to be a true warrior. The game has two action buttons (punch or kick), and a directional pad. Learn the combinations and you’ll soon be a fantastic ninja. It’s tougher than a game like WWE Immortals, but it’s a lot more rewarding too.
Shadow Fight’s two-dimensional art style, with silhouettes instead of characters, adds to its charm. It’s all about the fighting here, not about any frills.
Downloads: Shadow Fight for Android (Free)
Platformer: Shadow Blade Zero
Forget about Mario, your new favorite video game mascot is Kuro the ninja. Nothing will stop him in his quest to find his teacher and deliver an important message. Let’s jump into the world of Shadow Blade, where you will slice enemies and jump over traps till you find your master.
Shadow Blade is an unputdownable side-scrolling platformer. The good news is that Android users don’t need to pay for it any more. Shadow Blade Zero is the full game for free, powered by ads. But the ads don’t need an internet connection, so you can go ahead and play it while offline. Neat!
Download: Shadow Blade Zero for Android (Free)
Endless Runner: Crossy Road
Crossy Road shouldn’t be as addictive as it is. It also shouldn’t be as free as it is, what with the amount of work that went into it. But hey, who’s complaining?
The 8-bit pixel art style is gorgeous, as you control a chicken who simply wants to cross the road. Tap to go ahead one lane, swipe in any direction to move that side. Avoid the cars on the highways, the streams in your path, and make it to the safe green grass as often as you can. And you need to move fast!
You’ll drive yourself nuts trying to beat your own high score. Most importantly, even though it’s repetitive, it never gets boring, so you can play it for hours.
Download: Crossy Road for Android (Free)
When someone on Reddit asked what’s the must-have offline game on Android, Lazors was the top-voted comment. Start playing, and it’s apparent why. The game is intuitive, yet at the same time challenging.
Each level starts with one or more active lasers, and one or more targets. You’ll also have a set of mirrors, glasses, or other types of blocks to move around. Position them so that the laser hits the target. There are 280 levels to get through, and it gets more difficult as you progress.
Download: Lazors for Android (Free)
Racing: Asphalt Nitro
You can’t have a game that takes 2GB just sitting on your phone for an internet emergency. That’s preposterous! Asphalt Nitro is the smart option. It takes only 110 MB of space, and it works even on older hardware.
Nitro is a stripped-down version of the popular high-end Asphalt car racing series. The graphics aren’t as good, but the gameplay is solid. Get in your car, start competing, and keep upgrading your ride. There are 125 levels of increasing difficulty for you to go through, so that’s plenty of racing time.
There are tons of good racing games, but they often need internet. Asphalt Nitro perfectly meets the “free, offline, long game time” requirements. No wonder it was one of the best free Android games of 2015.
Download: Asphalt Nitro for Android (Free)
Strategy: Plants vs. Zombies 2
Back in 2013, Plants vs. Zombies 2 was our game of the year. Three years have passed, but it still holds up as one of the best strategy games out there.
Things are pretty simple in PvZ2. You have an array of plants with different abilities. Zombies want to infiltrate your yard and kill you. Plot the plants in a way where they can destroy the zombies before the undead can cause any harm.
As with any strategy game, it gets more difficult as you go along. And yes, it aggressively pushes its in-app purchases, but you don’t need to buy anything to enjoy this game.
Download: Plants vs. Zombies 2 for Android (Free)
RPG: Pixel Dungeon
It’s rare to find a free-to-play game without ads or hidden costs. So rejoice, role-playing game fans. Pixel Dungeon is a fantastic RPG that is completely free.
You play as a warrior, huntress, mage, or rogue, stuck in the dungeons and looking for adventure. Explore lower and lower, finding new secrets, monsters, potions, and magical plants. The pixelated design and the text commentary are the cherries on top for what is already an engrossing game.
You won’t realize where the time went as you upgrade your character and explore the dungeon. Without doubt, it’s one of the best mobile games when you’re without data or Wi-Fi.
Download: Pixel Dungeon for Android (Free)
Sports: Flick Soccer 17
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, so it’s only natural that the Play Store is full of them. Several of them are great, but when you’re offline, you need to keep playing without waiting for retries.
Flick Soccer 17 is the new version of the classic touch-swipe Flick Soccer game. Gorgeous graphics, better accuracy, and improved physics make this worth it even if you have played the original. All you have to do is score goals. Swipe the ball in the right trajectory to get it past the goalkeeper and defenders, and maybe even hit the moving bullseye if you can. Target boosts like more time, double pointer, and so on can increase your score.
Whether you want the limited-time kicks or precision kicks, Flick Soccer 17 will keep you entertained. And just in case this isn’t your style, check these other spectacular sports games on Android, several of which can be played offline.
Download: Flick Soccer 17 for Android (Free)
Board Game (and Multiplayer): Sea Battle 2
Remember the good old game of Battleships? You plot your ships on a grid map. Your opponent shoots missiles at grids, trying to scuttle them all. And you do the same for their ships. Well, its digital recreation, Sea Battle 2, is as much fun as the original.
Offline, you can play against the AI and keep getting better. But the best part is that Sea Battle 2 can not only be played offline, but even multiplayer over Bluetooth. That’s right, this is the only game to go player-vs-player without needing internet. In fact, two people can play it over a single phone, taking turns. So even if your co-passenger doesn’t have it installed, you two can have a good time on the flight.
Smartphones let you play other board games, but nothing comes close to Sea Battle 2.
Download: Sea Battle 2 for Android (Free)
What Did We Miss?
Apart from these 10 fantastic offline games, there are plenty of other good titles on the Play Store. Whether it’s paid or free, tell us your favorite game to play on flights or when your internet connection is on the fritz.
Originally written by Mihir Patkar on January 13th, 2014.