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The year gone by was huge in the world of Android gaming. Most of the great titles were sequels to established franchises, and what this meant is that we got experienced developers working on a platform and game they knew. The end result? A series of mature gaming titles that are only limited by the hardware that Android runs on; take that limitation out and some of these could go toe-to-toe with console titles. Indeed, 2013 was the year mobile gaming came of age.

Shooters

Dead Trigger 2 (Free)

The much-awaited sequel to the popular zombie shooter didn’t disappoint. Dead Trigger 2 is, in my opinion, the best first person shooter on mobile Dead Trigger 2: A Refined Shooter For The Casual Mobile Gamer Dead Trigger 2: A Refined Shooter For The Casual Mobile Gamer With Dead Trigger 2 developer Madfinger Games has made the sequel to one of the best mobile zombie-shooters easily accessible for the casual gamer and broken it down into bite-sized chunks. Read More . It doesn’t take itself too seriously, has fantastic gameplay and gorgeous graphics, and is easy to pick up and play. Plus, it has weekly updates to keep you going after the campaign mode ends. But this one is for the casual gamer, not those who look for more depth from their titles.

Call of Duty: Strike Team ($6.99)

The Call of Duty series is fantastic on the big screen and with its latest installment, Activision got it right even on mobile. It’s got refined graphics and the audio is particularly good, but where it shines is the gameplay. CoD: Strike Team can be played like a regular first person shooter, and includes the added feature of ‘snapping’ your crosshair on an enemy. But if that isn’t up your alley, you can play it as a tactical shooter too, with a top-down view where you have to guide your team. It’s fantastic!

Runners

Rayman Run Fiesta ($2.99)

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If you ever needed to see how much music can change the experience of a game, you need to play Rayman Run Fiesta. The background score is peppy, it’s lively, it’s fun, it’s whimsical–and all of that perfectly complements the game’s vibrant hand-drawn animations and the fast gameplay. The controls are pretty simple: you just need to jump and glide at the right times to make it to the finish line, but you’ll have a blast doing even that simple task.

Sonic Dash (Free)

That blue hedgehog so many of us grew up with is now on our mobile phones! Sega’s consoles were synonymous with Sonic and now, Sonic Run puts you in charge of the classic character once again in an endless runner akin to Temple Run. It’s the same old story, where you have to collect rings and keep running till you lose all of them or fall down. But where Sonic Run shines is in the graphics. No other runner I have played gives you the same sense of speed and combined with the arcadish soundtrack, it’ll have your blood pumping.

Arcade

Plants vs Zombies 2 (Free)

Plants vs Zombies 2 is my game of the year for 2013 Plants vs. Zombies 2: Does Going Free-To-Play Mean The Death Of The Series? Plants vs. Zombies 2: Does Going Free-To-Play Mean The Death Of The Series? Since EA has taken the reigns at PopCap, Plants vs. Zombies 2 has been released for free. By free I am referring to the game being free to download initially, with plenty of in-app purchases... Read More . Building upon the hit Plants vs Zombies, the sequel makes it even easier to get into the scheme of things and keep playing on and on. There are new plants, there are new worlds (ancient Egypt, pirates in the Caribbean and the wild west), and a whole host of zombies to kill. Apart from being completely free, it also doesn’t push you to with in-app purchases too often. It’s an option, but if you keep playing the game (and it is addictive enough that you will), then you’ll never need to spend a dime.

Angry Birds Star Wars II (Free)

The latest Angry Birds game took you back to the world of Star Wars, and this time, you can visit the darker themes of the sci-fi universe by “joining the pork side Angry Birds Star Wars II Lets You "Join The Pork Side" On Android, iOS, WP8 Angry Birds Star Wars II Lets You "Join The Pork Side" On Android, iOS, WP8 Angry Birds Star Wars II is out now for Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 and the Kindle Fire for 99 cents. On Android, the game is also available as a free download, supported by ads. Read More “. Angry Birds Star Wars II is a lot of fun, with a wide host of characters from the Star Wars universe, each with a unique ability of their own. There’s a corresponding character for each skill on the good and evil sides, and plenty of gameplay. It’s surprising that this game is completely free!

Racing

Real Racing 3 (Free)

Real Racing 2 was one of the finest racing games on mobile, so how would its sequel top that? By doing more of the same, refining the gameplay and graphics, and going free! That’s right, Real Racing 3 is completely free to download and play. Keep playing and chances are you will never hit a paywall, like most freemium games. You can choose to turn on racing assists to make the game easier, or turn them off for a more simulation-like experience. And it’s got that pretty cool Time Shift multiplayer mode too. Alas, if only it had true head-to-head racing, it’d be a complete game.

Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free)

Very quickly, the Asphalt series has become as synonymous with racing games on the mobile phone as the Need For Speed series has been on consoles and PC. And the latest title from Gameloft didn’t disappoint. Asphalt 8 is perhaps the best-looking racing game you will play on a mobile. It’s arcade gaming at its best, with nitrous boosts and rough tackles to take down your opponents. Oh boy, it’s a lot of fun!

Strategy

Rymdkapsel ($3.99)

Rymdkapsel is a real-time strategy game. No wait, Rymdkapsel is a Tetris-like game. Hold on, Rymdkapsel is a tower defense game. Oh my god, Rymdkapsel is all three of those rolled into one incredible game. And yet, somehow, it still seems minimal and simple. Words can’t do Rymdkapsel justice, you need to play it and be amazed and entertained. Now wonder it’s made it to our best Android games list. Beware though, this is one hard game.

Anomaly 2 ($1.99)

As far as real-time strategy games go, Anomaly was perhaps the biggest hit on Android. Instead of tower defence, this is tower offence. Anomaly 2 takes everything up a notch: better graphics, better gameplay, better vehicles, better AI. The AI is a lot smarter than the original Anomaly, but then again, your units can now “morph” into a secondary unit mode, which has the opposite capabilities of the original unit. With so many towers in your path to get to the enemy, you’ll need to smartly morph your units.

RPG

Reaper (Free)

Mobile games are more about casual gameplay. So how do you make an RPG—an inherently complex genre—into something that casual gamers can enjoy? Meet Reaper. It’s a 2D platform game, but somehow, it offers the depth of a classic RPG title. You need to keep levelling up your character, finding quests, upgrading your gear, and so on. It’s an evolved RPG meant for mobiles and you will love it.

Ravensword: Shadowlands ($6.99)

Played from a third-person perspective, Ravensword: Shadowlands could very easily pass off as a full-fledged console game. Sure, the graphics don’t match up to the likes of a PS3, but if you played and loved RPG games on a PS2, then Shadowlands can go toe-to-toe with any of them. Go on an epic quest to find the three Ravenstones that get you the Ravensword, with which you can slay the demon. It’s an open RPG with plenty of weird creatures, like dinosaurs and giant spiders, and you will need to level up quickly if you want to take them out.

Sports

Real Boxing ($0.99)

Real Boxing is obviously inspired by Fight Night on the consoles and it would have been easy to go in for the same simulation style. Instead, Real Boxing mixes up sim and arcade for an enjoyable punchfest on your phone. It all starts with creating your player and then training him to become a great fighter. But the ring is where the action is! Duck and weave, jab and hook, and when you have him on the ropes, don’t let up.

FIFA 14 (Free)

FIFA 14 is definitely the best football (or soccer) game FIFA 14 On iOS: The Most Authentic Portable Football Experience Around FIFA 14 On iOS: The Most Authentic Portable Football Experience Around FIFA 14 on iOS brings a slightly simplified version of the sport to the platform with a level of grace and beauty that is perfectly suited to the sport itself. Read More –nay, the best sports game that you will play on a mobile device. There are so many things it does right. The graphics are spectacular, the sound is great, and the fact that it’s free is hard to believe. But what sets FIFA 14 apart is the gameplay. EA has got it just right with this one, offering a mixture of old-school arcade virtual sticks and a new set of touchscreen controls with swipes and taps that will make you never want to put this down.

Puzzle

Strata ($2.99)

Strata is a mesmerizing game full of great visuals and sound. On a grid of coloured squares, you have to draw ribbons, layering them on top of each other. The top ribbon must always match the square under it. Each tap of this minimalist game plays the sound of a key on a piano, and pretty soon, you’ll find yourself lost in a world of colours and melodic notes. I picked this up for a 5-minute game and didn’t realise where half an hour went by.

Spelltower ($1.99)

Spelltower had been a hit on iOS for a long time and in March, it finally came to Android. If you love your word games, then you need to grab this now. Spelltower mixes Boggle and Bedazzled SpellTower Is Boggle On Steroids For Your Phone SpellTower Is Boggle On Steroids For Your Phone If you've been on the lookout for a new word game to play on your iOS or Android device, SpellTower may be just what you're looking for. This is Boggle on steroids, and is well... Read More to form a new type of game, where you have to make words by connecting adjoining blocks in a Tetris-like grid. The connected blocks are destroyed and the objective is to clear the level of all blocks.

Retro/Pixel

Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99)

Ridiculous Fishing was originally released as a Flash game called Radical Fishing and made a huge hit on the Internet. Its makers were slow in coming out with a mobile app and copycats ran amok. But the wait was worth it as Ridiculous Fishing is one of the finest games you’ll play Ridiculous Fishing: Way More Than Just a Cloned Game [iOS] Ridiculous Fishing: Way More Than Just a Cloned Game [iOS] Ridiculous Fishing is a brilliant game, regardless of how many mistakes the developers made and how long it took to arrive on iOS. I can tell you right now it's an altogether better game than... Read More . While the gameplay is engrossing and addictive, making you guide a fishing line down into the depths, it’s the graphics that really make this game what it is. Developer Vlambeer has gone with a pixel-themed visual style full of solid colours and sharp lines that you can’t help but fall in love with. And man, that soundtrack is incredible!

Geometry Dash ($1.99)

You’re a little pixel. You need to get through a world of pixels by jumping and dodging obstacles. It’s all 8-bit graphics and retro awesomeness that makes Geometry Dash a visual treat, sporting loud but fun colours and lovely animations. Plus, as with every platform game, the music is pretty awesome. In fact, each level comes with its own track! It’s only seven levels, but these are some of the the best levels you’ll play.

What Did You Like in 2013?

These are just some of the fantastic Android games that we played and loved in 2013, and unfortunately, not everything could make the cut. For example, I love Riptide GP2, but Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 8 edged it out in the racing titles. I’m sure you have your favourites that didn’t make it here, so share your picks in the comments!

  1. Makie
    June 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Love most of these! Anyway, I just downoaded new game called rummi just few days ago and I got addicted really fast. Do you remeber this game that was popular few years back? It mobile verision of it- you can have it always by your side Try it

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.krinsen.rummi.full

  2. Makie
    June 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Love most of these! Anyway, I just downoaded new game called rummi just few days ago and I got addicted really fast. Do you remeber this game that was popular few years back? It mobile verision of it- you can have it always by your side Try it

  3. Junaid Ahmed
    March 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Wow! I have got an amazing list of lovely, fun-filled and challenging games. Many of them are new for me. Dead Trigger 2 is just a great game that is just a game of common sense for adults. Thank you for sharing the great game here.

  4. Anonymous
    January 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Dragon box 1 and 2 are pretty fun

  5. Nero T
    January 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    What about Into the Dead? This game is great and you should play.

  6. Martyn Chandley
    December 31, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I think you've missed out the very best game that has had me addicted since I got a copy and I don't normally play games on my tablet. You should review Survival Craft. It is a a fantastic game, a bit like minecraft but with better game-play and graphics but still set in a block world.

  7. Monica C
    December 31, 2013 at 7:51 am

    I've been obsessed with DOTS, so simple and yet I can't stop playing it.

  8. Jo-anne P
    December 31, 2013 at 7:30 am

    what a fun and exciting article I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the time and effort to post

  9. Robert
    December 31, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Thanks for including Geometry Dash on the list! (I'm the developer)
    It's actually up to 11 levels right now with number 12 on the way! :)

    / Robert

    • Jeff
      January 29, 2014 at 12:49 am

      Oh really?
      Congratulations!!

  10. Matthew D
    December 31, 2013 at 3:03 am

    mine craft should be on this list tut tut :/

    • Marc Fajardo
      April 2, 2014 at 8:00 am

      no enderworld, or etherworld.. or redstone.. they must put that :D when they include these updates...

  11. Dany Bouffard
    December 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I would like to have more RPG and also more turn based strategy like Heroes of Might and Magic, maybe a Yu-Gi_Oh! card game.

    • Marc Fajardo
      April 2, 2014 at 7:59 am

      Well you could download a MyBoy emulator *(for Android) and then download a Yu-Gi_oh! card game which is a gba.. then play it with MyBoy.. Works fine btw :D

  12. thebalu
    December 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    My favorite game right now is Plague Inc. It's free for Android (and 99cents for iOS hahaha) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.miniclip.plagueinc&hl=en

  13. Shaurya G
    December 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I played only one game in 2013 - Angry Birds Go!

    • Federico G
      December 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      So you played only a couple of weeks in 2013...

    • Shaurya G
      December 30, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      Precisely!

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