Most people enjoy video games in some way. While you may not be a hardcore gamer, there are casual games out there too. Games are a great way to take a rest from reality for a while. The only problem is that you have so many options to choose from, and premium games start to add up.
If you’re on a budget, then you’re probably in search of high-quality, free mobile games. While that may sound like an oxymoron, it’s possible. We’ve rounded up some of the best mobile games that you can download and fully enjoy without paying a dime or get pestered with ads every minute.
1. Stranger Things: The Game
With Stranger Things: The Game, players get taken back to 1984 in Hawkins, Indiana. The game takes place after the first season of Stranger Things, so it helps if you have a little knowledge of the Netflix series before playing. The events in The Game take place before the second season of the show, so you get a primer on what happens in between.
In this game, you’re greeted with 16-bit graphics that harken back to the golden age of gaming, which is fitting considering the timeline. You’ll control Officer Hopper at first, and then gradually bring get the kids on the adventure. Each character has their own unique specialties and talents, such as Lucas’s Wrist Rocket and Nancy’s baseball bats.
Stranger Things: The Game combines puzzles with a beat-em-up kind of adventure, and it’s sure to delight everyone. There’s plenty of content to go through and secrets to discover and unlock.
Want a buttery-smooth puzzle? Then ULTRAFLOW is worth checking out.
ULTRAFLOW is a minimalistic puzzle game that appeals to just about anyone. While the graphics are super simple, the gameplay itself can prove rather challenging.
The goal in ULTRAFLOW is to get the numbered ball to the larger circle, but you only have a certain number of bounces to do so. This limited number shows on the smaller circle. Once you use the last bounce, it explodes if it doesn’t reach its destination.
While some stages can be pretty difficult, the game does not have any timers or other restrictions, so you can play at your own pace. To restart a level, just tap twice on the screen. With 99 levels, ULTRAFLOW‘s bound to keep you busy for a while.
And if that’s not enough, there’s also ULTRAFLOW 2. The sequel comes packed with 180 more levels, completely free.
3. Gamestart Pixel Battle
If you need a good retro fix, then GameStart Pixel Battle has what you’re looking for.
While GameStart Pixel Battle was the official game for GameStart 2015, it’s still a good choice to consider if you want old-school side-scrolling platformer fun. The game comes with great 16-bit graphics and a chiptune soundtrack that’s delightful to listen to. It serves as a nice homage to the classics from the ’80s and ’90s.
In GameStart Pixel Battle, you’ll take on the role of GameStart’s resident gamer girl, Alyse, and help her figure out what’s been sabotaging games to make them impossible to play. After all, who finds frustrating games fun?
The game plays as a side-scrolling platformer, and you’ll fight your way through increasingly difficult foes. There are plenty of hidden cameos from popular pro gamers, so that’s something fun to look out for as you play. You can also unlock more playable characters in GameStart Pixel Battle, with each one having their own unique abilities.
Even if you’ve never heard of GameStart, this gem of a game will serve your retro action fix well.
4. DATA WING
Those who are looking for an adrenaline rush must give DATA WING a try.
If you grew up in the 80s, then DATA WING‘s futuristic yet retro graphics are a nice throwback. And while it doesn’t have the chiptunes you grew up with, the original EDM soundtrack is still pleasant to listen to. The goal in DATA WING is to race to the finish line in various objective-based missions that the “Mother” computer system gives you.
What sets DATA WING apart from other racers is the unique driving system. Your ship flies automatically, and you tap left or right to steer towards either direction. To brake, simply tap both sides at the same time. You can also thrust off walls, using the momentum to your advantage to surpass other racers.
Though DATA WING is about the racing, the game does have a story that spans over two hours with about 40 levels to get through. It’s a fun story-driven, competitive racing game that gets your blood pumping.
5. OHM – A Virtual Science Centre
If you’re seeking an educational game for your little ones, or maybe just want learn something new yourself, then OHM – A Virtual Science Centre is a nice way to do so.
OHM features a gorgeous, low-poly design reminiscent of other popular stylized games. The graphics are beautiful and pull you into the fascinating world of energy and electricity.
In OHM, you’ll learn about what energy is and how it works. This includes how energy becomes electricity from an atomic level, working its way up to bigger objects, like transportation. There are several different chapters featuring different topics. Each puzzle in the chapter explains how energy and electricity work in a fun and interactive way.
The puzzles in OHM are mostly simple, but that’s expected from a game that’s supposed to serve an educational purpose. There are several different mechanics for each puzzle, depending on the topic being discussed.
Still, I found the puzzles get trickier as you get further along. But it’s nothing too difficult, making this perfect for children. If you get stuck, you can get by using trial-and-error, because it should click after a few tries.
OHM looks great and while it’s educational, it’s done in a fun and entertaining way. After all, who said you can’t have some fun and learn something at the same time?
Love Geometry Wars but don’t feel like paying a premium? PewPew lets you experience multidirectional shoot-em-up action at no cost.
The graphics in PewPew are fairly basic, but definitely look like a Geometry Wars clone. If you crave bright neon shape outlines against a contrasting black background, then this is perfect. PewPew also has a high frame rate, so you’ll never be out of the action.
PewPew features five different game modes, which means you’ll be busy for some time. They include Pandemonium, Dodge This, Assault, Chromatic Conflict, and Asteroids.
Pandemonium includes enemies that explode or spin maniacally upon death, causing chaos for you. Dodge This has you collecting boxes while avoiding enemies. Assault is like classic Geometry Wars, where you fight waves of enemies.
Chromatic Conflict involves killing only enemies that match your ship’s current color, which gets a bit tricky and requires observation and patience. And Asteroids, well, is like the classic Asteroids game that you’ve probably played many times before.
As if these game modes aren’t enough, PewPew also has plenty of playable ships to unlock and leaderboards to climb. It’s amazing how this game is free with no strings attached.
7. Underhand by Spoopy Squad
When you want something that’s completely free but also totally unique, you must check out Underhand by Spoopy Squad. There’s nothing else like it.
Underhand bills itself as a CCG, which usually stands for “collectible card game” but here stands for “cultist card game.” That means you take on the role of a cult leader, and you must manage your cult’s resources effectively while responding to various event cards that get drawn from the deck. Your response to events determines the success of your cult, and how far it will go.
Your cult’s main goal is to summon an “Ancient One,” but this depends on your resource management and success. Otherwise, the cult may fall prey to the trials and tribulations of time itself. Either way, Underhand provides a thrilling choice-based adventure that anyone can enjoy.
We recommend you carefully go through the tutorial in the beginning, because otherwise you’ll likely end up lost. Once you start playing though, it’s hard to stop.
8. Wicked Lair
Tired of always being the good guy in games? Then you’re in for a treat with Wicked Lair.
In Wicked Lair, players get the task of constructing their own dungeon. You can build this dungeon as deep as you want it to go, and then fill it up with nasty monsters and minions that do your bidding. The heroes will come along and try to get through your dungeon in tower defense (or tower offense, depending on how you look at it) style, but you’ll want to overpower them to teach them a lesson.
The main goal in Wicked Lair is to send out invaders to the nearby town and destroy it before the heroes raid your lair. There are many minions to discover and keep in your lair, along with nine dungeon types that you can mix-and-match to fit your play style. You even learn spells that can aid your minions, because they won’t be able to win without you.
On top of having a cool mashup concept (dungeon building and tower defense), Wicked Lair is complete with the retro pixel art style that everyone seems to love nowadays. This is a must if you enjoy tower defense style games and like to be on the dark side.
Are you a fan of puzzle games? Then you must grab Mekorama.
Mekorama features a cute robot and 3D stages that are similar to what you’d find in games like Monument Valley. The goal in Mekorama is to guide the charming robot to the exit that’s found somewhere on the 3D structure. There are pieces on the structures that you can move and switches to activate that change the pathways for the robot. There’s a lot of rotating involved too, as you’ll need to see where the robot is going once it gets to the other side.
The magical quality about Mekorama is that there are no time limits or move restrictions. This means that you can play the game entirely at your own pace. Mekorama is definitely one of those games that’s both challenging and relaxing at the same time.
With Nekorama‘s free download, you get 50 complete levels, so there’s a good amount of content to keep you busy. And if that’s not enough, Mekorama has a level editor so you can even create your own stages to share with others. If you find a level card that someone else has shared, you can scan it and have their creation added to your game.
Mekorama is completely free, and there are no ads. However, if you want to show your appreciation for this beautiful hidden gem, the developer allows you to “pay what you want.” But you can enjoy the game in its entirety without spending a dime if you choose.
Have an itch for some number puzzles (or some incredibly difficult logic puzzles)? Then makenines is right up your alley.
In makenines, players will find dozens of handcrafted puzzles that both stimulate and relax the mind. The minimalist visuals and ambient soundtrack are rather soothing too. The goal is to clear the grid of number tiles by combining tiles so that they equal “9.” While it looks and sounds easy, the puzzles get more challenging as you go. It’s all about the process of elimination here.
With makenines, players get 80 puzzles to solve split up across three difficulty levels. You can start off with the Easy puzzles, then move on to Medium and Hard. There’s even a set of nine new puzzles that rotate every day, so there’s a lot of stages to go through.
You get the full game of makenines for free, and there are no ads. However, it has a tip jar model of in-app purchases, so you can support the developer if you feel like it. Doing this also gets you extra puzzles, but these are completely optional bonuses.
What Are Your Favorites?
While there are many trendy mobile games out there, most of them are full of ads and try to push in-app purchases on you, which get annoying. Fortunately, there are still some great freebies out there, as we’ve just shown you.
Do you have any favorite free mobile games that don’t have ads or in-app purchases? Did we miss your favorites? Let us know in the comments!