Gaming on the go doesn’t necessarily require a fancy Nintendo Switch. Don’t forget about the handheld device you probably use every day — your tablet. Mobile phone and tablet gaming isn’t always everyone’s first choice for their fix of virtual fun, but Android and iOS app stores have a ton of amazing hidden gems in every genre imaginable.
Let’s not forget that mobile games are available for a fraction of the cost of many console and PC titles, which are priced anywhere from under $10 to more than $60. In fact, some of the best-rated mobile games out there don’t cost a dime to download. Who doesn’t like free fun? Here are 10 awesome, free titles for tablets, plus their Metascores.
10 Alphabear (81)
Think Scrabble, but cuter. SpryFox released Alphabear in 2015 for Android and iOS devices. In this puzzle game, players select letters on a grid to make words. Choosing subsequent letters causes bears to appear on-screen. They grow bigger with each additional letter, meaning more points and special power-ups.
A highly-anticipated sequel to the lighthearted word game was released in 2018. Both games received critical acclaim for their charm and addictive nature. Alphabear has also sparked a ton of memes since its initial release, so you could get in on that fun, too.
9 Call of Duty: Mobile (81)
Timi Studios and Activision brought Call of Duty to Android and iOS devices in October oflast year, and it’s already seen a ton of success. The free-to-play, first-person shooter Call of Duty: Mobile features 100-player battle royale and 5v5 multiplayer platforms with the franchise’s most beloved maps. In addition, classic Call of Duty characters like John Price and Simon “Ghost” Riley are available.
The game does include a few in-app purchases, but mostly for cosmetic gear, so no purchases are required. Call of Duty: Mobile had the second-largest launch month in mobile game history with approximately 148 million downloads, according to Sensor Tower, putting it above Nintendo’s big Mario Kart Tour launch last year.
8 Shadowgun Legends (85)
Shadowgun Legends by Madfinger Games was released on Android, iOS, and tvOS in March 2018. This is another first-person shooter title, but with a technological twist where soldiers must battle aliens with high-tech ray guns on different planets. The game incorporates both PvE and PvP elements, with over 200 solo campaign missions.
Shadowgun Legends is the third installment in the Shadowgun series, following 2011’s Shadowgun and 2012’s Shadowgun Deadzone. Legends has received the highest critical acclaim out of all three, as critics praised its stunning graphics and seamless gameplay.
7 Super Cat Tales/Bros (88)
We love a good cat game. Super Cat Tales, also known as Super Cat Bros., was released on Android and iOS app stores in 2016. Neutronized developed this feline-filled adventure where players control one of six cats, each with their own special abilities. The goal is to reunite a cat named Alex with his siblings by running through 2-D levels that were no doubt inspired by Nintendo’s classic Super Mario Bros.
The game received praise for its unique level design and its creative twist on classic platformers. A sequel, Super Cat Tales 2, was released two years later.
6 Crossy Road (88)
Why did the chicken cross the road? That is the question that inspired Crossy Road, a Frogger-style, 8-bit mobile game by Hipster Whale. While the main playable character is a chicken, players can unlock a huge library of pop art characters, like a pigeon, a duck, an alien, and a unihorse (very different from a unicorn).
Crossy Road was released on iOS and Android in 2014, followed by Windows phones in 2015. It joined the web in 2018. Many critics called the game a pleasant modern update to an arcade classic.
5 Asphalt 8: Airborne (91)
In 2013, Asphalt 8: Airborne by Gameloft Barcelona followed 10 other games in the popular Asphalt racing series. Players can complete solo or multiplayer races using luxury vehicles like the Tesla Model S, the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, the Ferrari FXX Evoluzione, and more. As the name suggests, in this installment, racers are encouraged to perform several aerial stunts.
Asphalt 8 is available on Android, iOS, and Windows phones. While there are now 16 installments in the series, Asphalt 8 remains the most popular. Critics praised the game for its level design and control options.
4 Sonic CD (93)
Take one of your favorite Sonic the Hedgehog games on the road with Sonic CD for mobile. As fans of the franchise now, Sonic CD was one of the series’ more successful games when it was first released on the Sega CD in 1991. It received a highly-anticipated remake in 2011 for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, and Windows phones.
The game follows our speedy, blue hero as he attempts to save an extraterrestrial being from Doctor Robotnik. Sonic CD achieved peak nostalgia by maintaining the charm of the original game while making some much-needed updates to graphics and achievements.
3 Flipping Legend (94)
Noodlecake Studios, Inc. released Flipping Legend in 2017 for Android and iOS. This RPG-style mobile arcade game promises to turn players into “masters of speed and rhythm.” The game requires lightning-fast reflexes and a love for parkour, as characters backflip their way to treasures and past obstacles. The game even comes complete with an epic ’80s arcade soundtrack for that true vintage feel.
Flipping Legend is one of those games where it’s really satisfying to get a streak going, which is why it’s so addictive. There are in-app purchases, but only to remove ads and buy additional chests, which are otherwise available every 10 minutes.
2 Super Stickman Golf 3 (95)
This is another simple yet addictive title (especially for golf fans) from Noodlecake. Super Stickman Golf 3 was released in 2016 for iOS and Android. The game takes a side-scrolling approach to mobile golfing, rather than the usual 3-D map. Unique obstacles come in the form of buzz saws, sticky goo, magic portals, and more.
Unlike other games in the series, Super Stickman Golf 3 introduced the ability to spin the ball for extra power. In addition, the game included new power-ups. It was named Metacritic’s best iOS game of 2016.
1 Super Quickhook (96)
RocketCat’s Super Quickhook was released in 2010 on iOS and Android. The game follows the popular 2009 title Hook Champ, which was inspired by 8-bit graphics. Super Quickhook took the nostalgia a step further by using 16-bit graphics to follow characters as they use grappling hooks to get through each level. Even with the vintage-looking graphics, it’s impressive how much detail they have, which is partially why Super Quickhook became Metacritic’s game of the year in 2010.
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