Free-to-play games generally get a bad rap for a reason: they're exploitative, timer-filled hellscapes that use things like multiple in-game currencies and needlessly challenging grind requirements to advance beyond your first few hours or days playing. But there are some F2P titles out there we think actually set the bar higher and don't try to turn you into a human piggy bank. Here are 13 we think even F2P skeptics like us can feel good about recommending.
Top 13 Best Free Android Games
1. ANOTHER EDEN The Cat Beyond Time and Space
Another Eden is a mobile JRPG that offers a sane gacha experience, unlike much of its competition. You can expect a lengthy single-player campaign designed by many of the people behind the Chrono Trigger series, so you know the story is going to be good. So if you're looking for a collection-based RPG that won't break the bank even though it's free-to-play, Another Eden is easily the best choice right now, and the fantastic story is simply the cherry on top.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $79.99
2. AnimA ARPG (2020)
If you enjoy action RPGs in the same style as the Diablo series, then you're going to want to check out AnimA ARPG. Not only is this a dark and gritty hack and slash title, but it's also monetized well, leaving all in-app purchases for cosmetics that don't affect gameplay. This means the game isn't pay-to-win, unlike much of its competition on the Play Store. It also doesn't hurt that the title gives off a distinct Diablo II feel with responsive controls, quality graphics, and phenomenal music.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $1.99
3. Call of Duty®: Mobile
I recently covered Call of Duty: Mobile in a list of games to play while self-quarantining, but that roundup was chock full of premium titles, which is why I've compiled this list of free-to-play games, so I just had to cover Call of Duty: Mobile once again. More or less, Call of Duty: Mobile is about as good as it gets for first-person shooters on mobile. Not only does the game contain a plethora of everyone's favorite CoD levels, the gunplay feels great, no matter if you choose to play with touchscreen controls or a physical controller. Of course, since this is a F2P release, you can expect iffy monetization and an optional monthly subscription plan that can net players significant rewards.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $99.99
4. Dota Underlords
Dota Underlords is Valve's take on auto chess, built off of the MOBA Dota 2, and it's been playable on Android since July 2019, though the official release, as well as the beginning of the first season, only began last month. As expected, the auto-battler offers a $5 subscription pass for anyone that would like to earn extra rewards as they play, and new modes and gameplay elements will come to the title as these seasons progress. All in all, Dota Underlords is one of the more polished auto chess titles currently available, though there are options out there if Valve's interpretation of the genre doesn't float your boat.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $4.99
5. Plague Inc.
I feel I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn't list Plague Inc. in today's free-to-play game roundup. Not only is this a game themed around a world-wide virus outbreak, but it was also recently banned in China as if the game itself was causing the coronavirus. Luckily we are free to make our own game choices in the US, and so Plague Inc. is actually a quality virus simulation game where infecting the entire world is the goal, and it's pretty fun. So if you're eager to simulate what a deadly virus can do to take your mind off of the real virus, Plague Inc. is easily the best choice on the Play Store.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $14.99
Mekorama draws inspiration from similar isometric puzzle-based platformers, such as Monument Valley, though luckily, this game offers much more content. There are over 50 levels to explore, and even though this can be a very relaxing game, some puzzles are really challenging, ultimately making for a game that can be enjoyed by newbies and die-hards alike. Best of all, the entire game can be enjoyed for free, though fans can make donations to the dev through the title's in-app purchases.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $1.00 - $32.00
Dadish is definitely a free-to-play release, though it only contains a single in-app purchase to remove the game's advertisements, which is about as good as it gets when it comes to F2P titles. Luckily players can reach the end of this release without spending a dime, which is probably why the 2D platformer has racked up so many positive reviews. It also doesn't hurt that the game is balanced well, offering a challenge, but never being too tough, and while there are only 40 levels to play through, the title's collectible stars guarantee a healthy dose of replayability.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs $3.49 a piece
8. Brawl Stars
The creators of Clash of Clans and Clash Royale released Brawl Stars on the Play Store back in 2018, and so far, it's been a resounding success. At its core, it's a multiplayer affair that combines a bunch of different genres into one arena-based brawler. As you would expect, there are more than a few different modes to choose from, though the majority are played as 3v3 matches. Of course, if you'd like to participate without a team, you have the option to do so, but only in the battle royale mode. So sure, the title's monetization isn't the best, but at least there's fun to be had as a free player, which is precisely why Brawl Stars is in today's roundup.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $99.99
9. Old School RuneScape
Old School RuneScape is a classic MMORPG that made its way to Android in 2018, and it hardly needs an introduction. The game offers a boatload of free content, though it is slightly limited. However, it still makes for an excellent opportunity to jump into the MMO before you decide if you'd like to spend your money on an optional monthly subscription. The title offers cross-platform support, and it's a skill-based game, which means players will have to grind to level the title's 23 skills, which is the real draw of this release, grinding the day away.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $6.99 - $99.99
10. Pocket Build - Ultimate sandbox building
Pocket Build is a sandbox game all about building your own fantasy world. Primarily this title plays like a city builder or tycoon game, but there is also a sandbox mode and a survival-based first-person mode, which brings the game in line with titles like Minecraft. Amazingly the graphics in this release are superb, and the framerate is rock solid, which goes to show the title has competent devs. This is why new features are added to the game all of the time, and so it would appear these particular devs actually care about their game, which is definitely a rare occurrence on the Play Store. So if you enjoy building and designing your own fantasy worlds, Pocket Build is an excellent choice that keeps getting better.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $64.99
11. The Battle of Polytopia - An Epic Civilization War
The Battle of Polytopia is one of the better 4X turn-based strategy games currently available on the Play Store, and it's low-poly graphics indeed give the game a unique look. All maps are auto-generated, which provides the game with endless replayability, and the majority of the title can be played for free, though if you want to play online, you'll have to purchase at least one tribe to help the dev maintain server costs. Luckily the single-player content is so enjoyable the online content isn't necessary unless you want to thrash some of your friends.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $3.99
12. Last Day on Earth: Survival
Last Day on Earth: Survival plays similarly to the defunct survival game Durango: Wild Lands, and since Durango is no longer around, Last Day on Earth is easily one of the better F2P survival games to play right now. First and foremost, it will be your job to survive in a world devastated by a global pandemic, which is definitely topical to current events. Besides the eerie premise, this is a game all about killing zombies, crafting, and of course, grinding. There's a reason this title is packed with in-app purchases, and it's not for the benefit of the player. Luckily most of these purchases can be ignored until the late game.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $99.99
13. PAC-MAN 256 - Endless Maze
Usually, I am not a fan of simplistic arcade games, but I make an exception for PAC-MAN 256. Despite how annoying its ads are, or how difficult it is to get into another round after you die, I can't stop playing what is essentially a Pac-Man endless runner. I play it on my phone, I play it on my tablet, and I even play on my Pixelbook, showing the game is versititle (or maybe I'm simply addicted). Honestly,. what's not not love about and endless Pac-Man game? Sure, the game's in-app purchases aren't great, but it's not like I've ever spent a dime on the game, which is precisely why I've included the title in today's roundup. It's easily enjoyed for free.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $4.99