In light of the recent sale for the Google Pixelbook (that ends today, so make sure to grab one while you can), I thought it might be helpful to roundup some of the better Android games that are compatible with Chrome OS and work well with the keyboard. I for one hate getting fingerprints all over my screen, plus I also find a keyboard and mouse to be the optimal way to play a lot of games. Luckily Android has quite a few PC ports that have retained their keyboard functionality, and there are also more than a few high profile mobile releases that have added in keyboard support thanks to the rising popularity of Chrome OS.
Now, I would like to point out that almost all of these games do not make it clear what the exact controls are for their keyboard support. Rest assured that I have tested every single game on this list and they all work. So with that out of the way, here are the best keyboard compatible Android games available on the Play Store for Chrome OS.
Lode Runner 1
If you have ever played through the original Lode Runner, then you will know that it's a great classic puzzle platformer with simple controls and genre-defining gameplay. Oddly enough Nexon is the company that created this new interpretation of the classic for Android, and it's totally free to play. Oh, and despite the Play Store clearly listing advertisements in the game, there are actually none to be found. Of course, Lode Runner would not be included in this list if it didn't have keyboard controls. You will still have to use the touchpad to navigate the menus, but once you are in a stage you can navigate with the left and right arrow buttons, and use Z and X allow you to shoot your beam in corresponding directions.
Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs
Lode Runner Reborn. Simple, mobile-optimized controls. A fun and fast-paced experience for players of all skill levels. Join a worldwide community of gamers who share a love for the arcade classic. Run, climb, and blast your way through over 300 new stages. Build and share your own stages with the Stage Editor. Challenge players from around the world in Championship mode.
SuperTuxKart is a free and open-source kart racing video game themed after a few icons in the open-source community. Think Mario Kart, but with Linux, BSD, and Mozilla characters. It's been around for years, but only just recently was it ported to Android. Of course, since this was initially a desktop game, the keyboard controls have remained intact. They will even be explained to you as you are playing, which is very helpful for those that are new to the game.
Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs
Karts. Nitro. Action. SuperTuxKart is a 3D open-source arcade racer with a variety characters, tracks, and modes to play. Our aim is to create a game that is more fun than realistic, and provide an enjoyable experience for all ages.
Mars: Mars offers a solid casual arcade lander gaming experience, plus it looks fantastic, and the controls couldn't be any simpler. All you need to use are two keys. One to fire your left booster, and one to fire your right booster. You will sometimes have to use these boosters in tandem so that you can align yourself with the pads you are required to land on. But be careful, because if you come in too hot, you'll splatter all over the ground.
Monetization: free / contains ads / no IAPs
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It saddens me that the real-time strategy genre has been co-opted on mobile by a neverending assault of casual Clash of Clans clones. Those of us more familiar with the real-time strategy games of old pine for the days when Warcraft II reigned supreme. Well, it may surprise you to find out that there are actually a few options out there on Android, and one of them is called Rusted Warfare. Now, like most traditional RTS games you will still spend the majority of your time using your mouse, but keyboard controls are most definitely included. Think of them as complementary to the mouse controls. Things like moving the map with your arrow keys, or using enter to close a dialog box work just as you would expect.
Monetization: $1.99 / contains ads / no IAPs
Rusted Warfare is an fully featured RTS inspired by classic real-time strategy games such as Total Annihilation and Command and Conquer.
A pure RTS with no microtransactions and no DRM
Online and offline multiplayer over wifi and mobile networks
Campaign, skirmish, survival, and challenge missions, with full AI
Over 40+ unique land, air, and sea units for balanced gameplay
Experimental units and nuclear missiles for the big endgame battles
Fast interface: Issue commands through the minimap, multi-touch support, unit groups, rally points
Strategic zoom: Zoom out to view and issue commands across the whole battlefield
Save and load games including multiplayer games for that quick lunch time battle
Reconnect disconnected multiplayer games and avoid any disappointment
Create and load your own custom levels (see forums for details)
Delver is probably the oldest game in this list, but it's still one of my favorites, and it works very well with keyboard and touchpad controls. Like most first-person titles, you will have to deal with the touchpad for camera movement. So sure, it may take a few minutes to get used to using the touchpad in combination with the keyboard, but once you get the hang of it, it's very serviceable.
Monetization: $1.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Delver is a first person action roguelike dungeon crawl with crunchy pixels. Take the role of an adventurer that tries their fate in the dark dungeons (and probably dies horribly). Fight monsters, grab loot, horde potions, and level up. Quest for the Yithidian orb at the darkest depths of the dungeon and attempt to bring it back to the surface.
Slayaway Camp is a voxel-based sliding puzzler that is filled to the brim with '80s slasher film gore. Like any quality puzzler, the gameplay is easy to grasp, though it's difficult to master. What's nice is that the entire game can be played with the keyboard. You don't even need to use your mouse for the menus. Everything just works. Sadly the developer's spiritual successor to Slayaway Camp does not retain the keyboard controls. So if you want to enjoy some '80s slasher fun on your Chromebook while using the keyboard, you'll have to do so in this specific release.
Monetization: $2.99 / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $1.99
A diabolical puzzle game that also happens to be a bloody tribute to the VHS era of videotape horror. No one is safe… no law enforcement enforces the law enough… and no animals or children are harmed… in the summer horror hit of 1984.
The Riptide watercraft racing series has had a lot of success on mobile, so it isn't a surprise to see that the developer has included keyboard controls for Chrome OS. The latest release in the series is called Riptide GP: Renegade, and you can use your keyboard arrow buttons to control your craft of choice, as well as use your boost when needed. There is no need for the touchpad unless you are navigating the menu. Oh, and if you'd like to play an earlier game in the series, those work with keyboard controls just as well as this one does.
Monetization: $2.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Experience the future of illicit hydrojet racing, where armored riders kick out death-defying stunts over massive waterfalls, dodge cops through public waterways, and boost at breakneck speeds across surging waves. Play through the single player career to unlock new vehicles, playable characters, and customization features as you take down bosses and build your crew.
Space Grunts is a turn-based shooter that has more in common with XCOM or Final Fantasy Tactics than many other OrangePixel games, but naturally, it keeps the old-school visuals Orange Pixel fans are fond of. Space Grunts is also available on the Chrome Web Store, but if you already own it on Android, why spend more money on the same game? The keyboard controls work just as great in the Android app as they do in the Chrome Web Store app, and since the entire game is turn-based, this means you can take your time learning how to use them.
Monetization: $3.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Space Grunts combines fast paced arcade action with turn-based gameplay. The year 2476, Earth's space-federation has been building moon-bases across the galaxy. One of those moon-bases has been sending a distress signal. Space Grunts are a group of intergalactic "problem" solvers, sent to investigate.
Project Highrise is another PC port that was originally designed around mouse controls, but that doesn't mean keyboard controls aren't included for things like moving the camera or selecting your tools. I find that the Android version works just as well on a Chromebook as the PC game on my personal computer. Sure, the UI has a slight touch-based look to it, but that just means you can also play with the touchscreen if you feel like it. It's a versatile release for sure, and the tower-building simulation gameplay is definitely fantastic.
Monetization: $3.99 / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 - $3.49
Unleash your inner architect as the mega-hit PC skyscraper sim arrives on tablet. Playing as both architect and developer, your job is to build world-famous skyscrapers that will be the envy of the entire city. Manage every aspect of your building from construction through to keeping your tenants happy. Success is entirely in your hands.
If you've yet to play Animal Super Squad, stop what you are doing and get this game installed posthaste. It plays like a mashup of some of the best side-scrolling platformers out there, with a dash of Trials and the kart sections of Donkey Kong Country. The entire premise is totally outlandish as you will spend a lot of your time driving a toilet kart, but if potty humor isn't your thing, assuredly the solid gameplay, full keyboard controls, and a premium price point are. This is another one that can be played without ever touching your touchpad.
Monetization: $4.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Animal Super Squad is a physics-based adventure game with community driven content and endless replayability. Speed through a world full of dangers and bananas, find all the hats, or forget all that nonsense and just play other people’s stuff. Animal Super Squad is a new and creative game where a big part of the gameplay is created and shared by the community.
The majority of Sproggiwood can be navigated with the keyboard, though there will be a few buttons that you will have to use your touchpad to click on, but these are mainly used outside of the dungeons. Performance is pretty good, the framerate felt smooth the entire time, if a little on the lower side when compared to the PC release. All in all it offers an acceptable roguelike experience that works well with keyboard controls.
Monetization: $4.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Bring civilization to Sproggiwood, a story-driven, turn-based roguelike set in a humorous world inspired by Finnish mythology. Grow your civilization and plunder procedural dungeons with six unique classes. Outsmart mischievous monsters who work together in unexpected ways. No two dungeon dives are alike.
Beholder is another fantastic PC port for Android that works great on Chrome OS. It's mainly designed around mouse controls, though you can use your keyboard to select menu items, move the camera, and few other things. You get to play the part of a landlord in a totalitarian State who spies on his tenants in order to report on anyone plotting against said State. While that is your goal, you do have a bit of choice on how any given scenario plays out. You always have the option of blackmail, or just straight up treating people with kindness, but in a totalitarian state, these choices may very well backfire.
Monetization: $4.99 / no ads / IAPs $1.99 a piece
A totalitarian State controls every aspect of private and public life. Laws are oppressive. Surveillance is total. Privacy is dead. You are the State-installed manager of an apartment building. Your daily routine involves making the building a sweet spot for tenants, who will come and go. However, that is simply a facade that hides your real mission.
Doom & Destiny Advanced exists in a weird spot as a sequel, prequel, and a reboot. It takes place before the events of the first game in the series, but it was released after, plus some things have been changed in order to clean up prior story elements and design choices. It still plays great as a turn-based RPG, and yes the story is still as goofy as ever. Keyboard controls work wonderfully since you can easily move your characters and select their attacks, all without the need for the touchpad.
Monetization: $4.99 / no ads / IAPs $1.99 a piece
Venture with the most nerdy anti-heroes of all times, face a crazy adventure, defeat a mad business man and save the universe, one fetch quest at a time. Embody 15 different heroic spirits, equip gear, master skills and character combinations to fight in turn based combat 300+ different enemies and, while you progress into an over 30 hours main quest, feel free to explore 500+ locations looking for more than 100 hidden secrets.
Death Road to Canada may be considered a little pricey, but trust me when I say it is worth it. Each playthrough is randomly generated, which keeps things fresh no matter how many times you play. The goofy story will have you traveling to Canada to escape a zombie outbreak, and a few companions will be joining you. Keyboard controls work perfectly, and there is no need to use the mouse. Heck, you can even plug in a physical controller to play this if you like, which is an excellent option for when you are tired of slaying zombies with your keyboard.
Monetization: $9.99 / no ads / no IAPs
Death Road to Canada is a Randomly Generated Road Trip Action-RPG. You manage a group of jerks as they explore cities, find weird people, and face up to 500 zombies at once. Everything's randomized: locations, events, survivor personalities and skills. There's a different story every time you play. Travel the Death Road from Florida to Canada, the last nation on Earth.
Beamdog offers quite a few CRPGs on Android including the Baldur's Gate series. Due to the price of all of their games, I have only been able to test a few, but it would seem they all work with keyboard controls. My favorite out of all of its releases is Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, which is why that is the game I chose to list here, but please feel free to ignore my pick and go with one of your favorites. As with any of Beamdog's games, you can expect hours and hours of classic RPG action all wrapped up in a detailed and intriguing story.
Monetization: $9.99 / no ads / no IAPs
In the northernmost reaches of the Forgotten Realms lies the region of icy tundra known as Icewind Dale. Journey deep into the Spine of the World mountains, a harsh and unforgiving territory settled by only the hardiest folk. Encounter fearsome beasts that have learned the cunning and ferocity needed to survive among the snow-shrouded peaks.
Sega recently removed all of their paid upfront classic games to re-release them as free-to-play versions filled with ads. This hasn't worked out too well for them, but it does give us all the opportunity to try out a few of their better games for free, such as Sonic 1. If you've ever played Sonic before, then you should know the controls are dead simple. All you need to use are the directional keys to move along with the J key for your jump. Oh, and the other classic Sonic games work with the keyboard too, such as Sonic 2 and Sonic CD.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs $1.99 a piece
The Sonic game that started it all is now free-to-play and optimized for mobile devices. Race at lightning speeds across seven classic zones as Sonic the Hedgehog. Run and spin through loop-de-loops as you collect rings and defeat enemies on your mission to save the world from the evil Dr. Eggman.
The best way to describe PinOut would be as a pinball endless runner. Now, you may be thinking, "how exactly does that work?" Well, it's very simple actually. Each table is connected to the next, and you have a time limit to get your ball to the next one, or else it is game over. What's nice is that your shift keys work the flippers on each side of each table, and really that's all you need to control this game.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs $2.99 a piece
Pinball reinvented by the award-winning developers of Smash Hit and Does not Commute. Race against time in a continuous journey through this mysterious canyon of pulsating lights and throbbing retro wave beats. The classic pinball mechanic remodeled into a breathtaking arcade experience. PinOut is playable at no cost and free from ads.
Usually, I am not a fan of free-to-play 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. Now, I used to think I was a pretty good player on my phone, but the second I booted this up on my Pixelbook the noticeable difference in how precise the movement is when using the directional keys on my keyboard was night and day when compared to a touchscreen. On my first playthrough on my Pixelbook I blew past my high score with ease.
It's pretty safe to assume that everyone here is familiar with Asphalt 8: Airborne. As one of the most high-profile games released on mobile, it's nice to see that Chrome OS is supported with keyboard controls. Personally, I found the controls work very well, though it may take some time to get used to them. But obviously, the time spent to do so is worth it when you can enjoy some fast-paced car racing action on your favorite Chromebook of choice.
In Asphalt 8, you’ll race in some of the hottest, most high-performance dream machines ever created, from cars to bikes, taking them on a global tour of speed. From the blazing Nevada Desert to the tight turns of Tokyo, you’ll find a world of challenge, excitement & arcade fun on your road to the top.
Last but not least is ROBLOX. Now, before I started on this list I had never heard of this game, but apparently, it is a huge hit with kids, and there is even a promotion going on right now for new Pixelbook owners that can score a rare set of wings for your character. The gameplay varies wildly depending on what type of game you choose to play, and let me tell you, there are hundreds to choose from. Think Minecraft, but worse looking and with more tools to build unique game modes. Luckily the keyboard controls do not require the touchpad to move the camera, unlike the Android version of Minecraft.
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And that is the end of the list. Obviously, these aren't the only Android games that work with the Chrome OS keyboard, these just happen to be some of my personal favorites sprinkled in with the more notable releases I could find. So if you happen to know of any other games that work great with the keyboard, please feel free to mention them in the comments below.