Freemium hit Android in a big way. In an atmosphere where developers were literally being destroyed by piracy, they needed to fight back and in-app purchases came into existence. This allowed them to make their games free and to slowly pluck money out of consumers’ pockets as they played. This turned into a serious cash cow for developers as in-app purchases now account for over 90% of all app and game revenue. However, even though in app purchases have slowed the lost flow of revenue from piracy, developers are still learning how to use them without offending all of us. For those who hate Freemium, there are still some developers who rock the old school model of pay-once. Here are the best Android games with no in app purchases.
[Price: $9.99 each]
We grouped these three games together because they were all released by the same developer (Beamdog). All three titles are huge, immersive RPGs that were ported from PC to Android in 2014. They feature very long stories with complex game play and are sure to keep you busy for months upon months. The graphics are decent but not amazing because even by PC standards these games are pretty old. However, these are three of the better RPGs to grace PC and Android. It says that these games have in-app purchases but the purchases are nothing more than voice packs and other miscellany that has no effect whatsoever on the actual game.
The Banner Saga is a strategy RPG developed by former members of BioWare. It features beautiful hand-drawn graphics, a deep story line that requires the gamer to make decisions that affect the story, and an easy learning curve. It’s inspired by Norse mythology and it happened to be a member of our best designed Android games of 2014. It’s a wonderful play if you like strategy RPGs.
[Price: Free / $0.99]
Doom & Destiny is another RPG title with a lot of content and no in app purchases. It uses retro style graphics similar to the SNES and NES RPGs of old and includes a 20-hour story line with 20 hours of additional stuff to do, turn based combat, 10,000 lines of dialogue, and hundreds of spells, items, and other things to collect. The $0.99 price tag makes this among the cheaper games on this list and there is even a free version you can pick up with advertising.
[Price: $2.99 each]
Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 and 2 are horror games. You play as a security guard who has to keep watch over possessed animatronics in a pizzeria. If you don’t do a good enough job (or disguise yourself in the 2nd one), they’ll get you. These games are strangely terrifying and were two of the best games released in 2014. They’re also fairly cheap and the game play is easy to learn.
A lot of people don’t like Goat Simulator because it is, at its core, an intentionally unfinished piece of buggy garbage. However, if you have a sense of humor, this game can be quite a bit of fun. You control a goat as you do goat things like exploding and flying through the air as though you were shot out of a cannon. The frequent bugs and glitches are the game’s biggest draw and it’s a goofy way to spend a couple of hours.
[Price: $4.99, $4.99, and $6.99 respectively]
Rockstar has had great success in porting their Grand Theft Auto series to mobile. In fact, San Andreas won our best game of 2013 award. These games are huge and provide dozens of hours of game play. You can drive around doing whatever you want or follow the story, the choice is yours. The graphics aren’t amazing but they’re not terrible either. The only unfortunate part is the earlier Grand Theft Auto games suffer from some bugs here and there which have angered many people. In any case, make sure you try them before the two hour refund time in Google Play in case you don’t like them.
Ingress is a GPS-based strategy game where you must choose sides, build up portals, and hack the portals of the other team. The entire world is your playing field and aside from Wii Fit, this game is probably more responsible for getting nerds off the couch and out exercising than any other game. There is also a scavenger hunt features called Missions where you go on missions to find things and explore the city. It’s a lot of fun and one of the more unique games available anywhere.
[Price: Free] LEGO has led a solo effort in making free to play games with no in app purchases that are actually somewhat decent. Altogether, they have 29 games that are all free with no in app purchases. These are great for kids because LEGOs are about as offensive as tomato soup and they have released a good variety of games. There’s a fashion game, a hack and slash game, and many, many others. You’ll have to try them out for yourself to see if there are any that you like and some are definitely better than others. It’s a good option for pretty much anyone who doesn’t hate LEGOs or LEGO games.
Leo’s Fortune is a beautifully done platformer that first saw the light of day at Google I/O 2014. It features simple controls, crisp and colorful graphics, and an actual story. Along with the game play, you can also complete levels in a certain time frame and do so without being hit to earn additional stars and achievements through Google Play Games services. It’s one of the best 2D platformers ever designed on any platform.
Machinarium was one of the first truly great puzzle games on Android. It features a little robot that you control and you must move about your environment finding items and using them to solve puzzles. It’s been remastered once since its release and includes Google Play Games services, cloud saving, and improved graphics. It’ll be among the first wave of games on Android to be considered “classics” and $4.99 isn’t a bad price for it.
Minecraft Pocket Edition is the Android version of the very popular Minecraft game. It features pretty much all of the fun, exploration, and enjoyment of the PC and console versions but you can carry it around in your pocket. It’s been a long time favorite title for Android gamers and has adorned the top paid games list for very large parts of the last two years. It also includes local multiplayer which is a nice touch.
Osmos HD is an atmospheric puzzle game where you play as a little mote. Your job is to absorb smaller motes in order to become bigger and eventually become the biggest. In some levels you must absorb special motes that act in different ways. The levels are challenging, the graphics are crisp and colorful, and there is even multiplayer support if you want that. It was one of the best designed games of 2013 and remains one of the best games available today.
Out There is a hybrid of a survival game and a sim game. It brings with it some very challenging game play, google play games achievements, three different endings, and a truly unique and fun premise. You play as an astronaut who awakens from cryonics somewhere deep in the vastness of space. You have to survive, keep your oxygen levels up, and rebuild your ship while dealing with aliens who don’t speak as you speak. It’s entertaining, difficult, and a game that’ll keep you busy for a while.
If you’re looking for something a little more leisure, then Pool Break Pro is worth a try. It lets you play some billiards using a number of different rules on a variety of different tables. You can also play Snooker, Carrom, Crokinole, and other games with sticks, balls, and a table. There is a multiplayer available if you choose to use it and your moves go back and forth like chess so you can pick it up and play when you have time. It’s the best billiards game on Android and it doesn’t have in app purchases.
[Price: $0.99 and $2.99 respectively]
The Room 1 and 2 are puzzle games with a unique premise and some amazing graphics. Each item in each room is a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle. In the background of all of these puzzles is an arcane and dark story line that revolves around the supernatural. The overall feel and atmosphere of the games is dark and the puzzles are very well done. The only downside is the length because these games are pretty short but that shouldn’t stop you from checking them out. It’s only a few bucks.
[Price: $2.99 and $6.99 respectively]
The Shadowrun series of games are a part of a much larger line of products that dates back to a tabletop RPG game first released in 1987. Along with a rich history, you’ll get decent graphics and game play mechanics that are easy to learn. These are both strategy RPG titles that mix steampunk and fantasy elements to create a machines and magic universe that is just delightful to play in. On top of taking part in a series of games that have had a loyal fanbase for the better part of two decades, you’ll also get a couple of pretty good games.
Square Enix has released a good percentage of their early game library to Android. The re-releases include Final Fantasy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 along with various Dragon Quest games, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana. The best part is that these games remain untainted from their earliest days aside from a graphical boost here and there. The best part is that none of them have in-app purchases. They can get kind of expensive but these are all games with tons of game play, deep stories, some of the best video game music of all time, and lasting value. The button will take you to Square Enix’s developer page on Google Play where you can browse all of their titles. Do beware, there are some Square Enix games that do have in app purchases but none that we just mentioned do.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is an old PC RPG that took the world by storm. It allowed you to make decisions that affected the outcome of the game and let you play how you wanted. It helped start a trend that continues today with games like Fallout: New Vegas where you can pretty much create the story. This is a full port and has not been scaled down in any way from its original PC version which is just fantastic. For RPG fans, it’s a must-have.
Surgeon Simulator is another satirical game much like Goat Simulator. In this game, you kind of play Operation but the intention is to lose. This can be accomplished by abusing the life out of your patient with various machines and tools of destruction and you can play as a doctor or a dentist. It’s meant to be humorous and that means how entertaining this game is depends heavily on your sense of humor. It’s pretty goofy and we can all agree on at least one thing: poor Bob.
World of Goo is a puzzle game where you must connect little pieces of goo to reach a destination. The challenge comes with the physics of the game which drag you down combined with the limited number of goo bits you have to build with. The game is well designed with muted colors and tricky game play. There are a ton of levels to play and after a while, you can play in free-build mode where you simply aim to build the tallest tower of goo that you possibly can. It’s a lot of fun even if $4.99 is a tad expensive.
XCOM: Enemy Within is a strategy game that was ported to Android from PC in 2014. It features graphics that are far above average for mobile, gripping game play, and tons of stuff to do. You play as humans as you research alien technology and use it to defeat the alien invaders. This is actually a continuation of an earlier release called XCOM: Enemy Unknown with more abilities, more missions to do, and more. There is a multiplayer option if you want to try your tactics online.
If we missed any great games with no in app purchses, let us know in the comments!