As Android phones and tablets have increased in popularity, the number of apps available for the platform has rocketed.
And that means more free Android games. There's a lot of junk out there but, fortunately, there are gems among the junk.
We've worked our way through a whole load of Android games to reveal the ones you should download to your phone.
So without delay, here is our pick of the 90 best free Android games available.
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GalaxIR is a futuristic strategy game with an abstract look, where players micro-manage an attacking alien fleet. Pick a planet, pick an attack point, then hope your troops have the balls to carry it off. There's not much structure to the game as yet, but that's what you get when you're on the bleeding-edge of free, independent Android gaming development.
Graviturn is an accelerometer based maze game, where the aim is to roll a red ball out of a maze by tilting your phone around. Seems embarrassingly easy at first, until increasing numbers of green balls appear on screen. If any green balls roll off the screen you die and have to try again. It's abstract. It's good.
23. Alchemy Classic
There are a few variants on Alchemy out there, each offering a similarly weird experience. In Alchemy Classic you match up elements to create their (vaguely) scientific offspring, so dumping water onto earth makes a swamp, and so on. It's a brain teaser thing and best played by those who enjoy spending many hours in the company of the process of elimination.
In ActionPotato you control three pots. Pressing on the pots makes them jump up into the air, where they harvest potatoes. See how many you can get in a row. That's the gist of it. And don't collect the rotten potatoes, else you die. That really is it. The Google Play stats say this is on well over 1,000,000 downloads, so it's doing something right.
25. Scrambled Net
Scrambled Net is based around the age-old concept of lining up pipes and tubes, but has been jazzed up with images of computer terminals, high score tracking and animations. Still looks like something you'd have played on a Nokia during the last decade, but it's free - and looking rubbish hardly stopped Snake from taking off, did it?
Dropwords is laid out like your standard Android block-based puzzle game, the difference here is we're not dealing with gems - you make blocks disappear by spelling out words from the jumbled heap of letters. There's not an enormous amount of point to it, but you can at least submit your scores and best words to the server, where an AI version of Susie Dent will pass her approval.
What you do in Barrr is man-manage a bar world, pointing men at the beers, games or tattoo parlour, then taking their money off them once they're drunk and happy like a good capitalist. And make sure they go to the toilet. Things, as things do in games, soon start speeding up and it gets rather insane and difficult.
28. The Simpsons Tapped Out
We'll be the first to admit that the Simpsons of today is a husk of its former self, with many a writer going on to bigger and better things. But, The Simpsons Tapped Out is one addictive game that will bring you both frustration and elation. Yes, it will bombard you with in-app purchase requests but you can play for free, building your own perfect version of Springfield.
Wordfeud is a superb little clone of Scrabble, with a big, clear screen and online play options that actually work. The game's been offered for free with some hefty advertising over it thanks to the developer being based in Norway - which only received paid-for app sales support recently. A paid version may arrive soon, but Wordfeud remains free right now.
30. Friction Mobile
Friction Mobile is a very odd concept that makes no sense in still images. You fire a ball into the screen, then try to hit that ball with other balls until it explodes. The catch is you're not allowed to bounce balls backwards into your own face. Because then you die. Sounds rubbish, but works well. It's free, so give it a no-obligation, no-commitment whirl.
Geared is a weird little thing finally converted over to Android from iPhone. It's an embarrassingly simple concept - players slot different sized cogs into place on the screen, with the aim being to power one gear from another. Then, as is video game tradition, it gets harder and harder. Plus there are 150 levels of it all.
A stunning little retro game, Meganoid plays and looks like something that ought to be running on a Nintendo emulator. But it isn't. It's new and on Android. It's a speed-based challenge, using on-screen or accelerometer controls to jump and bounce through ever-hardening levels. Developer Orange Pixel is aggressively supporting it, too, with constant map packs, characters and more regularly appearing for download.
A standard and traditional platform game. Cordy is a speed-based affair, with players running, jumping and collecting their way through its pretty green levels, using an electrical cable to jump, swing over obstacles and grab energy. Uses on-screen buttons so can be a bit tough to play, but comes with 12 free levels to get you going.
34. Angry Birds Rio
Yet more Angry Birds for fans of the simplistic trial and error physics game. Angry Birds Rio is another chapter-based effort as well, with developer Rovio leaving tempting empty slots on the menu screen for periodic updates of new levels. More of the same, but with a prettier, 3D look to it this time thanks to a vague association with animated movie Rio.
35. Grave Defense Holidays
As with Angry Birds, the maker of this superb tower defence game has spun out a separate version it fills with seasonal levels. Recently updated with an Easter map, this free version of the game also includes Valentine, Christmas and St Patrick's Day themed maps. Currently calls itself Grave Defense Easter. Easily one of the best examples of the tactical genre.
36. Words with Friends Free
The popular iPhone Scrabble-alike is now on Android, with an ad-supported version up on Google Play for free. Words with Friends Free should actually be called Words for People Without Any Friends, as once installed it lets users play with complete strangers online - or pick specific people from your contacts list. It's turn-based, so several ongoing games can be strung out for days.
Very similar in style and concept to Xbox and Xbox 360 retro classic Geometry Wars. In fact, one might legally be able to get away with calling it a right old rip-off. Android PewPew is a rock-hard 2D shooting game packed with alternate game modes. It's a bit rough around the edges and requires a powerful phone to run smoothly, but when it does it's a fantastic thing.
38. Angry Birds Friends
It's Angry Birds business as usual; only with Angry Birds Friends you get a social-themed makeover that adds challenges, Facebook integration galore and scoreboard tools to make the simple physics game more of a multiplayer experience.
The good thing is the way you can access the same account and see your progress on mobile and through Facebook on desktop, the bad is the looming presence of in-app purchases, with "bird coins" required to be earned or bought to progress quicker.
39. Beats, Advanced Rhythm Game
A standard rhythm action, button pressing music game for Android. Beats manages to outdo the official music games by including a Download Song tab, where it's possible to install new song files created by users. It's very hard and very fast. Just like they should be. Runs perfectly on an HTC Desire, too, so there's no blaming glitches for not doing very well.
Pinball Deluxe is an actually decent pinball sim for Android, and it's free. At the moment it comes with four tables - Wild West, Carnival, Space Frontier and Diving for Treasure. Ball movement is convincing, and although a bit of the magic is lost thanks to having to use on-screen buttons, it's a smooth enough experience. It's ad-supported. Don't press those. You don't get a bonus.
41. Winter Walk
Winter Walk is madness. You play the part of a gentleman, out for an evening walk. From time to time the wind picks up, so you have to hold on to his hat to stop it blowing away.
While this is happening, the chap's internal monologue appears on screen, giving you an entertaining and distracting read in the process, too. Very simple, but a perfect little high score challenge game for the touchscreen era.
42. Colosseum Heroes
Publisher Gamevil takes a break from churning out the role-playing games to give dumb action a go here. Colosseum Heroes is a 2D slasher, where you simply try to survive for as long as possible, building up your armour and weaponry to make yourself tougher and meaner.
Technically this is a "freemium" game paid for with in-app purchases, but if you're prepared to spend a while building up your character's skills manually, there's no need to pay out.
43. Stardash Free
Developer Orange Pixel has a knack of creating excellent retro titles, with Stardash a fine example.
Designed to look like a Game Boy game from before many of you younger readers were born, Stardash is clearly a bit of a Mario homage - but it's done exceptionally well and is endlessly replayable. If you like it, and you probably will, there's an alternate paid version that removes the adverts.
44. Scramble With Friends Free
Zynga's puzzler Scramble With Friends Free is technically a free game, but in order to get the most out of it and play as it's meant to be played you'll need to use the in-app purchasing system to buy "tokens" to let you access games quicker. Which leaves a slightly bad T-A-S-T-E in the M-O-U-T-H, but at least it's free and perfectly playable at a slow pace if you're just curious.
45. Dead on Arrival
Dead on Arrival is a very impressive looking 3D survival horror game, which dumps you in a hospital infested with zombies. You then try to not get eaten by buying new weapons, boarding up doors to keep the brain-eaters at bay and using wall-mounted weaponry to quicken the zombie mincing process. As with many of today's Android titles, there's the option to pay for stuff within the game to unlock features and remove ads - but you don't have to.
46. Stick Cricket
Stick Cricket is a fantastically simple little game that reduces cricket to its core values - you just smash every ball as hard as you can. There's no worrying about field positioning, just a bat and a ball coming at you very quickly. Initially it seems impossible to do anything other than make a complete mess of things and having your little man smashed upside-down, but it soon clicks.
47. Draw Something Free
Draw Something Free was a phenomenon that's taking the world by storm. Now four people play it. It's basically a mobile version of Pictionary, where you're given a choice of three words of varying difficulty, then tasked with drawing them so someone can tell what it is. Syncs with Facebook, too, for easy cross-platform play. If you like the free trial, there's a paid accompaniment with more content.
The popular web-based Flash game Fragger is now on Android. It's pretty much a clone of Angry Birds, mind, offering simple physics-based challenges based around chucking grenades all over the place to make stuff blow up. It comes with some rather intrusive ads, but that's the price you (don't) pay for sticking with the free version.
49. The Sims FreePlay
Global mega-corporation EA has gone literally mad, giving away its Android version of The Sims for nothing in the form of The Sims FreePlay. In return for sitting through some full-screen adverts every now and again, players get a decent mobile version of The Sims, complete with pets, plants, lifestyle points and all the usual mundane activities that make the series popular. It's not perfect, but does fit in most Sims core features.
50. Super Bit Dash
About as far away from The Sims as you can get. Super Bit Dash is a retro-style 2D platform game, with controls as simple as its pixel art design. The game runs at a constant pace, so all the player has to do is jump and super-special-jump at the right time in order to avoid smashing into the scenery. Obviously it's a lot harder than that makes it sound.
51. Chrono&Cash Free
Chrono&Cash Free is very hard and sweet little one-screen platform game, where players jump about collecting bags of cash while avoiding enemies. And that's all there is to it, aside from some mini challenges to boost your score multiplier and online sharing of your scores to goad friends into trying to beat you. Looks cool, is a tiny download and a great laugh to play.
52. Autumn Walk
A weird little gem, Autumn Walk sees players controlling a man and his dog as they stroll through a Victorian park landscape. The challenge here is dog management, with the hound either running ahead or hanging back - both precarious scenarios that could cause the lead to snap. It's basically a high score challenge, to see how long you can stand the weird experience. Worth it for the awesome comic dialogue that accompanies your stroll.
53. Meganoid 2
Meganoid 2 is an insanely difficult 2D scrolling platform game, once again presented in developer Orange Pixel's awesome pixel art style. The levels are rather short, with the challenge here being to simply play them again and again and again so you can get through them without death. Might drive you mad. Might be your favourite game of the year. Close call.
Developer Activision has updated one of its oldest and most fondly remembered classics, turning the ancient platform game into a posh, 3D infinite running thing. Pitfall uses swipe and tilt controls like the famous Temple Run, including power-ups, vehicles and changing camera angles to add a bit of variety to the look and feel of it all.
55. Bad Piggies
A shock move from developer Rovio, in that this one isn't a simple take on the Angry Birds style. Bad Piggies is a clever building game, which dumps you at the beginning of a big map with a pile of component parts. You then build a flying machine using the given elements, then try to fly it to the end of the level. A really nice, original little idea from the physics game specialists.
56. Pocket Planes
Pocket Planes puts you in charge of an airline. You potter about the world looking for paying jobs, whether that's passenger or freight routes, then send off your planes to do the little delivery tasks. As things progress the complexity increases, until you're eventually flying customised jumbos with hundreds of passengers around major international cities.
It works in real time in the background, so you can minimise it and do other things while all your birds are finding their way home, then pop back in when the game notifies you that something's arrived and needs attention.
57. Neon Blitz
Neon Blitz is a kind of a posh tracing game, where you use your finger to draw over the shapes on the screen. You're rated on accuracy, with scores compared against the world on its global leader board. There are power-ups and stuff like that, but it's all about having a jazzy, bright experience, that works perfectly on a touchscreen.
58. Agent Dash
Agent Dash is another take on the infinite runner genre that's come to dominate the smartphone gaming landscape, only with a comedy spy angle. As well as swiping to dodge objects, Agent Dash incorporates weaponry and spy gadgets, making it more of an interactive and action-based experience than most of its "Step Right" peers.
59. Whale Trail Frenzy
Whale Trail Frenzy is an updated version of the iOS original, with the developer heaping in more levels for the Android release of its bonkers flying game. You just fly a little whale around the sky (for reasons never explained), collecting things, avoiding bad clouds, building up a multiplier and generally being wowed by its unique and gorgeous style. A really sweet experience.
60. Radiant Defense
Radiant Defense is a fantastic tower defence game, given a dazzling modern look. You do all the usual tower defence stuff like building up your weapon strengths and deciding how best to stop the endless marching enemy, with some "super weapons" to unlock and hundreds upon hundreds of waves to beat. And it all looks astonishingly pretty on a big screened device.
In this age of austerity and scrimping, we've all long since sold our last set of dominoes and melted down our Monopoly counters for scrap.
So where's a frugal gamer to go for fun that won't break the bank? Why, straight to the TechRadar top 10 free Android games of course…
Best free Android games 61-80
61. Temple Run 2
The original Temple Run made staring at a man's bottom on public transport a wholly acceptable pastime, and this sequel augments the endless-running fun with slicker graphics, more power-ups, obstacles and achievements – plus a bigger monkey hot on your heels.
62. CSR Racing
The best cars require in-app purchases, but there's plenty of free fun to be had with this fast and furious racer. Console-quality graphics show off the mean machines (from Audi, BMW, Bentley and others), and gameplay blends strategy as well as speed.
63. Mini Golf MatchUp
Putting (putt-ing, geddit?) the crazy into crazy golf, the five courses in Mini Golf MatchUp take in dinosaurs, sharks and pirates across 70 holes, with realistic physics to temper the unreal environments. Facebook integration is par for the course, while in-game chat keeps things swinging.
64. SongPop Free
A bit like Never Mind The Buzzcocks' intro round, SongPop Free is the handy alternative to carrying Phill Jupitus and someone you've never heard of in your pocket. Guess song clips from loads of genres, then challenge your friends to do better.
65. Dead Trigger
That zombie shooter Dead Trigger is set in the dystopian future of 2012 is testament to its lasting appeal. Frantic first-person missions set in realistic 3D environments are sure to get your heart racing (unless you're a zombie), even on smaller screens.
66. Cut the Rope Full Free
Cute critter Om-Nom in Cut the Rope is the Daniel Day-Lewis of puzzle games, with a BAFTA amid his haul of gaming awards. The simple premise (cut the ropes to release Om-Nom's lunch) sustains 350 well-pitched levels, packed with character and cartoonish charm.
Scrabble by another name (its second, after "Scrabulous" proved a tad too copyright-infringing), Lexulous has all the social gaming options you'd expect, but beats its many rivals with its antisocial options: three AI opponents ranging from the simple to the sesquipedalian.
68. Pac-Man + Tournaments
Fed up of 3D, HD, 360-degree action? This authentic recreation of a arcade classic Pac-Man is the kind of good, clean pill-munching fun they enjoyed in the 1970s. A tournament mode offers regularly updated mazes, but the retro original is hard to beat.
Yes, the proper Scrabble, not some copyright-infringing clone that'll be pulled by the time you read these words. EA bought the license, tidied it up and stuck it out on Android, where it's a remarkably advert and in-app purchase free experience.
It's been beefed up with a few new modes, but stuff like the ability to sync with Facebook and play multiple matches is actually exactly what you need. A classic that's not been ruined. Hooray.
70. Blip Blup
Blip Blup is the kind of original little idea we love stumbling across. It's a sort of geometry-based puzzle game that has you pressing squares on the screen to fill in areas of colour.
Your light beams are limited in the directions they can travel, so, once you're through the troublingly simple tutorial levels, it soon becomes insanely tough and will soon have you scratching through your skull's skin and bone until you actually itch your BRAIN in confusion.
71. Doodle Jump
Doodle Jump is ancient, but there's a reason it's down here at the newer end of the Triple-A Android freebies list. It's recently been reworked, updated for today's higher resolution displays and, better still, been stuck up on Google Play for free. If you haven't played it, or played it four years ago on iOS, give it another spin. It's a timeless bit of upwards bouncing action.
72. Super Stickman Golf 2
Super Stickman Golf 2 is a big-hitter on Android, with the superb 2D puzzle golf game doing insane business. It's free, albeit propped up by in-app purchases, with heaps upon piles of golf courses to whack yourself around, challenging your knowledge of physics and angles as much as your sporting abilities.
Looks great and even manages to head online to offer turn-based multiplayer against friends or randoms.
73. Real Racing 3
Extremely controversial thanks to its use of in-app purchases to buy your way to better cars, quicker play time and much more, there's one reason you really ought to give Real Racing 3 a go - it's the best looking 3D racer on Android by a mile.
If you want something that gives both, all four, or even the full eight of your phone's cores a full workout, this is the one. And you don't have to pay for anything, as long as you don't mind staring at timers and waiting a lot.
Another awesome little 2D pixel art classic from developer OrangePixel, Gunslugs is your standard sort of action platformer given a gorgeous old fashioned retro look.
It's been optimised for play on Sony's old-but-popular Xperia Play buttoned Android model, plus the Moga controller and Green Throttle systems will also let you experience it with proper, physical buttons. A random level generator makes it different every time, too.
75. Nun Attack: Run & Gun
Frima Studios' popular battling nun series has been transformed into the modern trend that is the "runner" game in Nun Attack: Run & Gun where your favourite of the four available nuns smash though levels, equip weaponry and, inevitably, earn the gold coins that can be used to unlock extra features. Or you can pay real money to buy coins. Real nuns wouldn't approve of that.
76. Guardian Cross
Famed developer Square Enix has created this highly regarded fantasy card battle RPG, with, so it claims, some input from developers involved in building the legendary Final Fantasy series. But it's not like those games.
Guardian Cross is all about collecting a powerful deck of card characters, which are then used to battle both in-game fights and real human friends online. There's a bit of mindless grinding and waiting if you want to avoid in-app purchases, but none are compulsory purchases.
77. Flatout: Stuntman
Supposedly a spin-off from the home console racing titles, Flatout: Stuntman takes one of the more shocking elements from the driving games – the crash dummy physics of drivers thrown from their cars – and turns it into a whole game.
The idea is you have a crash, trying to ensure as much damage is caused to your little ragdoll character. Possibly the sort of tasteless thing that might trigger a 'Ban All Games' campaign, but... fun. And free. So your wallet won't get hurt.
78. Pocket League Story 2
Mobile developer Kairosoft went down the "freemium" route with this sequel to its superb man-managing football business sim, so Pocket League Story 2 is playable for free if you don't mind suffering a little more than those who pay for upgrades. It's still a great little game, in which you take charge of managing the ground, scouting for players, coaching matches, building facilities and much more.
GYRO is exactly the sort of thing we like - a clever new idea that makes the most out of today's touchable devices. It's a bit abstract. You are the circle thing in the middle, and you rotate yourself to absorb the incoming spheres, matching the balls with the right coloured segment.
Shields and score multipliers then fire in, and, inevitably, it all gets quicker and harder. Perfect even on older phones and tablets of modest performance.
80. Galaxy on Fire 2 HD
Galaxy on Fire 2 HD is one of the most visually impressive 3D shooters to be found on Android, Galaxy on Fire 2 also chucks in some trading and exploration play to add a little more depth to the combat, making it into something similar to having your own little portable Eve Online. You also get to play as a lead character called Keith, which is quite an exciting rarity.
Best free Android games 81-100
81. New Star Soccer
New Star Soccer is a previously paid-for game that has undergone a complete refresh, with the developer making it a freebie - but adding in the scourge of modern software in the form of "stars" to buy with real money instead. If you can tolerate the effort needed to bypass the new emphasis on paying to progress quicker, it's still a staggeringly good game, offering a mega-deep football management sim for mobile.
This is a right old gem. Badland is an abstract physics platformer kind of thing, where you play a flapping monster that has to navigate some gorgeous maps while listening to bird song. Power-ups and power-downs increase and decrease the size of your blob, also multiplying it until you control several of the things. Weird and dark and interesting. Definitely try it.
83. Juice Cubes
Another free game that's actually about as "free" as the "free" mobile phones we all own, Juice Cubes is a seemingly innocent take on the Candy Crush Saga style of gem-swapping. You can play through it without indulging it in any in-app purchases, but be prepared to wait and be forced to spam your Facebook friends with links in order to do so.
Dots is really, really free, and pretty damn awesome, too. All you do is draw lines between dots of the same colour, with the idea being to earn as high a score as possible within 60 seconds. Then, because it's simple and pretty and makes nice bleepy sounds, you do it again. And again. And continue forever or until your battery dies, so probably just until your battery dies.
85. Angry Birds Star Wars II
The original was so beneficial to furthering consumer recognition of both major brands that they made another one - aptly titled Angry Birds Star Wars II. It's really free thanks to being ad-supported, which, it turns out, is nicer than being asked to buy imaginary space money every 30 seconds. Loads of levels and stupid Star Wars references galore make this a no-brainer for fans of either enormous super-franchise.
86. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
Another in this new-wave of controversial "free" games. Tiny Death Star gets the look right, offering a superb pixel-art take on the classic universe. Things get a bit flaky when you play it for more than 20 minutes, tough, when the PECK-PECK-PECK demands to pay real money for in-game "Bux" start to come in thick and fast. Great fun until you uninstall it in a rage at today's shameless rush to monetise children, though.
87. Sonic Dash
Sonic Dash is a really stylish and very pretty endless runner, that is indeed free to download and play. The happy Sega experience is then ruined by overbearing and endlessly menacing reminders that buying a lot of stupid in-game tokens will make progress easier, though, which is a shame. How we wish games didn't all demand direct debit access to our bank accounts these days in order to work properly. Very nice game apart from that, mind.
88. CBeebies Playtime
CBeebies Playtime is a nice, harmless, ad-free collection of silly little games, ideal for children who have been successfully raised by the pulsating yellows and greens of the CBBC pacifier and babysitter channel. We'll save the discussion about whether parents and the BBC should be encouraging children to spend their precious little like staring at screens and being as sad and sedentary as dad for another time. This is good if you let your child touch your precious stuff.
89. Champ Man
What the developer of Champ Man is trying to say with the name is "This is quite a bit like Championship Manager, that old football game you probably remember." And it is, offering a decent, if slightly bug-ridden and bizarre portable management game. It does feature in-app purchases, but these can be stepped over or dribbled around (football references) without too much hassle.
90. Tic Tactics
Tic Tactics is a simple and stylish puzzle game that takes the noughts & crosses concept and jazzes it up with online and local multiplayer, rankings, cross-platform play with Facebook friends and more. You battle on multiple boards at once, choosing where to make your mark and what grid your opponent must play next. Hassles you to pay to remove the ads, but nothing more.
91. Deep Loot
A charming little undersea adventure, in which your little chap dives to hunt for treasure. It does feature in-app purchases, but it's dead simple to grind a little to collect treasure and unlock most of the game's content manually, although the £2.49 coin doubler starts to look tempting after a while. It's a lovely little game, though, so grinding its quirky maps is really quite a joy anyway.
92. Daddy Long Legs
This is weird and initially feels like a physics puzzler someone knocked up in three minutes or so, but stick with it and it becomes a one-more-go addiction you'll be throwing hours of your life into. It's simple -- tap the screen to make the monster walk. Only he's gangly and awkward, so it's actually quite a timing and precision masterclass. Download it here.
93. Batman Arkham Origins
A big name franchise for free? Yes, of course it's packed with in-app purchases, but still. Critical feedback to this has been superb, with Arkham Origins combining your standard fighting business with a bit of RPG depth to help pad it out via the need to level up -- and provide more of a reason to pay for stuff inside the game.
94. The Silent Age
You're a man and you walk around. Thing is, humanity's been virtually wiped out, so it's quite a grim experience, made all the more bizarre thanks to its abstract soundtrack. It's a touchscreen puzzle game at its core, one that's much more interesting in approach than the thousands of other adventure games that clog up the Play shop. Grab it here.
95. Flappy Crush
A simple yet amazingly cathartic take on the Flappy Bird phenomenon, Flappy Crush puts you in charge of the pipes. The job is then to mash up the birds, sucking their bodies up and spewing out the bones. It's as much of a one-trick pony as the game that inspired it, but it's enjoyable enough given the asking price of nothing bar exposure to some adverts.