20 of the best Android games released in 2023 for

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Over 2023, we reviewed and covered many of the biggest Android game releases, but when it came to choosing the best games of the year, we had our work cut out for us. From remasters of early 2000’s classics like Sid Meier’s Railroads and Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal to quirky indie gems like Subpar Pool, there were fantastic new games for all genres that showed that you can easily have a fantastic gaming experience from your Android phone, tablet, or Chromebook.

While there were many viable contenders for our favorite of the year, Pocket City 2 won our award for the Best Game thanks to its accessible mobile-friendly gameplay, minimal bloat, and enough city-building content to keep you occupied for months.

2023 also showed that Android gaming hardware is moving out of niche markets into the mainstream. Our favorite Android gaming consoles of 2023 offer affordable ways to play not just Android games but also AAA titles and emulated classics.

So whether you want to try our favorite Android game of the year or want to see what other games made our headlines, grab your phone or Android console and read on.

1 Pocket City 2

Starting off the roundup with a bang, Pocket City 2 won AP’s Best Game of the Year award, something the entire crew voted on. With so many great games released this year, the voting was tight, but in the end, everyone agreed Pocket City 2 offers tons of fun that is easily accessible to anyone and everyone.

Of course, the game is a sequel, improving on the first title with all-new graphics and a 3D avatar; this way, you can explore the very city you’re building to see how things look from the ground floor. Pocket City 2 is a premium release, so you’ll have to plunk down $5 to play, but honestly, that is a steal for the amount of hours you can spend in the game. After all, this release is basically a sandbox to build cities endlessly, exactly what you would expect from a premium city-building game. So get out of the way, Sim City; there’s a new kid in town that’s eating your lunch. Don’t miss out; Pocket City 2 is our Game of the Year for a reason.

2 Sid Meier’s Railroads!

Sid Meier’s Railroads may seem old-fashioned in an age where fantastic tycoon games are commonplace, but in 2006, this was one of the biggest names in the tycoon genre. Feral Interactive ported it to mobile in March alongside a host of quality-of-life improvements that showed that this classic still holds up.

We went hands-on with Sid Meier’s Railroads earlier this year and were impressed. Touch controls are intuitive, and the UI is accessible even on smaller devices. That being said, the bigger the screen, the better. If nothing else, Sid Meier’s Railroads shows that these classic games are enjoyable, even nearly two decades later.

3 TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge

When it comes to beat ’em ups, few games get as close to the classics as TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge. This one is for all of you Double Dragon stans out there, and even though the game is a port, Netflix Games takes its platform seriously, so controller support is included alongside the game’s new touch controls designed for mobile. This way, you can easily play on the go or connect a controller for extended sessions to tackle tougher boss fights.

It’s rare that gamers get a competent brawler in the modern age; rest assured, Shredder’s Revenge delivers the nostalgia trip you’re looking for despite the fact it’s a modern game. You will need a Netflix subscription to play, but the good news is that once you sub, the library of games are all premium without any in-app purchases in sight.

4 Laya’s Horizon

Alto’s Adventure and its sequel, Alto’s Odyssey, can be considered staples of mobile gaming. These titles were fresh, fun, and packed with charm. Laya’s Horizon might be a separate title, but it retains everything that made the Alto games great.

If Laya’s Horizon has one flaw, it’s that the gameplay is trickier to pick up than the Alto games. But as you swoop through the cell-shaded 3D landscapes, you’ll discover that you don’t need to reach high scores to have fun.

Laya’s Horizon is a stand-out game from 2023. As noted in our hands-on review, it feels like a clear step forward from developer Snowman.

5 Perfect Grind

To be quite honest, few skateboarding games reach the heights of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, even on consoles and PCs. By and large, mobile doesn’t get many skateboarding games of note. This all changes with Perfect Grind. As the name would suggest, you’ll spend your time tooling around skateparks performing all manner of tricks, offering something similar to the first Pro Skater game thanks to its arcade feel. The game knows not to take itself too seriously, and this humor comes across without feeling forced.

This all adds up to what is a competent and fun arcade skateboarding game, and since the entire thing was designed around touch controls, the game controls smoothly. Best of all, you can try before you buy to see for yourself what Perfect Grind is all about.

6 Harry Potter: Magic Awakened

Harry Potter games don’t have a stellar track record on mobile, and while Harry Potter: Magic Awakened didn’t dominate headlines like Hogwarts: Legacy, it is nevertheless the best Harry Potter game on the Play Store.

Despite some performance issues, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened drew us in with charming graphics and plenty of fan service. While the mixture of RTS, RPG, and CCG mechanics had us scratching our heads at times, it only took a few games before we were hooked on its unique gameplay.

While we were impressed with every part of Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, we were pleased to see that it catered to every type of player without sacrificing key elements. Whether you enjoy competitive PvP games or casual RPGs, you’ll find something to love in Magic Awakened.

7 Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon is another excellent port published by Netflix Games, which means you’ll need a subscription to play. But play it you should, as this is one of the best falling-block puzzlers to land on Android in some time. Unlike simple match-3 games monetized to the hilt, Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon was actually built around having fun instead of sucking up money. The goal is simple: clear the board, but of course, this is easier said than done. So there is a challenge here, but that’s why the game is so addictive; when you clear a level, you feel accomplished.

So, if you’re hungry for a competent falling block puzzle game that offers great pixel graphics starring everyone’s favorite Shovel Knight, don’t miss out on Pocket Dungeon.

8 OXENFREE II: Lost Signals

Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals doesn’t stray far from what made Oxenfree one of the best horror games on Android. We would have liked to see Night School make bolder decisions with the sequel, but it is nevertheless one of the best games of 2023.

Oxenfree 2’s focus on story and atmosphere stays consistent throughout the game. The sensation of something just about to happen keeps you glued to your phone; completing the game in one or two sittings is easy. We highly recommend giving it a go if you’re a fan of narrative-driven horror games. As we discovered in our review, there’s still room for new compelling, narrative-driven games as we head into 2024.

9 Roto Force

Many of Android’s best games are proven ports, which is great for everyone who wants a console experience in their hands. But when it comes to original games for mobile, most devs opt for easy money rather than solid gameplay. Roto Force bucks this trend with an original game that launched on mobile and PC simultaneously. At its core, this is an arcade game that plays a lot like a bullet hell. In other words, you’ll spend your time shooting and dodging, but in the confines of a spinning room. It’s this unique spinning mechanic that sets the game apart, making for an excellent challenge seasoned gamers will enjoy.

Roto Force may be simple in design, but that’s its advantage: it plays a lot like old-school games you’d find on the Game Boy, perfect for short bursts of gameplay on the go. You can try before you buy, and if you like what you see (how could you not, just look at the awesome pixel graphics), then you can unlock the full game for $5.

10 Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal

Like Sid Meier’s Railroads, Feral Interactive ported Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal to mobile. While Feral Interactive made minor changes to Railroads to make it suitable for mobile devices, Hitman: Blood Money received a substantial overhaul, making it a fantastic remaster and a port.

The original 2006 release of Hitman: Blood Money is lauded as one of the best games ever, but Feral Interactive made it even better. The addition of features introduced in later Hitman games, like Instinct Mode and a minimap, bring the game into the modern age. Still, these don’t significantly change the feel of the original gameplay (Purists can turn off these extra features at any time).

Whether you are a fan of the original or looking for a new stealth game, we think Hitman: Blood Money is well worth your time.

11 Coromon

Coromon is a port of a proven creature collecting game, otherwise known as a Pokémon clone. Of course, it’s more than that, bringing its own unique elements into the mix, like quality-of-life improvements that ensure the gameplay moves at an acceptable pace. It’s as if someone took Pokémon and polished it to a sheen without deviating from the core mechanics everyone loves. Yes, this is a turn-based game, and yes, battles can grow monotonous, but that’s the game’s charm; it’s doing what the mainline Pokémon games quit doing a few generations ago. Coromon is a game for longtime Pokémon stans, those who are hungry for the original games Game Freak no longer has an interest in making.

You can grab Coromon for free to try the game and see if it tickles your fancy. If so, you can unlock the full experience through an in-app purchase. So, if you’ve been itching for a quality Pokémon-like, Coromon indeed has you covered on Android now that it’s here.

12 Honkai: Star Rail

Honkai: Star Rail is a clear indicator that HoYoverse has found what works and isn’t planning on going anywhere. While we were unimpressed by its aggressive gacha mechanics, we found that Honkai: Star Rail might offer the best gameplay of any HoYoverse game.

It was hard to shake the feeling that Honkai: Star Rail is essentially Genshin Impact with a sci-fi coat of paint during our time with the game, but there’s plenty new to love in the turn-based battles. These encounters encourage you to carefully plan each move, combining moves, abilities, and characters to fight your way to victory. It was surprisingly difficult at times, quelling our fears that Honkai: Stair Rail would be a sleepy grind from start to finish. Regardless of your feelings toward gacha games, Honkai: Star Rail’s stunning graphics and strategic gameplay are enough to earn it a place as one of the best games of 2023.

13 Tetragon

Puzzle platformers are still pretty big in the indie scene. Ever since Braid made it big, indies have been pumping out clever platformers fitting a similar brain-bending mold. Tetragon takes things up a notch by allowing the player to rotate the world, opening up new paths to solve the game’s puzzles. You’ll have to bring your thinking cap, as some of these puzzles are devilishly challenging, but that’s where the fun is: methodically working your way through the game.

Plus, you have to admit the graphics are pretty intriguing. Each world has an individual look, with bright, inviting colors. Add this on top of the solid gameplay, and you have a winner, which is why Tetragon is on our Best Games of the Year list.

14 Highwater

In 2023, Netflix acquired rights to numerous well-known series, locking them behind its Netflix Games subscription. However, it took time to bring us original titles, as shown in March when Highwater hit our devices.

Highwater’s post-apocalyptic world was refreshingly unique, showing a world devastated by rampant environmental damage and flooding. We loved exploring its environments, and while the turn-based combat was nothing special, the overall experience was memorable thanks to its strong narrative and atmospheric audio.

We love a fresh narrative game at Android Police, and if Netflix continues to publish titles like Highwater, we could consider a Netflix Games subscription the best way to play games on Android, something it’s well on its way to achieving.

15 Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance

Dating back to 2001, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance took the theme of the original CRPGs and created a much more accessible action RPG. Think Diablo, but with a Baldur’s Gate theme. While the game’s mechanics have certainly aged in the last 22 years, if you’re a fan of ARPGs worth grinding, Dark Alliance still offers tons of fun. Best of all, the Android port was handled well, with intact controller support; you can even play multiplayer with multiple controllers.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance is a premium release, and you will have to pay $10 to play. But this gets you access to the entire game, and there are no in-app purchases to be found. It’s an old-school ARPG that still holds its own against modern games. What’s not to like?

16 Dust & Neon

Dust & Neon is another Netflix Games exclusive that launched on the Play Store at the beginning of the year. It was one of our favorite games of February, thanks to its satisfying shooting mechanics and distinctive art style.

Dust & Neon’s biggest flaw is the clunky touch-screen controls. While grabbing one of our favorite Android controllers will alleviate this problem, it’s disappointing that the game is not as accessible as it should be.

If you have an Android-compatible controller, we highly recommend picking up this top-down shooter. It’s a blast from start to finish and still stands out as one of the year’s best games.

17 Super Meat Boy Forever

Autorunning games are numerous on the Play Store, though few stand out. Heck, even Nintendo has tried with Mario to limited success, and yet Super Meat Boy has nailed the genre with Forever. It’s the perfect type of platformer to make the jump, as in, it’s the first game was infuriatingly challenging. The Dark Souls of platformers, as it were, and Forever picks up where the first left off, but now you’re auto-running, which means your times jumps are more important than ever. Thankfully, the touchscreen controls suit this style of game very well, where taps on the screen are enough to see you through the end of the game. While that won’t come easy, it’s by design. So, if you’re bored with other platformers on mobile and require something devilishly difficult, Super Meat Boy Forever has you covered.

18 Worms W.M.D: Mobilize

Worms W.M.D: Mobilize is the same game you’ll find on PC but at a fraction of the price. This game brought the Worms franchise back to its roots, eliminating complicated environmental effects in favor of straightforward gameplay. While simple, there’s much to explore in this reimagining of Worms Armageddon, from brand-new weapons to driveable vehicles.

Worms W.M.D: Mobilize isn’t just one of the best mobile games of 2023; it’s possibly the best Worms game in the whole franchise. There’s online and local multiplayer support, a single-player campaign, and one-off single-player missions.

19 Golf Odyssey 2

You’d be surprised how many good golf games there are on Android, and this year, we gained one more with Golf Odyssey 2. The premise is simple: get the ball in the hole. It’s a 2D game, which means it runs great no matter your device, making it an incredibly accessible option for all Android gamers. Plus, the 2D graphics look great, with tons of color that pops off the screen. It’s a game you can pick up and play anytime, for short or longer bursts, again, because the game is incredibly accessible. So you don’t have to be a golf nut to enjoy this one. The gameplay is incredibly easy to pick up, and the stages are plenty challenging to keep you coming back for more.

20 Subpar Pool

Subpar Pool could easily be missed while scrolling through the Play Store. On the surface, it looks like a simple arcade game, but give it a go, and you’ll quickly find that this has enough depth to rival any of our favorite puzzle games on Android.

Even if you’ve played one of the many golf or pool games on the Play Store, we recommend giving Subpar Pool a try. The limited rogue-lite mechanics and quirky twists add surprising depth; you’ll keep coming back for more.

Enjoy the best Android games the Play Store had to offer this year

Now that everyone has had a chance to peruse AP’s selection of the best Android games we played this year, hopefully everyone has found a new game or two to explore on the new hardware assuredly gifted this Christmas. After a long and grueling year, it’s high time you treated yourself, so enjoy the list, have a great holiday season, and game on.

This article originally appeared on https://www.androidpolice.com/the-top-android-games-released-in-2023/

Brian Jones

Author and owner of WantedDroid.com - scouring the internet for all the news related to Android. Contact me here: https://wanteddroid.com/contact/

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