Bloons TD 6
Price: $4.99 with in-app purchases
Bloons TD 6 is one of the best tower defense games on mobile. It runs for a single $4.99 payment and you can buy power-ups with in-app purchases if you want to, but it’s completely unnecessary. The game includes 37 levels with several difficulties each along with several challenge modes. You get a bunch of monkey towers, each with three upgrade paths. Some other features include offline support, Google Play Games cloud saving, achievements, and tons of challenges. Ironhide Studios makes the Kingdom Rush series and those are also decent tower defense, non-freemium games with single price tags. You can buy extra stuff in the game, but it is entirely optional and you can easily beat the game without any of it.
Price: Free / Up to $9.99
Cytus II is one of the few good rhythm games on mobile. It has colorful graphics, an anime theme, and smooth gameplay. The controls are a series of taps and swipes to the beat of the music. You get a campaign mode with a story, albeit a short one. There are a good number of songs in the free version. You can purchase more songs as in-app purchases. They are permanent DLC. Rayark, the developer, has a bunch of decent rhythm games with similar payment structures. Cytus II is just their biggest title right now and it’s one of the best non-freemium Android games. This one is also free if you use Google Play Pass.
The Escapists 1 and 2
Price: $6.49-$6.99 each
The Escapists is a puzzle-escape game with simulation elements. You play as a prisoner in a prison. You do your prison duties, live the prison life, but also secretly break out. Players have a variety of options to break out across each prison level and there is also a decent crafting system to make yourself tools to help yourself out. The second game in the series is bigger with more levels and more methods of escape, but both games are quite good. Both games are also available via Google Play Pass if you have Google Play Pass.
Evoland 1 and 2
Price: $0.99 / $7.99
The Evoland series is a unique couple of games. They don’t have a specific genre. Each game has a variety of gameplay elements and mechanics, including RPG, trading card game, fighter, adventure, puzzle, and many others. It also has a variety of graphics ranging from modern to retro and back again. They are odes to the video games we grew up on. They also play delightfully sans the occasional rare bug. The first one goes for $0.99 and the second for $7.99. Neither of them have in-app purchases. This same developer also did OK Golf, an above-average arcade golf game that is also a non-freemium mobile game.
Levelhead is easily one of the top two or three best platformers on mobile. It features exceptionally smooth gameplay, dozens of campaign levels, features for speedrunners, and an outstanding level creator. Additionally, it features cross-platform support so you can sync your game between multiple platforms if you want to. Basically, you play through levels to teach a robot how to deliver packages and then create levels for other people to play. You can also download levels as well. This game should be a lot more popular than it is. It’s one of the truly great mobile games of the last few years. It’s also free on Google Play Pass if you use it. The same developer also does Crashlands, another outstanding non-freemium mobile game for you RPG and open-world fans out there.
Price: $6.99 with in-app purchases
Minecraft: Pocket Edition is the mobile version of one of the most popular games ever. The game is completely open and you can do pretty much whatever you want. There are things that can kill you if you put it in survival mode or you can just do whatever you want without trouble in creative mode. It’s not quite as robust as the console or PC version, but updates have been floating in to make it closer. You can also use this to play on servers that aren’t on mobile (as of E3 2016) which is awesome. Technically, this one does have in-app purchases. However, they are for skins and they don’t affect the game at all.
Mini Metro is a fun little puzzle game. Players have to build a transit system for a city. You connect the dots and make the best possible decisions. The game includes 18 real cities to play with, daily challenges, simple controls, and more. You also get three play modes that include an endless mode, a quick play mode, and an extreme mode. It’s a neat little puzzle sim game with a reasonable price tag. The graphics are a little minimal. Some may like it while others may not. It also comes with a colorblind mode and a night mode for late night sessions. This game is also free on Google Play Pass.
Monument Valley 1 and 2
Price: $3.99-$4.99 each (with optional DLC)
Monument Valley is one of mobile’s most iconic puzzle games. Its M.C. Escher-style puzzles delighted audiences and proved fun. There is a storyline and it’s rather light, but most people play for the gorgeous puzzles. Both of these games are rather short, but that’s really the only complaint anyone’s ever had about them. You flip level pieces around to create new paths out of seemingly nothing. The first game is $3.99 with some optional DLC. You can get the second game for $4.99 and we imagine some extra content is coming eventually for that one too. Yep, this one too is available on Google Play Pass.
Price: Free / $4.99
Oddmar is one of the newest non-freemium Android games on the list. It’s a platformer from the same developer as Leo’s Fortune and it plays quite well. Players take on the role of Oddmar, a disgraced Viking looking to make his bones. The game includes 24 levels, each with challenges. There is also a narrative, Google Play Games cloud saves, support for hardware controllers, and more. It’s a wonderful little experience and it’s relatively cheap. Plus, there’s a free demo to try the game before you buy it.
Price: Free / $4.99
Pocket City is a newer simulation game. It’s a lot like Sim City. You build a city on a large patch of land. That includes infrastructure like roads, utilities, residences, and other such things. You know the drill. Make a city that generates a profit and keeps your citizens happy. The free version of the game includes most of the game’s features and gameplay elements. The premium version includes everything with no additional in-app purchases. It’s one of only a few good simulation games with single-price tags. Plus, it’s playable in landscape and portrait mode and we thought that was neat. This one is also on Google Play Pass if you want it.
ROME: Total War
Price: $9.99 + $4.99
ROME: Total War is one of the few non-freemium strategy games on mobile. It’s a port of the popular PC game from the early 2000’s. It saw a launch on Android and iOS in 2018. Players choose one of 19 playable factions and do battle over various parts of the world. The game includes massive battles, plenty of other strategy elements, and tons of deep mechanics. It’s easily one of the best premium strategy games and there are two standalone expansions for an extra $4.99 each if you want to keep playing.
The Room series (four games)
Price: $0.99-$4.99 each
The Room is a quadrology of puzzle games. They may also be the best non-freemium puzzle games out there. They’re technically escape games. The idea is to find the clues that help you leave the room you’re in. It also comes with some of the best mobile game graphics that we’ve seen. The third version also comes with multiple endings which helps increase the longevity of the game. Old Sins, the fourth title, takes place in a haunted dollhouse and that was fun. Most of them also come with cloud saving, achievements, and a hint system in case you need help.
SEGA Forever games
Price: Free / $1.99 each (usually)
SEGA is porting a lot of its SEGA Genesis games to mobile. Some of the ports include Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, Sonic CD, Streets of Rage, Gunstar Heroes, Phantasy Star II, Crazy Taxi, and over a dozen others. The games have their various mechanics like shooter or platformer. However, they all share the same price tag. Each game is free with advertising and you can remove the ads for $1.99 each. This is an excellent collection of old classics and arcade games.
Price: $2.99 + $1.99
Slayaway Camp is a horror-thriller an ode to the slasher movies of old. You play as a psycho named Skullface. Your job is to slaughter tons of people without getting caught. It features a bunch of levels, tons of violence, and excellent gameplay mechanics. The retro-style graphics take some of the impact away from all the gore. That makes it a little easier to handle than, say, an actual horror movie. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive. People seem to really like this one and we liked it too.
Stardew Valley is an excellent farming simulator mixed with an RPG. You drop down onto an old farm that needs rebuilding. You rebuild, plant crops, raise animals, go fishing, and engage with the local folks at the nearby village. There are a ton of things you can do in the game and the developers boast about 50 total hours of play. It’s functionally identical to the PC version except with mobile phone controls instead of keyboard controls. This one is also free on Google Play Pass but the $7.99 price tag isn’t half bad either.
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