Some of the best things in life are free, and by applying a little discretion, we can certainly apply this to Android games. While there are tons of free games on the Google Play Store, most of them either have in-app purchases – or are riddled with annoying ads. But do you know that there are several high-quality, free Android games that not only cost nothing but also do not annoy you with ads! Well, here’s a list of free Android games that you can play, no strings attached!
The Google Play Store is a veritable goldmine of free games and apps. However, most of these free games are also notorious for annoying the hell out of you with ads and prompts for in-app purchases. While there are apps and games that come sans ads, there is a tendency to write them off as poor quality stuff just because the developer isn’t really making any money off it. Tell you what, this is not quite the truth!
Just because a game is free with no IAP doesn’t mean it has to be of poor quality. Some of the best free games out there can take on the big-budget giants with nothing but passion, great design, and goodwill. These top free Android games won’t cost a single cent. Enjoy them without any strain on your wallet or annoying ads!
Battle for Wesnoth is an unofficial Android port of a turn-based fantasy strategy game that already has a dedicated community on PC. The free game has several story-based campaigns and a ton of different units from various fantasy races. You can play vs AI or other players.
Battle for Wesnoth has been around for years and doesn’t boast lush graphics, but it has plenty of depth and still receives regular updates from the developers and community. A real work of passion, the Android version handles well and isn’t too demanding at all on a modern phone, though you’ll want a decent-sized screen for a good view of the action.
This is a must-download if you happen to be a fan of Stranger Things. Set in 1984 in Hawkins, Indiana, the game transports you to the first and second seasons of the popular TV show. This game might particularly appeal to the generation that grew up playing 16-bit games on their consoles – letting the now 40 somethings relive their childhood. Of course, it helps if you have watched Stranger Things – but hey, that’s no excuse to not download and play this one!
Gamers of a certain age will remember losing many hours of precious youth to brutal, first-person shooter pioneer Doom. This game is effectively a Doom port made with an original set of assets and game levels to avoid falling foul of copyright.
Freedoom basically plays just like the classic, as the assets are different but still recognizable in the style of the original. You’re still blasting ugly creatures in a vaguely industrial wasteland, and all the fun action, atmosphere, and tension of Doom is right here in a not-so-different skin.
As of 2021, the game did face some legal troubles – but remains playable. But active development has stopped on this project.
As an added bonus, you can always load your old (legally owned, of course) original Doom WAD files into the app’s config folder, if you want to play the real thing on your phone. Fantastically, this also goes for related games on the same engine, such as Heretic, Hexen, and Strife, or the various mods of these games available online.
The various Pixel Dungeon titles are roguelike dungeon crawl games with primitive graphics (but great gameplay) that punishes failure harshly but were so easy to pick up and play again after every character death that I stopped worrying and learned to love restarting.
It’s a simple tap to control everything, and although the ‘basic’ Pixel Dungeon game by Watabou has unlockable character classes and tons of items to enjoy the game with, there are plenty of other addictive versions such as Shattered Pixel Dungeon, Pixel Dungeon Unleashed, etc., that offer twists and different features based on the original. Note that Google Play Store now says that the game now has in-app purchases. I did not come across any, though.
Unciv is an open-source reimplementation of the classic Civilization-style game of empire-building, expansion, resource management, economic and technological development. It basically plays like Civilization V, but with very simple graphics. Nonetheless, the strategic depth is impressively preserved, and Unciv is a small and lightweight app that runs like a dream even on low-end smartphones.
This sweet little shoot-em-up puts the old-school spaceship ‘bullet hell’ scenario in a neon-clouded skin with simple but attractive graphics, but the real draw is the fast-paced action. It’s basically blasting stuff, in different ways, unlocking rewards, and basking in the moving colors and sounds: what more do you want for free entertainment?
This game is a roguelike dungeon crawling game with random area generation and a variety of different classes to choose from, items to collect, and monsters to slay. Based on the old school Nethack ruleset, Pathos is still being updated with quality of life fixes and offers a choice of graphical tiles and hours upon hours of playtime.
Father and Son is a story game that, very interestingly, has been published by an archaeological museum. The game tells the story about an archaeologist dad who has dedicated his life to his job – and his artist son. The nature of his job does not allow the father to spend time with his family. The father wants his son to visit the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, where he can see his life’s work.
The story eventually transforms into a tale, where you can experience several major historical events from the past. This is a relatively short game that only lasts about an hour. But it is definitely worth a download!
Mindustry is a hybrid tower-defense sandbox factory game. In this game, you can create elaborate supply chains of conveyor belts to feed ammo into your turrets, produce materials to use for building, and defend your structures from waves of enemies. The game may be a bit intimidating initially. You can, however, eas into it once you get a bit used to it.
Lego Hidden Side, is a game developed by, well, no prizes for guessing that one! This is an engaging game that combines the real and virtual worlds. With support for AR and multiplayer modes, the game continues to rake positive reviews by the horde on the Google Play Store.
In this free deck-building game, you take on the role of the leader of a spooky Lovecraftian cult on a mission to summon your chosen eldritch abomination into the world. As you play your cards, you also draw new ones representing unexpected events that can help or hinder your progress.
The audio provides a suitably creepy atmosphere, with a nice touch being the in-game radio that reports on how the world is being changed by your actions. Underhand is a complete game, if a little short, the random elements afford some replayability.
This game puts you in the evil shoes of what is normally the enemy in video games – a dungeon boss. Tasked with building your lair of evil and filling it with monsters and traps to destroy the pesky do-gooders who insisting on invading and disturbing your peace. Make them pay, because you won’t have to.
Warfare Incorporated is an old-school favorite, originally for Windows Phones and PalmOS devices, but its style hearkens back even further to the Command and Conquer real-time strategy games. You must build up base and produce an army to control resources on the newly discovered planet of Icarus. Sure, Warfare Incorporated looks dated by now, but the experience stands the test of time, and you won’t find a more fully featured mobile RTS for completely free.
Until 2020, finding a free Android game that did not have ads or in-app purchases was quite difficult. Today, that no longer is the case. This is how you can find free games with no ads or in-app purchases on any Android phone.
- Open the Google Play Store.
- Search for Google Play Games on the Play Store and install it if it’s not already installed.
- Open Google Play Games and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- Select the options No ads, No in-app purchases, and Free install, and voila! all the apps you see in the list below conform to these three conditions.
Once you do this, do look for great free games and let us know if you would want us to add one of your selections to his list.
Still on the hunt for great mobile games?
Have you discovered any free Android games that we should mention here? Let us know, and it might just make the list one day.
This article was updated in June 2021. Older comments have been retained.