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Entertainment9 months agoTimothy "Timaugustin" Augustin

10 of the best free games on the Google Play Store in 2023

If you’re willing to go off the beaten path, some of the best mobile games around right now are free on the Google Play Store. 

Say it with me: mobile games are great. Some of them drop the ball with pesky monetisation while other seem like neverending timesinks, but one shouldn't dismiss a whole gaming platform because of a few bad eggs. If you’re willing to stray from the beaten path of competitive multiplayer games every once in a while, you’ll find some truly excellent games playable on mobile devices - and you don’t even have to spend a dime to check them out.

These are just 10 of our favourite free games on the Google Play Store in 2023:

 

Honkai Star Rail

Alright, this isn’t exactly a hidden gem, but it’s still one of the best gacha games around right now for those who enjoy the genre. Following the success of Genshin Impact, MiHoYo has put out what seems to be its polar opposite: a sci-fi turn-based RPG set in space, though the two games share plenty of similarities where it counts. If you liked Genshin’s attractive character designs, great writing and fun combat, Honkai Star Rail has all of that and a little bit more. This is also a good option for anyone who prefers a more modern and tactical take on Genshin's RPG formula. 

 

Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap repackages the fun of virtual card games into short five-minute bursts and somehow becomes all the better for it. Games like Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone offer more complex gameplay but demand more of your time and energy, while Marvel Snap feels like a robust casual experience that can be played in the short time it takes to go from one train stop to the next. Marvel fans will be able to collect all their favourite heroes and villains as they play, card game fanatics can combine various cards and decks for a surprisingly diverse range of builds, and free-to-play players will find that there isn’t any need to spend a cent on this game. 

 

Dungeons of Dreadrock

If you’d like to play a game with a set beginning, middle and end, try this Zelda-like adventure game. Dungeons of Dreadrock has some truly beautiful art on display, but it’s not all eye candy. Much like ye old puzzle-filled dungeon crawlers of yore, the game tasks players with exploring and solving puzzles as they progress through 100 different levels. Sure, it’s a long game and thus a bit of a commitment - but this isn’t Candy Crush. There is an actual ending waiting for you on the other side, and it’s a lot of fun getting there. 

 

Alto’s Odyssey

If you have a few minutes to spare and a need to unwind, this platformer with a chill vibe should be right up your alley. This game melds the beautiful aesthetic appeal of Journey with the snazzy platforming tricks of OlliOlli World, with the player stepping into the shoes of adrenaline junkie Alto and friends. Alto journeys through the game’s fantastical environments by chaining together combos as he jumps, grinds and sails his way through obstacles on a snowboard. 

 

The Battle of Polytopia

The Battle of Polytopia feels like a watered-down version of Civilisation 6, in the same way Marvel Snap feels like a watered-down version of Hearthstone. This a simplified entry in a beloved genre that allows players to experience an addictive turn-based strategy game on the go. If you’re unfamiliar with how these games go, this mobile game asks you to wrestle control of a map away from enemy tribes by discovering new locations and building new technologies. As you build your civilisation up, you’ll face off against other tribes in both single player and multiplayer modes. 

 

Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt 9: Legends is a surprisingly great racing game that plays well on mobile devices, which is a rarity for its genre. This game juggles big names ranging from Porsche and Ferrari to W Motors and Lamborghini to let players race in some of the most well-known vehicles around, and you can customise all of them too. You can drive with manual controls if you prefer to keep your hand on the wheel, but the TouchDrive feature also makes things easier for anyone who struggles to make precise turns on mobile. It’s a great-looking game visually, and online multiplayer just adds to its replayability. 

 

Data Wing

Data Wing is another racer, but one that couldn’t be more different from Asphalt 9. This story-driven game is a tight two-hour adventure where you play as DATA WINGs delivering important data throughout a computer system under the orders of a program called Mother. When the system starts coming under attack however, Mother starts acting up and things fly off the rails very quickly. This game’s arcade-y racing gameplay has you thrust off walls in a variety of obstacle courses to complete objectives. It’s not as much of a commitment as other games on this list, but you’ll have just as much fun with it. 

 

Animal Restaurant

Some people like idle games, and Animal Restaurant is an extremely adorable game that happens to fit the bill. This restaurant management sim has you play as the owner of Animal Restaurant, who begins a flourishing career by taking in a stray cat to work with them. Together with the cat - and many more animals who can be hired along the way - you’ll make pizza, shaved ice, taiyaki, spaghetti and more dishes to sate the diverse appetites of your animal clientele. You can even chat with your customers and interfere in their lives if you wish, but let’s be real: we’re just here to serve cute food to cute animals. 

 

Splash Cars

Splash Cars is the Concrete Genie of driving games, placing you in a dingy monochromatic world where everyone’s search for happiness has come to a bitter end. That is, until you come along. In this game, you drive around in a car that paints everything it touches with vivid colour, much to the chagrin of your a town's populace. The police will chase after you to stop your rainbow-coloured shenanigans while you do whatever you can to fill up on petrol and zip through different locations as quickly as possible. 

 

Creatures of the Deep: Fishing

Some people fish to kill time, but you can’t exactly take a boat out during your lunch break, can you? What you can do is try out Creatures of the Deep, a multiplayer fishing game that has you investigate mysterious monsters appearing from the deep by travelling to exotic fishing locations and… fishing, obviously. You’ll talk to the locals, travel to different locations, catch over 100 fish and solve an intriguing mystery surrounding the titular monsters from the deep. 

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Timothy "Timaugustin" AugustinTim loves movies, TV shows and videogames almost too much. Almost.

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