Whether you’re killing time waiting for a flight or winding down after a long day at work, nothing beats a great free mobile game.
What’s more, today’s games have come a long way from the Snake app you used to play on your flip phone. The visuals are stunning, the puzzles are more challenging and you can even play with friends and family around the world.
Plus, today’s genre-spanning selection of mobile games truly offers something for everyone, including:
- Action games
- Adventure games
- Arcade games
- Casual games
- Match games
- Racing games
- Shooter games
- Strategy games
- Trivia games
- Word games
Your guide to free mobile games
The capabilities of today’s mobile games are light years ahead of where they were just a few short years ago, boasting dazzling graphics and realistic gameplay. And with so many choices, it can be hard to know where to start. Below, we break down our favorite free mobile games for both Android and iPhone.
Best free iPhone games
Apple runs a tight ship when it comes to mobile games, so if you’re an iPhone user, you’ll enjoy a pretty seamless gaming experience with few glitches and errors, as the games mostly come from top developers. Check out our top recommendations for the best free iPhone games.
Asphalt 9: Legends
With dazzling graphics, thrilling gameplay and a larger-than-life take on racing, it’s no surprise that this game is both a Tabby award-winner and rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on the Apple Store. Your nitro-fueled excursions will take you through the streets so fast, you might just become airborne.
Best for players of: GT Racing 2:The Real Car Experience, Need for Speed No Limits, Real Racing
Candy Crush Saga
Tabby award? Check. Addictively fun? Check. With tens of millions of downloads and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, Candy Crush is a certified fan-favorite among mobile game players. Similar to Bejeweled, this match game features hundreds of levels, 3D graphics, online and offline play capabilities and the ability to sync the game between devices.
Best for players of: Bejeweled, Farm Heroes Saga, Tetris
Hearthstone is a card-based game that’s easy enough to learn if you’re a new player, while still being challenging enough if you’re a seasoned strategist. Based in a medieval fantasy world, this online collectible card game is great if you’re a strategy game junkie who wants to expand your horizons beyond chess, and perfect if you’re a World of Warcraft lover (it’s based on the same lore).
Best for players of: AFK Arena, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Summoners War
Grab your shield and sword and duke it out atop castle roofs, pirate ships and other locations. Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on the Apple App store, this arcade-style iPhone game uses bouncy gameplay and fast-paced battles between battling knights to create the perfectly addictive game.
Best for players of: Blackmoor – Duberry’s Quest, Grow Kingdom, Ice Rage
An oldie but a goody, Scrabble is a must if you’re a literary junkie, member of the grammar police or just generally love words. The board layout is among the best of iPhone word games, giving you the option to mull over your next move or act fast, forcing all other players to quickly make moves.
Genre: Word games
Best for players of: Bookworm, Word Chums, Words with Friends
Pick your favorite musical genres or decades and test your music knowledge against players around the globe. Listen to a snippet of a song, then guess the song’s name from a list of four options as fast as you can. Or challenge other players with your preferred playlist to make things more interesting. Best of all? You’ll find some great new music while you play.
Best for players of: Piano Tiles, QuizUp, Trivia Crack
Stranger Things: The Game
Can’t get enough of the hit Netflix series? Now you can be a character from the show in this action-packed adventure game. Navigate the treacherous Upside Down as officer Jim Hopper, or race your bike through town as one of the kids. The first iteration of this game is free to play, but if you want to the latest version, Stranger Things 3, you’ll have to shell out $4.99.
Best for players of: BitLife, The Last Vikings, Tiny Dice Dungeon
Best free Android games
If you’re Android user, you have access to a huge library of mobile games. Not only that, but you’ll also have the ability to add ROM memory at will. So if you’re in this crowd, here are our top picks for the best free mobile games for Android.
Join Alto in this action game as he takes a sand-boarding adventure across the desert, over vines and atop towering rock walls. Nominated for a BAFTA award and winner of a 2018 Tabby award, Alto’s Odyssey is the follow-up to the widely acclaimed Alto’s Adventure, which we’d also recommend.
Best for players of: Alto’s Adventure, RAD Boarding, Run an Empire
Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs
This version of Angry Birds brings the game to new worlds — the 3D universe, to be specific. This augmented reality game allows you to integrate your surroundings with the game itself to level up, find surprises and take on the green pigs.
Genre: AR, Casual gaming
Best for players of: Angry Birds, Angry Birds POP Blast – Bubble Shooter, Pokémon Go
Beach Buggy Racing 2
This fun-yet-zany kart racing game is reminiscent of racing games from the consoles of yesteryear. With race tracks that take you through settings that include exciting castles and fire-breathing dragons, this popular game presents some of the best racing action available on Android.
Best for players of: Beach Buggy Racing, SUP Multiplayer Racing, Table Top Racing Free
There’s a reason this classic matching game has been a consistent favorite among Android users for several years running. The frenetic thrill of this game is a huge part of the fun, and you can enjoy three unique versions, including the original match-three “classic,” the can’t-lose “zen” and the challenging “diamond mine.”
Best for players of: Candy Crush, Jewel Star, Tetris
A 2018 Tabby award-winner, Fantastic Chefs is a fun and exciting puzzle game with hundreds of puzzles that allow you to cook tasty treats, earn badges and complete levels.
Best for players of: Bejeweled, Gummy Paradise, Star Chef
Epic story campaigns, player vs. player action and a terrific sci-fi setting make this a fun and fast-paced first-person shooter game. What the game lacks in nuance and character depth it makes up for in a tongue-in-cheek self-awareness and fluid, responsive combat. And if you wipe out enough aliens, your fans might just build you a statue of honor.
Best for players of: Dead Trigger, Infinity Ops: Online FPS, Unkilled
Trivia Crack & Trivia Crack 2
Trivia Crack is a hugely successful Android game that has been downloaded over 500 million times. Both versions allow you to play against your friends and family and even submit your trivia questions to the platform.
Best for players of: HQ, Kahoot, QuizUp
When it comes to which service offers the overall better experience, it truly does come down to your preferences as a gamer.
From a screen real estate perspective, Android users might have a more enjoyable experience with games that present heavy graphics or engagement areas that require more room to move, as iPhone screens tend to run a bit smaller.
However, iPhone users often get access to new games first, since many developers release their games on Apple’s app store weeks or even months before unveiling them in the Google Play Store. Additionally, Apple is more militant about the quality of games available to users, saving them the headache of downloading dud games that crash or glitch out — an issue many Android users face.