The 25 best games on Android right now

21. Swordigo

Swordigo plays like a kind of side-scrolling Zelda: you control a cute little chap with a hat who's charged with ridding the land of evil (or something) and who needs to find various special swords, slay various enemies and travel across various lands in order to do so.

But if the story's not the most original, the gameplay more than makes up for it. This is a throwback to the classic days of 8 and 16-bit gaming, when every other title was a platformer and that was fine by us thanks very much. It's challenging but never frustrating, with a nice selection of creatures to do battle with and a surprising variety to combat. It's also big - this is a game that you could lose hours of your life to. And very happy hours they'd be.

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭ Price £free (with IAP available)

Download Swordigo here

22. Smash Hit

This endless game takes place in a hypnotic dream-like world where all that exists is glass barriers and a limited supply of metal balls to hurl. It’s an oddly mesmerising and cathartic experience, equal parts relaxing and smashy, and also initially perhaps a bit simple. But as you progress, Smash Hit keeps throwing new challenges at you, from deviously tricky shots to replenish your ammunition through to dizzying rotating cameras and intricate meandering constructions to demolish.

For free, you get the entire game, but must start from scratch every time; a single one-off IAP unlocks a ‘premium’ mode, enabling you to start from any checkpoint you’ve previously reached. You'll need them. 

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✩ Price £free

Download Smash Hit here

More after the break...

23. Super Stickman Golf 2

Minigolf’s usually a lot more exciting in your head. In reality, you often get dull, badly maintained courses, with the occasional sad-looking windmill; Super Stickman Golf 2 unleashes the minigolf you always imagined existed, where you thwack balls about giant castles, through portals, and around laser-spewing moonbases, all while wearing a natty hat!

OK, so that last bit isn’t in everyone’s dreams, but in this game hats provide useful powers. These can be handy in single-player (which is more or less an artillery game - think Angry Birds done properly with a golfing theme) but essential in the maniac online racing mode and brilliant, strategy-oriented turn-based multiplayer.

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭✭ Price £free

Download Super Stickman Golf 2 here

24. SpellTower

SpellTower is devious. It introduces itself as a simple word game - letters in a well are removed by dragging out words, and gravity swiftly deals with any pesky temporarily levitating tiles. When no more words can be made, you get a score. Job done and it’s all very nice. But then new modes are unlocked, transforming the game into something resembling an unholy union between Boggle and Tetris. Before you know it, you’re battling to remove letters as quickly as possible, while the pile of tiles rises ever higher towards the line of doom. It’s simple, elegant genius, but will almost certainly give you a seething hatred of the letter J, awkward little sod that it is. 

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭ Price £1.32

Download SpellTower here

25. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

A lot's changed in the 10 years since Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas made its debut on the PlayStation 2. Back then, the best mobile gaming had to offer was Snake and the idea that the whole of Rockstar's fifth GTA title would one day fit in your pocket would have blown our tiny minds. Or at least it would if we'd bothered to think about it - we were far too busy romping around this huge California-pastiching playground to care.

For those of you who haven't played it, San Andreas was the first really big GTA. And by really big we mean huge. There are three distinct cities to explore, loosely based on Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas, plus a vast area of countryside dotted with one-horse towns and farms. And it's this diversity that makes it so much fun. Like all GTAs, most missions follow a standard formula, but at least the scenery keeps changing. 

The elephant in the room here is the touchscreen, and in truth playing it on Android can occasionally be a frustrating experience; it's definitely more fun if you team it with a controller. But the touch controls have been improved over previous ports of the game, and we rarely found it affected our play.

Is it much more than a shameless hit of nostalgia? Definitely. The humour is as sharp as ever, the story still engaging. It's probably worth it for the radio stations alone. And anyway, what's wrong with a bit of nostalgia? 

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭ Price £4.99

Download Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas here

Additional words by Marc McLaren, Will Dunn, Sam Kieldsen and Fraser Macdonald

READ MORE: 25 fantastic free Android games

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