The 10 Best Android Games of 2015

The only list with Pac-Man and Shakespeare on it.

2015 is over, and 2016 is here, but there's still plenty of great games from the past 365 days that you need to consider playing. It was another amazing year, and there were many amazing games that didn't make the cut, and some that would have if they released on Android. But even with the games that had to be omitted, there's a ton of great games on this list to check out.

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Card Crawl

This game can be best described as roguelike solitaire, as you have to play your cards right – literally – in order to survive the enemies that you encounter. All of these are part of a deck of cards, and you're trying to get to the end with some health left, and as much gold as possible. The game is devioulsy clever, and you have to be smart and deal with the randomness that occurs in order to win. You can unlock special cards that can help customize your experience, along with the content in the updates since the game's launch that brought in new features and new ways to play this fantastic game. 

Lara Croft GO Screenshot
Square Enix Montreal

Square Enix Montreal created an amazingly clever and gorgeous puzzle game centered around the hero of Tomb Raider. You go through turn-based puzzles, trying to avoid and eliminate enemies as possible, but also navigating dangerous paths and solving puzzles, while hunting the screen for the secrets contained within. It's another unorthodox take on a big franchise from Square Enix Montreal, and it's spectacular. Plus, you can play the game in the Agent 47 suit from Hitman, which saw a great mobile release this year in Hitman Sniper. It was a great year for Square Enix Montreal.

Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be
Tin Man Games

One of the best interactive fiction games on Android, this game is a reimagining Shakespeare's Hamlet by writer Ryan North, known for Dinosaur Comics, the Adventure Time comics, and Squirrel Girl. If you're familiar with his work, you know what to expect: a subversive and utterly hilarious experience, as he parodies some of the more ludicrous aspects of the story, and even goes off on his own ridiculous tangents. It's an amazing experience, and Tin Man Games did a great job at bringing the original book to life.

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Joel McDonald

Trimming trees shouldn't be this interesting and fun. In a dark world of shadow and limited light, you must help a tree grow to its potential by influencing the growth path of the tree, rapidly cutting off branches during the key growth phase, and then trimming off branches and dead weight to help the tree grow even further. With difficult scenarios to trim around, you have a lot of challenges to try and make your way through, and the experience is fascinating to play, gorgeous to behold, and extremely rewarding when you succeed. 

Horizon Chase
Aquiris Game Studio

Aquiris Game Studio is full of fans of classic racing games like Rad Racer, Jaguar XJ220 and Top Gear, so they decided to make an homage to those classic racing games. But instead of making something that feels exactly like those classics, they added in just enough touches of modern playability that makes this feel like how those games played, rather than how they actually were. Combined with low-poly 3D visuals and vibrant colors that continues that simultaneous "retro yet modern" feel, this was completely brilliant. And for further authenticity, they got the composer of the game Top Gear to do the soundtrack. Just an excellent title all around.

Attack the Light - Steven Universe
Cartoon Network

It might be a licensed game based on a kids' show, but don't sleep on this excellent RPG. Developer Grumpyface has made a bunch of solid games for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, and in line with Steven Universe, this game serves as a loving homage to RPGs, especially the Mario RPG games. There's loads of interactivity in battles, with timing events, attacks that you have to aim, and an interesting action points system that gives you a surprising amount of combat strategy for a game aimed at a young audience. It's a lot of fun. 

Land Sliders

Several ex-Halfbrick developers who had a hand in all-time mobile classic Fruit Ninja formed their own studio Prettygreat in 2015, and their first game was spectacular. The whole game is based around swiping like you're moving around a webpage, and it winds up being a genius system to use in a mobile game. The game strikes that great balance between being accessible and being challenging, and features loads of cool characters to unlock, each of which having its own item to collect in the game, making this an extremely charming little game. 

Geometry Wars 3

The modern dual-stick shooter traces its roots to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, the Xbox 360 and PC game which caused many people to lose countless hours to its fun action. The sequel Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 added some excellent new modes to the game, but never released on any other platform than the Xbox 360. Geometry Wars Galaxies added powerup upgrades and inventive levels to battle through, but only released on the Wii U and Nintendo DS. Lucid Games had a proud tradition behind it, but not everyone had played it, and the franchise laid dormant for a while. So, they combined Retro Evolved 2 and Galaxies, added in some new visual flourishes, and released it on pretty much every platform under the sun, including Android (and Android TV). It's a brilliant game, and the best dual-stick shooter since Retro Evolved 2, with loads of great game modes and spectacular controls. 

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Bandai Namco

The Crossy Road developers at Hipster Whale teamed up with Bandai Namco for this endless take on Pac-Man. And it wound up being an utterly genius game, as you cleverly try to outrun the level 256 glitch from the original Pac-Man game. Endless Pac-Man winds up being a brilliant idea, as you have to deal with several different kinds of ghosts at a time, constantly managing their different patterns. The new powerups add a clever wrinkle, and the upgrade system adds a lot of long-term replayability. The game does a lot to mix old-school Pac-Man sensibility with some fresh new takes on the game. This is a must-play. Also worth checking out? Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.

The Executive
Riverman Media

Riverman Media made an absolutely genius game here. The action itself is full of intelligent combat, as you must use timing, defense, and special moves against difficult enemies whose weak points and openings you must discover. Even just on its own, the game would be great. But the strucutre, which has you spending money on idle revenue-generating entities to gain you money and additional combat bonuses for particular things you do in battle, adds a special hook to it. But along with all that comes a glorious absurdist style that has you fighting business werewolves, multi-headed snake magicians, and conductor frogs. It all combines to make for the best Android game of the year.