12 Best Old-School Games for Your Phone

Retro puzzlers, board games, and more

Need an old-school fix? There are tons of great, classic mobile games you can download on your mobile phone right now. Most of them work for both Android and iOS devices. Some are even available for your tablet.

Not all classic games are available on modern-day phones and tablets, but many are. We listed some of our favorites.

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Best Classic Puzzle Game: Tetris

The game 'Tetris' on iOS


What We Like
  • Has the appeal of the classic game.

  • Playable offline.

  • 100 player Tetris Royale mode.

What We Don't Like
  • Intrusive ads.

  • Small play area.

  • Repetitive music.

There are several Tetris games available for Android and iPhone, but this is the only official one currently available. While it mostly retains the classic feel of the original, it also adds a battle royale mode for up to 100 players. And since it's available offline, you can enjoy it on the go even if you don't have reliable data or internet.

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Best for Fans of Classic Board Games: Battleship

A player attacks in the mobile game 'Battleship'

Marmalade Game Studio

What We Like
  • Has both Classic Mode and Commander Mode.

  • Online multiplayer capability.

  • Classic mode is faithful to the original board game.

What We Don't Like
  • Online multiplayer mode is a little glitchy.

  • Two players can't play face-to-face on the same device.

  • It's a paid app, but in-app purchases are required to reach higher levels.

Battleship is a smooth, fun adaptation of the board game classic. You and your opponent set up ships on your own sides of the game, and then both of you try to sink the other player's ships by guessing where they're at on the grid.

You can get Battleship: Official Edition from Marmalade Game Studio on Google Play and iOS. However, there are alternatives too, from developers like Smuttlewerk Interactive.

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Best for Adventure Game Fans: Dragon's Lair

Dragon’s Lair

EA Mobile

What We Like
  • Fully animated game includes original scenes.

  • High-definition graphics.

  • Full-watch features lets you experience the gorgeous animation.

What We Don't Like
  • Many crash and freeze complaints.

  • Not for people who dislike quick-time events.

  • Difficulty might be a turnoff to some.

Dragon’s Lair is a carbon copy of the beautiful arcade classic, and it's just as frustrating as you remember. You play Dirk the Daring, a knight trying to rescue Princess Daphne from Singe the dragon. Doing this requires quick reflexes and wise decision-making as you traverse a dangerous world full of quick-time events.

You can also grab Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp on your Android, iPhone, or iPad. 

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Best Frogger-Like: Froodie - Road Crossing Frog Frogger

The 'Frogger'-like mobile game 'Froodie'


What We Like
  • Classic Frogger game with HD graphics and arcade sounds.

  • Game includes new special powers.

  • Easy game quickly grows difficult.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version doesn't launch in iOS 12.

  • Reports of glitches in paid version with iOS 11 and later.

  • Needs more levels.

Froodie is a Frogger-like mobile game that retains the gameplay of the early eighties arcade classic. Try to get your frog across the street or river, avoiding obstacles along the way. There are multiple worlds to unlock, and you can customize how your Froodie looks.

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For Strategy Fans: Civilization Revolution 2



What We Like
  • A more animated version of the original.

  • Gameplay is much like its popular predecessor.

  • Scenario mode lets you experience historic battles.

What We Don't Like
  • No Android update since 2014.

  • Priced on the high side.

  • Steep learning curve.

Civilization Revolution 2 takes the traditionally long-lasting strategy game and crams all the fun into a phone or tablet. This is the first game in Electronic Arts' popular Civilization franchise to come to mobile devices. While others have gotten ports since then, it's still worth a download if you're willing to pay $5.

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Best Connect Four Clone: Connect Fun

The Connect Four clone 'Connect Fun'


What We Like
  • Strongly reminiscent of original board game.

  • Difficulty levels are well-spaced.

  • Much more challenging than it looks.

What We Don't Like
  • Many users claim the computer cheats.

  • Intrusive advertising.

  • Some new users find the game boring.

Connect Fun is a solid version of the classic board game. While its graphics are basic, it includes some modern-day mobile game features like difficulty levels, Google Play achievements, and multiple themes. You can play by yourself or with others online. Younger people who don't have nostalgia for the original game might find it a bit boring.

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If You Love Word Games: Scrabble GO

An animated character picks letter tiles in promotional art for the mobile game 'Scrabble GO'


What We Like
  • Play against friends online

  • Built-in official Scrabble dictionary.

  • Scrabble League for the super-competitive.

What We Don't Like
  • Excessive ads.

  • Confusing UI.

If you're a fan of word games and you're the competitive type, give Scrabble Go a shot. This updated version of the classic game includes a Scrabble dictionary, a 1-on-1 Duel mode, a Scrabble League, and more. But, be warned that its ads can be a bit aggressive.

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Best Game for Amateur Detectives: Clue

EA Mobile
What We Like
  • Great streamlined version of the classic board game.

  • Multiplayer mode to play with friends online.

  • Fun animations and beautiful graphics.

What We Don't Like
  • Paid game comes with only one (of eight) boards.

  • Game pushes pricy in-app purchases.

  • No local multiplayer mode.

Mr. Boddy has been murdered. Who did it? With what object? In which room? Mystery fans will be glad to know the classic board game Clue is available as a mobile game for Android and iOS devices. It's less a mobile board game, though, and more about solving crimes solo—which is fun in itself.

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Most Iconic Arcade Game: Pac-Man

Promotional art for 'Pac-Man' on iOS and Android

Bandai Namco

What We Like
  • Pixel-by-pixel recreation of original mazes plus new ones.

  • Three difficulty levels.

  • Fun tournaments and Pac-Missions.

What We Don't Like
  • Requests too much personal info and access to contacts and camera.

  • People under 12 not allowed to play even though game is rated 4+.

Pac-Man is just what you remember—no frills, no gimmicks. You're a yellow circle with a mouth gobbling up pellets while avoiding a quartet of colorful ghosts. This free version of the arcade classic includes new, mobile-exclusive mazes, weekly tournaments, and more. For more exciting graphics, you can get the championship edition from the same developers.

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Best Bubble Shooter Match-3 Game: Bust-A-Move Journey

A player scores a combo in 'Bust-A-Move Journey'

Taito Corporation

What We Like
  • Fun game is faithful to the original's feel.

  • Free game has 270+ stages.

  • A must-have for Bust-a-Move fans.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires an internet connection.

  • Unlocking new characters costs too many coins.

  • Paid game has in-app purchases.

Bust-A-Move Journey brings enough new twists to keep the addictive bubble shooter series fresh. It's a match-3 puzzle game where you pop bubbles of the same color to rack up points and clear stages. It includes over 270 levels,

This game goes by the name Bust-A-Move Journey in North America but is actually called Puzzle Bobble. It's based on Bubble Bobble, an even older arcade game.

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Best Classic Fighting Game: Street Fighter IV Champion Edition

Street Fighter IV
What We Like
  • Awesome gameplay with 32 street fighters.

  • Intuitive virtual control pad.

  • Four levels of difficulty.

What We Don't Like
  • No offline multiplayer games.

  • Needs more animation frames for smooth transitions.

  • No free sparring mode.

Though the controls aren't ideal, Street Fighter IV is a surprisingly faithful translation of the classic fighting game. It has 32 fighters, including an Android exclusive character. It also features Bluetooth controller support, both single-player and multiplayer modes, and four difficulty levels.

While Street Fighter IV is free to download, you need to pay to unlock the full game.

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Best Air Hockey Mobile Game: Glow Hockey

Two players compete in 'Glow Hockey' for Android

Natenai Ariyatrakool

What We Like
  • Simple and addictive game.

  • Two-player mode on same device.

  • Colorful glow graphics.

What We Don't Like
  • Intrusive ads cover the goals.

  • No online multiplayer mode.

Glow Hockey is a solid version of air hockey. As the name suggests, it features a glowing table, ball, and handles. Two players can play on the same device. There are three colorful themes to choose from, along with four selectable paddles and pucks.

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