Android smartphone and tablet devices hold a monopoly over the rest of the mobile industry in operating systems. According to Statista, 88 percent of all smartphone sales made worldwide were Android-powered devices. Contrast that with 11.9 percent of smartphone sales being iOS-powered, and it’s easy to see why Android has become such a popular platform for running apps and programs, bringing advanced functionality to smartphones and tablets previously limited to the desktops and laptops.
Furthermore, your Android device is not only a functional handset built to handle emails, messages, and diaries, but it is fast becoming an entertainment device. Indeed, the open-source nature of Android has helped turn Android-powered smartphones and tablets into gaming powerhouses. As a result, individual app developers and app development studios are now pushing the boundaries of innovation to create engaging Android games that have fostered the emergence of casual gaming. If you’re only now dipping your toes into the world of gaming on your Android smartphone or tablet, here are some of the most popular genres available to mobile gamers in 2019.
Strategy-based mobile games have become a go-to genre for Android owners in recent times. Whether it’s the tactical shoot-outs or mind-game dilemmas, gamers enjoy the battle of outwitting their opponents, and the best Android strategy games deliver that in spades. One of the best-loved PC strategy games was the Command & Conquer franchise. Luckily, this has been reincarnated on Android with Command & Conquer: Rivals — a free-to-play game where players must take control of their forces in real time to wipe out their opponents. Keep your eyes peeled, too, for Pocket City, which is an urban planning strategy sim in the same mold as the classic SimCity franchise. However, you’ll have to pay $4.99 for the privilege to download this from Google Play.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
If you own an Android smartphone, you can start to experience virtual reality (VR) Android games in all their glory, provided you have a mobile-compatible VR headset, of course. Most new Android devices are VR or Google “Daydream”-ready. The Samsung Gear VR, however, is the most popular mobile VR headset, simply requiring users to plug their Android mobile into the headset. Eclipse: Edge of Light is one of the leading Android VR titles, transporting you into a first-person exploration game having been left stranded on a remote planet after a failed landing. Minos Starfighter VR is also popular — especially as it costs only £1.19 from Google Play — and is an insight into how the Star Wars VR would play.
According to the U.K. Gambling Commission (UKGC), more than half (51 percent) of iGaming customers played casino-style games and slots via smartphones and tablets in 2018. However, one area where the Google Play Store lacks is iGaming apps for real-money action. At the time of writing, they are only available in the U.K., Ireland, and France. So, if you do live outside of these three nations, there is a simple solution: most iGaming platforms will have their own landing page, allowing users to download their Android app right from there. Providing you have access to Wi-Fi or a 4G connection, these iGaming apps will increasingly give you access to immersive live-streamed casino table games, such as blackjack and roulette. These games are professionally managed by trained human dealers and croupiers. Therefore, it offers a level of engagement on your Android smartphone or tablet that has never been seen before outside of a land-based casino.
Android app developers have taken a real leap of faith by developing immersive role-playing games (RPGs) on mobile devices. Fantastical epics such as Final Fantasy have already gravitated toward Android. The first chapter of Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is free to play from Google Play, but you’ll have to purchase the next chapters within the app. Android-based RPG titles also allow developers to tap into popular culture, with games recently developed for Game of Thrones fans (Reigns: Game of Thrones) and Harry Potter fans (Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that American’s spend, on average, five hours a day engaged in leisure and sports activities. The growing number of sports game apps on Android allows people to take their fervent passion for sports one step further, either at home or on the commute to and from work. EA Sports has moved quickly to develop a range of Android apps based on its portfolio of computer games, including NBA Live, Madden NFL and FIFA. Soccer fans that may be loyal players of the desktop-based management sim, Football Manager, whose 2019 version released in the fall, can also play Football Manager Mobile or Football Manager Touch, with the latter designed with a more tablet-friendly interface.
What does all this tell you about gaming on Android? It’s very much alive and kicking. HTML5 technology helped to create consistent browser-based gaming experiences for all smartphones and tablets, but native apps are now taking Android gaming to a whole new level of immersion.
Visual journalist/Graduating student, University of Missouri-Columbia. Lover of everything in the gaming industry and an avid fan of all films!