20 Classic Games You Can Play On Your Android Phone

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 5 Oct 2015

Old-School Gaming
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Hundreds of new games flood the Play Store every week. Many are worth a few minutes of your time, and some are even pretty great. But if you’re looking for a tried–true gaming classic that you enjoyed ages ago in the arcades or on a console or handheld, you’ll find a solid number of those on Android.
No, we’re not talking about emulators; we’ll let you dig into that on your own if you wish. These official Android releases of classic games debuted at least 15 years ago. Ranging from Atari greats all the way up to late ‘90s arcade console gems. And many have remastered experiences for their mobile releases, making them potentially even better the second time around.

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
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One of the top strategy role-playing games of all time is on the Play Store. While it may not feature traditional Final Fantasy gameplay, Tactics is excellent. The War of the Lions is technically a port of a later enhanced version. Still, the core of the experience is pulled right from the original PlayStation release.
Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based game set on various battlegrounds. Your squad of fighters, mages, and the like must try to take down the opposing forces. Much of the game revolves around combat, but Tactics also has an intriguing story about warring nations. Not to mention excellent art direction, especially in modernized cutscenes and a brilliant soundtrack. This is a big, meaty game to savor.

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions ($11.99)

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Soul Calibur is an utterly beloved fighting classic. If you can stomach the asking price, it’s $14, in line with a downloadable console game. You’ll have plenty of weapons-based brawling on your phone. It was initially a Dreamcast arcade sensation; with fluid 3D combat and a diverse cast of characters, the touch-based port holds up surprisingly well.
True, virtual buttons don’t feel as responsive as the real thing. However, the fighting in SoulCalibur is still excellent, and the game looks great even after 16 years. Last note that it’s strictly a single-player game on Android. Not all of the console modes made the leap to the Play Store.

Soul Calibur 

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
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SEGA hasn’t slept on Sonic regarding mobile, with an array of recent entries and endless games, modern platformers, racers—to suit almost any interest. You’re also in luck if you want to return to the classics. The original Sonic the Hedgehog, and the lesser-played Sonic CD, are both available. Still, for our money, we’ll take Sonic the Hedgehog 2 above all.
Sonic 2 refined and expected the original’s side-scrolling design, focusing more on speed-building and more significant stages to accentuate it. The sequel has more diversity in gameplay level design and introduces sidekick Tails in the “3D” stages. Plus, the Android port is excellent and includes levels cut from the original release.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 

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There are several flavors of Ms. PAC-MAN to enjoy on the Play Store, including the recent Championship competition DX free-to-play twist Pac-Man 256. But while those maintain the originals’ spirit, there’s nothing quite like reliving the classics. Bandai Namco didn’t mess around with Ms. (paradiseweddingchapel) PAC-MAN, which is free of annoying in-app purchases.
It’s the full, original game with 256 stages of familiar dot-munching ghost-gobbling. Playing in either portrait or landscape modes using either swipes or a d-pad for changing directions. You can also grab the original Ms. PAC-MAN, but it’s only available as a free-to-play game now. From the start, we’d like to pop in the $4 version for you to enjoy Ms. PAC-MAN without restrictions.

Ms. PAC-MAN ($4)

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
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One of the best-loved role-playing games is back in action with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition. And puts a fresh coat of paint on Biore’s original 1998 release in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms universe. This is a rich, complex isometric rendition, with loads of dialogue, combat, and customization available across the 60+ hour fantasy campaign.

Cramming a game of this scope onto a small touch screen can be a little awkward, particularly with the tiny text (it’s a better fit for tablets), but there’s so much to enjoy here. Beyond the core game, the $10 package includes expansion content online multiplayer for iPad and Mac players, plus additional content to purchase. And 2000’s Baldur’s Gate II is also on Android.

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition ($10)

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Tetris portable gaming has gone together since the dawn of the Game Boy, so no surprise. There’s a version of the legendary puzzler for Android. And it’s pretty good! True, it’s absolutely loaded with ads, but this is a free, official Tetris that doesn’t have any restrictions on play. (And it’s well worth the $1 in-app purchase to clear those ads for good.)
Endless marathon mode is just as enduringly great as you remember, plus there’s a one-touch mode that significantly streamlines the game for touch. Purists won’t want anything to do with it, but newcomers might find it appealing. In any case, it’s Tetris on your phone. That’s undoubtedly a fantastic thing.

Tetris (Free)

Crazy Taxi Classic
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Crazy Taxi is one of Sega’s all-time great arcade games, letting you get behind the wheel of a cab and pickup fares. Does that sound boring? You must’ve missed the crazy part of the title because whipping around the congested city at high speeds. All while pulsing songs from “Bad Religion: The Offspring” blare from the radio is a total blast.
Beyond the core game, which has a couple of variations, Crazy Taxi also comes with an array of addictive mini-games. Accurate touch controls aren’t perfectly ideal for a game designed for a steering wheel and, later, a Dreamcast controller. Still, for just a few bucks, this is fun to keep on your phone for a quick spin.

Crazy Taxi Classic 

Metal Slug 3
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SNK’s Metal Slug series is well represented on the Play Store, with Metal SlugMetal Slug 2Metal Slug X, and a recent defense spinoff. But of the original arcade shooters, Metal Slug 3 gets the most praise among lovers, as it maintains the winning spirit of earlier games while introducing a bit of extra depth.

The Metal Slug games are pretty similar at their core. They’re side-scrolling blasters with fluid 2D graphics and plenty of chaos. Metal Slug 3 builds upon that with branching paths within levels and additional characters to play as more vehicles to commandeer. Start with the original if you don’t know the series, but this is the best.

Metal Slug 3 ($4)

The 7th Guest: Remastered
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If you gamed on computers in the early-to-mid ‘90s and weren’t a little kid, you’re well familiar with The 7th Guest. The grim adventure about exploring a toymaker’s twisted, abandoned mansion was a landmark release, blending full-motion video with CGI graphics for an eerie blend of scares puzzles.
Despite its Mac origins, Android has the best version available as of this writing. As the Remastered edition updates the interface, some animations refine the game for touch. It also adds helpful hotspots on interactive objects to cut down on frustration. The app bundles a load of extras, including a making-of of featured deleted scenes.

The 7th Guest: Remastered ($6)

Final Fantasy VIRemastered 3

Final Fantasy Tactics is a real strategic gem, but if you’re eager to play one of the series’ core entries, arguably the best pre-3D-era release is available on Android. It delivers a vast campaign set in a fantasy steampunk world, with an extensive array of playable characters and a gripping storyline. Released in 1994 for Super Nintendo, it’s considered the benchmark for that era’s role-playing epics.
On Android, the core game is still well worth playing—but it’s been tweaked and updated in ways that die-hard fans don’t necessarily love. Some graphics have been smoothed out and changed, while the menu interactions are different. So long as you can tolerate the changes ( the price tag), it’s absorbing on the go.

Final Fantasy VI ($16)

Namco Arcade
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Like Atari’s Greatest Hits package, Namco Arcade is a compilation that combines a few iconic arcade classics from one storied company. And a few of its lesser-known entries. Adding to the box are Galaga, Pac-Man, and Xevious, but there is also Phazon, among others. Each game is playable in landscape view with borders and virtual buttons.
Where the Atari package sells its games in bundles, Namco Arcade has each game available individually for $2-$3 a pop. There are also in-game boosts sold separately. You can play one game per day (once) for free. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy something or wait until the next day. But at least you can try everything out in time and then buy what you like.

Namco Arcade (Free)

The King of Fighters ’98
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Looking for the best fighting game of 1998? It’s obvious this one! We’re half-kidding, but this entry in SNK’s once-annual team-based fighting series is considered one of the best. It delivers technical hand-to-hand combat, great sprite-based graphics, a stellar soundtrack, and a diverse array of playable fighters.
Did we say diverse? It’s true, but we mean massive: The King of Fighters ’98 offers 38 total characters, of which you’ll pick three to form your squad at a time. The game has local wireless multiplayer, and multiple touch control options are available alongside Bluetooth controller support. And if ’98 is a little too modern for your tastes, you can also grab The King of Fighters ’97 on Android.

The King of Fighters ‘98 ($3)

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Regarding classic space shooters, few games are more beloved than R-Type. The Android version does a great job of keeping the original experience intact, despite swapping an arcade joystick for virtual controls. This horizontal shooter sends your ship through waves of aggressive enemies that zip around you and try to keep the chaos under control.
R-Type is a highly challenging game. Luckily, the Android version has two difficulty settings on offer, so at least you have a chance if you’re not a die-hard fan. R-Type’s challenging gameplay and distinctive environments hold up even after all this time. It’s the best of its kind on the Play Store.

R-Type ($2)

Double Dragon Trilogy
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This legendary quarter-muncher from the ’80s is back in action on Android. It brought its sequels along for the ride. Double Dragon Trilogy bundles together all three beat-em-ups. Sending you out for revenge with your fists, feet, and weapons you can find while walloping generic street toughs.
The gameplay is ultra-simplistic and can turn repetitive. Still, like most brawlers, it’s better with a friend in a local Bluetooth co-op play. And this compilation has many options. The games are playable in an arcade or a story mode that unlocks levels as you clear them. Plus, there’s a new difficulty mode ideal for quick mobile sessions, with both the original soundtrack and a remixed one. And gamepad support, crucially.

Double Dragon Trilogy ($3)

Tomb Raider Reloaded
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Tomb Raider Reloaded is absolutely iconic, with the 1996 adventure game paving the way for third-person action in 3D and prominent female protagonists in games. The problem is that most early 3D games are tough to revisit now after a few decades of vast improvement. That’s definitely the case here. Tomb Raider Reloaded is a bit tough to enjoy on Android, given the awkward controls and navigation.
But there’s a saving grace here: it’s only $1 for a shot of nostalgia. That’s not bad at all. The port has a few bonus levels not seen in the initial release. It also has controller support, making the game easier to play. If you’re a hardcore Lara Croft fan who needs to revisit the original, you can do so cheaply on Android.

Tomb Raider Reloaded ($1)

Samurai Shodown II
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While SoulCalibur delivers great 3D combat on Android, Samurai Shodown II is one of the earliest examples of weapons-based fighting. It is about one-fifth the price. Recreating the 1994 arcade NeoGeo favorite on Android, this SNK port is a solid rendition of the 2D classic, with feudal warriors swatting each other with blades.
Given its age-pixelated origins, Samurai Shodown II has borders around the action. However, the virtual buttons still cover some fantastic old-school artwork. Fighting games tend to suffer a bit on touch devices, but Shodown’s pace isn’t so frantic that it loses the fun. As there’s an optional touch perk: a button you can tap to unleash your mighty extraordinary instead of trying to enter a combo.

Samurai Shodown II ($3)

Dragon’s Lair
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Dragon’s Lair was hailed as one of the most impressive games ever created when it hit arcades in 1983. Essentially turning a hand-drawn cartoon into a playable game at a time when pixels were king. Since then, the original game has been adapted to newer platforms, and yes, it’s available on Android too.
Nostalgia has carried the game by far over the last 30+ years. But unless you’re a die-hard fan who memorized the inputs long ago, it’s tough to see Dragon’s Lair as more than a barbaric relic from a simpler time. It’s still an attractive game, although the trial-and-error gameplay, in which you’ll repeatedly perish while memorizing when to tap the button or directional arrow, is truly punishing. Still, it’s probably cheaper to play through now than in the arcades, considering the constant deaths.

Dragon’s Lair ($5)