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 ANDROID Top List

The 25 best Japanese games for Android

Land of the rising thumbs
Product: Best Android games | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android
   
Updated June 5, 2018: New entries added


Japan is the spiritual home of videogames. Just think about it for a second. It's home to giant developers and publishers like Nintendo, Sega, Square Enix, Capcom, Konami, and Taito.

With Apple and Google defining the modern smartphone revolution, mobile gaming has shifted west. But make no mistake: Japan still plays a huge part with some excellent games.

What's more, Android gamers have the advantage of still having access to several classic Japanese games that are no longer available to iOS users.

Here are 25 excellent Android games from the land of the rising sun.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LIST »
  

#1 Super Mario Run

Product: Super Mario RunFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: NintendoGenres: Platform

Super Mario Run
It took a while to land on Android, but when it comes to Mario, we were willing to wait. Nintendo has cracked this mobile gaming lark at the first attempt with a supreme autorunning platformer.

#2 Downwell

Product: DownwellFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, SteamDeveloper: MoppinGenres: Action, Platform

Downwell
Downwell splices together elements of a classic Japanese shmup with that of a classic Japanese platformer - and then shoots it all through with a hefty roguelike structure.

#3 Final Fantasy IX

Product: Final Fantasy IXFormats: Android, iPhone, PSP, iPadPublisher: Square Enix Genres: Adventure, RPG

Final Fantasy IX
Which Final Fantasy games is best? It's usually a choice between VI and VII, but on mobile we'd have to go with IX. Not only is it arguably the last great classically styled entry to the series, but it's also a brilliant conversion job.

#4 Dragon Quest VIII

Product: Dragon Quest VIIIFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, 3DSPublisher: Square Enix Genres: RPG

Dragon Quest VIII
Just like Final Fantasy XI, Dragon Quest VIII takes an already brilliant JRPG and judiciously tweaks it for mobile play.

#5 Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Product: Space Invaders Infinity GeneFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: TaitoGenres: Retro, Shooter

Space Invaders Infinity Gene
This is no lazy port of an established classic. Rather, Space Invaders Infinity Gene is total revamp built especially for mobile. It remains one of the best shooters on Android.

#6 Part Time UFO

Product: Part Time UFOFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: HAL Egg

Part Time UFO
HAL Laboratory is usually hard at work making games for Nintendo consoles, but its first mobile game is an absolute triumph. Part Time UFO is a brilliant take on arcade grabber games, with a range of inspired tasks and bags of charm.

#7 The World Ends with You: Solo Remix

Product: The World Ends with You: Solo RemixFormats: iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Jupiter CorporationPublisher: Square Enix Genres: Multiplayer, RPG

The World Ends with You: Solo Remix
Oddball DS JRPG The World Ends With You: Solo Remix finds a comfortable second home on mobile. The game might be old, but its modern day Shibuya setting and left field touch-driven mechanics ensure that it still feels fresh as a daisy.

#8 Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Product: Sonic & All-Stars Racing TransformedFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, 3DS, PS Vita, SteamDeveloper: Sumo DigitalPublisher: SegaGenres: Racing

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Like Ridge Racer Slipstream, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a brilliant example of a console conversion. Okay, so it's actually made by British developer Sumo, but this is still very much a Sega game.

#9 Layton's Mystery Journey

Product: Layton's Mystery JourneyFormats: iPhone, iPad, 3DSPublisher: Level-5

Layton's Mystery Journey
This is the first of the Layton games to be made with mobile at least partially in mind from the start, and it shows. Layton's Mystery Journey offers a slick series of touchscreen puzzles, bound together with the usual Layton panache and a brand new protagonist.

#10 Aka to Blue

Product: Aka to BlueFormats: iPhone, iPadGenres: Shooter

Aka to Blue
Aka to Blue is the next best thing to having an actual Cave shmup on your phone. It's a faithfully Cave-esque bullet-hell shooter from a company headed up by a former Cave employee.

#11 Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

Product: Final Fantasy XV Pocket EditionFormats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: Square Enix

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition provides the complete FFXV story, but with a completely new chibi graphics engine and simplified gameplay mechanics. The result is a uniquely bespoke mobile RPG.

#12 Chrono Trigger

Product: Chrono TriggerFormats: Android, DS, iPhoneDeveloper: Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix Genres: RPG

Chrono Trigger
Unlike some of the games we've already listed, Chrono Trigger isn't a perfect port. However, the core game remains one of the finest JRPGs of all time, with a stunning time-bending plot and real-time(ish) battles.

#13 Terra Battle

Product: Terra BattleFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: MistwalkerPublisher: MistwalkerGenres: RPG

Terra Battle
Hironobu Sakaguchi is the Japanese genius behind Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. In Terra Battle he has come up with a superbly balanced blend of role-playing, action and puzzle elements.

#14 Sonic CD

Product: Sonic CDFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Xperia Play, Ouya, SteamPublisher: SegaGenres: Platform, Retro

Sonic CD
Forget Sonic 4. This port of arguably the finest Sonic game ever (though probably the least played) is all you need, with super-slick platformer gameplay and the same ambitious time-travel mechanic that made the original so special.

#15 Fire Emblem: Heroes

Product: Fire Emblem: HeroesFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: NintendoGenres: Strategy

Fire Emblem: Heroes
Considering Fire Emblem Heroes is a turn-based strategy game based on one of Nintendo's deepest franchises, it works remarkably well as a bite-sized mobile experience.

#16 Raiden Legacy

Product: Raiden LegacyFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: DotEmuGenres: Arcade

Raiden Legacy
Raiden Legacy bundles in a huge stack of brilliant 2D shmups, and Raiden Fighters Jet in particular is considered by many aficionados to be one of the finest examples of the genre.

#17 Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth

Product: Valkyrie Profile: LennethFormats: Android, iPhone, PSP, iPadPublisher: Square Enix Genres: Action, RPG

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth
A port of one of Square Enix's almost-forgotten RPG gems, Valkyrie Profile is an oddball delight. Mixing side-scrolling platforming with deep combo-driven combat and a massive dose of Norse mythology, it's pretty unique.

#18 Dokuro

Product: DokuroFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, PS Vita, SteamDeveloper: Game ArtsPublisher: GungHo Online EntertainmentGenres: Platform

Dokuro
GungHo has produced a stylish puzzle-platform hybrid, which started out life on PS Vita. Your supernatural protagonist must guide a princess through a series of levels by pushing boxes and flipping switches.

#19 Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies

Product: Ace Attorney - Dual DestiniesFormats: iPhone, iPad, 3DSPublisher: CapcomGenres: Puzzle

Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
Talking of classic Capcom DS ports, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies brings the company's beloved courtroom whodunnit to Android. No objections here whatsoever.

#20 Final Fantasy VI (mobile)

Product: Final Fantasy VI (mobile)Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Square Enix Genres: Adventure, Retro, RPG

Final Fantasy VI (mobile)
Final Fantasy VI was the last 2D entry in the famous JRPG series before it went heavy on the 3D and cutscenes. Many fans would insist that it's the best of the lot.

#21 King of Fighters '98

Product: King of Fighters '98Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: SNK PlaymoreGenres: Arcade, Fighting, Retro

King of Fighters '98
SNK's ace arcade brawler is a greatest hits package of the series to the titular year, which automatically makes it one of the best old-school beat-'em-ups on mobile.

#22 Bullet Hell Monday

Product: Bullet Hell MondayFormats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: Masayuki ItoGenres: Action, Arcade, Shooter

Bullet Hell Monday
Bullet Hell Monday's gleeful excess makes almost every other arcade shmup look a little subdued. It's a kaleidoscopic rush of incoming projectiles.

#23 Missile Dancer

Product: Missile DancerFormats: iPhone, iPadGenres: Arcade, Hardcore, Shooter

Missile Dancer
MissileDancer takes its cues from classic vertical arcade shmups, but it plays a little differently. Here you must get really close to your enemies in order to employ your automated defences.

#24 Arkanoid vs Space Invaders

Product: Arkanoid vs Space InvadersFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Square Enix

Arkanoid vs Space Invaders
Take the side-to-side shooter premise of Space Invader and fold in the mechanics of Arkanoid. The result is a match made in arcade heaven.

#25 Puzzle & Dragons

Product: Puzzle & DragonsFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: GungHo Online EntertainmentGenres: Puzzle, RPG

Puzzle & Dragons
Puzzles & Dragons was truly huge in its native Japan, and pretty big elsewhere. It's no surprise when you consider that it essential mixes together Pokemon and Bejewelled.

 

Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy 5 June 2018
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