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Top 10 best free games on Android

Put that wallet away, my robotic friend
Product: Top 10 Android charts | Format: Android
Top 10 Android charts Android, thumbnail 1
The Android Market is a scary place. It can be difficult to spot the stuff that's worth your bandwidth to download, let alone genuinely great games.

Of course, this is where the internet comes in, and indeed why you are reading this very guide. We know our stuff when it comes to Android games, and we have compiled a list of ten excellent free games for Android devices that you'll definitely want on your home screen.

With a great range of puzzle, RPG, arcade, and word games listed below, you'll be getting your recommended daily dosage of gaming variation if you stick to our prescription.

By Vostu - download on Android

With a slightly Professor Layton-esque feel to its main character, Elemental is a classy little take on Killer Sudoku which, for those not in the know, is a cross between sukodu and Kakuro. Now, replace all the numbers with element symbols and you're on the right track.

The idea is to fill a grid with earth, wind, fire, and water symbols. The rules are that no column or row can contain more than one of each symbol, and where there are boxes containing a combination of two elements - for example, dust is earth and wind - you are compelled to plonk those particular symbols in there. You will need to work out which way around you put the symbols into the box yourself, mind!

It sounds complicated in writing, but when you actually give it a try, it's a really neat take on a worn-down genre. The fact that it's completely free is just the icing on the cake.

Air Penguin
By Gamevil - download on Android

Put some kind of bird into your smartphone game and it will sell millions. This is a proven fact that you should not question. Air Penguin is a prime example of this phenomenon, having racked up over 5 million downloads on Android.

Over a series of 100 levels, your job is to guide a bouncing penguin past all sorts of peril, including sharks, breaking icebergs, and big-bellied seals. There's no poking with your finger here, mind, for you control the penguin's flight path by simply tilting your device.

There's also a Survival mode that goes on and on forever - or at least until you can't cope with the awkwardly placed sharks any more.

Let's Golf! 3
By Gameloft - download on Android

Not the best in Gameloft's golf series, but the only one that is free, so we can't really complain. Let's Golf !3 (and Let's Golf! 3 HD for high-end Android smartphones and Android tablets) is more of the classic golfing action we've come to know and love.

It's colourful, it plays well, and there are plenty of courses to play through. There are also numerous RPG-style elements - such as levelling-up and the unlocking of a variety of clubs, characters, and items - and a multiplayer mode packed in to keep the balls flowing.

If you can see past the awful freemium tactics employed throughout, Let's Golf! 3 is well worth grabbing for that all-important price of zero pounds and zero pence.

Words With Friends
By Zynga - download on Android

There are certain games that after so many decades on the market still refuse to die. Scrabble is one of these, although it's arguable that its smooth transition from boardgame to video game revitalised the entire concept.

The rise and rise of smartphones and tablets have convinced a number of devs to convert and adapt well-known boardgames into digital experiences. Words With Friends is perhaps the greatest version of Scrabble available today, with asynchronous turns allowing you to battle over days, weeks, even months on the same board.

The game is simple, entertaining, and one in which you can just dive in, make a few moves in a few different matches, and then get on with life in minutes.

Triple Town
By Spry Fox - download on Android

To say that Triple Town is addictive is quite possibly the understatement of the year. Provided with a 6x6 grid, you're left to build a town using a combination of bushes, trees, and diamonds.

In a twist on your usual match-three game, though, putting three or more of a single type of item together will make them turn into the next item up. The idea, then, is to keep matching items over and over until you have rare floating mansions and glowing castles on your settlement.

It's a little bit more tricky than that, however, as every now and again you'll be forced to introduce a bear into your town, who will then roam around and fill up the space you need. You can also match bears to get rid of them, mind. Only play if you don't mind losing your entire life to a puzzle game.

Angry Birds
By Rovio - download on Android

It wouldn't be a real top ten list without a bit o' th' Birds. Angry Birds has been around for longer than your gran, and it refuses to migrate south. There's a simple reason for this - it's ridiculously simple to get into and yet so difficult to master.

A quick recap in case you live under a rock on Mars: There are some pigs, who are situated in or under precariously designed structures. You catapult birds at the structures, knocking the pigs off and crushing them with various planks and rocks.

Angry Birds itself is all well and good, but you can also pick up Angry Birds Rio and Angry Birds Seasons for free on Android devices. So, go on: pull a face and say, "Eugh, Angry Birds, I'm not touching that", then secretly download every available version while no one is looking.

By Hexage - download on Android

Given all the warnings we've received over the years, wouldn't it be embarrassing if robots did actually end up taking over the world? We'd all have right egg on our faces, that's for sure.

Robotek is another 'OMG, robots!' scenario - you need to take them all down and reclaim the Earth by... attacking them all with your own robots. Sounds silly, but Robotek's turn-based battling is anything but, as you build up your army of three and fire off everything you can muster.

Each turn involves spinning the slot machine to see which robot upgrades you can claim or which powers you can zap in your opponent's direction. There are tons of levels to play through, and online multiplayer, too.

By Jean-Fran├žois Geyelin - download on Android

One of those classic titles that every single Android user has on his device because, hey, it's not a real 'droid until it's sampled some of PewPew's vector-style visuals.

In this game, you control a small spaceship as it takes on hordes of increasingly nasty enemies. Some of them dip and dodge, some explode into bullet hell when you kill them, but there's one thing you can always be certain of: you are going to die a painful and horrible death.

Until that point, however, this twin-stick arena shooter is great fun, with a nice amount of variety depending on which modes and ships you choose.

Tiny Tower
By NimbleBit - download on Android

There's something about Tiny Tower that makes us want to write it off as a shallow experience, and yet why, oh why can we not stop going back to it?

On the face of it, there really isn't much to the game. You build a tower, help people move into the various apartments that you add, and then assign them jobs in the assorted shops and restaurants. Even when you're not playing, your tower continues to go about its business by itself somewhere in cyberspace.

Building things and collecting cash takes real time, and so you need to keep going back to the game every few hours to restock stores and help people find where they want to get to. What's great about Tiny Tower is that it's a freemium game with in-app purchases, and yet you can actually get a much better experience out of it by not paying a single penny. Result!

Zenonia 3
By Gamevil - download on Android

The Zenonia series is easily the best-known RPG franchise for smartphones, combining cute Japanese-styled visuals with huge crawling dungeons and plenty of side-quests.

The third in the series does little to mix up the tried-and-tested formula, and is far from the best in the series - however, it does have one thing over its two predecessors: it's free to download.

It's worth noting, too, that Zenonia 4 is free to download for Android, so if you're looking for a game (or two) to occupy your time during your commute, you could do far worse.

Reviewer photo
Mike Rose 28 February 2012
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