Best Android Games of 2020
The holiday season is a time of looking forward. It is a time when we treat ourselves to new things and make goals for the coming year. And while I love doing all of those things (especially spending way too much time and money online shopping for the newest of things), the holiday season is also a time when we can look back. So, in the spirit of looking back, Hardcore Droid has put together a list of the Best Android Games of 2020. These are the absolute, most hardcore mobile games of the year, and you definitely don’t want to move into 2021 without giving them a play.
Honorable Mention: Civilization VI
Converting a game as groundbreaking as Civilization VI from PC to mobile must have been a daunting task, but Aspyr Media was unafraid of this challenge. As a result, we now have this turn-based strategy game available at our fingertips. With few glitches and almost universal praise, giving Civilization VI a spot on the Best Android Games of 2020 list was a no-brainer.
The game begins similarly to how its PC predecessor did. You first choose one of 19 civilizations, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Knowing the ins and outs of the various civilizations is essential if you are to achieve victory. Though building and exploring are important functions of this title, that is not all there is to it. You can win in a variety of ways, from conquering the world, making it to the moon or converting all of humanity to one faith.
Make sure you don’t hyper focus on one task, however. Even if you don’t want to conquer the entire globe, you still need to maintain your army. If you don’t, your civilization could be attacked and overrun by a neighboring civilization before you can reach any of your goals. Similarly, just focusing on growing and strengthening your army could lead to economic and political troubles.
Just as Aspyr Media didn’t step down from a challenge, neither should you. Civilization VI will hone your strategy skills and creative abilities, all while providing you with a stellar gaming experience.
Blue Mammoth Games has developed a cross-platform fighting game that players of Super Smash Bros will instantly resonate with. Enter your match and the first thing you will notice is all of the empty space with a few platforms dispersed across the screen. The goal is to send your opponent into the dark abyss by knocking them off of the platforms. Unlike many other fighting games, you cannot win by dealing damage alone. However, the more damage your opponent takes, the more force your attacks have, thereby making it easier to knock them from the platform.
If you are anything like me, you’ll be more worried about your own clumsiness than your opponent’s attacks. There have been (many) times while playing Super Smash Bros that I have walked off the edge of the platform, dooming myself to an unceremonious demise. It is embarrassing, to say the least.
Luckily, Brawlhalla has taken this into account. Characters can use wall jumps and triple jumps to save themselves from otherwise certain death. Learning this was a real relief and has made this title even more appealing. Overall, Brawlhalla’s goofy art style, timeless concept and fun gameplay makes for an addictive and enjoyable experience.
9. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Konami’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a continuation of the Castlevania franchise that was originally released on the PlayStation. If you were a hardcore PlayStation fan back in the day, you will experience some serious déjà vu playing this 2D platformer on mobile. However, don’t expect everything to be the same.
Castelvania: Symphony of the Night strays from the usual storyline. Instead of playing as a vampire slayer from the Belmont Clan, you play as a dhampir. For those of you who don’t know, a dhampir is a cross between a male vampire and a human woman. And before you ask, no, unfortunately, you are not playing as Edward Cullen and Bella Swan’s child, Renesmee. Your character is the son of Dracula himself. If you are familiar with the franchise, this can come as quite a twist. You might even be picturing Obi-Wan Kenobi telling you that “you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.”
But being a dhampir isn’t so bad. For some reason, you actually like the Belmont Clan, even though their entire purpose in life is to kill you and people like you. It turns out that one of the members of the Belmont Clan has gotten lost in your dad’s castle (I wonder what a vampire slayer is doing in a vampire’s castle?). So, of course, it is up to you to find them. If any or all of this has piqued your interest, I say you should go ahead and give Castlevania: Symphony of the Night a try.
If GRIS had to be described in one word, it would be nostalgic. Every aspect of the game somehow reaches deep into your soul and pulls out that distant blurry yet cozy feeling and pushes it right to the surface. The player begins the game by watching a young girl singing high in the sky until the surface beneath her crumbles and sends her hurtling downward. You watch as her singing fades into silence and the color disappears from the screen.
The goal is to make it through this unfamiliar territory to get stars and gain new skills and powers. The more you press forward, the more color returns to the game world, little by little. While GRIS can be challenging, the whimsical whispers of distant melodies that accompany you on Nomada Studio’s visual voyage make it well worth your time.
7. Dead Cells
Next on the Best Android Games of 2020 list is Dead Cells. Motion Twin’s 8-bit roguelike action platformer sports a classic vibe that pairs nicely with its elegant controls and premise. The title starts out with a slime-like creature taking possession of a human host, as is the wont of slime-like creatures. This slime-controlled body then becomes your character. Did I mention that the human had misplaced their head? I’m guessing this happened in the moments leading up to their death.
Nevertheless, you better take good care of your human because permadeath will haunt you all along the way. With the threat of having to start over looming over your headless body combined with the increasing difficulty of the game, you will have the opportunity to show your resourcefulness, strategy skills and straight-up grit.
Dead Cells has a lot going for it: graphics, design, music, general aesthetic. But ultimately what makes it great is the satisfaction that comes from being able to let your aggression out by running around and killing monsters. Just don’t let all of that go to your head…if you have one, of course.
6. Legends of Runeterra
Legends of Runeterra continues the legacy of Riot Games’ League of Legends. Loyal fans and newcomers alike can find immense enjoyment by diving into this mobile game. This is one hardcore turn-based card collection game that has a high learning curve. But don’t let this discourage you because once you master the intricacies of the gameplay, you will be able to enjoy hours upon hours of continuous, immersive and engaging entertainment. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Better yet, Legends of Runeterra is free to download and has no ads (though you do can buy items from the shop), which allows for a smooth, relaxing, uninterrupted flow as you challenge opponents and build up your decks.
This is a high-quality game in every sense. The graphics are impressive, the music sets the mood, and the gameplay tests your mind and skills. Legend of Runeterra is the perfect game for every occasion. So what are you waiting for?
5. Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact is an open-world action RPG with gacha elements developed by miHoYo. There are plenty of reasons to get excited by this game, one of them being that 10 million people pre-registered to play, making this an out-of-the-door success. No wonder it is one of the Best Android Games of 2020.
Genshin Impact is based on a manga series that came out in 2018. It is a single-player game with multiplayer elements in which you take on the role of a traveler from another world. First, the game presents you with a set of twins and tasks you with choosing which one you will play as. I should advise you, however, that the twin you do not choose will soon fall upon misfortune, leaving your character stranded on a foreign world alone.
There are lots of ways to spend your time in Genshin Impact and even more to come. Presently, miHoYo has released only a few of the seven planned world regions. Explore, climb, fly, battle. Solve puzzles, engage in scavenger hunts, enter competitions. The options are almost limitless. There is even a multiplayer mode that lets you play with friends on other platforms.
Exploring the world of Teyvat becomes an immersive experience as the stellar graphics, remarkable soundtrack and impressive details pull you in. Even using the lowest quality options, the graphics are still crisp and smooth. Overall, Genshin Impact is a dream come true. If that sounds appealing to you, I highly suggest you give it a try.
4. The Gardens Between
Created by Voxel Agents, The Gardens Between is a dream-like puzzle game that will suck you in with its intricate and intriguing plot. After a storm, an orb appears in front of a pair of friends who had sought shelter in a worn-down treehouse. They reach out and touch the orb, as one does, which transports them through time to relive moments in their pasts. The question is will this voyage break their friendship or will it forge an unbreakable bond? That is up to you to find out.
The simplicity of the controls adds to the peaceful yet sullen mood of The Gardens Between. The goal of the puzzles is to get the orb from point A to point B. There is no countdown or impending doom to worry about, though there is a unique variable to keep in mind: time. As the puzzles get more difficult, you will have to manipulate time to complete them.
You unlock cutscenes as you progress through the game, which dive deeper into the story as you relive the salient memories of these two friends. The Gardens Between immerses you completely as you play. The soundtrack and sound effects complement the art style and unique concepts to enhance your experience. This is one game you do not want to miss.
3. Dragon Raja
Picture this: A mad scientist is trying to inject you, an orphan, with a strange serum that will turn you into a super soldier. No, this is not a Captain America game. In fact, that very specific instance is the only thing the two have in common. You never even got injected with the serum. A friend sacrificed herself in order to save you, pushing you down a hill and into the sea.
The next thing you know, you wake up at Cassell College. This is where the real fun begins. Dragon Raja is a MMORPG that has the perfect mix of sci-fi and fantasy. And the professional voiceovers and cinematic cutscenes are only the beginning of what makes this one of the best mobile games of 2020.
Any good RPG has comprehensive character customization, and Dragon Raja certainly delivers. After you have finished perfecting your character, there are a variety of ways to play. There is the main story, of course, but also side quests, minigames and multiplayer. With fast-paced combat and easy-to-handle controls, this is a game you won’t want to miss.
2. Sky: Children of the Light
The runner up of the Best Android Games of 2020 is Sky: Children of the Light. This game proves that less is more as it masterfully executes its simple narrative structure into the adventure of a lifetime. You, a Child of the Light, have to find the stars and return them to the sky. With a minimal amount of cutscenes and dialogue, it is up to you to explore the world in order to find these stars. In making the choice to leave players largely autonomous, the developers have shown their confidence in the player’s ability to successfully guide themselves to the finish line.
Also, you get to fly. And the flying, both in terms of Sky’s controls and elegant animations, is incredibly awesome. The interface is user friendly and straightforward. It seems that the game’s developers have gone out of their way to remove all possible barriers that would prevent players from having fun, including making Sky: Children of the Light free to play.
1. Pascal’s Wager
The ultimate, most hardcore game of the year is Pascal’s Wager. The game takes its name from the philosophic argument that suggests that each human bets their life on whether or not God is real. This sets the tone of Giant Global’s 3D action RPG quite nicely.
The premise of this dark fantasy is…dark, literally. The sun has sunken to the bottom of the ocean, wiping all light from the world. A thick, malicious fog called the Sendril presents a constant threat to the player’s sanity. Those that fall to the Sendril are corrupted and become Marred. But not all hope is lost. Creatures called Colossi have become a source of light that can fend off the Sendril. Humans have returned to their nomadic ways in order to stalk the Colossi wherever they go. No light, no life. Those are the new rules of the world.
It can be easy to get lost in the world of Pascal’s Wager. But fear not, for Hardcore Droid has published a multi-part walkthrough as well as some tips and tricks for the times when you could use a little extra knowledge to light your path.
Do you think that you can survive the malicious Marred and fearsome fog? Do you think that you can save the world? Or will you descend into irate insanity, dooming everyone to the same fate? Either way, pick this gem up.