At Hardcore Droid we celebrate Android titles that offer players PC and console-style gaming experiences. And while such games are admittedly few and far between on ‘Droid, there are plenty of games—among the literal millions of Android titles in circulation—that provide a great deal of hardcore gaming goodness. The Hardcore Droid Awards honor the very best Android games of the previous year, those that hit the hardcore gamer nail on the head; games that provided either deeper more nuanced experiences than their competition or bullseyed tried and true gaming elements, offering players the kind of bona fide gaming buzz that is usually the province of core gaming. So besides offering Kudos to the developers this is a list of the best Android games of 2017 for our readers.
Best Android Strategy Game of 2017
Ironhide Games Studios
Watered down Star Craft it is not. Think of it instead as a Star Craft-inspired made-for-mobile sci-fi-themed RTS with cartoony art. How is that different from Star Craft-light? Don’t ask. Call it an alt-truth if that helps. Although it’s a few degrees simpler than its lofty inspiration, Ironhide’s first all-on real time strategy games is a hardcore mobile strategist’s wet dream, offering up a nuanced and challenging experience with excellent graphics and sound. Unlike most other RTS offerings on mobile, missions play out as they do in the best mainstream real time strategy games, providing plyers with genuinely challenging missions that require forethought, sacrifice and generally a well-thought out tactical approach. What’s more, the IAPs are utterly secondary and the game can be completed without purchasing a one.
Best Android Action Game of 2017
Critical Force Ltd.
With Critical Ops or C-Ops Critical Force Ltd. have created a superb team shooter much in the vein of the Critical Strike series. You play on either The Man’s team or the terrorist’s team respectively stalking terrorists or planting bombs and generally unleashing machine guns in digital faces. The game offers up superb 10 vs 10 coop, with controls that are as tight as they get on mobile. To top it off it’s free sans the utter crap, game-stopping IAPs that plague the Android market. The graphics are not state of the art even by mobile standards, however, for what they are, they work. And really this is the slightest of caveats when held up against what amounts to the best Android gaming of its kind.
Best Android Indie Game of 2017
Ticket to Earth
Much in the mold of 1000000, Puzzle Quest and To Build a Boat, Robot Circus’ Ticket to Earth provides players with a unique hybrid mashing up, we are fairly sure for the first time ever, a puzzle game with a tactical RPG. With a superb soundtrack, solid graphics and challenging yet accessible gameplay, Ticket represents the puzzle game go-to title for hardcore gamers. This was a hard nut to crack as there were many wonderful indie titles released on Android in 2017, but we ended up going with Ticket because it’s such a cool hybrid, with smart, well-balanced RPG elements and perhaps mostly because it’s the only puzzle game we can think of where you get to shank digital peeps.
Best Android RPG of 2017
Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition
It’s not really made for mobile. It’s nearly twenty years old. The translation of its UI to mobile is serviceable. You might end up asking how, with so many detractors, does Beamdog’s latest EE qualify as the Best Android RPG of 2017. Unless of course you’ve played it. Then you’re not asking why. Considered by many the best CRPG ever made, Planescape Torment in many ways represents what’s best about the genre. While we do our best to laud mobile-oriented offerings, mobile devs rarely, if ever, make games this intelligent, detailed and immersive. If you are an RPG fan and enjoy playing games on your phone, Planescape Torment is an absolute must.
Best JRPG of 2017
To the Moon
The joy of playing Freebird Games’ To the Moon has little to do with its gameplay. If you can get passed the fact that To the Moon’s gameplay is secondary to its story, you will likely find yourself entranced by its narrative. The game’s poignant story about two scientists, recovering and altering an elderly man’s memories so that he can achieve his ultimate goal before he passes on, is as heartfelt as game stories get. There is innocence to the title’s RPG Maker 16-bit production values that winningly jibe with the game’s themes of lost time and innocence. While some of To the Moon’s gameplay falls a little flat, the non-linear story that unfolds over the course of the game is a superbly well-written interactive narrative featuring rich three-dimensional characters and a genuinely moving story.
Best Puzzle Game of 2017
Monument Valley 2
In Monument Valley 2 players attempt to traverse by way of puzzles an M. C. Escher-inspired architectural gameworld. For this second iteration, Ustwo Games offers up a more story-oriented experience and upped the puzzler ante as well, creating more complex and challenging mind teasers. Like its predecessor, much of the title’s charm is in its production values that are charmingly simple and unmistakably beautiful. Monument Valley 2 overall vibe and milieu of winningly executed features are what set this one on top of this year’s list.
Best Android Adventure Game
Nightschool Studio’s Oxenfree provides Adventure gamers with an excellent ghost story combined with elegant graphics and sound that dovetail finely with the title’s overall perspective. The coolest thing about Oxenfree however is its rich dialogue system. Combined with superbly acted voice overs and a handful of well-rounded characters that actually feel real like real people, Oxenfree manages to raise the bar for both game dialogue and adventure games overall.
Best Android Game of 2017
Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition
We made this legendary title, both Best RPG of 2017 and Best Android Game of 2017 for a reason. When RPG fans and industry peeps talk about great interactive story-telling combined with superb gameplay, when they talk about player immersion, when they talk about video games approaching the realm of art, Planescape Torment comes up. If you are not familiar with Torment its set in the D&D multiverse of Planescape, wherein you play as the Nameless One. Haunted by his countless past lives, Nameless is awakened in the realm of Sigil by this skeleton head dude who sends him on what becomes a series of spirited and storied adventures across the Planescape multiverse eventually leading our man down to Ye Ole Hell itself. The game also features early-Bioware’s signature interpretation of real-time D&D tactical combat. The end result is a deeply engaging and brilliant game, for which we can easily say that nothing put out on Android in 2017 comes close. If you are looking to play a PC or console-style game on your phone, look no further.