The Best Core Android Titles You Can Play Without Wi-Fi
Likely the reason you lost your Wi-Fi is not embarrassing. Maybe you’re just taking a trip on a plane or something. I mean, I doubt your mom shut it off because you refused to look for a job or somehow your phone slipped out of your top pocket into a bowl of water, a porcelain one (And no—just because the anecdote is specific doesn’t mean that it actually happened to me). Anyway, the matter at hand is you are, or will be, suffering from an acute lack of Wi-Fi, and you want to run your device like an old-school gaming rig. What’s more, as one would expect from those glorious machines of yore, you want to play core titles—games that offer the richness and complexity of PC and console titles. Well, look no further, my WiFi-challanged friends, what follows are the very best offline Android games.
Before we jump, a big thanks to the people over at r/AndroidGaming for tolerating my questions and chiming in on my choices.
Best Offline Android Action
In our estimation Playdigious’ Dead Cells is hands down the most hardcore offline action title on Android. Though wrapped in a decidedly old-school package by way of pixelated art and a side-scrolling platformer format, Dead Cells is anything but a tired retread. A metroidvania roguelike at heart, it’s packed with wickedly challenging combat offset by a series of unlocks that enable The Prisoner (yes, you) to earn new skills and weapons with progressive playthroughs. Dead Cells’ superb combat will keep you riveted as you play, die, come back stronger and slowly chip away at all this visually beautiful game has to offer.
If you are looking for another old-school action title check out the excellent Ailment, and if you long for offline action that does not involve shooting things in the face, pick up Sega’s superb Super Monkey Ball.
Best Offline Android Games: FPS
No doubt, Android is not the ideal platform for a single-player FPS. A fact that might explain why there is a dearth of quality offline first-person shooters. But sift through the chaff a bit and you’ll find a small cadre of goodies. Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4 is our pick of the litter. For the uninitiated, Modern Combat 4 is a COD clone. While it doesn’t reach the quality of the best of that franchise, it is a very solid offline mobile FPS. There’s a story of some kind—involving war and your avatar letting God sort them out. Overall, however, it provides a rich COD-like experience that can be aptly played with your thumbs. Though it may take a few minutes to acclimate yourself, Modern Combat 4 offers one of the more intuitive thumbstick control systems.
Though slightly flawed and completely tone deaf, we also recommend Dead Effect 2. And, if you are able and willing to strap your phone to a controller, by all means check out the almighty DOOM I and DOOM II for some of the ole’ gib-blasting goodness.
Best Offline Android Games: Racing
Codemasters’ GRID Autosport offers up a console quality racer for your mobile device. Originally released for the big three systems in 2014, Grid is a genuine racing simulator. One that thankfully comes with scaled difficulty controls. Offering up a bevy of game modes and well over 100 cars and tracks to choose from, you won’t get bored anytime soon. What’s more, Grid’s racing is enthralling and offers up drum-tight, accurate controls. Lastly, in terms of both the cars and racing environs, it’s drop dead gorgeous and well worth the premium price tag.
Also, of considerable note is Gameloft’s excellent Asphalt 8 and the absolutely brilliant Riptide games.
Best Offline Android Games: Indie
Are we actually suggesting that Terraria, a Minecraft clone, is somehow better than its progenitor? Well, maybe, maybe not. But we’d argue the former makes for a better mobile game. Terraria is more easily digestible in tiny chunks and the 2D interface largely translates better to the tiny screen. Plus, as a sandbox survival game, you will be hard pressed to find its equal on Android. The crafting, boss fights and town building are all fun stuff. Digging straight down to hell, however, at a Terraria game’s onset speaks volumes about the sorts of emergent experiences that are possible in this superb title.
Of course, it may be a matter of apples and oranges as Minecraft Mobile is an absolutely enthralling title. Oxenfree must be noted as well: an excellent horror game with an old-school adventure feel. Also, we cannot move on without tipping our hats to the seminal classic Stardew Valley.
Best Offline Android Games: Tactics
Often listed on Hardcore Droid as the best Android game, Enemy Within has weathered little since being ported in 2012. Gameplay in both its strategic and tactical layers is as engaging and nuanced as it gets on Android. For the spectacularly ignorant, you play as the commander of XCOM, a force cobbled together (apparently by some rando in a dark room) from the far corners of the planet to save the Earth from an ongoing alien invasion. Managing the XCOM force, doing R&D, craftily constructing new stuff and keeping member nations calm and happy is the basic gist of the strategy layer. While fun, it does not remotely compare to XCOM’s pitch-perfect turn-based tactical combat. What’s more, XCOM’s customization and randomized missions create some of the most emergent gameplay you will find in the mobile sphere.
While you are getting your tactical groove on, you really must also check out the Banner Saga titles, as well as the seminal Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions and Door Kickers.
Best Offline Android Games: ARPG
Some people will tell you that Titan Quest is nothing more than Diablo II in ancient Greece. It really is and it’s awesome. Clone though it may be, it does sport a unique approach to the standard ARPG skill tree, allowing you to mix and match classes and build the equivalent of a battlemage or a healing, axe-wielding tree-hugger. To be sure, however, what is on display in terms of the Big D paradigm is executed with skill and aplomb, in particular the balancing of Titan Quest’s classes and the percolating uptick of difficulty and leveling. While visually it may be a little dated, the animations—particularly how the skills play out in-game—as well as the character and monster design are absolutely badass.
Wi-Fi-deprived ARPG fans will also have a blast with Undead Horde and mobile ARPG staple Eternium.
Best Offline Android Games: Strategy
True, it works on like three phones, and it also might be true that the game’s UI is less than perfect via touch controls, and likely its best played on a high-end tablet. And yet, and yet, it’s Civilization VI on your mobile device. For those of you who are emerging from a coma, the Civilization games see you, over the course of highly customizable 20 to 24-hour games, fostering a civilization’s development from the Stone Age to the Space Age. It is at once complex, multifaceted and entirely fathomable. As hardcore as it gets, it is strategy digital crack of the purest quality.
We can’t vacate the premises without mentioning the stellar Kingdom Rush series and Conquest of Elysium 3. Both are superb and created very much within the made-for-mobile paradigm, even if the latter was originally a PC title.
Best Offline Android Games: RPG
Beamdog has made a name for itself over the last 10 years by refurbishing old games. That the lion’s share of these titles are early Bioware offerings ported to mobile makes it both a noble endeavor and a bona fide blessing for Android gamers. Arguably the finest RPGs of the 90s, Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights and Planescape Torment have all found their way onto Android over the last eight years thanks to the developers at Beamdog. Each title features deep, interactive storytelling, is steeped in authentic Dungeons and Dragons lore and by and large offers up engrossing real-time tactical combat, tooled with arrays of loot, skills and feats and spells, largely out of the D&D cannon. If you are without Wi-Fi, and you want to engage in a deep RPG experience, start here.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the one non-Beamdog Bioware RPG available on Android, Aspyr Media’s port of Knights of the Old Republic, which is brilliant fun, as well as Chrono Trigger and the premium Final Fantasy titles, all well worth your Wi-Fi-less time.