While many Android games require an internet connection, you’ll find plenty of awesome ones that don’t. For situations when you find yourself without a connection, you’ll want some games that are free, fun, and offer plenty of content.
Here are our top picks for the best offline games for Android in every major genre.
1. Runner: Alto’s Odyssey
At first glance, this seems like just another endless runner. But play Alto’s Odyssey for a while, and you’ll realize there’s something about it that makes it impossible to put down.
Perhaps it’s the graphics and the music. Endless runners are usually frantic, but this game bucks the trend to make it a soothing, calming experience. You’ll find yourself relaxing as you slide down sand dunes, jump to collect points, avoid obstacles, and perform backflips and double backflips for style bonuses.
Alto’s Odyssey doesn’t bring anything new to the world of runners, but is highly entertaining nonetheless.
Download: Alto’s Odyssey for Android (Free)
2. Chess: Really Bad Chess
Forget about the classic version of chess you’re used to. When you’re offline, fire up Really Bad Chess and challenge yourself to think differently.
In this game, while the chess board remains standard, the pieces are completely random. You might start with three queens and a single pawn, while the computer could have a series of six rooks. It makes you discard everything you know about chess, and think out of the box.
As you raise your ranking, the AI’s level stays the same, but it gets better pieces to start. This might be my favorite non-chess chess game ever.
Download: Really Bad Chess for Android (Free)
3. Puzzle: Mazes & More
Solving a maze is tricky because of its simplicity. Mazes & More raises the stakes on the classic game with some devious twists.
For example, in the Darkness mode, you can see the maze at the start. But then everything goes dark except a small spotlight on you, and you have to make your way to the exit. Try other modes like ice floor, where you end up sliding ahead of where you wanted to go, or the self-explanatory time trial mode and traps mode.
In case you want a simple old game of maze-solving, there’s always Classic mode. Each mode has plenty of levels to keep you entertained till your connect comes back again.
Download: Mazes & More for Android (Free)
4. Platform: Once Upon A Tower
Once Upon A Tower flips a lot of game elements upside down. Instead of a prince rescuing a princess from a tower, the prince is dead and the princess is kicking some butt with a sledgehammer to escape the dragon. And instead of climbing up a tower, she’s digging down.
On her way, she’ll have to battle monsters of all kinds, from ogres to spiders that can climb up walls. Then there are the traps that spring out of nowhere. If that wasn’t enough, she needs to be quick or the dragon will lay waste to everything with its fiery breath. Don’t forget about the other enemy: gravity itself.
Collect coins and power-ups when you can; you’ll need them to pass the levels to escape the tower. Once Upon A Tower is oodles of fun, and seemingly endless.
Download: Once Upon A Tower for Android (Free)
5. Arcade: Jungle Marble Blast
Unfortunately, the classic Zuma doesn’t work without an internet connection, but some of its many knock-offs do. Among them, I liked Jungle Marble Blast the best.
The graphics aren’t as smooth, but this isn’t a significant complaint. The gameplay is just as fun as it ever was. Tap anywhere on the screen to shoot; tap on the beetle to swap between the two colored spheres you have. Shoot the spheres at the chain going around the map to create sequences of three or more. And when possible, get those power-ups to send the chain back, turn a large chunk into one color, or blast them into oblivion.
Jungle Marble Blast fits into the group of best offline games for Android perfectly. It’s small, lengthy, and free.
Download: Jungle Marble Blast for Android (Free)
6. Brainy: Quizoid
Those great brainy multiplayer games won’t work offline. Quizoid is all about challenging yourself, not someone else.
Like other such apps, Quizoid asks a question with multiple answers, and you have to pick the right one. But since it’s you against the AI, there are a few more game modes. For example, you can play 20 questions with the computer, or you can play a timed round to answer as many as you can.
Quizoid boasts of over 7,000 trivia questions across 17 categories like entertainment, sports, science, politics, history, and more. Unfortunately, category-based quizzes are only available in the paid pro pack.
Download: Quizoid for Android (Free)
7. Action: Tank Hero: Laser Wars
Tank Hero: Laser Wars doesn’t show up in usual “offline game” collections, but it’s so good that I’m wondering why it isn’t so popular.
You play the titular Tank Hero, taking out all the other tanks with your laser-powered cannon. In each level, you have to destroy all the other tanks in the map. The top-down shooter makes you control your tank with a virtual joystick, while you can tap anywhere on the screen to shoot.
Of course, it’s not that simple. As you progress, you’ll find different types of tanks, power-ups, and fiendish mazes that make your task challenging. But remember, lasers bounce against walls, so use that to your advantage.
Download: Tank Hero: Laser Wars for Android (Free)
8. Puzzle: Sudoku (by Fassor)
The Play Store is filled to the brim with Sudoku games, and many of them work offline too. Fassor’s Sudoku isn’t objectively superior; it’s just the one I like the most and works perfectly.
This Sudoku does the basics right, which is all you want at times. There are four skill levels, and a timer to test how quickly you can finish each type. One of Fassor’s highlights is that you can write multiple rough numbers in a cell—but be warned, this incurs a 30 second penalty.
You can check whether you’ve solved everything correctly so far anytime, but again, there’s a penalty for that. Those time penalties add up, ruining your overall score. And when you reconnect to the internet, that’s what your friends will see.
Download: Sudoku for Android (Free)
9. Shooter: Smash Hit
Smash Hit was one of the most addictive games of 2014, and it still holds up as a guaranteed good time. It’s a little strange to call it a shooter, but that’s essentially what it is.
It plays from a first-person perspective and requires you to throw steel balls at glass objects to smash them into pieces. Building up a chain of successful hits and taking out all glasses gives you bonuses, like increasing the number of steel balls you launch simultaneously.
The whole time, you’re slowly moving ahead through levels, and the pace picks up as you progress. Make sure you don’t get hit by any glass object and you’ll beat the game in no time. But it’s not as easy as it seems.
Download: Smash Hit for Android (Free)
10. Racing: Traffic Rider
When you’re off the internet’s information highway, hit a different virtual highway. Get on your motorcycle in Traffic Rider and dodge the city’s traffic as you make a mad dash to the finish line in first-person.
Traffic Rider plays like an endless racer, where you need to go faster and faster to reach the finish line without crashing. But the mission mode actually makes it a little more fun than other endless racers, since you can race with specific targets instead of just mindlessly zooming on.
You can even opt for other modes like time trials or a simple endless runner. Just make sure you pass the mission mode first, since it unlocks some cool superbikes to quench your need for speed.
If you don’t have 100MB of storage space for Traffic Rider, try the same game developer’s earlier title, Traffic Racer. It’s quite good too, but it’s restricted to an endless runner only and doesn’t have mission modes.
Download: Traffic Rider for Android (Free)
11. Action/Shooter: Major Mayhem
It’s difficult to state just how much fun Major Mayhem is. It’s one of Adult Swim’s fantastic mobile games with a long single-player campaign. You play as the titular character, taking down a string of bad guys.
The game is staged like a shooting gallery. Enemies pop out from hiding spots, and you tap to kill them (or throw bombs if you’re especially angry). The enemies will also try to shoot you, so make sure Major Mayhem doesn’t take too much damage himself. Earn bonuses for headshots, killing sprees, and cool kills, and upgrade your weapons when you can.
Download: Major Mayhem for Android (Free)
12. Fighting: Shadow Fight
Since the days of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, one-on-one combat games have been a great way to pass the time. On Android, you should give Shadow Fight a try.
You’ll need to learn a lot of moves to become a true warrior. The game has two action buttons (punch and kick), and a directional pad. Learn the combinations and you’ll soon be a fantastic ninja.
Shadow Fight’s two-dimensional art style, with silhouettes instead of characters, adds to its charm. It’s all about the fighting here, not about any frills.
Downloads: Shadow Fight for Android (Free)
13. Platformer: Shadow Blade Zero
Kuro the ninja might become your new favorite game mascot. Nothing will stop him in his quest to find his teacher and deliver an important message. Jump into the world of Shadow Blade, and you’ll slice enemies and jump over traps till you find your master.
Shadow Blade is an unmissable side-scrolling platformer. It’s now free with ads, but you won’t see any ads while playing offline.
Download: Shadow Blade Zero for Android (Free)
14. Endless Runner: Crossy Road
Crossy Road is way more addictive than you’d think, and is impressively available for free despite the amount of work that went into it.
The 8-bit pixel art style is gorgeous. You control a chicken who simply wants to cross the road. Tap to go ahead one lane; swipe in any direction to move that side. Avoid the cars on the highways, the streams in your path, and make it to the safe green grass as often as you can. And you need to move fast!
You’ll drive yourself nuts trying to beat your own high score. Most importantly, even though it’s repetitive, it never gets boring, so you can play it for hours.
Download: Crossy Road for Android (Free)
15. Puzzle: Lazors
Lazors came out on top of a Reddit poll looking for the best offline games for Android. Start playing, and it’s apparent why. The game is intuitive, yet challenging.
Each level starts with at least one active laser, and one or more targets. You’ll also have a set of mirrors, glasses, or other types of blocks to move around. Position them so that the laser hits each target. There are 280 levels to get through, and it gets more difficult as you progress.
Download: Lazors for Android (Free)
16. Racing: Asphalt Nitro
As opposed to the gigabytes its brothers need, Asphalt Nitro takes only 110 MB of space—and it works even on older hardware.
Nitro is a stripped-down version of the popular high-end Asphalt car racing series. The graphics aren’t as good, but the gameplay is solid. Get in your car, start competing, and keep upgrading your ride. There are 125 levels of increasing difficulty for you to go through, which is plenty of racing time.
There are tons of good racing games, but they often need an internet connection. Asphalt Nitro perfectly meets the “free, offline, long game time” requirements. No wonder it was one of the best free Android games of 2015.
Download: Asphalt Nitro for Android (Free)
17. Strategy: Plants vs. Zombies 2
Plants vs. Zombies 2 was a hit when it launched in 2013. While some years have passed, it still holds up as one of the best strategy games on mobile.
Your task is pretty simple in PvZ2. You have an array of plants with different abilities. Zombies want to infiltrate your yard and kill you. Plot the plants in a way where they can destroy the zombies before the undead can cause any harm.
As with any strategy game, it gets more difficult as you go along. While the game aggressively pushes in-app purchases, you don’t need to buy anything to enjoy this game.
Download: Plants vs. Zombies 2 for Android (Free)
18. RPG: Pixel Dungeon
It’s rare to find a free-to-play game without ads or hidden costs. Rejoice, because Pixel Dungeon is a fantastic RPG that is completely free.
You play as a warrior, huntress, mage, or rogue, stuck in the dungeons and looking for adventure. Explore lower and lower, finding new secrets, monsters, potions, and magical plants. The pixelated design and text commentary are cherries on top for what is already an engrossing game.
You won’t realize where the time went as you upgrade your character and explore the dungeon.
Download: Pixel Dungeon for Android (Free)
19. Sports: Flick Soccer
Soccer (football) is the world’s most popular sport, so it’s only natural that the Play Store is full of soccer games. Many of them are great, but when you’re offline, you want to keep playing without waiting for retries.
Flick Soccer is an annually updated game with gorgeous graphics, accurate gameplay, and a good physics engine. All you have to do is score goals. Swipe the ball in the right trajectory to get it past the goalkeeper and defenders, and maybe even hit the moving bullseye if you can. Target boosts like more time, double points, and so on can increase your score.
Whether you want the limited-time kicks or precision kicks, Flick Soccer will keep you entertained.
Download: Flick Soccer for Android (Free)
20. Board Game (and Multiplayer): Sea Battle 2
Remember the good old game of Battleship? You and your opponent plot your ships on a grid map and shoot missiles at coordinates, trying to sink them all. This digital recreation, Sea Battle 2, is as much fun as the original.
Offline, you can play against the AI and keep getting better. But you can also play this game in multiplayer over Bluetooth. That’s right; this is the only game on the list to allow two-player without needing an internet connection. In fact, two people can play it over a single phone, taking turns. So even if your co-passenger doesn’t have it installed, you two can have a good time on the flight.
Smartphones let you play other board games, but nothing comes close to Sea Battle 2.
Download: Sea Battle 2 for Android (Free)
Not Just Games: Mobile Apps Go Offline Too
Apart from these fantastic offline games, there are plenty of other good titles on the Play Store. For offline games, you’ll get much better quality if you’re willing to pay, especially with titles like Lara Croft Go.
And while you’re offline, don’t think that you’re only limited to games. There are some excellent Android apps that work offline. Did you know you can look up Wikipedia without an internet connection?
Read the full article: The Best Offline Games for Android That Don’t Need Wi-Fi