Can you recommend some complex, story-driven Android games?
August 25, 2016 3:28 PM   Subscribe

My husband is on a perpetual hunt for Android games that are complex or challenging enough to keep his interest for more than a day or two. He enjoys RPG and puzzle games, mostly, with the occasional building or strategy game thrown in. By this point we've tried most games on various best-of lists, and he was hoping there might be some hidden gems he's not aware of.

He loses interest in most games for one of a few reasons. Pay to win is a big one, especially games that start you out then bug you to buy stuff or make it practically impossible to continue without spending money. He wants to feel like he's making decisions in the game and measurable progress, not just watching numbers tick up. Also, games that are PvP only are right out, as he wants to be able to play single player at least some of the time.

Admittedly, he finished The Room games in like, a day each. But he reported that they were satisfying to play despite being a bit short. Really though he'd like a game to play for longer than a day or two.

Here are some examples of recent games that he liked and disliked:

Liked: The Room series, the Lifeline series, Reigns, Banner Saga, Fantasy War Tactics, Out There, Monument Valley
Disliked/played for awhile and lost interest: AdVenture Capitalist, Dungeon Keeper, Hearthstone, Adventures of Billy Bob, Nonstop Knight, Zombie Castaways, SimCity Buildit, Clash of Clans

We are aware of the new Lifeline:Crisis Line game coming out, but it's not available in the US yet.

So what are your favorite Android games? What hidden gems have we missed?
posted by cabingirl to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
2048 is a classic time-eater in my house
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:32 PM on August 25, 2016

Does he like Plants vs Zombies? The android version is very good. A game we liked, but I'm not sure how much it ends up costing, I thought I bought the whole thing, but then it...well never mind, Tiny Thief is very cute, a sort of puzzler/adventure game.
posted by glitter at 3:52 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

If he liked the Room games and Monument Valley he might like the GO games: Hitman, Lara Croft, and Deus Ex. They're based on existing video game franchises, but they're more like puzzle games.

Sword and Sworcery is one of the best games I've ever played. It has an OK story, but it's more of an art piece. The music is excellent. 80 days is a fun around the world adventure game.

If you want something mindless (but strangely addictive), I've spent entirely too much time flipping weird electronic burgers with Burger.

There are many excellent mobile games out there, especially if you're willing to spend a bit of money upfront. It can be hard to sort through the list though.
posted by owls at 3:54 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

It sounds like the XCOM games are what he wants. (eg XCOM: Enemy Unknown)

Similarly, looking at other "triple-A" PC-games that got ported to Android will offer much more complex and story-driven experiences than made-for-mobile games, and have absolutely zero pay-to-win or "freemium" gameplay-sabotage. Eg Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, etc.
posted by anonymisc at 3:59 PM on August 25, 2016

Bard's Tale is fun and pretty inexpensive!
posted by The otter lady at 4:02 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

What about tower defence? Kingdom Rush is not bad. Really basic story though (evil something rises up we have to squish it)
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:05 PM on August 25, 2016

Crashlands is fantastic if he likes games that are sorta-sandboxy with a pretty good amount of grinding/leveling up. Yeah, it's a straight $5 but I've gotten probably 25 or so hours out if it already and have just kind of scratched the surface.
posted by Ufez Jones at 4:50 PM on August 25, 2016

Response by poster: Number puzzles a la 2048 and Tower Defense are not his thing, although he did play Plants vs. Zombies. Also, he's played many of those PC games such as KOTOR and Baldurs Gate as well as a lot of stuff that's available on Steam.
posted by cabingirl at 4:55 PM on August 25, 2016

Response by poster: Also, upfront cost isn't necessarily a factor. He'd pay $20 for the right title, I think.
posted by cabingirl at 4:56 PM on August 25, 2016

Pandemic is a fantastic strategy board game and the Android version of it is completely addictive. It's single-player. The board game is a cooperative game for up to 4 players, and on my phone I just play all the players (2-4, you can choose how many). I have lost a lot of sleep playing this game.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:58 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Plague Inc is another good one, although it's hard to explain to your innocent, sweet faced offspring why you're "killing all the people so I win" without sounding like a monster.
posted by glitter at 5:19 PM on August 25, 2016

He might like Imbroglio
posted by aubilenon at 5:26 PM on August 25, 2016

Uh, I didn't notice the story-driven criterion. Imbroglio is not story driven at all.
posted by aubilenon at 5:27 PM on August 25, 2016

Waking Mars is an exploration and story game based on bringing life to the Red Planet
posted by canine epigram at 5:36 PM on August 25, 2016

Little Inferno is so, so great. Fantastic graphics and definitely a solid story.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:07 PM on August 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Tactics Maiden is a turn-based RPG from Mangobile. I've ended up buying all of their games. The previous generation of turn-based RPGs, the Kingturn trilogy, are also very good and I periodically go back and replay them. They're all about $5 (single payment for the whole game) and generally you can try the first few chapters free to see if you like the play style.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:26 PM on August 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

King of Dragon Pass or Sorcery?
posted by solitary dancer at 6:29 PM on August 25, 2016

Perhaps something by Amanita Design
posted by falsedmitri at 7:00 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Machinarium. It's similar in style to old school LucasArts / Sierra point and click games.
posted by Diskeater at 9:46 PM on August 25, 2016

Out There is a procedurally generated space adventure with some strong story elements.

I also second the recommendations for XCOM and Sorcery.
posted by Eleven at 3:07 AM on August 26, 2016

Seconding the recommendation for King of Dragon Pass, a strategy/role-playing game which requires the player to study and inhabit the role of a petty barbarian king in an imaginary frontier region. The setting somewhat resembles that in The Banner Saga, which you say your husband liked.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:31 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you like storylines...

Inkle's games are narrative games with strategy/path choices/puzzle elements. They're a half-way point between a simple choose-your-own-adventure and a full-on open world interactive fiction game.

The writing's excellent, and they have great replay value. Their soundtracks are also amazing -- I never notice music usually but the aural landscapes are beautiful!

80 Days (Time's game of the year 2014)
Sorcery! (pts 1, 2, 3)

Not free, but well worth the cost. Sorcery! Part 1 is a little bit short, but the second, third and fourth games in the series go from strength to strength.
posted by NoiselessPenguin at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

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