Have you heard the phrase “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”? Well, you’re gonna need a bigger, beefier Android device to run the games on this list. Contemporary mobile devices have a long way to go to reach the technical prowess of home consoles. But that doesn’t deter developers from squeezing every ounce of graphical fidelity from your new purchase.
While most games aim to encompass the widest spectrum of devices possible, others make performance and spectacle a priority. It just so happens that some of the best games on Android also look the part.
These games not only look great but play great and oftentimes offer a rewarding narrative to boot. After all, these are the cream of the crop, which is why we’ve rounded up the best-looking games on Android, so you can put your flagship device through its paces to get the most out of your purchase.
At $14.99, Alien Isolation is on the higher end of Android games when it comes to cost, but the cost is worth it. The game follows the story of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, on her quest through the wonderfully recreated Sevastopol space station. In essence, it’s the same game you’ll find on consoles and PC. Even though it’s been tweaked and optimized for Android, its visuals still stand above and beyond what most games on the platform can offer. So don’t be surprised if Alien Isolation doesn’t run well on your device, as it is demanding.
To run the game, you’ll need a device like the OnePlus 6T or the Samsung Galaxy S10 with Android 10 installed. Not only that, but you’ll also need at least 11GB of storage space to install the game. But if you’re looking for a horror experience on Android, it doesn’t get any better than Alien Isolation.
Black Desert Mobile
Black Desert Mobile brings the popular MMORPG experience to Android and iOS devices. Any RPG worth its salt features vast worlds ripe with characters and sidequests, as well as dungeons to explore. Black Desert Mobile doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
Being multiplayer-focused by its nature, this genre tends to tax the hardware with countless characters and visual effects populating the screen. Simply put, you need a fairly capable device. While Black Desert Mobile is not as demanding as Alien Isolation, you’ll still need a device with at least 3GB of RAM, and Android 6.0 or higher installed.
Dead Cells has received many awards since its release, not to mention the plethora of nominations. It’s a roguelike 2D action platformer with elements of Metroid and Castlevania. It’s also one of the best indie games to come out in recent years. Being a 2D game, Dead Cells sports simpler visuals, but it supports a silky smooth 60FPS mode that works a treat, and you can even bump the frames higher than that if you own a high-framerate device.
Dead Cells boasts a low price of entry at $8.99, and you can also get it as part of a Play Pass subscription. With frequent free updates in the form of new enemies, weapons, outfits, and more, you’re certainly getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Genshin Impact has become one of the most popular games on mobile platforms. It combines the vibrant visuals of Ni No Kuni with the wondrous open-world gameplay of Breath of the Wild. But instead of taming cutesy creatures or playing as a green-tunic-clad Link, you guide anime girls across a vast fantasy world.
Anime makes everything better, right? It may not be the most resource-intensive game out there, thanks to its artful use of cell shading, but Genshin Impact’s anime visuals easily pop with color and depth even if you don’t crank the settings to their highest. Genshin Impact is considered among the best-looking games when it comes to bright and colorful aesthetics.
Racing games are historically among the best-looking, and screenshots for GRID Autosport tout console-level visuals. While that might be an exaggeration, the 100 cars and tracks featured in the game sure look exceptionally great. GRID Autosport has a less restrictive list of devices to run on, so long as they have, at least, Android 9 installed. But you’ll still need a fairly hefty storage space of 4GB.
Grid Autosport stands on par with heavy hitters like Real Racing 3 and Need for Speed No Limits. But with Grid Autosport being a premium title at $9.99, you won’t have to worry about annoying microtransactions. A one-off payment gives you access to one of the best racing games on Android.
Life is Strange
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could control time and change the outcome of certain situations? Life is Strange’s Max Caulfield can do that. She uses her unique powers to protect her friends from harm all the while investigating the mysterious disappearance of one of her classmates.
Life is Strange pulls you in with a gripping narrative, branching story paths, and multiple endings. Every choice you make leads to consequences, both favorable and detrimental. The Android version comes with full controller support and includes a photo mode that takes advantage of Max being a photography student. And while it’s not the most visually demanding game out there, you’ll still need a device running at least Android 6.0 with 2GB of RAM.
Real Racing 3
With series like Need for Speed and Burnout under its belt, publisher and developer Electronic Arts is no stranger to racing games. Real Racing 3 ups the ante by offering over 200 vehicles, from exotic hypercars to speed kings like formulas and stock cars from NASCAR.
You should get a good idea of how well these cars look just by checking out the screenshots. But in case you’re in doubt, even the product page for Real Racing 3 emphasizes that it’s a resource-intensive game. And unlike with Grid Autosport, you can download it and start playing for free.
Shadowgun Legends: Online FPS
With games like Dead Trigger 2 and Unkilled under its belt, developer Madfinger Games is no stranger to high visual fidelity. Shadowgun Legends is the most recent addition to the company’s portfolio and touts itself as a console-quality first-person online shooter. It’s hard to argue with that statement because everything in Shadowgun Legends — from weapons and enemies to the surrounding environments — looks like it could belong on a console.
Replace zombies with aliens of various sizes, and you’ve got yourself a looter shooter akin to games like Destiny. Similarly, Shadowgun Legends allows you to partake in online PvP and PvE battles with Raids and Arenas while wielding over 700 different weapons.
Sky: Children of the Light
If Sky looks like the 2012’s Journey, it’s because both games share the same developer. Sky is an open-world MMORPG that focuses on human interaction. No shooting and no explosions, just you interacting with and assisting other players from across the globe.
It’s an experience that encourages you to spread light, warmth, and compassion throughout the game’s world. Explore seven unique realms, interact with other players or even bring them along on your travels. Much like the studio’s previous projects — Flow, Flower, and Journey — Sky is bursting with vibrant visuals.
Streets of Rage 4
Not many game series survive for three decades and cement themselves as genre-defining. Even fewer receive sequels after decades of absence. Streets of Rage 4 is a 2020 revival of an iconic beat-em-up from 1991, and what a revival it is.
Streets of Rage 4 brings together everything that fans of the original love about the series. Iconic characters, spearheaded by the likes of Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding. A modernized soundtrack was created in collaboration with the original composer, Yuzo Koshiro. Streets of Rage 4 received an Android release as recently as March of 2022, and it looks as good as it possibly could on a mobile platform. For $5.99, you’re not getting a better beat-em-up than this.
The Room: Old Sins
No, this isn’t a long-overdue sequel to Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 drama, The Room. Developed by Fireproof Studios in Guildford, UK, The Room Old Sins is a puzzle adventure game akin to Myst. In fact, Old Sins is the fourth entry in the series, and much like its predecessors, it focuses on puzzle-solving.
In Old Sins, you’ll explore an elaborate dollhouse resembling an environment you’d find in a classic Resident Evil or Alone in the Dark game. Old Sins has received a multitude of noteworthy industry nominations, and if you’re a fan of puzzle games, at $4.99, you can’t go wrong with this one.
When it comes to turn-based strategy games, few surpass the challenging combat of XCOM 2. An alien race has taken control of Earth and most of humanity. It’s up to you to take control of the remaining resistance group and reclaim the planet that once belonged to humans.
Much like with Alien Isolation, also developed by Feral Interactive, you’ll need a fairly powerful device to run this game. XCOM 2’s Play Store page lists the Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 among the minimum device requirements, in addition to a whopping 8.5 – 17GB of free storage space. With steep requirements and a $19.99 price tag, the XCOM 2 Collection may seem like a tough sell. But on the bright side, it comes with four DLC packages and zero in-app purchases.
Some of the best Android games also offer the best graphics
Few games on Android can reach the visual fidelity of Alien Isolation. But racing games, such as Grid Autosport and Real Racing 3, get close, at times, offering console-level visuals. And if you’re willing to stray away from realism, there’s no shortage of games like Genshin Impact and Sky: Children of the Light.
Are there more demanding games than the ones on the list? Take to the comments and let us know your favorites.