Update: This post has been updated on January 2018.
Mobile gaming for the past few years has shifted from dedicated gaming handhelds to smartphones and tablets. Practically everyone has one and their respected online application stores showcase thousands of video games from indie studios to big name triple AAA developers. We’ve even seen companies like Nintendo merge into delivering video games for both Google Android and Apple iOS.
Today we’re looking at the top twenty-five best open world based video games on the Android platform for 2016. These are massive video games that players will sink plenty of time as they complete quests, customize their various characters, and most of all explore the open world. If you enjoy open world games, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? Then take a look at some of the best available for your Android smartphone and tablet.
Survivalcraft, as I’m sure you can tell from the name alone, is a clone to the popular video game Minecraft. Within this title, players are left stranded on a blocky world where they must collect resources, craft tools, and most of all survive. What makes Survivalcraft a more approachable title compared to the widely known Minecraft video game is that the developers are pretty much on top of things with new updates and features, not to say Minecraft falls far behind, but if you need a good alternative that still stays close with blocky visuals then this would be our recommendation.
If you enjoy video games like the Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row series then Gangstar Vegas is probably your best option for a free alternative on mobile. Players are tossed into a pretty big map of Las Vegas where our protagonist is an up and coming MMA fighter that gets intertwined with the mafia. As you become featured in the biggest fighting match of the year, the infamous crime lord Frank Veliano decides that you’ll take the fall and let your opponent win. Although, when you come out as the victor, you suddenly come out as the most wanted man in the city. With an awesome soundtrack, a variety of weapons and vehicles to choose from, Gangstar Vegas has proven to be a must-have open world video game for mobile users.
In Ravensword: Shadowlands, the story opens up with the fall of Ravengard in which the world quickly erupts into chaos. Dark elven invaders begin to flood into the Kingdom of Tyreas and during the heat of battle, the ancient Ravensword was stolen. Players take on the role of a descendant to the ancient kings bloodline where it’s revealed that only you contain the power to wield the Ravensword and restore the world to its former glory. This third-person RPG resembles much of the same gameplay from The Elder Scrolls series as players have an open fantasy world to explore, various attributes to level up, quests to complete, along with a variety of enemies to face against.
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath definitely looks appealing visually and the gameplay is what you would expect from a title within the Oddworld franchise. However, in Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, players take the role of a bounty hunter named Stranger who wanders into the wastelands of Western Mudos, a town filled with belligerent outlaws. Stranger sets off on his goal in order to earn enough money for a much-needed life-saving surgery. As mentioned, the world of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is stunning, the gameplay mechanics are fun with quirky weaponry and the game world is filled with outlandish characters to meet along your journey.
Crazy Taxi: City Rush
You likely played Crazy Taxi before as its been around since the 1990s and made its way onto a number of different platforms over the years. Regardless, the mobile version of the game, Crazy Taxi: City Rush stays intact with fast-paced addicting gameplay we remember from its first launch within arcades. Players take the role of a taxi driver in which they must deliver their passengers to their desired destination. Although there is a bit of a twist to this game as the roads are chaotic and you’ve got a very limited amount of time to reach your destination. Instead of playing it safe, the game rewards players for fast trips and close calls but if you fail to reach the destination in time your passenger will storm off in a fit of rage.
The Dark Knight Rises
Normally when video games follow the story of various films they tend to get poor reviews, however, we can’t say that about The Dark Knight Rises. Tied to the film that bares the same name, players take on the role of Batman as he cleans up Gotham city. Given an array of various weapons from Batman’s arsenal, fighting crime is not only fun but can be unique to how a player wishes to approach a thug or two. If you’ve seen the film then you know where the plot is going as players must save Gotham from the incredibly strong and cunning villain Bane.
Who knew Goat Simulator would be that much fun. Developers Coffee Stain Studios tossed together a truly wacky and addicting open world video game where players control a goat, that’s right a four-legged goat. Essentially, players are given goals to complete though the game gets its fame from the mass destruction players can emit and the wacky bug filled gameplay.
The Shadow Sun
From the veterans who have worked on the hit RPG series Dungeons & Dragons along with The Witcher, comes The Shadow Sun, a story driven RPG that’s packed with a ten-hour adventure. Developers Ossian Studios Inc. decided to create an enduring open world adventure and they definitely accomplished their goal. There’s over seventy unique locations to explore, hundreds of items to obtain, tons of available quests, freedom to customize your character attributes, hidden secrets to uncover, and a slew of interesting characters to meet along the way.
Six Guns: Gang Showdown
We don’t see too many video games set in the old wild west but if there’s one gem we can’t recommend enough, it would have be Six Guns: Gang Showdown. This open world western stars Buck Crosshaw an outlaw that was forced to fake his death in order to escape the state of Arizona. However, our outlaw finds himself facing an evil force that begins to erupt in the hills of a mysterious region. Gameloft has packed forty missions into Six Guns: Gang Showdown and players can expect to have intense shootouts, fight waves of enemies, take out criminals such as thieving robbers, and even partake in horse races. Right now, it’s the next best thing to Red Dead Redemption on Android.
Much like Minecraft, Terraria is an endless title where players explore, collect resources, and battle enemies within a randomly generated world. Players can also build structures which can eventually be filled with NPCs that will offer gamers services or items for purchase. If you enjoy Minecraft and don’t mind resorting to a 2D style gameplay, Terraria has been an excellent video game alternative.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
If you played and enjoyed the first The Amazing Spider-Man video game from developers Gameloft, then we recommend trying its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Following the same events of the blockbuster hit film The Amazing Spider-Man 2, players web-sling their way around the city of Manhattan while fighting back crime featuring some of Spider-Man’s most nefarious villains like Venom, the Green Goblin, and Electro.
Gangstar Rio: City of Saints
Much like Gangstar Vegas, Gangstar Rio: City of Saints is another open world video game title that takes elements we’re used to seeing in the Grand Theft Auto and the Saints Row series. Players embark on a crime filled journey within Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Similar to the first title in the series, our protagonist seeks out to extract his revenge on those who attempted to rob and leave him for dead. Fight crime, explore the city of Rio de Janeiro, steal cars, complete over sixty missions with the mixture of random events, and take out corrupt politicians. Additionally, for the first time ever in the Gangstar series, players can customize their character with new shirts, hats, glasses, and more.
School of Chaos Online MMORPG
School of Chaos Online MMORPG is certainly an odd little game but its gameplay proves to be an addicting one. Within the game, players are a nerd within a school and as such, you’re one of the easier targets from bullies. Looking to rid the school from these jocks and thugs, players are tasked in taking them out. As you fight bullies and steal their lunch money the game will offer players various upgrades in both armor and diabolical weapons all while playing online with other gamers.
Mines of Mars
Mines of Mars is described by developers Crescent Moon Games, as an RPG title that shares elements similar to both Metroid and Motherload which is quite apparent when starting the game. Within Mines of Mars, players explore an abandoned mining colony that is procedural generated. As players progress through the game, they dig up dark secrets although, much like Metroid, aliens will be meeting you at your every turn. Explore the world, discover it’s dark secrets, and track down the various advanced weaponry to take out your enemies along the way.
Crashlands is a relatively new RPG title that follows Flux Dabes, a trucker who delivers goods through space. One day, during a run, Flux becomes a target of an alien menace named Hewgodooko who has since caused our little space trucker to become aware of an upcoming world domination plot. Players must use their cunning to stop this alien attempt in world domination while progressing through this cartoonish isometric action RPG.
Galaxy on Fire 2
Galaxy Fire 2 is an excellent spacecraft simulation title where players control the space war veteran, Keith T. Maxwell. Players must save the galaxy from the invading alien threats, careless space pirates, and the power-crazed men who wish to take over total control. Fans of video games like Eve Online should feel right at home as the game focuses on space travel and combat while the in-game currency is spent on new spacecrafts or various upgrades. Over ten hours is available within the campaign so you should spend quite a bit of time on the game broken up by your daily routine but if need more then there are two expansion packs available that adds onto the story.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is one of the more popular Star Wars titles to ever release. This is an RPG that takes place thousands of years before the first film which means both the Jedi and Sith are great in numbers. Through the epic journey, players are given freedom of how they progress their character and story as you can determine if you wish to side with the Jedi or fall into the lure of the dark side. Developers, Aspyr Media Inc., have stated that the mobile video game contains the full experience from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and because of that, this game will require over 2.4GB of internal storage. If you’re okay with losing out on some storage space and happen to be a fan of the Star Wars films then you won’t want to miss out on this incredible journey.
GTA: San Andreas
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas players take the role of Carl Johnson who was once part of the corruption of the Los Santos city. Carl was no stranger to the life of gangs and drugs though he managed to escape it for over five years. However, after the murder of his mother, Car Johnson, better known as CJ, picks back up the life of crime. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas originally released back in 2004 and now over ten years later, developers Rockstar Games has remastered the title for mobile devices with enhanced visuals.
GTA: Vice City
Much like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar has released Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to the mobile platform. This time around, the game is set within the 1980s in Vice City as this narrative story focuses on one man’s attempt to rise the ranks of the criminal underground. Just like all the other mobile Grand Theft Auto video game titles, controls are tight, the graphics have been updated, and the open world is available for players to do as they wish.
9th Dawn has been described as a 2D version of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim before and it definitely has that appeal of epic long journeys and quest embarking adventures. Developers Valorware, deliver an old school RPG video game filled with mystery, danger, but most of all, adventure. Players can choose from three classes as they progress through the game, a knight that can wield heavy armor and weapons, an archer who is swift with his attacks and great for close or far range combat, lastly the mage who possess the power of magical elements to destroy his enemies. Gamers will locate lost treasure and help the troubled world from the undead army, and explore the various landscapes that range from forests, towns, to dungeons.
GTA: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is one of the latest GTA titles to have released within the franchise as it officially came to the market in 2009. Within Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, players take on the role of Huang Lee who is on a business trip to Liberty City, however, after being robbed and left for dead, Huang decides to seek revenge on the morally corrupt city. Unlike other Grand Theft Auto titles on our list, Chinatown Wars takes the gameplay back to its roots with a more isometric view, but regardless, this is still very much a Grand Theft Auto video game. Players can freely explore the city, cause mayhem, steal cars, and dive into the life of crime.
Grand Theft Auto III
This is the Grand Theft Auto title that really took off within the series. Grand Theft Auto III introduced players to a three-dimensional world of Liberty City. We shouldn’t have to spend too much time discussing Grand Theft Auto III simply because of its popularity along with being one of the more influential video games of its time. Overall, the game follows the criminal Claude who manages to escape prison transport. Landing on his feet, Claude is forced into taking on odd criminal jobs that lead him deeper into the life of crime. Additionally, much like the previous Grand Theft Auto titles on this list, developers Rockstar Games gave the mobile version of the game the royal treatment with updated enhanced visuals and audio.
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition brings back the charm from the original 1998 title and best of all, everything is still here. The sixty-hour adventure comes packed in within the app which tosses players into the story of a foster child that was sent out from the comfort of his once beloved home of Candlekeep. Now left to fend for himself, players get swept into this fantasy world on the brink of a massive war along with a sinister dark secret left to be shed. While new gamers to the franchise may be delighted to play this epic once for the first time ever, the Enhanced Edition brings about new quests to complete, updated visuals, and additional worlds to explore that should give players that already played the title some incentive to replay this epic once again.
Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced Edition
Baldur’s Gate II originally released in 2000 and for the most part, it plays out very similarly to the original Baldur’s Gate. With this title, players start the game out by being captured by a dark wizard who wishes to strip away powers that is your birthright although it’s up to the players if they wish to turn into the heroic legend that will destroy the dark essence of the world or embrace it to become the monstrous lord of destruction. Again, much like the predecessor, Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced Edition brings about new updated visuals along with the previous expansions released for the game.
Minecraft Pocket Edition
You knew this one was going to top our list didn’t you? Minecraft is a massive hit and one that continues to bring in new players to its fan base on a daily basis. Overall the game of Minecraft is a rather simple one, you explore, craft items, and collect resources. This is also one game that truly inspires players to build incredible works of art and while the Minecraft Pocket Edition does fall behind from its PC predecessor in terms of content, this mobile edition doesn’t fail to skip a beat in bringing the same gameplay we came to love when it originally released on PC back in 2009 with its alpha version debut.
The Escapist is a top-down strategy title developed by Mouldy Toof Studios. Within the game, players take on a roll of an inmate who is tasked with escaping a prison. As you complete the levels you’ll find that the game will increase difficulty and there’s a ton of trial and error type puzzles involved in your escape. While exploring players will need to keep an eye out for resources to acquire to help in the breakout.
Developed under 22Cans is Godus a game in which players take on the role of a god which is stated to be a spiritual successor to Populous. For the most part, you’ll find Godus as a simulation type game in which you’ll have to strategically run a colony. How the land is shaped and the growth of the civilization will ultimately be up to you.
Bully is an iconic title of developers Rockstar Games. The video game played out similar to the Grand Theft Auto series but more laid back. Players take on the role of a student at a prestigious school where gamers can battle against other bullies and teachers through the progression of the campaign.
Payback 2: The Battle Sandbox
Under the development team of Apex Designs comes the sequel to PayBack, PayBack 2. The video game is an RPG that now takes advantage of a new game engine with improved graphics and multiplayer functionality. Players will be able to step inside a plethora of vehicles such helicopters and tanks while fighting in massive battles against other gamers online.