100 best free Android games 2014

The best free games on Android for phone and tablet

81. New Star Soccer

New Star Soccer

New Star Soccer is a previously paid-for game that has undergone a complete refresh, with the developer making it a freebie - but adding in the scourge of modern software in the form of "stars" to buy with real money instead. If you can tolerate the effort needed to bypass the new emphasis on paying to progress quicker, it's still a staggeringly good game, offering a mega-deep football management sim for mobile.

82. Badland

Badland

This is a right old gem. Badland is an abstract physics platformer kind of thing, where you play a flapping monster that has to navigate some gorgeous maps while listening to bird song. Power-ups and power-downs increase and decrease the size of your blob, also multiplying it until you control several of the things. Weird and dark and interesting. Definitely try it.

83. Juice Cubes

Juice Cubes

Another free game that's actually about as "free" as the "free" mobile phones we all own, Juice Cubes is a seemingly innocent take on the Candy Crush Saga style of gem-swapping. You can play through it without indulging it in any in-app purchases, but be prepared to wait and be forced to spam your Facebook friends with links in order to do so.

84. Dots

Dots

Dots is really, really free, and pretty damn awesome, too. All you do is draw lines between dots of the same colour, with the idea being to earn as high a score as possible within 60 seconds. Then, because it's simple and pretty and makes nice bleepy sounds, you do it again. And again. And continue forever or until your battery dies, so probably just until your battery dies.

85. Angry Birds Star Wars II

Angry Birds Star Wars II

The original was so beneficial to furthering consumer recognition of both major brands that they made another one - aptly titled Angry Birds Star Wars II. It's really free thanks to being ad-supported, which, it turns out, is nicer than being asked to buy imaginary space money every 30 seconds. Loads of levels and stupid Star Wars references galore make this a no-brainer for fans of either enormous super-franchise.

86. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

Star Wars tiny death Star

Another in this new-wave of controversial "free" games. Tiny Death Star gets the look right, offering a superb pixel-art take on the classic universe. Things get a bit flaky when you play it for more than 20 minutes, tough, when the PECK-PECK-PECK demands to pay real money for in-game "Bux" start to come in thick and fast. Great fun until you uninstall it in a rage at today's shameless rush to monetise children, though.

87. Sonic Dash

Sonic Dash

Sonic Dash is a really stylish and very pretty endless runner, that is indeed free to download and play. The happy Sega experience is then ruined by overbearing and endlessly menacing reminders that buying a lot of stupid in-game tokens will make progress easier, though, which is a shame. How we wish games didn't all demand direct debit access to our bank accounts these days in order to work properly. Very nice game apart from that, mind.

88. CBeebies Playtime

CBeebies

CBeebies Playtime is a nice, harmless, ad-free collection of silly little games, ideal for children who have been successfully raised by the pulsating yellows and greens of the CBBC pacifier and babysitter channel. We'll save the discussion about whether parents and the BBC should be encouraging children to spend their precious little like staring at screens and being as sad and sedentary as dad for another time. This is good if you let your child touch your precious stuff.

89. Champ Man

Champ Man

What the developer of Champ Man is trying to say with the name is "This is quite a bit like Championship Manager, that old football game you probably remember." And it is, offering a decent, if slightly bug-ridden and bizarre portable management game. It does feature in-app purchases, but these can be stepped over or dribbled around (football references) without too much hassle.

90. Tic Tactics

Tic Tactics

Tic Tactics is a simple and stylish puzzle game that takes the noughts & crosses concept and jazzes it up with online and local multiplayer, rankings, cross-platform play with Facebook friends and more. You battle on multiple boards at once, choosing where to make your mark and what grid your opponent must play next. Hassles you to pay to remove the ads, but nothing more.

91. Deep Loot

Deep loot

A charming little undersea adventure, in which your little chap dives to hunt for treasure. It does feature in-app purchases, but it's dead simple to grind a little to collect treasure and unlock most of the game's content manually, although the £2.49 coin doubler starts to look tempting after a while. It's a lovely little game, though, so grinding its quirky maps is really quite a joy anyway.

92. Daddy Long Legs

Daddy long legs

This is weird and initially feels like a physics puzzler someone knocked up in three minutes or so, but stick with it and it becomes a one-more-go addiction you'll be throwing hours of your life into. It's simple -- tap the screen to make the monster walk. Only he's gangly and awkward, so it's actually quite a timing and precision masterclass. Download it here.

93. Batman Arkham Origins

Batman

A big name franchise for free? Yes, of course it's packed with in-app purchases, but still. Critical feedback to this has been superb, with Arkham Origins combining your standard fighting business with a bit of RPG depth to help pad it out via the need to level up -- and provide more of a reason to pay for stuff inside the game.

94. The Silent Age

Silent Age

You're a man and you walk around. Thing is, humanity's been virtually wiped out, so it's quite a grim experience, made all the more bizarre thanks to its abstract soundtrack. It's a touchscreen puzzle game at its core, one that's much more interesting in approach than the thousands of other adventure games that clog up the Play shop. Grab it here.

95. Flappy Crush

Flappy Crush

A simple yet amazingly cathartic take on the Flappy Bird phenomenon, Flappy Crush puts you in charge of the pipes. The job is then to mash up the birds, sucking their bodies up and spewing out the bones. It's as much of a one-trick pony as the game that inspired it, but it's enjoyable enough given the asking price of nothing bar exposure to some adverts.

96. Ice

Ice

A super-minimalist strategy game, in which the warring factions are portrayed as neon shapes and assorted beams of light. It's the sort of "game" you might expect Ensign Wesley Crusher to be seen playing in Star Trek: The Next Generation, were he given to wasting his valuable time and the ship's immense-but-finite computing power on such frivolous pursuits.

97. Retry

Retry

In which the Angry Birds developer has a go at pulling off a Flappy Bird style game. Retry is more than a simple clone, though, introducing plane piloting, wobbly terrain to navigate and simple landing missions. It's very, very hard, but you do at least get more of a sense of progression and reward than was present in the interminable Flappy.

98. Up, Down, Left, Right

up down

Literally utterly infuriating. The concept is simple. You press up, down, left and right continuously, but there's a scrolling set of alternative patterns on the screen. These ask you to substitute one direction for another, requiring your eyes to speak to your brain and fingers in a manner that's bordering on the impossible. An extreme test of your mental problem solving skills.

99. Angry Birds Transformers

ABT

About as "free" as your delicious first free hit of one of today's fashionable party drugs from your friendly local dealer, this is packed with in-app purchases to help speed up play. But, it's free to install and play at a slower pace, with Rovio creating a weird shooter in which the birds have been turned into robots. Several marketing departments are over the moon with the resulting brand synergy explosion.

100. RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile

RT

An official reworking of the actual PC game everyone loved ages ago, only with its content rearranged so it fits today's freemium mobile use pattern. Which means free to download and play, but with plenty of arbitrary barriers inserted to try to convince today's impatient youths to blow some real money on getting everything quicker, as if they have anything better to do with their lives than grind for pretend money.