Google Play Pass games, price, and what you need to know about the Apple Arcade rival

Google Play Pass
Google Play Pass (Image credit: Google)

If you like to play games on your Android phone, chances are Google Play Pass is for you – and now you can use it in plenty of regions.

After launching in the US in September 2019, Google Play Pass is now available for users in plenty of different countries including the UK and Australia, so mobile gamers around the world can get access to plenty of top games for a low price.

Google Play Pass is a subscription service for mobile games similar to Apple Arcade, but instead of offering plenty of games made for the platform, it offers loads of pre-existing popular games that you can download and play easily.

Most of these games usually cost you an up-front cost, but by subscribing you get them free; equally some have in-game microtransactions, but if you play the game via the Play Pass these are all unlocked without you having to pay extra.

So if you’re a fan of some of the games offered by Google Play Pass, the highlights of which we’ll list below, this might be a great subscription service for you. We’ll list everything you need to know below so you can make up your mind.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A mobile games subscription service
  • When is it out? September 2019 for the US, July 2020 elsewhere
  • How much does it cost? $5 / £5 / AU$8 per month

Google Play Pass price and availability

Google Play Pass

(Image credit: Google)

Google Play Pass costs $5 / £5 / AU$8 per month, so if you play one ‘premium’ game per month you’re already making your money back there. You can also buy a year subscription up-front for $30 / £30 / AU$50 which will save you 50% of the price that monthly would.

A one-month Google Play Pass free trial is available though, so if you want to test out the service to see if any of its games are for you, you can do that.

You can subscribe by heading to the Google Play Store on your Android phone (Android 4.4 or above), opening the menu in the top left then selecting ‘Play Pass’.

Google Play Pass was first launched in the US, and recently began rolling out to the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and several EU countries. It’s not clear how long it will be until all users in these regions get the service, but if you don’t have the option right now you may have to wait a while.

Google Play Pass games

We wouldn’t be able to list the entire Google Play Pass games catalog right now – at last count there were nearly 500 games and apps offered, and that list is rapidly getting longer and longer.

These games and apps are all pre-existing ones you can download on the Google Play Store yourself, but by downloading them through the Play Pass you don’t have to pay for them, and all microtransactions are automatically counted as ‘bought’.


Terraria (Image credit: Steam)

So you don’t need the Play Pass to try these games necessarily, and that’s one difference between this software and Apple Arcade - you need a subscription to that service to play its games on iPhone or iPad, though it’s worth pointing out plenty of its games are actually available on consoles or PC, so aren’t really exclusive.

We’ll pick out some of the best Google Play Pass games to give you an idea of what’s out there, though we’d recommend checking it out yourself to see the full list. Google doesn’t offer a full list of Play Pass games, so you’ll have to check the app yourself.

Some of the big-name Google Play Pass games include mobile ports of Terraria, Star Wars: KOTOR, This War of Mine, This is the Police, Limbo, Monument Valley and Stardew Valley. Several of Sega’s classic games, which you can usually play free on your phone if you put up with all the adds, are available too, like Sonic the Hedgehog.

Plenty of great mobile games are available too like Crashlands, Battle of Polytopia, Cut the Rope, Hoplite and Pocket City, many of which were previously supported by ads or microtransactions.

As well as games there are plenty of apps like children's educational apps, tools, puzzles and even a few books (dictionaries, encyclopedias and the like) which you can download too. So while Google Play Pass seems predominantly a gaming service, it has a lot more besides.

As we’ve said, Google doesn’t publish a list of all the Play Pass apps, so it can be hard to know exactly what’s on there without searching yourself. The Google Play Pass ‘about’ page on Google’s website lists quite a few though, so check there first.

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Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.