Feast your eyes on the Android games with the best graphics

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Gone are the days when mobile gaming meant only 2D puzzles and primitive pixels. Modern smartphones often boast impressive specs and advanced displays that go to waste on the average user. Yet, they really come into their own when it comes to running games. This is why we’ve rounded up the most graphically gorgeous Android games for your visual pleasure.

Good graphics are great, but they’re no replacement for well-designed gameplay. The good news is, you don’t have to choose. While there are plenty of shiny HD games out on Android clamoring for your attention, I’ve sorted through the bunch to pick the ones that both look great and play well. Beauty is only skin-deep, after all. 

To get the most out of Android games with good graphics, you’ll want a higher-end phone too. Flagship phones with big screens and good GPUs, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note9, Razer Phone 2 or the Asus ROG Phone, are the best fits for gaming devices, but you’d be surprised by what smaller or older phones can be capable of.

I’ve also curated the list with an eye to variety – genres like RPGs or adventure games lend themselves more to mobile, but they aren’t the only ones available in the top graphical range. These are my pick of games that boast brains as well as beauty.

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Nimian Legends: BrightRidge

This single-dev project has been a long time in the making, but still offers one of the most graphically impressive titles on Android to date. This open-world adventure game offers an extensive settings menu to dial up graphical fidelity to suit your smartphones, and the maximum quality on high-end smartphones can be breathtaking.

While the story provides plenty of atmosphere, it’s mainly an excuse to pose some puzzles for you to ponder (seriously, do the aliens really need such complicated doors?). The alien technology in question is built around crystals and light projections which are portrayed with plenty of graphical flourish. The game costs $4.99 , but if that sounds like a lot you can download a demo version and try the first two levels for free.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: $4.99

Asphalt 9: Legends

Gameloft’s Asphalt series has established the standard for realistic-looking racing games on Android. The latest iteration, Asphalt 9: Legends, certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to visuals, featuring the prettiest vehicles for you to live out your automotive fantasies. 

The wide selection of famous cars (about 50) includes Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini and more. Collect prized models such as the Aston Martin Vulcan, Ford GT, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Ferrari 488 GTB, LaFerrari and the McLaren P1, and then drive them around exotic locales. Don’t worry about hurting your beautiful car though, Asphalt 9 Legends still encourages aggressive, hi-octane racing where you’ll slam your rivals off-road, but always look good while doing it.

New circuits are present, as are new online features like the 7-player multiplayer mode. For the first time in the Asphalt series of games, you can also create your own online community of racers with the Club feature. 

There are four archetypal classes to choose from: warrior, sorceress, assassin and barbarian. The game encourages you to have all four on the go. Each class has a different feel and playstyle, as well as different looking weapons and armor. Be warned…only your first character can have their ‘beauty’ fine-tuned for free (and only once)…after the first time, it costs in-game resources.

So it looks good, but how does Darkness Rises actually play? Well, it’s basically a linear hack-and-slash fest where you beat up wave after wave of baddies and bosses with axe, sword and spell. Plenty of special moves can be unlocked and deployed, including slo-mo finishing moves. Add to that the ability to control large creatures, such as fire-breathing wyverns and trolls and rampage through hordes of enemies with them, and you’ve got a ton of cool-looking ways to slay in style.

If you’re looking to enjoy some nice-looking fantasy set-piece battles, it’s hard to take your eyes off Darkness Rises. Just be warned, this free-to-play game is aggressive with advertising IAPs, although the single player content isn’t too difficult to complete without spending money.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.2.0
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases 

Shadowgun Legends

Shadowgun Legends is the latest offering from Madfinger Games, the team behind the graphically impressive zombie apocalypse shooter Dead Trigger 2. 

It’s a first person shooter that boasts beautiful, colorful visuals. Shadowgun Legends is a real treat for the eyes, with lush graphics and a futuristic setting that will remind gamers of classic AAA PC/console titles such as Destiny and Halo.

You play a futuristic mercenary, or ‘Shadowgun’, that can be tricked out which an impressive variety of loot for an edge in battle, but also with an eye to cosmetics. Your tricked out hero will strut their stuff in front of other players, and skilled warriors will be honored with public statues of their avatar in the game world.

Be warned, Bandai Namco’s offering for mobile devices is a different beast from Tekken on other platforms. Nominally free, the game is full of micro-transactions and fiddly in-game currencies and stat-building. The sophisticated controls that characteristic the Tekken games have been scaled down to a limited repertoire of taps and swipes, with 2D movement only. 

Yet despite these limitations, there’s no denying that Tekken Mobile is gorgeous to look at. A veritable bevy of beautifully rendered biceps. The characters are rendered in fine detail and movements are fluid. Tekken Mobile is built to take full advantage of what modern high-end phones have to offer. 

  • App version: 1.1.1
  • App compatibility: Android 5.0 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases

Sdorica Sunset

Rayark is known for developing high quality premium paid mobile games, but Sdorica Sunset is the studio’s take on that ubiquitous but much-maligned concept, the free-to-play mobile RPG. It’s a genre oversaturated with poor-quality offerings, but fortunately, Sdorica Sunset manages to make the free-to-play model shine with a combination of charming design and well-crafted mechanics.

Sdorica‘s main appeal is in its distinctive colorful drawn visual style, which is cartoony without seeming childish. Lavish animated cutscenes serve to flesh out the story and bring the world to life. Even though I usually prefer a more gritty style in my games, I can’t help but admit that Sdorica sucked me into its cute fantasy. This is helped by evocative character design and voice acting, which tease more character out of the paperdoll protagonists. 

The storyline is essentially told through episodes of conversation between battles, which is where the meat of the gameplay is. The combat has elements of a puzzle game. The two sides line up and face each other, and the player matches colored orbs with their finger to trigger different attacks, spells and abilities. 

Battles involve a surprising amount of strategy – discovering what moves different matches perform for which character, and then deploying them at the right time, countering the enemy attack patterns or deploying a character’s specific action when it has the most impact. 

What about the monetization? Well, although it’s possible to play through the game’s story missions with the characters you get for free, unlocking extra ones (and costumes) is done through a ‘gacha’ or random reward system. So you spend your in-game earnings and get a randomly selected character.

If you have your heart set on a particular one, or the urge to collect them all, that’s where the temptation to spend comes in. All-in-all though, the IAP scheme is relatively restrained, and after a few days of playing, I haven’t felt like the game was really turning the screws on me to spend money.

  • App version: 1.1.2
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up
  • Price: Free with in-app purchases

PUBG Mobile

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, popularly referred to as PUBG, is one of the most played video games on PC and Xbox. Now it has finally arrived on mobile devices. One of the most impressive things about it is that it looks just as good on the small screen as on desktop, without many graphical sacrifices in its journey to mobile.

The battles themselves are between relatively small teams of ships, with an aesthetic that (no doubt intentionally) resembles the massively popular Eve Online. However, Galaxy Reavers offers an engaging single player experience, as you upgrade your ships, capture enemy ones, or plan what kind of fleet to take into battle.

The battles are somewhat slow-paced (think deliberate capital ship combat, not starfighter dogfighting). Which is just as well – part of the fun is zooming in and out of the battlefield to enjoy the view. But there’s still scope for advanced tactics. For example, you can issue commands before the battle starts to gain an advantageous position, or concentrate your fire on the rear end of enemy ships to destroy their engines, leaving them stranded and vulnerable.

In the late game, deployment of shields, superweapons and huge powerful units called Titans expand tactical possibilities and keep the game fresh beyond the basic “line ’em up and shoot ’em up” setup.

  • Version: 1.2.19
  • Compatibility: Android 4.0 and up
  • Price: Free (in-app purchases)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Hack and slash fans will love going against fantasy gaming’s favorite fanged foes – the orcs, in the mobile version of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Released ahead of Monolith’s AAA version, the free mobile game is a meaty offering all on its own. Essentially a strategy game with action RPG elements, you control heroes drawn from Shadow of War, its predecessor Shadow of Mordor, and the Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a series of small scale battles. Similarly to the PC/console version, the game uses the Nemesis system to improve enemy tactics. Talion can also enslave orcs and use them for the cause of good.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War’s battles aren’t terribly hands-on to begin with, which is just as well, as it gives the player more time to enjoy the spectacle. The heroes and villains of Middle Earth are rendered in the distinctive cinematic style. The tactical challenge comes in choosing your team for battle, and deploying crucial abilities and summons when the time is right.

At higher levels, the player’s timing and skillful deployment of these abilities becomes more critical, and further heroes and orcs are made available to keep things interesting. Heroes are also upgraded with various loot items and rewards, which can get overly finicky and immersion-breaking, but worth it you’re a Middle Earth fan wanting to see your favorite characters kick orc butt.

  • Version: 1.3.3.40900
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: Free (in-app purchases)

Samorost 3

If you’re not familiar with the Samorost series of games, the latest installment is a really good place to start. It has utterly stunning visuals. Samorost charges you with completing puzzles and tasks in an immersive, ethereal-feeling world. This isn’t your typical point-and-click adventure game, though.

Completing tasks in Samorost is almost secondary to exploring every inch of the gorgeous virtual world and drinking in the scenery. It’s a pay-to-download single player game, so you’ll have plenty of time to amble along at your own pace.

Part of the game’s charm is that often you won’t really know what you’re doing, what you’re supposed to be doing, or what actually just happened. It might sound annoying, but trust me, it’s more of a feeling of mystery than frustration.



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