Best totally free Android games: no ads, no in-app purchases

Update: As of June 2021
Best totally free Android games: no ads, no in-app purchases

Some of the best things in life are free, and by applying a little discretion, we can certainly apply this to Android games. While there are tons of free games on the Google Play Store, most of them either have in-app purchases - or are riddled with annoying ads. But do you know that there are several high-quality, free Android games that not only cost nothing but also do not annoy you with ads! Well, here's a list of free Android games that you can play, no strings attached!

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Introduction

The Google Play Store is a veritable goldmine of free games and apps. However, most of these free games are also notorious for annoying the hell out of you with ads and prompts for in-app purchases. While there are apps and games that come sans ads, there is a tendency to write them off as poor quality stuff just because the developer isn't really making any money off it. Tell you what, this is not quite the truth!

Just because a game is free with no IAP doesn't mean it has to be of poor quality. Some of the best free games out there can take on the big-budget giants with nothing but passion, great design, and goodwill. These top free Android games won't cost a single cent. Enjoy them without any strain on your wallet or annoying ads!

List of free Android games with no ads, in-app purchases

Battle for Wesnoth

Battle for Wesnoth is an unofficial Android port of a turn-based fantasy strategy game that already has a dedicated community on PC. The free game has several story-based campaigns and a ton of different units from various fantasy races. You can play vs AI or other players.

Battle for Wesnoth has been around for years and doesn't boast lush graphics, but it has plenty of depth and still receives regular updates from the developers and community. A real work of passion, the Android version handles well and isn't too demanding at all on a modern phone, though you'll want a decent-sized screen for a good view of the action.

Download Battle for Wesnoth from the Google Play Store

Stranger Things: The Game

This is a must-download if you happen to be a fan of Stranger Things. Set in 1984 in Hawkins, Indiana, the game transports you to the first and second seasons of the popular TV show. This game might particularly appeal to the generation that grew up playing 16-bit games on their consoles - letting the now 40 somethings relive their childhood. Of course, it helps if you have watched Stranger Things - but hey, that's no excuse to not download and play this one!

Download Stranger Things: The Game from the Google Play Store

Freedoom

Gamers of a certain age will remember losing many hours of precious youth to brutal, first-person shooter pioneer Doom. This game is effectively a Doom port made with an original set of assets and game levels to avoid falling foul of copyright. 

Freedoom basically plays just like the classic, as the assets are different but still recognizable in the style of the original. You're still blasting ugly creatures in a vaguely industrial wasteland, and all the fun action, atmosphere, and tension of Doom is right here in a not-so-different skin.

As of 2021, the game did face some legal troubles - but remains playable. But active development has stopped on this project. 

freedoom
 Almost just like old times. / © NextPit (screenshot)

As an added bonus, you can always load your old (legally owned, of course) original Doom WAD files into the app's config folder, if you want to play the real thing on your phone. Fantastically, this also goes for related games on the same engine, such as Heretic, Hexen, and Strife, or the various mods of these games available online.

Download Freedoom from the Google Play Store

Pixel Dungeon

The various Pixel Dungeon titles are roguelike dungeon crawl games with primitive graphics (but great gameplay) that punishes failure harshly but were so easy to pick up and play again after every character death that I stopped worrying and learned to love restarting.

pixeld
Hit marsupial rats, get paid in Pixel Dungeon. / © NextPit

It's a simple tap to control everything, and although the 'basic' Pixel Dungeon game by Watabou has unlockable character classes and tons of items to enjoy the game with, there are plenty of other addictive versions such as Shattered Pixel Dungeon, Pixel Dungeon Unleashed, etc., that offer twists and different features based on the original. Note that Google Play Store now says that the game now has in-app purchases. I did not come across any, though.

Download Pixel Dungeon from the Google Play Store

Unciv

Unciv is an open-source reimplementation of the classic Civilization-style game of empire-building, expansion, resource management, economic and technological development. It basically plays like Civilization V, but with very simple graphics. Nonetheless, the strategic depth is impressively preserved, and Unciv is a small and lightweight app that runs like a dream even on low-end smartphones.

unciv
Everybody wants to rule the world. / © Yair Morgernstern

Download Uniciv from the Google Play Store

Pew Pew

This sweet little shoot-em-up puts the old-school spaceship 'bullet hell' scenario in a neon-clouded skin with simple but attractive graphics, but the real draw is the fast-paced action. It's basically blasting stuff, in different ways, unlocking rewards, and basking in the moving colors and sounds: what more do you want for free entertainment?

pewpew
Abstract, but cool visuals. / © Jean-François Geyelin

Download PewPew from the Google Play Store

Pathos Nethack Codex

This game is a roguelike dungeon crawling game with random area generation and a variety of different classes to choose from, items to collect, and monsters to slay. Based on the old school Nethack ruleset, Pathos is still being updated with quality of life fixes and offers a choice of graphical tiles and hours upon hours of playtime.

Download Pathos: Nethack Codex from the Google Play Store

Father and son

Father and Son is a story game that, very interestingly, has been published by an archaeological museum. The game tells the story about an archaeologist dad who has dedicated his life to his job - and his artist son.  The nature of his job does not allow the father to spend time with his family. The father wants his son to visit the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, where he can see his life's work.  

The story eventually transforms into a tale, where you can experience several major historical events from the past. This is a relatively short game that only lasts about an hour. But it is definitely worth a download!

Download Father and Son from the Google Play Store

Mindustry

Mindustry is a hybrid tower-defense sandbox factory game. In this game, you can create elaborate supply chains of conveyor belts to feed ammo into your turrets, produce materials to use for building, and defend your structures from waves of enemies. The game may be a bit intimidating initially. You can, however, eas into it once you get a bit used to it.

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Mindustry may be intimidating at the start, but it grows on you very soon! / © NextPit

Download Mindustry from the Google Play Store

Lego Hidden Side

Lego Hidden Side, is a game developed by, well, no prizes for guessing that one! This is an engaging game that combines the real and virtual worlds. With support for AR and multiplayer modes, the game continues to rake positive reviews by the horde on the Google Play Store.

Download Lego Hidden Side from the Google Play Store

Special mentions

Underhand

In this free deck-building game, you take on the role of the leader of a spooky Lovecraftian cult on a mission to summon your chosen eldritch abomination into the world. As you play your cards, you also draw new ones representing unexpected events that can help or hinder your progress. 

underhand
Lead your cult to world domination! / © Spoopy Squad

The audio provides a suitably creepy atmosphere, with a nice touch being the in-game radio that reports on how the world is being changed by your actions. Underhand is a complete game, if a little short, the random elements afford some replayability.

Download Underhand from the Google Play Store

Wicked Lair

This game puts you in the evil shoes of what is normally the enemy in video games - a dungeon boss. Tasked with building your lair of evil and filling it with monsters and traps to destroy the pesky do-gooders who insisting on invading and disturbing your peace. Make them pay, because you won't have to.

Download Wicked Lair from the Google Play Store

Warfare Incorporated

Warfare Incorporated is an old-school favorite, originally for Windows Phones and PalmOS devices, but its style hearkens back even further to the Command and Conquer real-time strategy games. You must build up base and produce an army to control resources on the newly discovered planet of Icarus. Sure, Warfare Incorporated looks dated by now, but the experience stands the test of time, and you won't find a more fully featured mobile RTS for completely free.

warfareinc
The old-school RTS look. / © Spiffcode

Download Warfare Incorporated from the Google Play Store

How to search for free Andriod games with no ads, no in-app purchases

Until 2020, finding a free Android game that did not have ads or in-app purchases was quite difficult. Today, that no longer is the case. This is how you can find free games with no ads or in-app purchases on any Android phone.

  • Open the Google Play Store.
  • Search for Google Play Games on the Play Store and install it if it's not already installed.
  • Open Google Play Games and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  • Select the options No ads, No in-app purchases, and Free install, and voila! all the apps you see in the list below conform to these three conditions.
Google Play Games
Here's how to search for free Android games with no ads and in-app purchases / © NextPit

Once you do this, do look for great free games and let us know if you would want us to add one of your selections to his list. 

Still on the hunt for great mobile games?

Have you discovered any free Android games that we should mention here? Let us know, and it might just make the list one day.


This article was updated in June 2021. Older comments have been retained.

171 comments

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  • marychap 2 months ago Link to comment

    Nice list. I love to play Plague Inc. Its of the best game app


  • SeboPlus 2 months ago Link to comment

    sounds interesting


  • Peter_Jeftic Apr 14, 2020 Link to comment

    Thanks ;D


  • Paul van Aspert Mar 30, 2019 Link to comment

    but the real draw is the faced paced action... What is that? Is it 'faceplant' or maybe palm/face? Any other guesses out there?


  •   25
    Deactivated Account Mar 25, 2019 Link to comment

    Thank you, not easy to find such games in good number so as to make your choice for the most favorite.


  • Divya Singh Sep 4, 2018 Link to comment

    Thanks for this list...will try!


  • Sorin Sep 1, 2018 Link to comment

    A lot of games, good for fun or for the time lost.
    But the most important game is missing, without which you can not make the top 10 of all the games ever played, a game that made history, a game that created general hysteria, a crazy rule: ANGRYYY BIRDS !!!
    (take it as a joke, please)

    Deactivated Account


  • stephaniesmith Jul 9, 2018 Link to comment

    I just heard these games and it looks very interesting and I want to play them all. Just want to share that I'm addicted with bingoscanner.com.


  • great_ngn Jul 7, 2018 Link to comment

    Nice list, I have enjoyed a few of them. Right now I'm playing a new one called Race Zero, which is amazing. To any F-Zero fans out there, you will love it!


  • baileybicheno Jun 18, 2018 Link to comment

    Great list! All of them are great game and my fave here is the Shadow Fight 3 and my most fave is found in bingoscanner.com. It is really interesting!


  •   46
    Deactivated Account Jun 14, 2018 Link to comment

    They may be free to download but then your blasted with ads have to give permission to all your data, not to mention all the in app purchases you blitzed with. I miss just being able to buy a game with out all that garbage that goes with them now.


  • Olga Fox Feb 20, 2018 Link to comment

    Dear Nicholas, please check out WorldCraft : 3D Build & Craft on Google Play. Its Free, and played by many players online. I hope, you will like it too.


  • Akshay Ghosh Jan 15, 2018 Link to comment

    hey Nicholas check these games out i think you will love some of them out..
    Stairs
    Vector
    Macaronis Adventure
    Smash Hit


  • Imtiaj Ahmed Dec 25, 2017 Link to comment

    What about the game Color Flow by One Thumb Games on Google Play? You should try out the game. You can play or create your own puzzles and challenge others.


  • Ilya Kurby Dec 13, 2017 Link to comment

    Nice list. I love to play Plague Inc.


  • Mike Dec 2, 2017 Link to comment

    The female character in Lineage looks like Harmony


  • Oleksandr Pedchenko Nov 22, 2017 Link to comment

    Nice list. I love to play Clash.


  • Rahul Rajput Aug 23, 2017 Link to comment

    Clash of clans Games Always super Awesome. I am highly addicted of this game


  • Zahaida Aug 21, 2017 Link to comment

    Awesome List Brittany, I really like the CSI and Quiz up games from your list been my fav's for quite some time now. I would like to suggest one such trivia puzzle that am stuck by currently Words To Emojis, it's a simple and addictive game just match the emojis with the displayed words and clear the level.


  •   1
    Deactivated Account Jun 20, 2017 Link to comment

    words on tour is not on the play store

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