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The Best Android Games Of 2021

Mobile gaming continues to rake in cash for big developers and indie publishers alike. Some mobile gaming has also closed the gap between handheld gaming and home gaming by creating content for both mediums. For example, players can enjoy Apple Arcade, Apple's game subscription service, on both mobile devices and Apple TV. Even so, in a market saturated with Apple products, Android remained the unsung hero of mobile gaming in 2021.

Mobile gaming made it possible for players to take their fun on the road in their daily public transportation trips, carpools, and vacations. Android games allow cell phones to become gaming consoles, and bring handheld gaming to a wide array of people who might not otherwise purchase a console. Developers are making more and more handheld competitors than ever before, including clones of popular consoles, but the most accessible gaming platform was in gamers' hands all along. The best Android games of 2021 continue the trend of excellent gaming on mobile devices.

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins puts players in a battle against the long-running series' most terrifying creatures, the Weeping Angels. These quantum-locked humanoids kill victims by sending them backwards in time, releasing energy that the Angels can then feed on. Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins puts players in the shoes of an average person who happens to find a phone that leads them into a race to save the world. Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins earned a 75 on Metacritic.

Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins is a "found phone game" that unfolds as a series of puzzles and mysteries players must solve to progress. While that setup might sound standard, Doctor Who takes things a step further. There's a certain appeal to found phone games, because they immerse players within the world of the game through the phone itself.

In a review for Third Coast Review, Marielle Bokor called Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins "the best mobile game I've ever played," and praised the integration of Doctor Who lore into an engaging game. Bokor noted that the game builds on existing lore in the series in a way that feels natural, and that the game's interesting story structure adds to the overall mood of the game.

Dragon Quest Tact

One of the most beloved RPG franchises, Dragon Quest, made its way to mobile in the midst of a pandemic, giving the world a much needed morale boost in the process. Dragon Quest Tact originally released in Japan in July 2020, but it finally made its way to North America and other territories in 2021. The game earned a 73 on Metacritic, putting Dragon Quest Tact ahead of most of its competitors.

Gamezebo's Harry Slater stated that Dragon Quest Tact offered much more than most mobile games in terms of both gameplay and story. "This is a fully-fledged tactical RPG that's packed full of neat ideas, cute characters and a strong enough story to keep you engrossed," Slater mused. 

While Dragon Quest Tact's tactical approach to combat might be too complicated for casual mobile gamers, JRPG fans will likely feel right at home building their party and exploring the world. Plus, if Pokemon has taught gamers anything, it's that befriending cute monsters is always a winning mechanic.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run

Crash Bandicoot is slowly but surely moving back into the public spotlight, even though the franchise found itself in hot water in March 2021. Somehow, in the same month that Crash Bandicoot 4 unveiled it's always online DRM system, it launched an outstanding mobile game. Although Crash Bandicoot: On the Run had a soft launch in 2020, it didn't fully release until almost a year later.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run takes a familiar formula and recreates it in Crash's image. Fans of Temple Run might find Crash Bandicoot: On the Run a bit familiar, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't put a new spin on the old "endless runner" genre. In On the Run, players bolt through each level, collecting items and finding secret paths. They can also relax on Wumpa Island, which desperately needs to be decorated. Crash Bandicoot: On the Run also features asynchronous multiplayer, allowing gamers to compete against friends and ignite their competitive spirits. 

One review said that the game falls somewhere in between being "easy to pick up but difficult to master," which makes Crash Bandicoot: On the Run the perfect game to pick up during quiet moments for a quick break. Crash Bandicoot: On the Run earned a 69 on Metacritic, making it a safe bet for on-the-go fun.