We've already shown you our favorite new action games that have come out this year, but now it's time to share our all-time top ten list. These games are available for both Android and iPhone, they don't have intrusive ads or freemium schemes, and most importantly, they're all completely free to play.
Action games range from endless runners to racing games and fighting games. As such, the sheer number of games that fall under this category can make it hard to choose something worth playing, so we came up with our own list of the ten best action games for mobile devices. Though all the games in this list come with in-app purchases that can enhance gameplay, we made sure to avoid pay-to-play games and ones that were full of annoying advertisements.
Based off the hit anime and manga series, BLEACH Brave Souls follows the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager endowed with the special ability tap into the spirit world to fight otherworldly monsters known as hollows. The game does a great job in capturing the spirit of the franchise, and features awesome graphics and intuitive controls that'll have you slaying evil spirits for hours on end.
As a hack-and-slash RPG, BLEACH Brave Souls comes standard with all the elements common to role-playing games, such as the ability to improve your characters' base stats through experience gained in combat. In addition, the game gives you the freedom to assemble your ideal squad from a roster of characters to better reflect your style of combat.
Fans of the anime will really love the game's unlocking system, which allows you to collect, control, and level up characters from the anime, such as Rukia Kuchiki, Kenpaki Zaraki, and Renji Abarai. And just like the show, BLEACH Brave Souls lets you perform each of the characters' special attacks such as Ichigo's Getsuga Tensho to help you dispatch powerful opponents with cruel efficiency
Pokémon Rumble Rush is one of the newer titles to come out from the famous franchise, and it sports straightforward gameplay that children of all ages can enjoy. In it, you'll take on the role of an adventurer tasked with battling and catching Pokémon of all stripes while exploring uncharted islands on behalf of the Adventurers Club.
Exploration is key to Pokémon Rumble Rush. This is done through the use of Guide Feathers, which reveal previously unknown regions and the Pokémon that inhabit them. From there, you'll battle with Pokémon of varying types to collect as pets or donate to the Adventurers Club.
Its worth noting that unlike other Pokémon games, there's no way to evolve your critters in Pokémon Rumble Rush — instead, you can only catch evolved forms like Charizard or Raichu outright. That being said, the game features a simple system to enhance a Pokémon's health or strength through attachments like gears, which can be refined from ores that you can collect as random loot from defeated bosses.
Lost in Harmony seamlessly blends elements of obstacle running and rhythm games into a fast-paced musical odyssey set in the surreal dream world of two best friends as they cope with illness and grief. A poignant storyline that's too good to spoil combined with a beautiful soundtrack easily makes this one of the best action games for mobile right now.
Unlike most running games, Lost in Harmony has finite stages where you slide across lanes to gather stardust, all while avoiding obstacles and tapping on rhythm orbs that are tied to the musical score. More maps are unlocked as you progress through the story-driven game, along with different outfits and skateboards that you can purchase with stardust collected to customize your characters.
Lost in Harmony also comes with an expansion pack which tells the tale of M.I.R.A.I., a robot whose harrowing story of escape is told through a collection of new courses and accompanying musical tracks. In addition to its story modes, the game also lets you design your own courses, complete with music, which you can then share with the community.
Into the Dead 2 combines elements of running and zombie genres to make a terrifyingly exciting first-person running game. Unlike its predecessor, Into the Dead 2 is a story-driven, stage based runner that has you travel a certain distance to make it to safety and progress to the next level.
The object of the game is to survive for as long as you can — and as with other zombie games, you have to do this without getting mauled by the legions of undead that stand in between you and the loving arms of your anxious wife and daughter.
Like the original, dodging zombies like an NFL receiver is essential to going the distance and surviving the post-apocalyptic nightmare that is Into the Dead 2. Thankfully, the game's controls are customizable, which helps you hit the ground running, so to speak.
To add spice to Into the Dead 2, crates containing various weapons are scattered across the field. You also earn credits as you play, which can be traded in for various perks like animal companions. As with the original, there's tons of weapons to unlock and equip as you progress through the game, and with 7 chapters to play through, you'll definitely need all the arsenal you can get your hand on to survive the zombie horde.
CarX Drift Racing 2 is one of the most challenging and addicting mobile racing games out. It's sure to push your driving skills to the limit, regardless of whether you're racing alone or against others. While not as focused on going extremely fast as other titles like Need for Speed, the game is almost guaranteed to have your adrenaline pumping as you drift through extremely sharp turns at high speeds.
The game boasts console-quality graphics, customizable controls, and mechanics that add a layer of realism rarely found in mobile racing games. While CarX Drift Racing 2 offers a multiplayer mode to compete with players, it requires you to do solo races at the outset to ensure you first hone your drifting skills and experiment with speed, angles, and so on for consistent performance on the track.
CarX Drift Racing 2 features a wide array of cars that you can unlock, and though unofficially, comprises of cars made by famous OEMs like Subaru, BMW, and more. To perfectly match your style of drifting, the game lets you completely fine tune your ride from the ground up. These mods range from body panels like the fenders and wing, to brakes and tires, and that's barely scratching the surface.
Also known as Laplace M, Tales of Wind is a massive online RPG that first gained fame as a PC game. In it, you'll take on the role of a hero out to save the world from ruin. As is common with MMORPGs, the game lets you customize your character's appearance before embarking on your epic quest to ensure you stand out from the sea of players populating the world.
Beyond that, Tales of Wind also features several character classes that you can play as — from a spell-casting mage, or a cleric that specializes in the healing arts, to an assassin or warrior that excels in melee combat. For tougher quests, you can even team up with other players and summon monsters to help you clear dungeons that may be beyond your capabilities.
And if you're a fan of Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, Tales of Wind has you covered. It features a mini-game that will have you farm your very own plot of land to grow and trade crops, look after livestock, and more. So if you've been looking for a quality RPG with tons of content and decent storyline to boot, you should definitely give this little gem a try.
If you've ever had the urge to pilot a giant robot and rampage through city streets like a bull in a china shop, then Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade is the game for you. This sci-fi game from the popular Warhammer franchise has all the hallmarks of a great mobile game: Great graphics and touch controls, intense missions, and full character customization.
The intuitive controls make it easy to employ a variety of weaponry and wreak havoc on an assortment of enemy units that range from lowly grunts to tanks and robots. Your mech's movements are automated in a pre-determined route, which makes it a lot easier to concentrate on combat.
You can level up through combat and game progression, and this rewards you with precious loot, resources, and currency. With your currency, you can customize your mech by changing its color and upgrading its armor, or by crafting more powerful weapons to make it more potent on the battlefield.
Essentially a stickman game on steroids, Shadow of Death is a straightforward side-scrolling RPG that will have you hack and slash your way through hordes of shadowy creatures in a quest to reverse the calamity that's befallen your once-beautiful world. Featuring stunning visuals and effects, the game evokes the feeling of doom and gloom as you play, and has the ability to suck you in without realizing.
As a side-scrolling game with simple controls, gameplay is straightforward and will have you slaying monsters off the bat. Don't be fooled, however, as the game gets pretty challenging right from the start as you fight your way through various types of creatures that can deal damage up close or from a distance.
Fortunately, your character becomes more powerful as you level up, and beyond unlocking more powerful skills and perks, you can also equip better weapons and armor to cut down monsters more easily. Not only that, you can also save and use other fallen heroes such as Quinn Nephilam the cursed mage, in addition to enlisting monster companions like ice wyverns to fight with you.
A top-down action game with MOBA elements, Brawl Stars pits you against players across the globe in intense, three-on-three matchups in different modes of objective-based play. Gameplay is extremely fast paced, and features short three-minute matches that are set on small maps to guarantee encounters.
Thanks to its simple controls, just about anyone can play competitively in Brawl Stars. This helps ensure you have a steady supply of players to go against anytime you want to battle online. In addition, there's also up to 15 heroes with unique abilities like melee combat, shooting, and tossing explosives that you can unlock and upgrade, so you're sure to find a favorite character that will match your fighting style.
Unlike the noisy Talking Tom series of games that largely entertained little kids, Talking Tom Hero Dash is a great endless running game that anyone can enjoy. Just as its name implies, the game will have you take control of the talkative feline and dash through the streets of his beloved city in a quest to save it from an army of rampaging raccoons.
As with any running game, Talking Tom Hero Dash has a straightforward premise that entails running through the city streets for as long as you can to score the highest points while dodging obstacles and oncoming traffic, in addition to collecting coins and tackling raccoons. As you progress, you also have the ability to rescue and enlist other characters like Hank and Angela to keep things interesting.
While commercials are present and occasionally pop up as full screen ads every few stages along with banners that appear on the main screen, they don't negatively affect gameplay in the least. Beyond those, you have the added option of watching ads voluntarily to collect rewards and earn a second attempt at a stage after getting knocked out.
This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on mobile gaming. Check out the whole Gaming series.