Google's Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system, towering above Apple's iOS everywhere but in the USA. Commercial developers still tend to prefer Apple, as its users seem to have more disposable income, but indie and emulator developers have flocked to Android because it is much less locked down (yarr!). So it's basically PC mustard race, for phones. Speaking of which, it is possible to run it on your PC with Android x86.
Get your apps from:
- Google Play Store - Default "app store" that every 'droid phone should have
- AppBrain - An alternative way of browsing the apps available on Google Play
- SlideME marketplace - Download emulation apps from here
- UpToDown - A free apk repository
- F-Droid - A catalogue of Android free/open source apps
- Amazon Appstore - Amazon's app market offers a different paid app for free every day
- Itch.io - A collection of both free and paid Android games.
- Blackmart, Aptoide, Happy Chick - We won't provide the links, but you can certainly find them out there. You shameless pirate.
Some emulation apps are available at the SlideME marketplace, some are on the Google Play Store!
- Google Play gives a 15 minute grace period: after you buy an app, the Google Play page will display a 'refund' button. Handy if you get buyer's remorse or find your device can't handle some app well.
- Mind your hardware's limits. Don't expect some cheap old device to run demanding games or emulators well. But this does not mean you have to buy an $800 flagship smartphone; you can find some equally high-end ones for half as much, and even $200 can get you a pretty solid device.
- If possible, buy unlocked phones from independent stores. Carrier-subsidized phones are ultimately far more expensive, may have locked bootloaders, and often have added bloatware.
- Different countries and carriers use different frequencies for their phone networks. If you're buying a phone from some Chinese store, use this guide and check that the phone is compatible with your network.
- Since Android is open, manufacturers are allowed (much to Google's chagrin) to add their own "touches" to the system, such as extra apps or a different interface. So, before buying, do some research and decide if you like the manufacturer's style. And even then, you can override much of the interface by installing alternative launchers.
- Yes, touch controls are a pain. But there are several Bluetooth gamepads with holders, designed specifically for smartphones, and some even for tablets. Not all games are compatible, so check this massive list. There are several brands of pads to choose, most famously iPega and Moga, but also Razer, Phonejoy, i-Rocks, iMpulse, Samsung, Nyko, Bigben, Speedlink...
- Other than smartphones and tablets, there are also many Android-based handhelds, micro-consoles, mini-PCs / TV boxes, smartwatches, and other devices.
Free games Edit
If a game is free to install, but pay-for-play, it goes in the other list. If the game has a free version or demo that's good enough you'd play it without ever buying the full version, it goes here.
|Alchemy||Puzzle/Toy||You start with Earth, Fire, Air and Water, and from various combinations of these, create different elements. There's 370 in the game. Not great for much but dicking around and seeing what you can make, but hey, it's mostly free.|
|Asphalt 8: Airborne||Racing||Over-the-top arcade racer in the same vein of Burnout. Excellent graphics that wouldn't be out of place in a regular console. Great intense gameplay and wubwub soundtrack.|
|Beach Buggy Blitz||Racing||Kart racer from the makers of Riptide GP. Drive around the beach collecting coins that look suspiciously like the awesome face. Graphics are detailed and crisp in standard Vector Unit fashion, and the game is optimized for Tegra 3. Originally a paid app, it is now free, so you should pick it up!|
|Buddy Rush||Hack-n-Slash||Simple hack and slash game playable on your android, ipod/iphone, and browser (as a facebook game), and you can use your characters on any system. Just run around, kill monsters and perform simple quests (often involving reaching the end of a map or collecting items. You even get to kill mummys for toilet paper).
Over 20 characters to choose from, all but 3 (4 if there's a special going on a character) cost in-game premium coins called chips. There are multiple ways to earn chips, but downloading apps (and immediately removing them) is a nice way to earn yourself a few new characters to play with.
|Burning Sand 3||Sand Simulator||Sand.|
|Cartoon Wars 2||Tower Defense||Tower defense game with cartoon characters. Expands on the first game in a lot of ways, and adds in Cartoon Wars: Gunner levels as part of the campaign.|
|CheeseMan||Platformer||What seems like Alphanoize's answer to Super Meat Boy, only with 100% less pretentious developer soapboxing. More or less the same rules. Avoid the blades and make your way to the goal. Simple art style, no lives, no game overs.|
|Cut The Rope||Puzzle||Physics-based puzzle game where you cut ropes to swing a piece of candy along a level. Well-designed.|
|Cyclone 2000||Shooter||Cool clone of the classic Tempest 2000.|
|Danmaku Death||Shmup||A bosses-only bullet hell game. Dodge bullets, try to stay in front of the boss as much as possible and use your force field wisely.|
|Dead Space||Survival horror||Completely new game in Dead Space setting.|
|Dead Trigger||FPS||Very arcadey zombie apocalypse, very good graphics, although the levels are quite restrictive.|
|Elgard||MMORPG||Pretty much the only good MMO on the market, Elgard is an instance based MMO where you go into dungeons to complete quests with a boss waiting at the end of each dungeon. There is PvP, guilds, an auction house, and 3 difficulty modes for each dungeon. Elgard has 6 classes, with a 7th on the way, each with a bunch of flashy spells and unique playstyles. You can play the entire game solo or enjoy it with friends. Since all areas except for the main town are private, you don't have to compete with other people for quest objectives or farming. Has a nice OST too.|
|Final Freeway 2R||Racing||Remember OutRun? This game's creator likely does. It absolutely drips with nostalgia for 80s arcade racers.|
|Flow Free||Puzzle||Connect the color dots, but don't cross the pipes. Pretty addictive. Sort of a "cousin" to Huebrix.|
|Friction Mobile||Puzzle / Shooter||Damn simple one-button game, timing is everything.|
|Gabriel Knight: Sins of Fathers||Adventure||A series of voodoo-themed murders haunts New Orleans. A local writer investigates them, meaning to use that as the basis for his new novel, unaware that the crimes involve his own family's dark legacy. A true PC classic, and one of the darkest games of the genre, with updated graphics and redone soundtrack.|
|Gloomy Dungeons||FPS||A game that's similar to Doom. It has bad movement controls, but you will get used to it soon.|
|Grabatron||Arcade/Physics||Grabatron is about playing a UFO in 2D space, your mission is to destroy as much as you can before you get shot down. There are two control schemes; tilt to move and touch to move. Tilt to move allows you to calibrate the center position so you can play it properly from any angle. Your primary weapon is your claw, which you touch to lower and it'll automatically grab anything you hit with it. Swiping across the screen flings whatever is in your claw. The sound and animation is superb, it used to be a paid game but they swapped it over to the F2P model and made it so you could buy in-game currency instead.|
|Gridrunner||Shooter||A trippy shooter from the king of trippy shooters, Jeff Minter. At first it looks like a clone of Centipede with sprites ripped from Galaga and the sound effects from Robotron, but other than the arthropod-ish enemies coming down, there are also cannons trying to zap you from above and from the side. Then the enemies start to fly in bizarre formations, you get some crazy power-ups, and suddenly you can't see shit because the screen is absolutely swamped with color-flashing bullets errywhere! The touch control is a bit clumsy, but it's still something worth seeing.
An unique trick is that holding the device in portrait position gives you the modern remake, but turning it left or right gives you the VIC-20 and Commodore 64 versions from 1982.
|Gun Bros||Shooter||Awesome shooter game with fairly smooth controls and a lot of levels.|
|Huebrix||Puzzle||An addictive abstract puzzler. Drag the multicolored squares to fill every bit of the field without crossing paths.|
|Icy Tower 2||Climbing||You know what this is. Climb the tower's platforms before you're caught by its crumbling. Make lots of combos by bouncing around without stopping as much as possible.|
|Meganoid||Platformer||Avoid the spikes and enemies, get the orange diamonds and teleport to the next stage. Pretty simple game. Unfortunately it has a metric ton of levels and no continue. You also cannot grind for many extra lives.|
|Metal Slug Defense||Tower Defense||A Tower Defense game with Metal Slug characters and concepts that are actually implemented well. You spawn units by using an constantly refilling AP meter and watch them march ahead to fight, sometimes clicking to use their special moves.
Many of the unlockable units require a special currency, but you get some cheap yet useful characters and clear the game easily enough with the bonuses you're given. Just don't try the multiplayer until you've at least maxed out every stat.
|Modern Combat 5: Blackout||FPS||A good Cawadoody-wannabe... although clearly a step backwards after the spectacular MC4, the campaign is more segmented like Dead Trigger, but as a free game you can't really complain much.|
|Mole Kart||Racing||It's Mario Kart, but with moles. No, I mean it is literally Mario Kart. The track designs have been shamelessly lifted from some of the later games in the series, including courses such as Moo Moo Farm and Mushroom Gorge. Despite its blatant ripping off, it's actually a decent kart racer for mobile with plenty of control options. Sadly, no online multiplayer.|
|N.O.V.A. 3||FPS||Gameloft definitely is not the most original developer out there — if you've played Halo and Crysis 2, you will have many déjà vu moments — but they do make up for that in production values and solid gameplay.|
|PewPew||Arcade shooter||A Geometry Wars style game with great controls, and will run on anything. Loads of fun and quite challenging.|
|Plants War||MOBA||MOBA game where you play as plant creatures to defend your forest home as a hero with legions of AI to back you up. Think mobile DOTA or League of Legends.|
|Punch Hero||Fighting||Think Punch Out or Wii Boxing with touch controls. Unfortunately requires an internet connection to play and includes a couple of microtransactions for customizing/upgrading your character. Also features online multiplayer. Graphics are decent but textures look disgustingly choppy on HDMI.|
|Puzzle Family||Puzzle||A set of 8 puzzle games made by the creators of Super Action Hero and Slice It.|
|Replica Island||Platformer||Good, polished free platform game. Puts the trackball to good use.(if you have one)|
|Robotek HD||Fighter||You're a robot that controls robots and you fight robots with robots with robotic powers. Requires in-game purchase pretty early on if you suck at the game. (which you probably will)|
|Shift||Puzzle/Adventure||Shift is a puzzle/adventure game where the objective is to get to the door at the end of the level. The cool thing about Shift is that in order to solve these puzzles, you can shift the stage to be upsidedown or rightsideup. There will be obstacles such as spikes which kill you, a timer, keys, etc., that all hinder you to your objective of getting to the next level.|
|Simon Tatham's Puzzles||Puzzle||A variety of open-source puzzle games. Great for killing time, as it can randomly generate new configurations. Non-copyright-infringing Sudoku, Kenken, and other, less newspapery games. Be sure to look in the menu, as each comes with an explanation of how to play.|
|Slice It!||Puzzle||You're given a shape and you have to draw straight lines through it, separating it into a certain number of pieces of equal size, while using a specific number of strokes. Might take a little getting used to, because you HAVE to use the given number of strokes, but it's easy to kill time with. Beat levels by getting the pieces close enough in size to get up to 5 stars per stage, and you'll unlock other chapters when you get enough stars. As you play you'll get hint points you can use if you need them.|
|Snake Rewind||Casual||The best-selling mobile game ever... no, the best-selling game ever, period (it was bundled with hundreds of millions of Nokia cell phones after all) is back, from the same guy actually. But now it has modernized graphics, some chill music, and revamped gameplay.|
|Stair Dismount||CRUELTY||Drop a ragdoll down a flight of stairs with the right angle and force settings to damage it as much as possible.
I WARNED YOU BRO. I TOLD YOU DOG.
|Super Androix||Virtual pet||It's a 100% free 2D platformer mimicking Super Mario Bros. 3; unlike SMB3, though, all the levels are randomly generated. You can use lame touchscreen controls, tilt your phone or tablet to move your character, or map your game controller or hardware keyboard to the game's functions.|
|Zenonia series||Action RPG||Here's an example of how messy delisting games can be: for reasons unknown, only Zenonia 4 and 5 are still available from the Play Store (both free); the first three games are no longer there, even though the demos for Zenonia 1 and 2 can still be found. Meanwhile, Amazon still has Zenonia 1-4, but not 5. Go figure.
Anyway, back to the games: Zenonia is a series of action RPGs, with SNES-ish graphics. But they introduce fresh concepts to the genre like a day-night system, a hunger/stamina system, an inventory weight system, and a skill tree for customizing the hero. Highly recommend for both retro gamers and fans of the genre.
|Zoo Keeper Battle||Puzzle||Zoo Keeper is a match-three game like Bejeweled. This free version only allows online multiplayer battles, so score like a madman in the 30 seconds per turn you're given and rage like one if your opponent takes you down in a single turn while you only got bad draws or missed the good ones under your nose.|
Commercial games Edit
Stuff that you pay to download, or subscribe to play online.
Note: If you really don't give a fuck about the developers who made these great games, you could just google the name of the game and add apk at the end, and you'll almost always find an apk file from some site like apkmania, then just install it on your phone. Only works for games that AREN'T subscribe to play online. (Really though, if you enjoy one of these games and play it all the time, spare a few bucks and buy it from the store)
|Battle Squadron One||Shoot 'em up||Amigafags will remember this one. Fun and challenging, still looks and sounds damn good.|
|Blazing Star||Shoot 'em up||The classic arcade shooter from SNK, now on your Android device, featuring local co-op via-Bluetooth.|
|The Conduit HD||FPS||It says a lot about the Wii's lack of horsepower when your phone can run a Wii game in HD. You play as a U.S Secret Service agent who singlehandedly stops an alien invasion headed by ex-President John Adams in a generic, but nice-looking FPS with cool weapon design. The game got mixed reviews on the Wii, but the fact that it's a modern, non-Gameloft Android FPS makes it worth checking out. First 2 levels are free.|
|Cordy||Platformer||Before big names such as Rayman and Sonic landed on Android, Cordy was probably the go to platformer. Gameplay resembles LittleBigPlanet and Sonic the Hedgehog, with an art style similar to Super Mario Galaxy. Simple sidescroller with native controller support. Even with its detailed 3D visuals, it runs smooth as silk on most devices. Compared to newer mobile platformers, there's no real challenge and it gives off a much more casual feeling overall (even carrying over the three star ranking system from games such as Angry Birds), but Cordy is free-to-play, so you can try before you buy.|
|Cordy 2||Platformer||The sequel to Cordy, including power-ups, bigger bosses, and better graphics and music. Like the first game, it has native controller support and is free-to-play if you want to try it first.|
|Deus Ex: The Fall||FPS/RPG||An augmented mercenary finds he was tricked into joining the bad guys, and must uncover a global conspiracy in order to survive. A side-story to Human Revolution, with the same flexible gameplay: you can be sneaky or go all guns blazing, manipulate people and hack into systems.|
|Dungeon Raid||Puzzle||Jewelry-like rpg game where you must combo swords to kill enemies or collect money, armor or heath.|
|Dodonpachi Resurrection||Shoot 'em up||The classic Xbox 360 bullet hell shooter from Cave, now on your Android device, played vertically, with a new touch-based control scheme. A "lite" trial version is also available if you're wavering.|
|Espgaluda II||Shoot 'em up||The classic Xbox 360 bullet hell shooter from Cave, now on your Android device, played vertically, with a new touch-based control scheme. A "lite" trial version is also available if you're wavering.|
|Game Dev Story||Time Management||Time management game where you create and manage your own video game company. Guaranteed to suck your life away. Similar games by Kairosoft like Dungeon Village, Hot Springs Story and Pocket League Story (soccer) are great as well.|
|Giana Sisters||Platformer||Another one of the earlier platformers on Android with native (sort of) control support and optimized for Xperia Play, based loosely on the DS and Facebook remakes of Giana Sisters. Anyone who has even heard of Giana Sisters already knows the basics. It's Super Mario Brothers, except not. Become Punk Giana to shoot fireballs and smash bricks.|
|Grand Theft Auto Vice City: 10th Anniversary Edition||Sandbox||One of the greatest GTA games ported to Android to celebrate the series 10th birthday. Solid port with suprisingly good controls. Has nearly all the content of the PS2 game but on your fucking phone. (Will run like shit on weak devices.)|
|Horizon Chase||Racing||A fantastic arcade-style racer with beautiful graphics that mix modern and old-school. Pretty much a spiritual sequel to SNES classic Top Gear, the favorite racer of 9 out of 10 Brazilians (they even hired the same composer).|
|JezzBall Classic||Puzzle, Arcade||It's just like the original JezzBall for Windows, only better. There's a free version, but that only lets you get up to level 3.|
|Knights of Pen and Paper +1||RPG||From the same guys who made Magicka. A neat little "retro" style RPG that plays more like a tabletop Dungeons & Dragons game. Will keep you entertained on long car rides. It's recently been optimized for tablets.|
|Little Stars for Little Wars 2||Strategy, Puzzle||Great Game If you like Risk, Stratego, or Chess then this game is for you. Easy to understand game play and very difficult to beat at times. There is also a custom level generator so you can play past the main game and two-three player mode.|
|Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour||FPS||So shamelessly "inspired" by Modern Warfare that it hurts, but damn, it actually works. Very good gameplay and excellent graphics.|
|O2JAM U||Rhythm||Oh shit nigger! Do you remember O2Jam? Of course you don't. It was a rhythm game MMO, similar to DJMAX and of course beatmania, that closed down. Now it's back on your phone! Contains most of the songs from the MMO, including everyone's favorite. The game is free, but songs are bought individually.|
|Paper Monsters||Platformer||Simple 2D platformer with an art style similar to LittleBigPlanet. A bit like Cordy, but slower and with more focus on exploration. Tends to be compared with games such as Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong Country. Unlike Cordy, it tends to lag on older/less powerful devices.|
|Raiden Legacy||Compilation, Shoot 'em up||Four-game compilation similar to Xbox 360's Raiden Fighters Aces that includes the original Raiden, Raiden Fighters, Raiden Fighters 2, and Raiden Fighters Jet, played vertically using touch controls.|
|Realistic Summer Sports||Simulator||From the creator of Enviro-Bear, RSSS is the greatest and the most realistic summer sports simulator ever made. 15 different events and everything is controlled simply with one finger. Compete against your friends or computer and see if you can beat all the world records.|
|Riptide GP||Racing||Wave Race meets F-Zero X. Choose between the accelerometer and the touch screen to steer. Perform stunts in midair to fill your boost gauge and then use it to plow through the competition. Has an online mode and looks stunning over HDMI out.|
|Shadowgun||TPS||You're a mercenary sent to capture a bioengineer gone rogue, but you'll have to go through his mutant hordes to do the job. Yes, it's pretty much a Gears of War ripoff, but it's still a great-looking game with solid gameplay.|
|Platformers||Excellent ports of the Blue Blur's first three games. Rather than emulated, they were fully recreated on a new engine with many improvements, such as extra character choices, widescreen, better framerate for the bonus stages, saving, leaderboars, and achievements. Only the physics are a teeny weeny bit off... just enough for the most |
|Sonic 4: Episode I||Platformer||Decent Sonic game that got good reviews. Physics are rather awkward in normal gameplay and outright terrible in the special stages. Level design is better than you would expect while the music is decent. It's one of the best Sonic games made recently, now on your Android phone.|
|Sonic 4: Episode II||Platformer||The follow-up to Sonic 4: Episode I. Better graphics, better physics, and better music, but a bit slower and more puzzle-focused. Sonic is now accompanied by Tails, whom he must use to make it past certain areas. This bad boy is optimized for Tegra 3, but make sure your phone/tablet is powerful enough, as even the non-Tegra version tends to have severe lag on some devices. Also features co-op mode.|
|Spirit HD||Action||Simple but very creative action game. Defeat enemies by creating small whirlpools using your finger or stylus, but try not to crash into them. Art style is very reminiscent of Geometry Wars and can be played vertically or horizontally. Looks and plays surprisingly well even over HDMI out.|
|Standoff||Action, Arcade||If you've played "Wild Guns" for SNES, it's basically that with mobile controls. The campaign is very short, but the endurance mode is fun and challenging. Make sure to check the Settings page to see how to actually play.|
Sometimes games get removed from the Play Store. In such cases, don't be ashamed to pirate. Remember, Blackmart is your friend!
|Chocohero||Action||Endless falling game. Guide Chipster down the yummy path of cookies and cakes while trying to escape the huge wave of milk from above by tilting.|
|ChuChu Rocket!||Puzzle||Good ole Chu Chu Rocket in your Android Phone. Hundreds of puzzles, challenge maps and classic battle mode. Good touchscreen controls, though people with big fingers may struggle a bit for precision.|
|Expendable Rearmed||Shoot 'em up||Updated version of a little-known Dreamcast gem. Play as a soldier clone - any one in an army of clones, they're all identical and expendable after all - against an invading force of biomechanical aliens. Very hardcore game.|
|Jet Set Radio||3D Trick Platformer||Defying the stigma of "mobile isn't for 'real' games" once again, JSR is a full-fledged port of the original SEGA Dreamcast game with native MOGA controller support, with new features such as using your device's camera to create new tags.|
|Krazy Kart Racing||Racing||Konami's answer to Mario Kart, complete with cartoony items, colorful tracks, bonus challenges, and online multiplayer. Choose from characters such as Rocket Knight, Octopus, Goemon, and even Pyramid Head and use the accelerometer or touch screen to steer. Graphics are reminiscent of Diddy Kong Racing or something of the like, while the music is as techno as it gets. Sadly no Vic Viper or Twinbee to choose from.|
|Mystique||Horror Adventure||Free episodic games. You play as a girl with amnesia trying to escape from an isolated location.|
|N64oid||Emulator||The fastest, most compatible Nintendo 64 emulator. It seems the author done goofed and violated the GPL, so it was removed from every store out there. But it's not hard to find it.|
|Pizza Boy||Platformer||A retro 16-bit style platformer that hearkens back to SNES games such as Super Mario World and Marko's Magic Football. Unfortunately the game lacks native controller support, which sucks because of how awkwardly the on-screen controls are placed, but if you have a KeyToTouch-like app, this can probably be fixed. The controls can be a bit slippery at times as well.|
|Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition||Action/Party||Plays similarly to the Monkey Ball games on Wii. Use the accelerometer to collect bananas and roll your way to the goal. You will need a device with a good viewing angle to see where you're going, or just play through HDMI for cleaner results. Includes several multiplayer modes, including Monkey Target, Monkey Bowling, Monkey Golf, and Monkey Base (tablet only).|
|Tamagotchi L.i.f.e.||Virtual pet||Remember the original Tamagotchi from 1997? This is a simulation of that version, along with the second edition that was released a couple months later. One mode gives you the Tamagotchi as you remember it, while the other is enhanced with color graphics and better touch-screen control. They even put in notification support, so you remember to clean your critter's shit. It's only free for US and Canadian users, though. If you're not from either place, you can either download the paid Tamagotchi Classic app from Google Play, or download the .apk from here.|
|Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. Angel||Virtual pet||Just like the original Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. app, except it simulates the Tamagotchi Angel instead. Like the other app, it's only free for US and Canadian users. If you're not from either place, you'll have to download the paid Tamagotchi Angel from Google Play.|
|Tap Sonic||Rhythm||Fun and challenging rhythm game by Neowiz. Uses the DJMAX soundtrack (since Neowiz is Pentavision's publisher), so it's the closest thing to a DJMAX on your phone. Available for free, but you have to buy song packs or some shit like that and it feels like they're ripping you off. Despite that, it's pretty hard to turn down on a good rhythm game.|
|Tricorder||Toy||It turns your smartphone into a genuine sci-fi sensor device, using real data from anything in your phone that measures things. Looks and sounds like it came off the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Was removed from the public because CBS threatened to sue, so the app has been killed. (If they come out with an "officially licensed" version, be sure to take a big steaming shit on it.) If you have a rooted phone, you can still get it through the Blackmart Alpha appstore.|
|Wreck-It Ralph||Compilation, Action||Mobile adaption of the film, including five games: the original Fix-It Felix Jr. game (a Donkey Kong-style endless arcade game), Sweet Climber (Doodle Jump with candy), Hero's Duty (a twin-stick Geometry Wars-alike), Turbotime (a top-down racer), Hero's Duty: Flight Commando (a shmup in a diagonal perspective). Actually a better and more accurate adaptation than Activision's Wii/3DS adaption.|
Just install and play the games of yesteryear directly on your phone! Also, did I mention that there's no rooting required for these apps to work?
|Retroarch||Multiple||A single app to emulate several systems: PlayStation, NES, SNES, GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, Virtual Boy, arcades (Final Burn Alpha), Neo Geo Pocket, Master System, Game Gear, Mega Drive, Mega CD, 32X, TurboGrafx, WonderSwan, Atari 2600, and Lynx; it also has ports of ScummVM, Quake, Doom, and Cave Story. Of course, it is quite complicated by design. There's also RetroidNetplay, a fork that adds an online multiplayer function to it.|
|V Android's emulators||Multiple||This guy basically makes free ports of Robert Broglia's paid emulators. Go for it if you're stingy.|
|Gameboid||GBA||GameBoy Advance emulator.|
|Mupen64+AE FREE||N64||Nintendo 64 emulator.|
|MyBoy||GBA||GameBoy Advance emulator.|
|PPSSPP||PSP||PlayStation Portable emulator. While still a work in progress, it runs decently to really well on mid to high end devices respectively though it can only run a handful of games. Check it out.|
|Reicast||Dreamcast||Dreamcast emulator. Still in an early stage, glitchy, but can run many games pretty well.|
|Snes9x EX+||SNES||Super Nintendo emulator.|
|Robert Broglia's emulators||Multiple||Broglia's emulators are fast, reliable, and very authentic to the original systems. He is a fast developer, and likes talking to customers first hand if you throw him an e-mail.|
|DraStic||Nintendo DS||Runs at full speed and with multiple screen layout options. Definitely worth checking out, especially for touch-based games such as Animal Crossing.|
Useful apps and software Edit
|Chrome||Web||Google is pushing for Chrome to now be the default browser for Android. Supposedly this means they're improving it. Extra features if you use Chrome on PC, like syncing your bookmarks and sending pages from one to the other.|
|Dolphin HD||Web||Dolphin HD is a great browser, Opera Mobile is pretty cool too. I find the default browser perfectly acceptable though. Find what suits your taste.|
|Web||Newbs won't know this, but Opera is the most renowned mobile web browser from ye olden days. If you've unfortunate enough to be on a network that limits your data, try the Mini version, which relies on Opera's servers to compress webpages, saving you data and long loading times.|
|Chant||4chan||Even if 4chan has a mobile site now, a 4chan browser can be a lot more handy than relying on your web browser. Chant is a good free option, but sadly no longer available on Google Play because Google threw a fit about the adult boards. Grab the APK from the dev's Bitbucket (linked) instead.|
|Mimi||4chan||An excellent 4chan browser. View GIFs and images in the app, scroll to read through more pages, favorite threads, save images to a folder, and the keyboard doesn't block the Captcha if you've got a longphone.|
|Google Now Launcher||Google's official "fuck manufacturer customizations" launcher: it restores the stock Android interface to the way they meant it to be, much like what you'd see on a Nexus. Well, not completely, but as much as possible short of flashing a custom ROM - which can be a complicated and risky procedure.|
|ADW launcher or Launcher GO are both good homescreen replacements, or LauncherPro if you have a low end device. These allow for tons of customization, such as resizing widgets, icon packs, dock background, gestures to do certain things, and so on.|
|Zeam Launcher||If you're getting bored with rice shit or your default home screen just isn't that great, this could be a great launcher for you. Unlike 3 other launchers mentioned here, this app follows the KISS principle and so it's resource usage is the best out of the lot.|
|ICS style launchers with lots of customization. Nova Launcher has certain features removed from the free version (resizing widgets etc).|
|Smart Launcher||A vastly different approach from every other launcher. This is a minimalistic launcher that cleans up your home screen, leaving only the most essential apps always available, and automatically organizes everything else into category drawers. The kind of thing you'd not imagine, but after using it for five minutes, you think: damn, this makes perfect sense.|
|ZenUI Launcher||What you'd get if you had an Asus phone. Quite fine-looking, customizable without getting overwhelming.|
|MX Player||Video||Great video player that suports hardware decoding, subtitles and whatnot.|
|Poweramp Music Player||Music||Hands down the best music player on the market. Buy it and never look back.|
|DroidsoundE||Music||Excellent music player that runs just about every major game system's emulated music format (NSF, SPC, GBS, VGM, PSF, so on). Small tip: If your music's on an SD card, you may need to add its directory to DroidsoundE manually as a FileBrowser.|
|Beautiful Widgets||Clock / Weather widget||Paid app. Lets you download tons of skins to customize your widget all you want.|
|SiMi Clock Widget||Clock widget||A pretty and minimalist clock widget, and somewhat customizable too.|
|UCCW||Widget||Amazingly customizable widget with a nice WYSIWYG editor. Can be used for clocks, battery, weather etc, sky's the limit. Lets you import/export skins so you don't have to do all the dirty work yourself.|
|Google apps||All of them||Get everything that's applicable to you. They all pretty much work great. Besides, these are probably pre-installed anyway.|
|TubeMate||Downloader (YouTube)||If you want to download YouTube videos to your phone, try this app out. Since YouTube's terms and conditions forbid saving videos on their site, TubeMate is not available on Google Play.|
|Solid Explorer||File manager||Probably the best file manager currently on the market, but recently switched from free beta to a trial with a $2 paid version.|
|Dropbox||File storage||Dropbox. Who doesn't use Dropbox? Save a file on your PC, get it on your phone seconds after. They kinda fucked it up recently when they made it so fucking difficult to save files to the SD card, but it still works.|
|Google Drive||File storage / Google Docs||If you don't use Dropbox, maybe you use Google Drive. Comes with the extra bonus of Google Docs, as long as you're hooked up to the internet.|
|QuickPic||Gallery||I cannot stress this enough, if you have the 3D gallery and hate it as much as I did, go get this app. It runs great, no gimmicks, good overview of your photos, it just works.|
|IMO Messenger||Instant messaging||Client that works with pretty much any service imaginable, msn, facebook, skype, even steam.|
|SwiftKey||Keyboard||SwiftKey X is a downright amazing keyboard replacement with astounding prediction accuracy. The only two (immediately) noticeable downsides are the pricetag ($5) and that the "learn from your messages/etc" menu is set to automagically post bullshit to your Facebook and Twitter pages.|
|Swype Beta||Keyboard||Visit that link on your phone to download the app that downloads the beta. You might have this preinstalled on your phone; the beta is likely a more up-to-date version and comes with a couple light and dark themes. Slide your finger across all the letters of a word to spell the word. Uses a good error-correction method, so you don't have to be super accurate. Will sometimes auto-correct you in odd ways. TouchPal works with a similar method, and so does the default keyboard in Android 4.2.|
|WidgetLocker||Lockscreen||For ricers that absolutely must customize EVERYTHING, WidgetLocker lets you add widgets, apps and custom unlocking mechanics to your lockscreen. Not free though. If your device is going to get 4.2 and you can wait for it, 4.2 lets you put widgets on your lockscreen without any extra program.|
|Gmote||Media control||Control your PC's media software from your phone.|
|Handcent SMS||Messaging||Replace your default messaging app with Handcent, it's pretty neat. Looks pretty iPhone-ish. Think other messaging apps have been catching up to it lately, so maybe your default is just as good.|
|Barcode Scanner||Scanner||QR codes, yeah? This scans them. Now you'll know what all those barcode squares are secretly saying.|
|Screen filter||Utility||This applies an overlay which darkens the screen, if you need to make it really dark for whatever reason. (Like being an asshole and texting during a movie.)|
Root required Edit
1337 hackers only
|Kingo Root||Rooting||The easiest way to root your phone. Almost automatic, just follow the on-screen instructions. (Note, you will need a PC too.)|
|AdAway||Ad blocker||Simple and effective system-wide ad blocker.|
|Titanium Backup||Apps and settings backup||Lets you backup all your apps, along with app settings, phone settings and so on. It's a must have for any root user.|
|SetCPU||Overclocking||Paid app. Get some more juice out out of your shitty wildfire by overclocking it! Or alternatively underclock for less battery consumption. SetCPU lets you make profiles for when the screen is off, when the phone is charging, low battery etc.|
|screenshot||Screenshots||Although this one says it only works on rooted phones, it might also work fine on unrooted ones.|
|Root Explorer||File browser||Paid app, and not for the average user. Lets you mess around in the system files. Can be used to remove THE FUCKING 3D GALLERY or other useless system apps, change the boot animation (download one from deviantART you pony-loving faggot), or just completely break your phone if you don't know what you're doing.|
|ES File Explorer||File browser||Said to do the same as Root Explorer, but I haven't tried. Free.|
|LCDDensity||Fucking around||Change the density of your screen just for shits and giggles. Lower density makes everything tiny, high density makes everything huge. Too low density makes your phone crash if you're unlucky, so don't just tick off the set on boot option without testing first.|
|GameCIH||Cheat Engine||Allows you to mess with game values, set 9001 p2p coins, get max everything, and shit like that, also can speed up\slow down games.|
|GameKiller||Cheat Engine||Almost same as GameCIH but sometimes works better.|
|Lucky Patcher||License Remover||Allows you to block ads and remove license verification on apps that use it. Works well most of the time.|
|Viper4Android||Audio Enhancer||Remember DSP Manager? This is basically an audiophile's dream. Lots of Audio-FX, Dual-Core device recommended.|