Best new Android games to download in October

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Android has an awful lot of games, and each month new ones are released. Knowing which ones are any good can be tricky. So we’ve put together a list of the best games that we’ve discovered on the Play Store—just three each month to ensure that only games we’ve played make it onto the list. This month, we’ve added Chaos Reborn: Adventures, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and Vampire’s Fall: Origins.

October

The Fall season is here, it’s time to stop spending so much time outside and put in some serious gaming, people! To that end, we’ve a pair of premium games to get stuck in to, one for tactical minds and one for story lovers. For a little of both, there’s also a great new free offering in the form of an old-school RPG.

Chaos Reborn: Adventures

Here’s one for the hardcore. The brainchild of X-COM creator Julian Gollop, Chaos Reborn: Adventures is a challenging strategy game that you can really sink your teeth into. The game is fantasy themed, in which two wizards face each other across a hexed battle map, summoning creatures and casting spells to defeat their rival.

Chaos Reborn is a premium game which also exists on PC, and asks for an equivalent price on Android. But for your 10 bucks, you get a deep, challenging strategy game which doesn’t hold your hand. It’s tough, and it takes a while to get the hang of all the mechanics and options at your disposal. But when you do, you have a deep strategy game with an offline single-player story campaign and competitive multiplayer where your own skill is rewarded – not how much money you spent on in-game advantages or loot boxes. 

And winning at Chaos Reborn is definitely rewarding…it’s a complex game, with elements of RPG, card battles, chess and even poker, such as positioning, combining colors and elements, bluff, and chance are all a factor. Aspiring warlords looking for new worlds to conquer shouldn’t be put off by the price.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0.1
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up
  • Price: $9.99

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

If you enjoyed playing Dontnod’s Life is Strange this summer, then you’ll be happy to know that you return to Arcadia Bay in this prequel, which sets up the story and clears up many mysteries that were only implied during the first game. 

This time, the protagonist is rebellious punk teen Chloe Price, a creative thrill-seeking rebel who finds an escape from her troubles at home with her authoritarian stepfather-to-be though her surprising friendship (or more?) with the beautiful and popular Rachel Amber. Unfortunately, Rachel has some dark secrets of her own.

Deck Nine’s Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a great complement to the original, as themes of friendship, family, love, loyalty and justice are explored through the emotionally charged lens of its protagonist. If you’re hungry for story-games on your phone following the sad demise of Telltale games, then it’s time to give the Life is Strange series a try.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0.2
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: Free first episode, $11.99 for full game

Vampire’s Fall: Origins

Vampire’s Fall: Origins is a free indie RPG with a really old-school feel to it. A free-roaming world with a top-down isometric view reminiscent of classics like Diablo and Baldur’s Gate, you are – yes! – a callow youth who takes up arms to save your village as it becomes threatened by a rising evil.

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Vampire’s Fall: Origins is a free-to-play indie RPG! / © Early Morning Studios

To stop this evil, you’ll wander the world, get quests from NPCs with big ol’ exclamation points over their heads, and battle monsters for treasure and experience to improve your equipment and character skills. It sounds cliche, but Early Morning Studios clearly love the genre and play all the classic tropes well.

If, like me, you enjoy this kind of classic RPG, Vampire’s Fall: Origins is a welcome addition to the Play Store and a refreshing antidote to all the glossy gacha games that seem more interested in extracting money than story or world-building. The game is completely free to play with no loot boxes or pay-to-win mechanics, and also playable offline (but there’s a multiplayer PvP element for online play, too), but you can also opt to support the devs by watch ads throwing some money their way if you want to.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0.38
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: Free

September

As the gaming summer comes to an end it would be amiss not to mention the arrival to Android of gaming’s biggest phenomenon, Fortnite Battle Royale. If you’d like to know how Epic Games’ smash hit plays on Android, check out our full review. But even if you’re not a battle royale fan, we’ve got some great titles to recommend for your gaming pleasure this month.

Gladiabots

Gladiabots is a fun strategy game in which teams of robots battle each other, but with a special twist—these robots are autonomous, so rather than control them directly, the follow the AI that you have programmed for them in advance. Programming? Not so fast. You don’t need to take a coding course before enjoying Gladiabots, but you still might learn something about AI along the way.

The programming instructions for your robot team is done via simple flowcharts where you can set actions and conditions that dictate how each bot behaves in different situations. It sounds complicated but the game teaches you the basics through a well-designed sequence of tutorial levels that introduce you to different concepts step by step until you’re ready to program a full team.

Once you’re ready it’s time to throw your team into battle against CPU and human opponents (cross-play is supported with the Steam and iOS versions of the game). There are several different robots to choose from with different strengths and weaknesses, so your team makeup and positioning matters, but the main challenge is making your robots smarter than the other side, since your enemy only has access to the same units you do.

After playing Gladiabots, I swear I’ll never laugh at the stupid AI in video games again now that I have got an idea of just how tricky it can be. Aside from this insight, Gladiabots is a great strategy game, and really addictive and challenging as you refine your AI to make the perfect competitive team. Be warned, that this is still a Beta version, so many things could change (hopefully for the better) before the final release.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: Beta 1.2
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: Free with in-app purchases

Gleam of Fire

Retro action platformers and Metroidvania style games have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years and Gleam of Fire is the latest treat for fans of this style. The game has actually been out for a couple of months, but it took some time to discover its depths before I could present it to you here. Taking place in a dark world punctuated by the bright neon light of magical effects, you guide our suspiciously batman-looking hero through the 2D environments using abilities such as your sword, arrows and dash to evade traps and defeat your enemies.

Gleam of Fire has a distinct visual style that it pulls of with flair, or is it flare? Lighting up the gothic shadowy realms with flashes of electric blue and splashes of red blood looks really cool, and the levels are well designed so as to keep the action at an engaging place and introduce new monsters and challenges at the right intervals.

Be warned though, your journey will not be easy. Gleam of Fire is particularly unforgiving when it comes to checkpoints, as in…when you die, you’re back to the beginning of the level, even if you were seconds away from finishing. There’s just a touch of Dark Souls-style harshness here, which will be a bonus or a sore point for different kinds of gamers.

While not a true Metroidvania game (you can’t backtrack to different levels), Gleam of Fire rewards you for exploring with upgrade powerups and secrets, so there’s plenty to do within the 30 levels you get for the price.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.6.0
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up
  • Price: $2.99

Final Frontier

After Doom and its clones birthed the first person shooter, and Dark Souls inspired the Souls-like genre, are we seeing a similar thing with Reigns? Because it’s impossible not to play Final Frontier without thinking of it as a version of the royal strategy/RPG/card game…in SPAAAAACE!

And sure, it kind of is. Instead of ascending the throne, you’re placed in command of a space colony and have to make important decisions that are presented to you by a variety of different characters, from scientists to military officers and even the alien natives that may be present on humanity’s future home.

As with Reigns, the different decisions increase and decrease various resources and please/displease different characters and factions. You’re also expected to die-a lot-as the consequences of poor decisions catch up with you and you assume the role of the last commander’s replacement and experiment with a different approach.

Just because Final Frontier has copied a successful formula, I’m happy to see another game join this nascent genre, as it still means a new setting, stories and characters to discover. Final Frontier also has a unique modifier mechanic that allows you to tweak the situation in further run-throughs. All in all, this game stands up in its own right and is worth a try for fans of the Reigns series looking for more or anyone seeking a fun challenge.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0.1
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: $3.99

August

It’s been a fantastic few weeks for Android game releases, and we’ve selected the cream of the crop to bring you the best Play Store releases for August, including Life is Strange, the first Shin Megami Tensei mobile game, and a zen-inducing endless surfer.

Life is Strange Mobile

Life is Strange broke a lot of hearts back when it released for PC and consoles in 2015, but in a good way. The emotional story game was ported over to iOS at the beginning of this year and now, finally, it’s ready to reach a new audience with its release on the Play Store.

I’m coming to this review after having previously played Life is Strange on PC, and it’s good to see that the port doesn’t cut too many corners. Graphically, Life is Strange looks good on mobile, even if keen eyed PC gamers will notice a few lower-res assets textures here and there. But all the important story content is there, and the overall game experience hasn’t been pared down for phones.

Life is Strange puts you in the shoes of Max Caulfield, a high-school girl with a passion for photography who just recently moved back to her hometown of Arcadia Bay.  After she witnesses a girl get shot in her school, Max discovers that she can rewind time, allowing her to change what happens in the past, hopefully for the better.

The girl you save turns out to be Max’s former best friend Chloe, a charismatic but troubled teenage rebel who’s gotten in way over her head. As Max, you team up with Chloe to solve a mysterious disappearance, all the while our heroine is haunted by visions of a terrifying storm sweeping in to destroy Arcadia Bay.

Life is Strange is a story game where your choices matter. You guide Max around the scenes, interact with objects and characters and make decisions that advance the story. The ‘rewind’ ability lets you play around with these decisions, and reverse your choices and check the consequences of different actions (at least in the short term…the far-reaching consequences will still come back surprise you).

While the supernatural weirdness adds some big-picture tension and interesting gameplay mechanics to Life is Strange, it’s the game’s more down to earth depictions of human relationships and interpersonal drama that make it so compelling. As you play through the story, you’ll interact with fellow students, parents, teachers, and various other residents of Arcadia Bay, many of which have their own agenda and secrets that you have to negotiate to pursue your goals. Most affecting is the relationship between Max and Chloe, two estranged friends who still care deeply for each other

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Life is Strange shines with cinematic storytelling. / © AndroidPIT (screenshot)

Life is Strange isn’t an accurate portrayal of the life of a teenage girl by any means, and the dialogue can sometimes come across as unrealistic or corny. But by and large, there are more hits than misses over course of the story, and when the emotional beats hit hard, they really work. Dontnod’s cinematic scene-setting and touching indie score carries the storytelling over the rough parts.

Life is Strange is definitely worth playing, but what sacrifices to we trade for the convenience of playing it on mobile? Well, the controls for one thing. Point-and-click gives way to drag-and-tap, and this can get frustratingly clunky and slow on the small screen, especially when the story demands urgency.

Another source of annoyance is that there’s no manual save in Life is Strange, instead, the story simply autosaves at predetermined checkpoints. Fine when you’re spending an evening gaming at home, but not ideal for playing in short bursts when you have to stop playing to step off the subway or take an important call. Playing on the go, I had to repeat myself a few times because I’d been interrupted before the checkpoint. For the mobile version, I’ve have appreciated more frequent autosaves.

Overall, Life is Strange remains a worthwhile game and essential for fans of a well-developed story. Your mobile device still isn’t the best way to experience it compared to PC or console, but if you lack a home console/PC or just prefer handheld gaming, then this stands up as one of the best titles available on Android.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.00.258 
  • Compatibility: Android 6.0 and up
  • Price: First episode free, $8.99 for the complete game

Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2

Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 sees the cult Japanese RPG franchise come to mobile devices, but rather than a port, this title is developed natively for smartphones, and rather self-aware about it. You take on the role of an Devil Downloader, or Dx2, who has the ability to use their smartphone to see and control demons and spirits, and must use these demons, Pokemon-style, to battle rivals Dx2s in a shadow war between the Liberators (good guys) and the Acolytes (bad guys).

From the music to the character outfits to fourth-wall-breaking, Shin Megami Tensei Dx2 Liberation is self-consciously stylish to the point of parody sometimes, but often pulls it off with flair. The story is a simple good-vs-evil affair where you complete regular missions for rewards, but the goofy-yet-endearing cast of characters that make up the motley crew of Liberators kept things entertaining in between battles, even if NPC interaction is pretty shallow compared to the other Shin Megami Tensei titles on PC.

It’s not just your teammates you get to chat to either. The ‘demons’ (actually almost any kind of being from world mythology, including deities, fairies, and monsters) can be spoken to at random points during battle, and you can negotiate with them, charming them with words and offering gifts to win them over to your side. The demons showed a decent amount of personality in these interactions, and punctuate the battles with interesting and often humorous dialogue choices. Despite the jokes in dialogue, this game with demons in it has some dark themes…corruption, drug use, etc, will come up. It’s all part and parcel of the series.

Through negotiations and summoning, you’ll amass quite a collection of demons, which you can then fuse together to create even more powerful ones. This gotta catch ’em all aspect is appealing to completionists, but of course, since this is a free to play game, you can make in-app purchases for instant access to the resources you need to summon more powerful demons more quickly without completing missions.

While the main story isn’t too demanding in terms of difficulty, there’s a PvP mode present where you can battle your friends and rivals around the world with your demon team. This is likely where the big spenders will be able to delight in the powerful rosters that their investment has provided. Another nice perk to collecting as many demons as possible: you can even show off your demon collection in the real world and pose with them in your surroundings using AR.

Liberation Dx2 is thankfully not just a trap for your money (though it will throw various offers in your face quite often), it’s clear that real effort has gone into the story and mechanics, and it’s nowhere near as frustrating with monetization as many of its rivals on the Play Store. As a good-looking free-to-play JRPG and as an easily accessible entry point into the world of Shin Megami Tensei, it’s well worth a try.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.4.0
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: Free with in-app purchases

Alto’s Odyssey

Finally, the long awaited sequel to Alto’s Adventure has arrived on Android! Especially long awaited, since the game has already been out iOS for some time. A familiar sad story, but let’s not dwell on that. We’ve got some sandboarding to do.

Sandboarding? Yes, it’s a real thing, and soon to become one of your favorite things. Basically snowboarding for the desert, this is how your character will be speeding through the lush levels of Alto’s Odyssey. Aside from the change of environment, Odyssey is very much like Adventure, but more. More variety in levels, more movement tricks, more worlds to discover and secrets to find.

Suffice to say, fans of the first game will find a lot to love in the sequel. It’s main appeal over other endless runner type games is atmosphere. The levels are truly beautiful. Desert dunes, ancient temples and rock canyons are painted with rich, evocative colors that give an impression of vastness beyond the 2-dimensional plane that you’re racing down. A day-night cycle and weather effects not only add variety to the palette, but add a sense of life to the fantastic world. Music also plays a key part, with the relaxing yet driving rhythms absorbing you into the game.

As you concentrate on the environment around you to time your jumps, flips and tricks, it’s easy to zone out and forget the outside world. Alto’s Odyssey isn’t exactly a rhythm game, but it shares something in common with rhythem games in that, after some practice, the pleasure will come from your mastery of timing, and feeling the right moment to act without thinking.

You can be pulled back to harsh reality all to easily when you mess up a jump and crash, it’s true, especially if you fail at scoring your goal for the level. But if you’re just playing to relax, you can select “zen mode”, which frees you from the pressure of completing challenges and just lets you dust off and pick up again whenever you wipe out. 

Alto’s Odyssey is free to play, but you’ll get ads in between levels that can be removed for a couple of bucks. If you’re impatient, you can also outright purchase the coins that you normally collect in the different levels, which can then be used unlock special items and bonuses, like a wingsuit or compass that provide powerups.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.0.2
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: Free, ad-supported, in-app purchases

Already played the best new Android games this month? Why not take a look at what’s coming next, in our round-up of the most anticipated Android games coming this year!

What were your favorite games from the last month(ish)? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll try and check them out!

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