(Article last updated on 13 April 2019)

Most free games on the Google Play Store are riddled with annoying elements like energy bars, paywalls in the guise of excessive IAPs (In-App Purchases) and other elements which ruin the fun. But there a few decent games on the store, especially from indie developers, which are free from this mess and are worth playing. Some of the games in this list do have IAPs, but they’re not necessary to complete the game.

Here are some of the best free indie games without any pay-to-win or pay-to-play elements. Please note that this is just a numbered list and is not ordered based on ranking. Almost all of the games listed here are playable offline, with the sole exception being an online multiplayer game.

1. Data Wing

Genre: Racing

No IAPs or ads

 

This game is described as a “story-driven, racing adventure”. This game takes place on the inside of a computer system. Here, you will play as a “DATA WING” and your job is to deliver critical data across the system. It has an interesting story, tight controls, quality soundtrack and over 40 levels. Data Wing is short and sweet and can be completed in about 3-4 hours. This game is completely free with no ads or IAPs.

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2. Dragon’s Blade

Genre: RPG

No IAPs, video ads are optional

 

Dragon’s Blade is a turn-based party RPG inspired by the older Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest titles. There are 7 character classes to form your party with and the game claims to have 100+ hours of gameplay.

Quite a bit of grinding is required to defeat the in-game bosses which can get tiresome after a while. The on-screen d-pad controls also feel clunky and the dungeons could use a map but it is a completely free game with no ads (it does contain optional ads which can be watched to gain boosts) or IAPs, so these are minor issues in comparison to what the game has to offer.

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3. Vextor

Genre: Arcade/Bullet Hell

No IAPs or ads

 

Vextor is a Geometry Wars-like bullet hell arcade shooter that can also be played with one hand. It has a pleasent retro vibe to it with the neon-soaked vectors and retrowave soundtrack. It can be played both in portrait and landscape orientations. In portrait mode, the game can be played with one hand and the single joystick is used to move the ship around as it autofires on the nearest enemies. The landscape mode provides a more traditional twin-stick shooter experience, with the left joystick used to move the ship and the right joystick used to fire bullets. I found the controls to be quite slick. The on-screen joysticks are dynamic, which means that they move around on the screen depending upon where you place your finger. Playing the game on landscape orientation felt more comfortable though. Vextor has 3 modes: Classic, Ramen Time and Bomb Scare which provide distinct challenges.

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4. Unpuzzle

Genre: Puzzle

 

Unpuzzle is a relaxing and minimalistic puzzle game where the goal of each level is to take apart a jigsaw puzzle , piece by piece. There are special jigsaw pieces which affect gameplay. Unpuzzle has a single IAP to unlock all of the 150 levels at once (note that they can all be unlocked for free via playing), remove all ads and receive unlimited hints.

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5. Bullet League

Genre: Online multiplayer/Platformer/Battle Royale

Online multiplayer game – (obviously) requires an internet connection

 

Bullet League is a 2D battle royale in platformer format. It is in Early Access right now (at the time of posting this), so expect a lot of bots while playing. It has a miniature version of Fortnite’s crafting mechanic: you can create blocks to bridge gaps or to use as cover. It is totally not pay-to-win and is purely based on skill and luck. A recent update has added the Duo mode which lets you play side-by-side with a friend.

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6. Rogue Dungeon RPG

Genre: Rogue-lite/RPG

No ads

 

The graphics of this game may turn off some players but its core gameplay is surprisingly deep. Also, the controls take some getting used to.

It is a rogue-lite with 5 classes (warrior, rogue, mage, monk and hunter), endless levels (floors), tons of weapons/items, 110 perks and customisable character builds. You start out with 2 classes and the other classes are unlockable via gameplay. There are also magical relics to be collected that can be levelled up to permanently increase character attributes.

The IAPs in this game are totally optional and is not needed to progress in the game as gemstones/shards/prisma are quite easy to farm.

This game was released in 2015 but it still gets consistent updates. A recent update has added the much needed cloud save feature.

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7. To Arms

Genre: Cards/Deck-building

No IAPs or ads

 

To Arms a single-player deck-builder with a decent amount of depth. The game mechanics might seem very confusing initially, but after playing 2-3 levels and reading through the in-game tutorial, you should be able to understand how to play. It has some elements of solitaire too. To Arms is completely free with no ads or IAPs.

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8. Serum

Genre: Text-based/CYOA

No IAPs or ads

 

It is a sci-fi, text-based choose your own adventure (CYOA) novel. It has a very well-written, immersive story consisting of 75,000 words and a total of 47 possible endings. It is a must play if you love science fiction.

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9. American Angst

Genre: Text-based/CYOA

No IAPs or ads

 

This game is rated 16+, so if you dislike dark humor, graphic violence or gore, then you might want to avoid this game. It is a relatively short text-based CYOA novel with turn-based combat which is sprinkled with horror and role-playing elements. This game is described as a survival horror but I found elements of psychological horror as well. The story, though short, is very well-crafted. It is a must play if you are a fan of psychological thrillers.

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10. It’s A Space Thing

Genre: Arcade/Same-screen local multiplayer

No IAPs

 

It’s A Space Thing is an arcade game which requires sharp reflexes. The enemy AI can get really tough to beat at times. There is also a same-screen local multiplayer mode in this game aside from the Single Player and Boss modes. It has no IAPs.

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Originally posted on March 2019:

11. Battleheart

Genre: Strategy/RPG

No IAPs or ads

 

This game has been around for quite a while. If you haven’t played it yet, you should definitely check it out. This game has got zero IAPs or ads which means it’s completely free, no strings attached.

In this game, you command a team of heroes (a maximum of 4 at a time) to slay monsters and other vile creatures. There are different classes of heroes that can be recruited in the Tavern and there are numerous gears and items to collect. It has got a charming art style and decent gameplay that will satisfy you for countless hours.

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12. Caves

Genre: Rogue-lite/turn based

 

This indie rogue-lite is filled with dozens of “suits” (basically classes), tons of guns from revolvers to highly powerful futuristic “prototype guns” (bows and arrows are included too), melee weapons, magic scrolls, etc. The gameplay is a mix of mining, dungeon crawling, and tactical movement. Making careful use of your available resources and taking advantage of your environment is a must if you want to progress in this game. It’s a surprisingly deep game and you’ll be spending hours on a run before you know it.

The solo developer behind this game constantly updates it with new content.

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13. Prizefighters

Genre: Fighting/Sports

 

This is a no-nonsense boxing game with pixel graphics and solid gameplay. There’s a Career Mode, an Arcade Mode, weekly online tournaments and also Online Multiplayer. The thing that I like most about this game is that it takes reflexes and quick thinking to beat your opponent just like in a real boxing match. You can customise your fighter, the ring and even your NPC opponents.

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14. Epic Conquest

Genre: Anime/Action/RPG

 

This is basically a hack-and-slash action RPG with levels and a story which is expressed via cut-scenes. The combat is fast, fluid and takes skill. The in-game premium currency can be earned at a decent rate via the in-game timed chest, daily challenges, boss battles and occasional drops from monsters. The character dialogues can get lengthy at times but it’s not a big deal as it can always be skipped. A new update has also added a companion/pet system and a couple of new modes to the game.

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15. Russian Car Driver ZIL 130

Genre: Simulation/Driving

 

This is a Russian truck driving sim where you can drive around a decent-sized, open-world Russian region and complete deliveries, compete in races, complete the storyline quests or even smuggle wares (if that’s your thing). You can customise and upgrade your truck and also start your own shipping company later on. This game also offers extra modes such as parking, racing, mountain climbing and a chill arcade mode. This game is filled with decent amount of content for a mobile game. It can also help you to scratch that Euro Truck Simulator itch while you’re away from your PC.

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16. Seedship

Genre: Text-based/Strategy

No IAPs or ads

 

 

Seedship is a sci-fi themed text-based game in which Earth is no more and you’re in control of a ship containing the cryogenically frozen survivors of the human race. Your mission is to find a new home for the last remaining members of the human race.

This game is filled with random events to spice things up and each play-through is entirely different. It’s great fun for playing in short bursts or even for extended periods. It is completely free with no ads.

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17. Kai Chronicles

Genre: Text-based/CYOA

No IAPs or ads

 

This app is described as a “player” for Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf series of gamebooks, translated by Project Aon. If you have even a passing interest in gamebooks or CYOA/text based adventure games, you should definitely check this out. This app contains 12 books of the series at the moment and everything is completely free. There are no ads as well.

(Bonus: Some really good illustrations)

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18. King Crusher

Genre: Rogue-lite

 

It is a relatively new rogue-lite with an arcade twist. There are 12 character classes and 60 random events. It features swipe and tap controls that are easy to learn, but the gameplay is hard to master. It also features collectible “Heroes” that provides boosts to specific classes. The IAPs seem to be entirely optional and I found that the in-game currency can be earned at a reasonable rate.

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19. Summon Mate

Genre: RPG/old-school/monster collecting

No IAPs

 

This game isn’t for everyone: it has a poor English translation and is a bit rough around the edges. But if you loved playing Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 on GameBoy Color, it’s safe to assume that you will love this game. Or if you prefer old-school monster collecting / battling RPGs over the endless supply of mindless cash grabs that Pok√©mon-like games on the Play Store have become, you should check it out.

Summon Mate has got tons of monsters to collect. There is an “absorption” mechanism which can be used to create some really cool monsters by fusing existing ones. The strategy has got enough depth to keep you engaged for countless hours. There is even a PvP mode which is unlocked after you beat the main game. You can also create your own dungeons and upload them for other players to play or play dungeons created by other players. There are no IAPs and video ads are entirely optional: ads can be watched to get random items (the Lucky Ring is especially useful) or to cheat through a puzzle. The cloud save feature is a big plus.

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20. Space Expedition

Genre: Adventure/Platformer

No IAPs

 

This is a short and sweet sci-fi themed platformer in which you play as an astronaut who is out to discover what really happened on a distant space station. It has got a decent plot, precise controls, mutants to kill and futuristic machinery to operate.

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