100 best free Android games 2014

The best free games on Android for phone and tablet

40. Pinball Deluxe

Pinball Deluxe is an actually decent pinball sim for Android, and it's free. At the moment it comes with four tables - Wild West, Carnival, Space Frontier and Diving for Treasure. Ball movement is convincing, and although a bit of the magic is lost thanks to having to use on-screen buttons, it's a smooth enough experience. It's ad-supported. Don't press those. You don't get a bonus.

Pinball deluxe

41. Winter Walk

Winter Walk is madness. You play the part of a gentleman, out for an evening walk. From time to time the wind picks up, so you have to hold on to his hat to stop it blowing away.

While this is happening, the chap's internal monologue appears on screen, giving you an entertaining and distracting read in the process, too. Very simple, but a perfect little high score challenge game for the touchscreen era.

Winter Walk

42. Colosseum Heroes

Publisher Gamevil takes a break from churning out the role-playing games to give dumb action a go here. Colosseum Heroes is a 2D slasher, where you simply try to survive for as long as possible, building up your armour and weaponry to make yourself tougher and meaner.

Technically this is a "freemium" game paid for with in-app purchases, but if you're prepared to spend a while building up your character's skills manually, there's no need to pay out.

Colosseum Heroes

43. Stardash Free

Developer Orange Pixel has a knack of creating excellent retro titles, with Stardash a fine example.

Designed to look like a Game Boy game from before many of you younger readers were born, Stardash is clearly a bit of a Mario homage - but it's done exceptionally well and is endlessly replayable. If you like it, and you probably will, there's an alternate paid version that removes the adverts.

Stardash Free

44. Scramble With Friends Free

Zynga's puzzler Scramble With Friends Free is technically a free game, but in order to get the most out of it and play as it's meant to be played you'll need to use the in-app purchasing system to buy "tokens" to let you access games quicker. Which leaves a slightly bad T-A-S-T-E in the M-O-U-T-H, but at least it's free and perfectly playable at a slow pace if you're just curious.

Scramble With Friends Free

45. Dead on Arrival

Dead on Arrival is a very impressive looking 3D survival horror game, which dumps you in a hospital infested with zombies. You then try to not get eaten by buying new weapons, boarding up doors to keep the brain-eaters at bay and using wall-mounted weaponry to quicken the zombie mincing process. As with many of today's Android titles, there's the option to pay for stuff within the game to unlock features and remove ads - but you don't have to.

Dead on Arrival

46. Stick Cricket

Stick Cricket is a fantastically simple little game that reduces cricket to its core values - you just smash every ball as hard as you can. There's no worrying about field positioning, just a bat and a ball coming at you very quickly. Initially it seems impossible to do anything other than make a complete mess of things and having your little man smashed upside-down, but it soon clicks.

Stick Cricket

47. Draw Something Free

Draw Something Free was a phenomenon that's taking the world by storm. Now four people play it. It's basically a mobile version of Pictionary, where you're given a choice of three words of varying difficulty, then tasked with drawing them so someone can tell what it is. Syncs with Facebook, too, for easy cross-platform play. If you like the free trial, there's a paid accompaniment with more content.

Draw Something Free

48. Fragger

The popular web-based Flash game Fragger is now on Android. It's pretty much a clone of Angry Birds, mind, offering simple physics-based challenges based around chucking grenades all over the place to make stuff blow up. It comes with some rather intrusive ads, but that's the price you (don't) pay for sticking with the free version.

Fragger

49. The Sims FreePlay

Global mega-corporation EA has gone literally mad, giving away its Android version of The Sims for nothing in the form of The Sims FreePlay. In return for sitting through some full-screen adverts every now and again, players get a decent mobile version of The Sims, complete with pets, plants, lifestyle points and all the usual mundane activities that make the series popular. It's not perfect, but does fit in most Sims core features.

The Sims FreePlay

50. Super Bit Dash

About as far away from The Sims as you can get. Super Bit Dash is a retro-style 2D platform game, with controls as simple as its pixel art design. The game runs at a constant pace, so all the player has to do is jump and super-special-jump at the right time in order to avoid smashing into the scenery. Obviously it's a lot harder than that makes it sound.

Super Bit Dash

51. Chrono&Cash Free

Chrono&Cash Free is very hard and sweet little one-screen platform game, where players jump about collecting bags of cash while avoiding enemies. And that's all there is to it, aside from some mini challenges to boost your score multiplier and online sharing of your scores to goad friends into trying to beat you. Looks cool, is a tiny download and a great laugh to play.

ChronoandCash Free

52. Autumn Walk

A weird little gem, Autumn Walk sees players controlling a man and his dog as they stroll through a Victorian park landscape. The challenge here is dog management, with the hound either running ahead or hanging back - both precarious scenarios that could cause the lead to snap. It's basically a high score challenge, to see how long you can stand the weird experience. Worth it for the awesome comic dialogue that accompanies your stroll.

Autumn Walk

53. Meganoid 2

Meganoid 2 is an insanely difficult 2D scrolling platform game, once again presented in developer Orange Pixel's awesome pixel art style. The levels are rather short, with the challenge here being to simply play them again and again and again so you can get through them without death. Might drive you mad. Might be your favourite game of the year. Close call.

Meganoid 2

54. Pitfall

Developer Activision has updated one of its oldest and most fondly remembered classics, turning the ancient platform game into a posh, 3D infinite running thing. Pitfall uses swipe and tilt controls like the famous Temple Run, including power-ups, vehicles and changing camera angles to add a bit of variety to the look and feel of it all.

Pitfall

55. Bad Piggies

A shock move from developer Rovio, in that this one isn't a simple take on the Angry Birds style. Bad Piggies is a clever building game, which dumps you at the beginning of a big map with a pile of component parts. You then build a flying machine using the given elements, then try to fly it to the end of the level. A really nice, original little idea from the physics game specialists.

Bad Piggies

56. Pocket Planes

Pocket Planes puts you in charge of an airline. You potter about the world looking for paying jobs, whether that's passenger or freight routes, then send off your planes to do the little delivery tasks. As things progress the complexity increases, until you're eventually flying customised jumbos with hundreds of passengers around major international cities.

It works in real time in the background, so you can minimise it and do other things while all your birds are finding their way home, then pop back in when the game notifies you that something's arrived and needs attention.

Pocket Planes

57. Neon Blitz

Neon Blitz is a kind of a posh tracing game, where you use your finger to draw over the shapes on the screen. You're rated on accuracy, with scores compared against the world on its global leader board. There are power-ups and stuff like that, but it's all about having a jazzy, bright experience, that works perfectly on a touchscreen.

Neon Blitz

58. Agent Dash

Agent Dash is another take on the infinite runner genre that's come to dominate the smartphone gaming landscape, only with a comedy spy angle. As well as swiping to dodge objects, Agent Dash incorporates weaponry and spy gadgets, making it more of an interactive and action-based experience than most of its "Step Right" peers.

Agent Dash

59. Whale Trail Frenzy

Whale Trail Frenzy is an updated version of the iOS original, with the developer heaping in more levels for the Android release of its bonkers flying game. You just fly a little whale around the sky (for reasons never explained), collecting things, avoiding bad clouds, building up a multiplier and generally being wowed by its unique and gorgeous style. A really sweet experience.

Whale Trail Frenzy

60. Radiant Defense

Radiant Defense is a fantastic tower defence game, given a dazzling modern look. You do all the usual tower defence stuff like building up your weapon strengths and deciding how best to stop the endless marching enemy, with some "super weapons" to unlock and hundreds upon hundreds of waves to beat. And it all looks astonishingly pretty on a big screened device.

Radiant Defense

In this age of austerity and scrimping, we've all long since sold our last set of dominoes and melted down our Monopoly counters for scrap.

So where's a frugal gamer to go for fun that won't break the bank? Why, straight to the TechRadar top 10 free Android games of course…