We all know that mobile gaming is substantially different from console or PC gaming, but don’t dismiss it as the least of the three. Developers know that you won’t be sitting down for hours at a time to play a mobile game (with some exceptions, more on that later…) so they tend not to waste your time with tutorials and intros that drag on for hours. So if you’re feeling the urge to knock the virtual stuffing out of a stranger half the world away, try one of these fantastic Android multiplayer PvP games.
All of these games are free, so microtransactions are the order of the day here. However, I’ve made sure to avoid any pay-to-win games and focus on those that reward skill or time over money. Many of these games are also cross-play, meaning you won’t exclusively be playing against other mobile users. If that’s what you’re exclusively looking for, check out our list of the best Android games that support cross-play.
Hearthstone for mobile is mostly identical to the phenomenally successful desktop game. Released in 2014, it’s grown beyond its humble card-battling roots to have three completely distinct game modes, Hearthstone, Battlegrounds, and Mercenaries. The original, most popular mode, Hearthstone pits players in 1v1 battles, who take turns to use minions and spells to reduce your opponent’s health pool to zero. Battleground is an auto-battler, where players build teams in an 8-way free-for-all. Mercenaries is the newest mode, where players construct a party of 6 minions and set out on an adventure to complete quests and gather loot in a series of PvE and PvP battles.
Each mode provides quick tutorials that teach you everything you need to know before being set loose into the wild. While easy to pick up, Hearthstone takes a long time to master. You’ll be sitting there for hours, pondering over cards and combos, thinking about just what did go wrong last time. But when you craft that perfect deck and go on an endless winning streak, you’ll feel top of the world.
Brawlhalla for mobile is an impressive achievement. Platform fighting games tend to rely heavily on tactile feedback, with experienced players being able to manipulate their controllers with laser precision, a feature unavailable on smartphones. Brawlhalla proves that a touch screen is perfectly sufficient to leap, fight, and perform impressive combos.
Brawlhalla boasts an extensive range of characters and game modes, that when coupled with its buttery smooth gameplay create an experience that’s hard to step away from. While it does lock a significant amount of content behind a paywall, you’ll have plenty of free content available from the start.
Teamfight Tactics (TFT) is a strangely empowering game mode. Many competitive games require hours of practice and reading guides to become the best, but TFT is so intuitive that I often do well just by following my gut feeling. TFT is part of the genre commonly known as auto-chess or auto-battlers. You’ll be placed into a game with eight other players, and over successive rounds, you’ll collect champions and items to build the perfect team.
Combos in TFT are the heart and soul of the game. Champions are assigned classes, that when grouped together, unleash powerful abilities. Don’t get too comfortable though, each season all champions are reworked, forcing all players to create new strategies. This keeps the game fresh by preventing particular combos from dominating, and by ensuring no two seasons feel the same.
Like Hearthstone, Clash Royale is a deck-building game. However, Clash Royale ups the intensity by creating a frantic mix of real-time strategy and tower defense. Matches are fast-paced, allowing you to comfortably squeeze in a few games on your commute.
Don’t let the cartoony appearance fool you, Clash Royale rewards strategic thinking and careful planning. Googling the perfect deck might help you get started, but managing the real-time combat takes a fair bit of practice. However, while the core game is free to play, microtransactions carry more weight here. Progression can feel unnecessarily grindy, and while the game isn’t pay-to-win, you’ll have a more comfortable time by sinking a few dollars in
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG) is a lesson in how to create a brilliant mobile shooter. It follows a similar format to the original PC version, dropping players into an expansive open world in a bid to be the last one standing. However, matches are shorter, around 10 minutes compared to the average 30 minutes of the original, so you won’t spend half an hour crawling around only to get sniped by an unseen assailant.
The controls are fully customizable and designed exclusively for mobile, so you shouldn’t have much trouble with creating a comfortable play style. Regularly updated, with a plethora of game modes and unique mechanics, it’s a must-play for any battle royale lover.
Rocket League Sideswipe
Remember earlier when I said that mobile games weren’t designed to be played for hours? Well, thanks to Rocket League Sideswipe i’ve spent longer on my phone today than I have all week. Fans of the PC or console edition of Rocket League might be put off by the switch to 2D, but I can assure you it’s just as, if not more fun.
The goal of Rocket League Sideswipe is simple, knock the ball into the goal with your car. After you’ve done it once, you’ll be pulling off tricks and flipping the ball into the goal like a pro. A 2D plane means less frustration, and matches that last just a few minutes leave you hungry for more. Microtransactions will only get you cosmetic items, so when you lose or win a game, you’ll know it was entirely thanks to you.
League of Legends: Wild Rift
League of Legends: Wild Rift is a fast-paced MOBA that resides comfortably on mobile. League of Legends (LoL) is known for its high skill ceiling, but Wild Rift levels the playing field while keeping the classic LoL experience.
Those unfamiliar with MOBAs should give this a go if they’re looking for a game that rewards the time you put in. Each champion is substantially different from the next, requiring practice and careful thinking to master. However, mastering champions is only half of it, teamwork is the name of the game here. Matches are 5-a-side, so no matter how good you are, you’ll need to give your team a hand too.
GWENT: The Witcher Card Game
GWENT was originally an excellent mini-game within The Witcher 3. The stand-alone game is nearly identical but rebalanced and structured for online play. Each match is a best out of three, and there’s a lot more to it than knowing what cards are in your deck. You’ll have to be aware of what cards your opponent has played, as decks don’t get reset after each round, use all your cards in the first round and you’ll be setting yourself up for defeat.
Unfortunately, it’s not as approachable as it could be. While the gameplay is a brilliant mix of subterfuge, bluffing, and strategy, a confusing tutorial and bewildering amount of cards can put off new players. However, stick with it and you’ll be hooked on this rewarding card game. The cherry on top is the absolutely stunning animated cards, that make the game feel like a playable work of art. It’s worth it just to take a look.
Call Of Duty
Call of Duty Mobile is a shooter game that is really two games in one. One pits players against each other in classic team-based game modes, the other is a battle royale like PUBG. Along with the fast-paced gameplay, CoD Mobile offers players impressive realistic visuals without a drop in peformance. It’s a perfect way to crank out a few games of Call of Duty without starting up your console and isn’t a lesser experience for it.
CoD Mobile is regularly updated with new maps, equipment, and game modes. Extensive customization helps you create your ideal character, so if you’re looking for a shooter that you can really sink your teeth into, this is your best bet.
So there you have it, the 9 best online multiplayer PvP games for Android. If you’re still wary about competitive gaming on mobile, then give a few of these a go, you might be pleasantly surprised.