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The best free Android games of all time

We pick the best free Android games of all time, which you can download right now for your Android phone or tablet, free of charge.

From brain-busting puzzle games to fast-paced action games, these are our favourite free Android games from the past five years. And if you can't see your own favourite free Android titles, let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page.

Best free Android games: Pokemon Go

It's no surprise to learn that Pokemon Go was the most popular mobile game of 2016, both on iOS and on Android. This addictive title is a great translation of this classic game to the humble smartphone, giving us an actual reason to explore our real-life surroundings. Just make sure you don't stumble in front of any cement trucks as you chase down that elusive Pikachu.

Read next: Pokemon Go tips for beginners and Pokemon Go advanced tips

Best free Android games: Cut the Rope series

Cut the Rope is the perfect example of an addictive puzzle game that kids and grown-ups can both get stuck into and lose themselves for five minutes or five hours. Fronted by the uber-cute Om Nom, the Cut the Rope games have you guiding delicious candies into the mouth of the cuddly mascot by...cutting ropes. Obviously. The near-perfect difficulty curve builds to some seriously challenging levels, while later entries in the Cut the Rope series have you meeting up with Om Noms throughout time.

Best free Android games: Vector

A slick free-running parkour game reminiscent of Mirror's Edge, which sees you flipping, dodging and generally chucking yourself across rooftops to escape evil government soldier types. Bags of style help to elevate this fast-paced action title above other free-runners, with strong replayability to keep you coming back for more.

The good news is, the original was so popular that Vector 2 has just been released on the Google Play Store. Check out our Vector 2 review and tips & tricks guide.

Best free Android games: New Star Soccer

Oh, god. If any Android game in this list is likely to get you sacked from your job, it's New Star Soccer. You'll be locking yourself in a toilet cubicle for hours on end to guide your superstar footballer to success, managing his training regime and relationships as well as getting involved in matches with set pieces and attempts on goal. Never played it? Do yourself a favour and keep away. It's like they made crack free or something.

Best free Android games: Asphalt series

If you like arcade racers, the free-to-play Asphalt series is basically an instant download. Don't expect realistic physics; you can happily slam into barriers and steer like a mentalist and your car won't flip over and die. Later installments introduced the ability to smash the hell out of rival racers, a la Burnout. Great fun.

A shout out also goes to Need For Speed: No Limits, which we recently reviewed and enjoyed a lot.

Best free Android games: Clash of Kings

This free-to-play PvP strategy war game has some huge backing, with 800 global servers allowing tens of millions of players to beat the living crap out of one another with their virtual armies. When you're not conquering other factions you can gather resources and build up your base, inventing bigger and better weapons for clobbering your rivals.

Check out our Clash of Kings starter's guide for info on how to play the game.

Best free Android games: Smash Hit

This ball-bouncing smash-up has you throwing metallic orbs at glass obstacles as you race through a gloomy, atmospheric and seemingly endless corridor. At first it seems all too easy, but the difficulty ramps up later and you'll need a careful aim to pick up those essential power-ups.

Best free Android games: Frozen Free Fall Icy Shot

You can always count on Disney to pump out addictive mobile games, and Frozen Free Fall Icy Shot is another winner. Blast snowballs at a bunch of coloured ice blocks to smash as many of them as possible or complete other mission objectives. Nice and simple, right? Well, this game can be absolutely fiendish in its later stages, and you'll definitely get value for money. Especially as this app is completely free to download and play.

Read next: The best Disney games you can play right now

Best free Android games: Hearthstone

If you're more into card games than throwing balls about, Hearthstone is a great free-to-play title that can be enjoyed solo or online against other Android folk. Collect a powerful deck of spells and creatures and unleash them at just the right moment to defeat your opponent. Great presentation adds to a solid strategic game.

Best free Android games: Dead Trigger series

It's by no means perfect, but the Dead Trigger series is a well-polished FPS that pits you against legions of the undead and some pretty sizeable foes. The controls are somehow not crap, making Dead Trigger about as frustration-free as you could hope for a mobile first-person shooter. Plenty of tense moments and some seriously meaty weapons make it well worth a download.

Best free Android games: Underworld Football Manager

Offering a unique twist on the tried-and-tested footy manager sim, Underworld Football Manager is a fun and deep simulator that sees you bullying rivals and using underhand tactics to climb the leagues. Of course, you'll also have to prevent the competition from doing the exact same to you. Only the most ruthless and organised of underworld managers will make it to the top.

Best free Android games: Candy Crush Saga

Do I really need to say anything about Candy Crush Saga? Surely everyone and their mum and their mum's mum has played this colourful match-'em puzzle game? Still addictive, unless you're absolutely sick of the sight of it by now.

Best free Android games: Marble Blast series

Another game that has you firing balls about the place, but this time it's to match orbs of the same colour and rack up a high score. Simple-but-challenging gameplay makes this a free-to-download series well worth checking out.

Best free Android games: Plague Inc

The Lite version of Plague Inc is free to play and as compelling as it is harrowing. You play the part of a virus and your objective is to wipe out the human race before we can develop a cure. Nice.

Best free Android games: Plants Vs Zombies series

One of the best tower defence games of all time, Plants Vs Zombies hands you an arsenal of vegetation, from pea-spitters to coconut bouncers, and tasks you with strategically planting them to keep an army of ex-humans at bay. The fun, cartoony graphics hide a very tense and challenging game that's now free to download and play on your Android devices.

Best free Android games: Angry Birds series

Yeah, Angry Birds has now reached Kanye West levels of exposure, and like Mr West is just as divisive. But the original Angry Birds was still one of the best free games of its time, with simple gameplay that completely captured that 'one more try' spirit of truly great mobile titles.

Best free Android games: Puzzle Quest series

I've lost count of how many Puzzle Quest games have hit Android phones over the years, but I've probably played more of these buggers than I've had hot dinners. The addictive combination of symbol matching and tactical combat never gets old, with fresh game mechanics in every title adding a twist to the action.

Best free Android games: Solitaire

One for the dads. Solitaire is one of those games that you can either play for days without a break, or you turn your nose up at because it doesn't feature zombies or guns or exploding torsos. There are several free versions of Solitaire on Google Play so take your pick.

Best free Android games: Crossy Road

This modern-yet-still-beautifully-retro update of Frogger sees you dodging cars, trains and all manner of deadly obstacles to get as far as you possibly can before snuffing it. The endless gameplay means you'll be desperately trying to beat your mates' high scores for some time to come.

Best free Android games: Pacman 256

One of the most recent games on this list is Pacman 256, perfect for anyone who fancies a quick dip in the pool of retro gaming nostalgia. It sticks closely to the same formula that make both the original Pacman and Crossy Road so addictive, with bigger mazes than ever before.

Did I miss your favourite free Android games? Why not call me names and let us all know why your game is so great in the comments below?

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