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Best new Android games to download in April

Update: Added PUBG, Shadowgun Legends and Spellweaver

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 PUBG, Shadowgun Legends and Spellweaver!

April

April is shaping to be a great month for fans of action shooters, with smash hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds parachuting onto the small screen, and Shadowgun Legends going for the guns and glory. As a way to calm our blood pressure and soothe our trigger fingers, we've also been taking a more thoughtful time with fantasy card game Spellweaver.

PUBG Mobile

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (popularly known as PUBG), one of the most played video games on PC and Xbox, was finally released to mobile devices worldwide after a beta period in China and a soft launch in Canada. As predicted, the free-to-play battle royale survival shooter was a huge success, but it's not undeserved.

PUBG Mobile is fantastically faithful to the addictive gameplay that made the PC version so explosively popular in the first place. 100 players parachute onto an island, scavenge weapons and equipment and engage in a winner-takes-all fight for survival as encroaching death zones push them ever closer to the enemy.

We'll admit that several AndroidPIT editors gave their lives over and over again on launch day as we struggled to adjust to the touchscreen controls, but we quickly got the hang of it, and before long, we were winning that chicken dinner.

While you'll never get the exact same precision you get on PC or Xbox, you're only pitted against other players on mobile, which helps keep the playing field even. The graphics are fantastic and so far, and everything about PUBG is free (though once they have secured a large player base, I wouldn't be surprised to see cosmetic IAP or ads start).

For the moment, PUBG remains the only serious game in town if you want a battle royale experience on mobile. But that could all change, as it's main rival (some would say imitator) Fortnite Battle Royale is already a huge hit on iOS, and should land on Android later this year.

  • App version: 0.3.3
  • App size: 778 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.3 and up
  • Price: Free 
PUBG Mobile Install on Google Play

Shadowgun Legends

Fans of virtual gunplay have been spoiled lately. But Shadowgun Legends is a very different beast from PUBG. Madfinger Games, the same team behind AndroidPIT's favorite zombie apocalypse shooter Dead Trigger 2, offers another first person shooter, this time with a sci-fi setting.

Boasting beautiful visuals, Shadowgun Legends is a real feast for the eyes, with lush graphics and a colorful futuristic setting that draws obvious comparisons to AAA PC/console titles such as Destiny and Halo. Your protagonist, or 'Shadowgun', has a huge variety of loot to use as weapons and armor as well as several different game modes to take on.

The free game contains an extensive single player campaign, as well as multiplayer, versus and co-op, which takes the form of dungeon challenges that are tackled in teams. It's an impressive offering for a title that's free to play, and thankfully, although in-app purchases and microtransactions exist, they are mainly for cosmetic titles that don't give players a competitive advantage.

  • App version: 0.4.3
  • App size: 843 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 6.0 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases 
Shadowgun Legends Install on Google Play

Spellweaver

Although I lost many hours (and dollars) of my misspent youth playing Magic: The Gathering with other nerdy teens, I must admit that many of the popular digital card games such as Elder Scrolls Legends and Hearthstone leave me cold. It was a surprise then, when I gave Spellweaver a try and ended up finding it so engaging.

As a fantasy-themed card game in which you duel your opponent with monsters and magic, Spellweaver is easy to pick up and understand for anyone familiar with Magic: The Gathering, but a well-designed tutorial can also easily bring newbies up to speed.

Spellweaver's visuals are attractive and flavorful, with 6 factions boasting a variety of monsters, heroes and spells that complement different strategies. Nothing mind-blowing here: you'll find noble knights, savage orcs, creepy undead and all the usual high fantasy suspects. Nontheless, the setting lends a lot of charm despite being familiar.

What keeps the game engaging is the depth of strategy involved. You'll need to be mindful of the speed of your monsters as well as their raw power, carefully pick your hero leader, frontline attackers and support cards.

Battles vs the AI are possible if you want to stay casual or just hone your skills, but once you get good you might be tempted to enter tournaments against other real human players. Naturally, this is where the IAPs come in, just like in real life card games, although you can also earn new cards via normal games.

  • App version: 3.15
  • App size: 216 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases 
Spellweaver Install on Google Play

March

A host of great new games have hit the Play Store these past few weeks, making it hard to skim the cream of the crop, since there's something for everyone. This month we recommend the gorgeous but high-maintenance Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition for those hungering for AAA graphics, a brand new Rayark game for indie fans and an absolute gem from the Sonic series for retro gamers to enjoy.

Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition

I was a little apprehensive when I heard about Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition. It seemed like there was no way a mobile device could seriously handle the latest epic story from the beloved RPG franchise. But it's here, and it's looking just as good, if not better, than trailers promised.

Square Enix's epic story of a goth prince, his best friends and a cool car is presented in a cute, chibi-style art direction but is suffused with all the personality and charm of the full-fat console version. This is due in no small part to the original voice acting and characterful animations that keep all the humor intact.

When it comes to combat, some aspects of the game are streamlined to make it easier to battle it out on a touch screen. For example, you only control Noctis in combat, with the the AI helping out through his companions. Nonetheless, fights are challenging (especially bosses), and there's still plenty of options to customize all the characters.

You find the huge open world gameplay of the console version here. In some ways, this actually works out to the Pocket Edition's advantage, with the progress of the game keeping a tighter focus on plot. Mobile gamers don't miss out on FFXV's story and characters, only on the more generic battling, wandering and grinding.

The condensed version of Final Fantasy XV's epic road trip meets fantasy quest will be released in an episodic format, with the first part is available to download for free. 

While I haven't seen any dodgy ads, players should be aware that completing the entire saga will cost $19.99. The first chapter is free, the next two cost $0.99 and chapters 4 through 9 cost $3.99 each.

  • App version: 1.0.3.251
  • App size: 5 GB+
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up (2GB RAM, 1.5 GHz also required) 
  • Price: Free to try, $19.99 to purchase full version
FINAL FANTASY XV POCKET EDITION Install on Google Play

Cytus II

Have you got the rhythm inside you? You don't need to get your legs in a twist to find out! With Cytus II, you can prove you've got the groove with your fingers instead. Rayark's sequel to its previous rhythm game challenges you to keep up with a range of musical tracks from a range of genres like EDM, K-Pop, rock, classical and more.

As you're swiping, holding, tapping and racking up points, the intense gameplay really sucks you into the music, and the icing on the cake is Cytus II's cyberpunk story presented through anime-style visuals.

In a future where the virtual world and real life are synced up to an extreme degree, the game's characters investigate the mysterious disappearance of superstar DJ Aesir. The personalities of Cytus II's characters and appealing aesthetics of the sci-fi world serve as welcome interludes from the increasingly demanding rhythm segments, making Cytus II appealing an package for its initial asking price.

The $9.99 expansions, which add more tracks and story chapters, do seem a little steep however, though I must admit that the base game contains more than enough content to sprain your fingers if you're not careful.

Cytus II Install on Google Play
  • App version: 1.1
  • App size: 573 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: $1.99, with two $9.99 expansions

Sonic CD

Another Sonic the Hedgehog classic returns to the Play Store, this time not from the beloved Genesis, but rather the more advanced Sega CD. Sonic CD has all the classic Sonic elements—you run, spin, collect rings, bust badniks at breakneck speeds, but this platformer is more complex than its predecessors, with large, complex levels full of secrets to discover, a time-travel storyline that has you tackling different versions of each zone and a sinister new antagonist in the form of Metal Sonic.

As is usual with the Sega Forever series, you can play free with the cost of suffering ads and a required internet connection, or pay a small price to enjoy the game unrestricted.

Sonic CD is the most advanced Sonic game available on Android (many of us are still hoping to see 2017's Sonic Mania get a port at some point) right now and a must-have for fans. Sega CD veterans be warned: controls are not exactly as smooth on the touch screen as they were on a controller so you might yourself losing control of the speeding blue blur more often than not.

  • App version: 1.0.2
  • App size: 224 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.2 and up
  • Price: Free with ads, $1.99 to purchase
Sonic CD Classic Install on Google Play

February

It's the shortest month of the year, so you don't want to waste your precious time playing boring games. Here are my top three recommendations to make the most of those minutes this February.

Uciana

A space 4X game for Android? As if I wasn’t spending enough time already on Endless Space 2 and Stellaris on PC, now I can be a galactic space emperor on the subway, too. Uciana is a new indie game that delivers a fantastic amount of depth for your $0.99. There’s no IAP either. What you get is effectively a mobile game version of sci-fi Civilization descendants, such as Master of Orion 2.

There are several distinct spacefaring civilizations to choose from. Good ol’ humanity is an option, but I’m a fan of the more exotic types, with the crab-like Sothren Federation being my current favorites. Through the graphics are basic, each comes with distinct bonuses and ship design to give them a different flavor.

The goal is galactic conquest, which is accomplished via exploration, expansion, economic growth, technological research, and of course, diplomacy and war once you start bumping in to your rivals. Right now, it's only possible to 'win' the game by conquest but the developer has mentioned adding in different victory conditions further down the line.

Although the turn based system makes the controls easy enough on mobile, this isn't a casual game. Uciana doesn't dumb down the 4X genre at all, and you'll struggle at first to keep track of all your resources and statistics, and what exactly they mean. Though there are a couple of tutorial videos from the devs up on YouTube, mostly you'll be learning through trial and error in game.

Nonetheless, once you've spent time getting the hang of it, Uciana stands out as one of the best strategy games out there on mobile that isn't tarnished by pay-to-win monetization or predatory IAP. Given that it's early days yet for the game, it's got great potential.

Uciana Install on Google Play
  • App version: 1670
  • App size: 39.04 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.2 and up
  • Price: $0.99

Morphite

From the abstract galactic exploration of Uciana to something much more up close and personal, we come to Morphite. Morphite is an action/exploration/puzzle game that was recently ported to Android, and it's low-fi (but pretty) polygon graphics and relaxed, exploratory gameplay make it a great fit for mobile.

Morphite's has you take on the role of Myrah, a space explorer who investigates alien worlds, scanning the exotic flaura and fauna for information and resources. In some respects, this is reminiscent of controversial space sim No Man's Sky, except that the gameplay is only focused on exploring the surface of plants, not the space in between them, and the environments are generally smaller and more like platformer levels.

Although Morphite does feature weapons and combat with hostile alien critters, it's not a high-octane action game. Rather, the real pleasure is in casually exploring the stylized alien environments, admiring the scenery and enjoying the absorbing soundtrack and quips from Kitcat, a wisecracking feline robot.

In between the occasional challenging aggressive beast or tricky platforming puzzle, Morphite generally has a calming, almost zen-like casual vibe. To get through the story, you'll eventually need to upgrade your ship, weapons and armor to overcome late-game challenges. 

But the first late game challenge may be more psychological, as the full story mode is locked behind an IAP. So in essence, what you're getting for free is a demo version of a game that is priced at $15 on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One. Morphite was good enough to convince me to fork over of the full version, but for anyone who isn't sure, it doesn't cost anything to give it a try, and there more quality out there in exploring the procedurally generated planets than there is on a lot of free games cluttering the Play Store

Morphite Install on Google Play
  • App version: 1.01
  • App size: 350 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: Free demo, IAP to unlock full story

Skullgirls

Skullgirls mobile, much like its PC cousin, is a fast paced fighting game with a darkly humorous anime-inspired art style that will be somewhat familiar to fans of classic series like BlazBlue or Guilty Gear. It recently received a major update that won it praise for its balance and depth. I took it upon myself to find out if Skullgirls mobile is a worthy sibling to the acclaimed PC version.

The freemium mobile version of Skullgirls is a prequel to the main fighting game with a familiar mobile-oriented twist—RPG elements to level up your character, and daily missions and story elements to keep you coming back and kicking ass. Ready to run for the hills? I was too. But being a fan of the PC version, I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised.

Skullgirl's fantastic soundtrack and art style make it a winner right off the bat (think sci-fi anime meets the gothic art deco stylings of Batman: The Animated Series), and surprisingly deep beat 'em up gameplay provides a solid core to the game that skilled players can really get in to. Sure, for those with no honor there's an auto-fight mode you can switch on which takes care of basic moves, but if you just save it for a crowded subway, Skullgirls offers a frantic feast for the fingers.

Annoying free-to-play elements are present in that you'll constantly end up upgrading your fighters, and using in-game currency to unlock new ones randomly. If you're dead set on using your favorite characters from the PC version of Skullgirls, this could really put you out.

But having not yet reached a point where I'm tempted to shell out hard earned cash, I'm impressed at how much I can get out of the game gratis. Compared to other popular mobile fighters like Marvel: Conquest of Champions, or even another favorite of mine, Shadow Fight 3, Skullgirls manages to be less predatory when it comes to monetization and still oozes character and fun.

Skullgirls Install on Google Play
  • App version: 2.0.1
  • App size: 718 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: In-app purchases

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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