19 new Android games from the last week: The best, worst, and everything in between (9/19/21

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so. Today’s list is broken up into several segments, ranging from best, average, to mediocre. So whether you’re looking for the best games of quality or are simply looking for the latest free-to-play gacha titles, you’re covered. This week I have a good port from Square Enix, a lazy port from Square Enix, and a greedy pay-to-win Pokémon game. So without further ado, here are the new and notable Android games released during the last week.

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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Best Games

Titles that offer fair pricing, enjoyable gameplay, polished interfaces, or are intriguing

Actraiser Renaissance

Android Police coverage: Square Enix brings Actraiser to the Play Store with a remastered take on the Super Nintendo classic

Actraiser Renaissance was a surprise release this week. This is a remaster of one of Square Enix’s SNES games, and it’s a hard title to pin down to a single genre since it’s a platformer, but it also offers city-building mechanics. The port is pretty good, sporting new HD graphics, new stories, new bosses, along with new music and a new realm to explore. Controllers are supported, along with cloud saves, though the entire game is capped at 30FPS. Still, this is one of Square’s better ports, which is refreshing after average releases like Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend.

Monetization: $19.99 / no ads / no IAPs

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Actraiser Renaissance
Actraiser Renaissance

Animus: Revenant

Animus: Revenant is the third game in the Animus Souls-like series, and it was initially released on the Nintendo Switch, only just making its way to Android this week. As the latest title in the Animus franchise, Revenant is a solid effort, probably the best in the series, offering solid control options and exceptional graphics. Of course, the game is demanding, so you’ll need a beefy phone to get the most out of the graphics, and the price is up there, at $12.99, though this is still cheaper than the Switch and PC versions. So if you’re a big fan of Souls-likes and have been itching for something new on Android, Animus: Revenant should fit the bill nicely.

Monetization: $12.99 / no ads / no IAPs

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Animus: Revenant
Animus: Revenant

Arctictopia

Arctictopia is an enjoyable puzzle game that offers some adorable art. You’ll fill the role of a mother polar bear, and it will be your job to save your baby cub, but in order to do so, you’ll have to solve grid-based movement puzzles to reach your offspring. The game is turn-based, and enemies will move directly after you, sometimes blocking your path, so you’ll have to think out your route ahead of time or use trial and error to find the correct pathing. It’s a fun and challenging game that looks great in motion, and it’s priced appropriately to boot. What’s not to like?

Monetization: $5.49 / no ads / no IAPs

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Arctictopia
Arctictopia

Relumine

Relumine is a low-poly puzzler similar in style to games like Monument Valley and The Room. It will be your job to hunt down your lost father, a familiar trope for escape room games, solving typical escape-room puzzles along the way. However, environment puzzles are also in the mix, similar to how things function in Monument Valley, which breaks up the monotony of the game’s escape-room puzzles. All around, this is an enjoyable title that also offers fair monetization, making it an easy game to recommend this week.

Monetization: $1.99 / no ads / no IAPs

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Relumine
Relumine

Indies’ Lies

Indies’ Lies is a roguelike, but it’s also a card game, two genres we’ve seen combined more times than I can count. The good news is that this is a single-player experience, and it’s monetized appropriately. Plus, the game promises a smoother deck-building process where you can easily replace cards as you go. There are three maps to play on and three playable characters that offer three separate classes. For a single-player roguelike card game, Indies’ Lies is pretty polished for a fresh release. All it needs now is more content.

Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs $2.99 apiece

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Indies' Lies
Indies' Lies

Rollflow

Rollflow is a unique game where you’ll control a rolling ball, but the thing is, you can’t control this ball directly. Much like ChuChu Rocket, you’ll have to place tiles in each stage to ensure your ball rolls where exactly where you want it to, but you’ll have to place these tiles in real-time, which can get nerve-wracking pretty quick, but that’s where the fun is, making it through each stage successfully after some trial and error.

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs $2.49 apiece

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19 new Android games from the last week: The best, worst, and everything in between (9/19/21 19 new Android games from the last week: The best, worst, and everything in between (9/19/21 19 new Android games from the last week: The best, worst, and everything in between (9/19/21

Rollflow
Rollflow

Operation February

Operation February comes from the people behind Atom RPG, a well-received story-rich RPG often compared to classic CRPGs like Fallout. Unlike Atom RPG, Operation February isn’t a mainline title but an offshoot, a side story that takes place in the same universe. The game offers turn-based battles spread across four locations. Keep in mind this is a short experience, supplementary to Atom RPG, which is precisely why this is a free ad-supported release. It’s a snack for those waiting for the proper follow-up to Atom RPG.

Monetization: free / contains ads / no IAPs

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Operation February
Operation February

EXIT – The Curse of Ophir

EXIT – The Curse of Ophir is an escape room game where you’ll solve puzzles to move room from room as you hunt down a missing person in a creepy hotel. It’s a standard escape room setup, and thankfully the puzzles are both fun and challenging. Plus, the story isn’t that bad despite the familiar tropes. So if you’re a fan of point-and-click adventure games and escape room games, there’s enough good stuff here to justify the price tag.

Monetization: $5.99 / no ads / no IAPs

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EXIT – The Curse of Ophir
EXIT – The Curse of Ophir

The Sun: Key of Heaven (Demo)

The Sun: Key of Heaven is the latest shooter from AGaming+, and this particular release is a free demo for a game that we covered last week. Key of Heaven offers a mix of survival gameplay and typical first-person shooting action. The graphics are excellent, though performance could still use some work. The gameplay can feel a little laggy, plus there are bugs present along with a few misspelled words. All around, this is an enjoyable title that could use a little more polish, but since it’s a new release from a dev known to support its titles, I’m sure fixes are incoming.

Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs $3.99 apiece

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The Sun: Key of Heaven (Demo)
The Sun: Key of Heaven (Demo)

Average Games

Titles that may not be the best-of-the-best, but still offer fun and interesting mechanics

COLLECTION of SaGa FINAL FANTASY LEGEND

Android Police coverage: Square Enix just launched a collection of Final Fantasy titles on Android

Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend is the latest release from Square Enix, a collection of classic Game Boy RPGs cleaned up for modern devices. The games themselves are great. They still hold up despite the dated graphics, thanks to quality turn-based gameplay, but this port is missing controller support as well as cloud saves, making the $20 price tag tough to swallow. Square’s lackluster reputation on mobile, where it often leaves its premium games broken for months on end, also does not help when considering the ridiculous price tag. So even though these games are good, the mobile port is missing essential features and is priced too high for a collection of older Game Boy games, especially when a lack of support is expected.

Monetization: $19.99 / no ads / no IAPs

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COLLECTION of SaGa FINAL FANTASY LEGEND
COLLECTION of SaGa FINAL FANTASY LEGEND

Unholy Society: Point & Click Scary Mystery Game

Unholy Society is a point-and-click adventure game that offers a mystery to explore that’s perfect for the buildup to Halloween. It’s presented like a 90’s comic book, with lots of over-the-top action that takes place during quick-time events. Sadly these events can be annoying to pull off, and the profanity-laden text comes off a bit brash, and it’s clearly there to serve as humor, though it’s primarily groan-educing. At the very least, you can try the game for free, and if you like what you see, you can unlock the full title through a single in-app purchase. So if you dig pointlessly crass humor, Unholy Society might just float your boat.

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs $4.99 apiece

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Unholy Society: Point & Click Scary Mystery Game
Unholy Society: Point & Click Scary Mystery Game

Active Arcade

Active Arcade is taking a cue from Wii Fit, and so this is an activity mini-game collection that requires players to move around. Ideally, this should encourage stationary children to get up off their butts, although excellent lighting is required, which means these games are best played outside. So yes, this can be a solid release to play a few activity games outside, but now that fall is here, it’s not like going outside will be on the minds of children for the next six months. At the very least, Active Arcade is completely free to play, with no IAPs or ads included, so there is no harm in taking a quick look.

Monetization: free / no ads / no IAPs

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Active Arcade
Active Arcade

Driving School

Driving School boils down to a business management game, though you’ll also get to participate in various driving school activities and random events. The graphics are simple, but they get the point across, and the gameplay can be enjoyable, though the grind is real. Luckily the game’s in-app purchases aren’t as bad as they could be, which means this is a middle-of-the-road release best suited to a listing in the Average section of today’s roundup.

Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 – $29.99

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Driving School
Driving School

Sticky.io

Sticky.io takes everything you love about Katamari games and adds in io arena gameplay. Whoever rolls the biggest ball of objects wins, which is fun in short bursts but can grow stale with extended play. After all, this is a casual io game, so it’s not like longevity was a consideration to begin with. While it would have been nice to see an option to remove the game’s advertisements, perhaps this is something the developer can add at a later date.

Monetization: free / contains ads / no IAPs

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Sticky.io
Sticky.io

Mediocre Games

Titles that are buggy, unpolished, or offer aggressive monetization

Pokémon UNITE

Android Police coverage: Pokémon Unite brings its free-to-play MOBA gameplay to mobile with full cross-platform support

Pokémon Unite was released on the Nintendo Switch back in July, and so anyone that was curious more than likely played the game or read about it, making the mobile release a footnote, and for a good reason. You see, this game is by definition pay-to-win, selling items that offer boosts over free players, and it gets worse. There are also two types of battle passes since it would seem one just wasn’t enough, and yes, both are paid. As it stands, Pokémon Unite is a poorly balanced money trap, and thanks to the pay-to-win mechanics, it will never be taken seriously as a competitive game. Just look at those IAPs. They exist for a reason, and it’s not for player enjoyment.

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 – $99.99

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Pokémon UNITE
Pokémon UNITE

The Lord of the Rings: War

Android Police coverage: There’s a new The Lord of the Rings game on the Play Store, and it takes place in the movie universe

The Lord of the Rings: War is the latest generic free-to-play kingdom builder to land on Android. Sure, NetEase slapped a LoTR skin on top, and it’s a fully licensed skin that contains movie-character likenesses, so you know this license didn’t come cheap. Sadly the game stinks. It plays just like every other brain-dead kingdom builder, which is precisely why neither the Play Store trailer nor the screenshots show a lick of gameplay. Perhaps if NetEase used the funds from the expensive license rights on creating a fun game, things would be different, but I think we all know cookie-cutter junk like this was never going to offer enjoyable or rewarding gameplay.

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 – $109.99

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The Lord of the Rings: War
The Lord of the Rings: War

Requia Online

Requia Online is a collectible trading card game, and it’s a generic one at that. Combat takes place in real-time, and you’ll build your deck from a choice of 270 ability cards, so there’s plenty of strategy at play. Still, the monetization is just as bad as all of the other free-to-play cards games on the Play Store, which points squarely at the developer’s priorities. If they were actually making a game for fun instead of a cash-grab filled with pay-to-win purchases, then those IAPs wouldn’t cost so much, would they?

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $2.99 – $94.99

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Requia Online
Requia Online

Sniper Champions: Competitive 3D Shooting Range

It’s refreshing that Sniper Champions: Competitive 3D Shooting Range isn’t a murder simulator, so for that, I have to give Gameloft credit. Sadly just like the many sniping murder sims on the Play Store, this is a game packed with aggressive monetization, and it even offers a season pass, which means it’s designed around keeping players paying, all for something as simple as a sniper game. While I can’t say I’ve ever held Gameloft in high regard, even when they were releasing premium clones, it’s still sad to see the company is now no better than the no-name devs pumping out generic free-to-play money-grabs.

Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 – $99.99

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Sniper Champions: Competitive 3D Shooting Range
Sniper Champions: Competitive 3D Shooting Range

Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales

I’ve always wondered if someone could make the typical match-3 game worse. Lo and behold, Next Games has answered my question. It is indeed possible, all thanks to adding idle gameplay. Now players will have to check in all the time to ensure their idle coins, resources, and rewards are being earned at an acceptable clip. Just another trap to keep players returning in what is already an RNG grind fest where pay-walls are the norm. Many Play Store reviews have already called this issue out, and the wall hits quickly, all to push people into paying to alleviate this horrible mechanic that was placed in the game on purpose. This means skill isn’t required. You’ll either advance through dumb luck, mind-numbing repetition, or by spending money.

Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $0.99 – $99.99

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Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales
Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales

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