Credit: David Imel / Android Authority
Every now and then, we look for a challenge. Something that tests our brains and reflexes. Challenges can come from anywhere and there are some very difficult games on Android. In some cases, mobile games can be even tougher. After all, developers try all kinds of stuff to break into an already crowded mobile game market. Anyone looking for something hard should have their plates full with the most challenging games for Android! Please note this is one of the few lists where we don’t take update times into consideration when ranking games. Thus, some of these games are a little old. Also, there are truly, obnoxiously difficult games that are designed to be obnoxiously difficult. We avoided those to focus more on games that you’re supposed to actually win, but the game presents a rather difficult challenge.
Price: $9.99 each
Beamdog makes several challenging games. They’re almost all ports of old PC RPGs. You can find titles like Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale, and others. Their latest game, Seige of Dragonspear, is from the Baldur’s Gate series. All of these games are hardcore RPGs with dozens of hours of play, tons of abilities, and deep story lines. They are definitely not for the feint of heart and can be quite difficult for those who haven’t played similar games before. They are most certainly not your everyday mobile games. They’re a tad expensive at $9.99 and some have some additional DLC content. However, everything you buy is permanent. Some of the titles have some compatibility issues with newer devices, though, and so right now we recommend people start with Seige of Dragonspear.
Dead Cells is a roguevania. That means it has elements of rogue-like and elements of Metroidvania. The world is a giant, interconnected map and you can explore it at will. However, it also has the rogue-like element of permanent death. Dying starts you over so you learn to get really good with stuff rather quickly. The non-linear progression, addicting combat, and various power-ups make for a very fun game. That said, you’re going to die a lot in this one and that makes it very challenging.
DroidFish is a chess game. Chess is one of those games that many people know how to play, but the masters would beat the snot out of most of us. This one uses the Stockfish chess engine. It can simulate some ridiculously difficult opponents. This game on high difficulty settings is definitely quite challenging. It’s gonna whip you a bunch of times. Plus, it’s completely free with no ads or in-app purchases.
Price: Free / $2.99
Duet is an interesting puzzle game. You play as two orbs. You rotate the balls around various platforms. Each side of the screen controls the rotation of the balls. The game starts with some simple levels. It then ramps up the difficulty quite a bit. Getting through this one is fairly challenging. The main part of the game is free to play. The secondary and tertiary parts of the game require an in-app purchase.
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy IV is actually one of the hardest JRPGs on any console. The normal version of the game is challenging on its own. This is not the same version of the game from the SNES days. The game also comes with a hard mode that just rips players to shreds. Even seasoned fans of the series have a hard time with hard mode. Beneath the difficulty, though, is a solid story line, an outstanding OST, and plenty of hours of fun. It runs for $7.99 and that’s about half of its launch price so it’s actually a fairly decent deal these days.
Price: Free (with ads)
Go Free is a free Go game from AI Factory Limited. Go is one of the world’s most difficult games on any platform. The winner is the player with the most captured pieces at the end. It’s much, much harder than it sounds. Go Free lets you play on 9×9, 13×13, and 19×19 boards. You also get ten difficulty levels, two player local-multiplayer mode, and a full explanation of the rules. The easier difficulties are a good way to introduce yourself to the game. However, the upper difficulties wreck you. There is a premium version as well that unlocks a few additional features.
Out There: Ω Edition
Out There: Ω Edition is a very frustrating and very fun survival game. The premise of the game is you play the role of an astronaut who wakes up from cryonics in the deepest regions of space and you must survive the trip back to Earth. The developer made certain to bring into account how vast and harsh space can be and you’ll be dealing with friendly and unfriendly aliens, rushing to find an oxygen supply, and learning to use random technology to fix and improve your ship. This game is not for casual players, but it does have 59 achievements that you can try to earn!
Pandemic: The Board Game
Price: $4.99 + optional DLC
Pandemic is a board game where you play as members of the CDC and you must squash diseases before they have a chance to become, well, a pandemic. Each player has a special ability to help with the cause and you’ll be allowed to construct bases to help you move around faster and cure disease. It’s not too bad on easy mode, but hard mode is an entirely different story. This is a game that can spiral out of control is just a single round and that’s what makes it so fun and so very challenging. The game also isn’t very expensive.
Any Pixel Dungeon game
Price: Free / Varies (usually around $0.99)
Pixel Dungeon is an open source dungeon crawler. Its noted for being free and also fairly difficult. The game features retro graphics, simple mechanics, difficult bad guys, and various items and gear to collect. There are also a variety of Pixel Dungeon remakes and spin-offs. We have Yet Another Pixel Dungeon linked above. Pixel Dungeon Remix is also quite popular. It doesn’t matter, though. They all keep the difficulty of the original.
PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Mobile
Price: Free to play
PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Fortnite are the most popular battle royale games on Android right now. These games have simple, familiar mechanics, but a difficult premise. You drop into a combat zone with 99 other players (100 total). The winner is the last person standing. It should be fairly evident how difficult it can be to survive in a game against 99 other people. PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile goes for a more authentic experience in terms of game play while Fortnite adds a bit of fiction to the mix for some different kinds of fun. PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile are available on the Play Store. Fortnite is only available through Epic Games’ official website. Both of them are excellent, and difficult, battle royale games.
Rayark rhythm games
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Rayark is a game studio with a bunch of decent games. They specialize in the rhythm genre. Their Cytus, Cytus II, and VOEZ titles are among the most popular rhythm games on Google Play. Each game comes with its own style, story, and list of songs. In terms of mechanics, they are similar, but still manage to be unique between. It starts out easy and gets harder as you go like most rhythm games. The hardest songs are, indeed, quite difficult. All of their games have some free content with extra songs and more content available as DLC (in-app purchases).
Rebel Inc and Plague Inc
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Rebel Inc and Plague Inc are two strategy games by the same developer. They have very similar core mechanics, but vastly different executions. Plague Inc has players developing a disease that takes over the whole world. It’s so accurate that the CDC had the developers talk to employees about it. Rebel Inc has players quelling rebellions in various regions in the game. Both games are intensely fun and difficult to complete. Those who prefer to give the whole world a cold should try Plague Inc first and those who like stabilizing rebellions should try Rebel Inc first.
Price: Free / $1.99
Smash Hit is a runner with a unique premise. It has a first-person perspective and you shoot metal balls at panes of glass to avoid hitting them. The rub is your ammo is also your life total and every time you get hit, you lose ten of your ammo. Thus, the game not only involves dodging and breaking your way through various obstacles, but also managing your ammo and life total simultaneously. This game is beatable so it’s technically not an endless runner, although there is an endless mode after you beat the game. The game itself is free and you can unlock a few extras with a single $1.99 in-app purchase.
This War of Mine
This War of Mine is a strategy game with simulation elements. You are a band of refugees stuck in the middle of a war. You must survive at all costs. Players control your survivors, manage your shelter, and try to get resources when you can. However, difficult decisions often force your hand and you must adapt accordingly. This one isn’t difficult to play like Super Hexagon is. However, the difficulty comes in getting all of the survivors out and making those hard decisions when you can’t do that. The game also comes with a DLC that centers around innocent children. It’s a fantastic mobile title overall. There is also a standalone expansion you can pick up for $2.99 if you want to continue the fun.
XCOM: Enemy Within
XCOM: Enemy Within is a tactical shooter where you’ll need to move your pieces around the map similar to a game board. There are also RPG, simulation, and online multiplayer elements to give the game a well-balanced feeling. The bad guys in this game are unrepentant and too many mistakes or bad moves will result in you losing the level. There is a campaign mode to mow through and the online multiplayer that we mentioned a moment ago which means there is plenty of stuff for you to do. It’s a bit expensive, but it is a port of a relatively recent PC game so that’s to be expected. This is another older game, though, so heads up about that.
Thank you for reading! Try these too:
If we missed any really challenging games for Android, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!