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Smartphones and tablets have become so powerful in recent years that they're now approaching PCs and game consoles in terms of gameplay and graphics. Thanks to sharper and more responsive touchscreens along with powerful processors, iOS and Android devices like the OnePlus 5 have become gaming rigs in their own right, letting mobile gamers experience action games as never before.
Action games range from endless runners that push players to go further and set new records, to racing games that pit players against each other in a quest to dominate the track, and fighting games where players duel each other to determine who has the most skill. As such, the sheer number of games that fall under this category can make it hard to choose something worth playing, so we came up with our own list of the nine best action games for mobile devices.
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Though all the games in this list come with in-app purchases that can enhance gameplay, we made sure to avoid pay-to-play games and ones that were full of annoying advertisements. With those ground rules established, here are our picks for the 9 best free action games that are available on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.
#1Lost in Harmony
Lost in Harmony seamlessly blends elements of obstacle running and rhythm games into a fast-paced musical odyssey set in the surreal dream world of two best friends as they cope with illness and grief. A poignant storyline that's too good to spoil combined with a beautiful soundtrack easily makes this one of the best action games for mobile right now.
Unlike most running games, Lost in Harmony has finite stages where you slide across lanes to gather stardust, all while avoiding obstacles and tapping on rhythm orbs that are tied to the musical score. More maps are unlocked as you progress through the story-driven game, along with different outfits and skateboards that you can purchase with stardust collected to customize your characters.
Don't let this tranquil setting fool you, Lost in Harmony gets intense real fast!
Lost in Harmony also comes with an expansion pack which tells the tale of M.I.R.A.I., a robot whose harrowing story of escape is told through a collection of new courses and accompanying musical tracks. In addition to its story modes, the game also lets you design your own courses, complete with music, which you can then share with the community.
Install Lost in Harmony: Android | iPhone
#2Transformers: Forged to Fight
The newest and possibly best Transformers mobile game, Transformers: Forged to Fight, has you helping Optimus Prime fight corrupted Transformers to save them from their ruthless overlords. Once you've defeated a robot, they'll join your cause regardless of whether they're Autobots or Decepticons. The game boasts console-quality graphics and is a solid choice for players that love fighting games.
Transformers: Forged to Fight features intuitive touch controls that let you unleash devastating combos to smash through any foe that gets in your way. Each robot can transform into their unique alt-mode to deal massive damage that can't be blocked by their opponent.
Die-hard fans of the franchise will love game's unlocking system, which allows you to collect, control, and level up unique robots from the entire Transformers universe, including the classic TV animated series, movies, comics, and toys. Transformers: Forged to Fight even has a base-building element that lets you collect and gather precious resources needed to upgrade your robots.
Install Transformers: Forged to Fight: Android | iPhone
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#3Into the Dead 2
Into the Dead 2 combines elements of running and zombie genres to make a terrifyingly exciting first-person running game. Unlike its predecessor, Into the Dead 2 is a story-driven, stage based runner that has you travel a certain distance to make it to safety and progress to the next level.
The object of the game is to survive for as long as you can — and as with other zombie games, you have to do this without getting mauled by the legions of undead that stand in between you and the loving arms of your anxious wife and daughter.
Like the original, dodging zombies like an NFL receiver is essential to going the distance and surviving the post-apocalyptic nightmare that is Into the Dead 2. Thankfully, the game's controls are customizable, which helps you hit the ground running, so to speak.
To add spice to Into the Dead 2, crates containing various weapons are scattered across the field. You also earn credits as you play, which can be traded in for various perks like animal companions. As with the original, there's tons of weapons to unlock and equip as you progress through the game, and with 7 chapters to play through, you'll definitely need all the arsenal you can get your hand on to survive the zombie horde.
Install Into the Dead 2: Android | iPhone
4Need for Speed: No Limits
Need for Speed: No Limits, with its stunning graphics and massive selection of unlockable supercars, is sure to please gamers who crave adrenaline-packed racing games.
Besides boasting console-quality graphics, Need for Speed: No Limits has simple controls that make it easy to steer your machine as you drift through sharp turns and employ boosts. Missions that consist of racing through traffic-ridden city streets are short but intense, and ideal for the on-the-go nature of mobile gaming.
You can earn reputation points by racing and performing other tasks, which, in turn, will reward you with parts to upgrade your ride and unlock blueprints to add new cars to your garage. As a freemium game, Need for Speed: No Limits does come with a fuel system that limits gameplay. Thankfully, it's largely offset by fast level-ups that fully recharge it, as well as a variety of daily challenges that allow you to earn premium currency without having to spend real money on in-app purchases.
Install Need for Speed No Limits: Android | iPhone
5Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade
If you've ever had the urge to pilot a giant robot and rampage through city streets like a bull in a china shop, then Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade is the game for you. This sci-fi game from the popular Warhammer franchise has all the hallmarks of a great mobile game: Great graphics and touch controls, intense missions, and full character customization.
The intuitive controls make it easy to employ a variety of weaponry and wreak havoc on an assortment of enemy units that range from lowly grunts to tanks and robots. Your mech's movements are automated in a pre-determined route, which makes it a lot easier to concentrate on combat.
You can level up through combat and game progression, and this rewards you with precious loot, resources, and currency. With your currency, you can customize your mech by changing its color and upgrading its armor, or by crafting more powerful weapons to make it more potent on the battlefield.
Install Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade: Android | iPhone
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