After a few golden years of fantastic entries, it seems like most mobile sports games have succumbed to the freemium model. There are far too few quality titles available that just let you jump into the game without having to deal with player cards, pointless upgrades, or waiting for stamina meters to refill. Nearly all the top mobile sports game franchises have switched over to a team-building system that requires you to unlock (or buy) card packs to upgrade your team.
However, there are still great games to be played. We’ve tried to cover the five major North American sports here with some extras thrown in for fun. Be sure to note which games are more sim-based for the hardcore sports fan and which ones offer a more arcade-like option for casual players.
Want something a bit less sporty? We have a list of the best Android games overall, too!
The only game I ever really played on Wii Sports was the bowling one, especially once I figured out how to do so without standing up. Speaking of bowling, Bowling Crew is one of the best bowling games I’ve managed to find on the Play Store.
First off, Bowling Crew is a gorgeous 3D bowling game. Second, it’s PvP-based. Third, it involves plenty of progression to keep you interested as you go along. You can unlock new bowling balls (through gameplay and microtransactions) so you have something nice to look at while you play. It’s a ton of fun, easy to play, and there’s a lot of replayability.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a mobile game without the typical microtransaction gotchas. Your stamina meter is based on the chips you earn (which you can buy, of course). Gold is how you buy cases, which give you unlockable items like new ball cards, chips, and so on. There are a bunch of boosters and unlocks you can purchase, too.
One of the better mobile boxing games available right now, Boxing Star is easy to pick up, is packed with interesting features, and boasts some pretty great gameplay. Using intuitive virtual and touchscreen controls, you can dodge and guard against your opponent’s fists while doling out your own straights, hooks, and uppercuts. Stunning an opponent opens them up to a frenzied special attack.
Winning matches in Story Mode will net you some in-game currency and new gear. You can customize your boxer’s physical appearance and all of the “swank” that comes with boxing stardom. You can choose what ride you’re sporting, the crew you roll with, and even where you live. Some of the really good gear comes from PvP rewards, which are implemented in a way that incentivizes IAPs. For example, you might win a package after a PvP match, but you can’t actually open it until five minutes have passed. These timers start to increase the higher your rank goes, so it can get annoying if you’re not a patient person.
Boxing Star is free to play but some items can also be purchased with real money. However, the game gets a brownie point in this category for including a rarely seen feature: the ability to turn IAPs off. You can simply disable them from the game settings menu, which is a superb quality-of-life measure in my book. With regular updates still being implemented by the dev team, Boxing Star just keeps getting better and better.
Ever wanted to try your hand at virtual fencing? I sure did as soon as I heard of FIE Swordplay, a game that focuses solely on the fine art of fencing. There’s a lot of content to play through as you learn legitimately real fencing techniques. Controls are simple to grasp and make the gameplay easy to get into.
FIE Swordplay features both a PvE campaign and PvP so you can test your skills. I wasn’t very good, but I never had trouble finding a match. There’s a lot of customization here, so you can fine-tune your gear and your appearance.
Of course, there are microtransactions, as you might expect from a free-to-play game. These let you purchase in-game cosmetics, but I found that I often had more currency than I had things to purchase in-game. The microtransactions feel like an afterthought but in a good way. You can also buy new skins, like a musketeer and a knight, for $5 each.
Fishing is a terribly underrated sport in real life and is perhaps even more so in the virtual world. This is a real tragedy, as fishing can run the gamut from a relaxing, almost meditative experience, to a heart-pounding struggle between man and nature. Fishing Life knows what it’s about and chooses to go the route of a more soothing take on fishing. The soundtrack is a low-key acoustic affair that pairs very well with the game’s beautiful minimalistic graphics and art style. Enjoying the passage of time and watching the sunset turn into a starry sky from your boat is just one of the many nice touches in this quaint, yet engrossing game.
In Fishing Life, you set out onto the water as a man looking to escape his woes for a little while and relive the childhood joys of fishing with his father. The controls are very simple, there is a variety of craft you can fish from, and of course, there are tons of fish that you can catch. From basic little fishies to tuna, shark, and even all the way up to whales, there’s not much that you can’t catch in Fishing Life.
This charming title is free with ads and in-app purchases. If you’re looking for a chill game to wind down with, I can highly recommend Fishing Life.
Golf Star is the best golfing game on Android, featuring excellent graphics and intuitive controls. The game lets you customize your golfer and jump into Career Mode, where you learn the ropes and hone your skills. It’s going to take you a bit of time to figure out the intricacies of the physics and how to properly read the greens and aim your putts, but you’ll pick it up in no time.
Beyond Career Mode, there are multiplayer modes such as Tournament Mode and Goodwill Match Mode that let you compete in one-on-one competitions against live opponents. It’s a big game, though, so be sure you have space and bandwidth to install it.
The microtransactions involve buying Coins and GP to purchase cosmetics (some of which boost stats), consumable items to make playing the game easier, and VIP memberships to unlock better items each week.
Grand Mountain Adventure: Snowboard Premiere
Grand Mountain Adventure feels like the spiritual successor to the 90s classic SkiFree, offering endless and calming gameplay. You get to explore the first mountain for free, completing timed runs to unlock new ski lifts that let you access new areas of the mountain.
There is a lot to explore just on the first mountain, let alone on the others. An in-app purchase unlocks the other seven mountains, along with the ability to shred powder on a gnarly snowboard. Featuring a ton of content, Grand Mountain Adventure is one of the best winter sports games for mobile.
I’m Ping Pong King 🙂
Why should tennis get all the glory all the time? Isn’t it time for ping pong to ascend the throne of ball-whackin’ competitive fun? Well, the developers over at Orangenose Studios are coming for that crown with I’m Ping Pong King 🙂 —and yes, the smiley face is part of the title.
The concept and execution are stupidly simple: all you have to do is tap left or right on the screen to move your ping pong master left and right to return the ball. The trick is that it’s FAST. Believe me, your eyes will occasionally struggle to keep up with the frantic ping pong action but man is it a rush when you win!
To complement its simple gameplay and charmingly minimalistic stickman designs, I’m Ping Pong King 🙂 is free and monetized through ads and in-app purchases. You can, however, pay a mere $2 to remove ads. Now get in on this fun!
Madden NFL 22 Mobile Football
Whether we like it or not, Madden NFL Mobile Football reigns supreme among the few playable American football games available for Android, with the latest edition adding a redesigned GM mode.
This is the only way to play as or with your favorite NFL players and teams on Android. For your time, you get competitive play, dynamic football seasons, and new strategies to build your gameplay style around. There’s also a co-op mode for you to help out your friends in their seasons or for them to help you.
The microtransactions are your typical fare. You start off with Madden Cash, the main in-game currency (there are also Gems). The prices start at $4.99 and go all the way up to $99.99, which isn’t too unusual. Cash goes to buying in-game card packs, which unlock new players. You can also buy Stamina so that you can play more once you run out of energy. As I said, it’s the usual stuff that we’d expect from a freemium title.
Mike V: Skateboard Party
Named for skateboarding legend Mike Valley, Mike V: Skateboard Party is easily one of the better skateboarding games you can find in the Play Store. There are a ton of features to keep your adrenaline pumping in Mike V, like forty unique tricks that can then be strung together into literally hundreds of combo possibilities.
Between Career and Free Skate modes, you can claw your way to the top or just kick back and chill as you learn new, sick moves. You’ve also got eight skaters to choose from, all of whom can be customized with different outfits and shoes, and just as many choices for decks, bearings, and wheels from some of the biggest names in the industry.
Mike V: Skateboard Party gets extra bonus points from us as well, thanks to its customizable controls that go beyond button size and opacity to allow players to choose left vs. right-handed controls. Mike V is free with ads and in-app purchases, but if you pick up the game through Play Pass, you won’t have to deal with either.
MLB 9 Innings 22
The 2022 edition of Nine Innings builds on the franchise’s great graphics and gameplay, featuring all 30 MLB ballparks and over 1,700 players carefully rendered in 3D for an authentic gameplay experience. There are multiple ways to play with gameplay optimized for one-handed controls.
You have the choice to play on offense or defense or let the game run on autoplay. You can go against other players across the world in the Ranked Battle, Clutch Hits, and Club Battle modes. Or you can also just stick to the League Mode — whichever appeals to you.
Microtransactions here are what you’d expect. You have a selection of different player packs, going all the way up to $99.99. These packs contain different tiers of players and gear, or you can pay to upgrade your existing players with a Grade Increase Ticket. Time limitations, like “Players of the Month” for the Preferred Player Pack, exist to increase FOMO, too. All of that being said, this is easily the best baseball game available for Android.
NBA 2K20 is a rare premium sports title for Android that doesn’t rely on microtransactions and loot crates, which automatically makes it a great game, in my opinion. The graphics and presentation are top-notch and compare nicely to the console versions.
NBA 2K20 offers multiple game modes including the MyCareer Run story mode, Run The Streets, and NBA Stories for reliving some of the greatest moments in NBA History. There’s also online multiplayer and full support for Bluetooth controllers.
This game is a rare treat as far as sports games on Android go. Even if you’re not the biggest basketball fan, this is your best bet for a premium sports title on your phone.
A lot of folks haven’t heard of Retro Bowl, but this 8-bit hidden gem deserves to be on every sports fan’s list of games to play. The gameplay is easy-to-grasp and the game itself is packed with loads of extra content to keep players engaged.
During actual matches, you control only your offense by pulling back on the touchscreen to change the angle and power of a pass or tap your running back to run the ball. AI controls your team’s defense so you don’t need to worry about that. The franchise mode, however, is where the real magic of Retro Bowl lies.
Franchise mode’s management options are surprisingly fleshed out, allowing you to build your roster, hire players, hold press interviews, and keep fans happy. You’ll also manage your salary and even budget for stadium upgrades. This is just the start of what Retro Bowl is working with and it’s no wonder that this charming game has amassed such a following. Retro Bowl’s first four games are free and just $0.99 to keep playing after that.
Rocket League Sideswipe
If you thought that the frantic energy of Rocket League couldn’t possibly be translated to mobile with success, you’re dead wrong and Rocket League Sideswipe is the proof. The trick is that the developer, Psyonix, didn’t take any shortcuts. No shoddy ports here, just a fully redesigned mobile-friendly version of the rocket-car soccer action we all know and love.
Rather than have gameplay take place in a 3D space, Sideswipe made the choice to transition to a 2D presentation that looks just as slick as its console cousin. The simplified perspective helps the overall experience, as do the choices to make 1v1 and 2v2 match limits and 2-minute match time limits. There are even online and offline modes to make the game accessible to even more players.
Rocket League Sideswipe is free to play but heavily monetized through in-app purchases. All told though, the game is fun and plays great, so Rocket League fans are likely to love it.
Tennis World Open 22
Competitive tennis players out there, Tennis World Open 22 is for you. Featuring tournaments from around the world, Tennis World Open allows you to take control of 25 different tennis pros, hone your skills on the court, and shoot for the stars.
Swipe controls allow you to serve up lobs, slices, slams, and drop shots on your path to victory. You can dominate the sport in Career mode, or just play a quick match from time to time with Quick Play mode. And if you need a bit of practice, Training mode is there to help out.
The 3D graphics are solid, the sound design makes your shots sound impactful, and gameplay is easy enough to learn. A couple of detractors go along with this experience though. Occasionally the game doesn’t follow real-world tennis rules to the T and the AI opponents make some baffling decisions.
Touchgrind BMX 2
As an avid fan of the X Games and a person with absolutely zero talent for sweet stunts, BMX games are a rare opportunity for me to live out my impossible dreams. In Touchgrind BMX 2, you control a riderless bike through some incredibly sick environments, doing just as many sick moves as you can using Touchgrind BMX’s signature two-finger controls. This game is native to mobile, so the touchscreen controls are excellent.
The bike customization options are decent and a fun way to tweak your ride to suit your style. What’s more, the graphics are really quite nice and the massive environments are candy for the eyes. The audio quality is good overall and the soundtrack is okay. I didn’t personally love the OST, but that’s an opinion not a condemnation of the game’s quality.
Touchgrind BMX 2 is free on Android with ads and in-app purchases, but if you’re a Play Pass subscriber then you’ll have no ads and you can bypass the IAPs. Touchgrind BMX 2 is one of the highest-rated sports games on Android for good reason. Check it out and get your X Games fix while you can!
Sliding into home plate
Along with shooters and casual games, the mobile sports genre is all too often a flaming garbage fire of predatory microtransactions and low-effort, phoned-in games. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any quality, fun experiences out there!
For my money, Retro Bowl has got to be one of the better football (or any sport management) games around and it does it for a very affordable “premium” price. If you’re looking for something more off the beaten path, though, you’ve got to give I’m Ping Pong King 🙂 a try. It’s frantic silly fun for the whole family.
Now get out there, score ALL the goal points, and take home the gold!
Updated July 2022: Added Mike V: Skateboard Party and Tennis World Open 22 to our list!