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Best retro ports on Android in 2023

There are tons of games to choose from on the Play Store, including a healthy selection of classic ports that make for some of the best Android games around. Whether you’re into retro RPGs like Dragon Quest II or prefer the action of platformers like Mega Man X, you’re covered with this roundup. So if you prefer the pixel stylings of the classic games of yesteryear, you’ve come to the right place. Since many of these classics are best played with physical controls, bring your favorite Android controller along for the ride. You may need it.

1 Mega Man X

A classic from the SNES era, Capcom’s 16-bit retro platformer finally made its way to Android after 12 years of availability on iOS. Now that the port is here, it’s easy to see that the pixel graphics have been updated, along with new difficulty levels for those who want to make things more challenging or less. And less is a big addition since there’s no controller support here. Everyone will have to beat the game with the touchscreen controls. The touch controls are solid, making Mega Man X an excellent pickup for anyone looking to revisit a fan favorite from the past.

2 Dragon Quest II

Of all the Dragon Quest titles on the Play Store, Dragon Quest II is often a go-to install. The pixel-based graphics are as sharp as ever, and even though this game requires a lot of grinding, it doesn’t hamper the balance of the title. This is about as classic as you can get when it comes to JRPGs, and as a portrait game, it works wonderfully for one-handed play. While the later games suffer from the portrait orientation, Dragon Quest II is simple enough that one-handed play is almost ideal.

3 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Konami’s classic Metroidvania title, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, was released on the Play Store to everyone’s surprise, and it’s available for $2.99, which is a fabulous deal. If you’ve yet to play SotN, it’s a beautiful 2D platformer that offers non-linear gameplay, so exploration is encouraged. The primary campaign takes about eight or nine hours to beat, so it takes more than one sitting to work your way through this release. The game is listed in our retro roundup because the Android version is a port of the PSP release, which was a port of the PS1 version. So even though there’s new dialog and voice work, the pixel-based graphics remain the same, allowing the game to retain its wonderful retro look.

4 Titan Quest: Legendary Edition

Titan Quest has had an iffy history on mobile, but it appears that the latest publisher connected to the latest release has been working hard on changing this. While the original release is still available, this is the newest version that includes all DLC in the asking price. It also appears that HandyGames has squashed many outstanding bugs, so everyone can enjoy this classic as it was intended, in full and working order.

5 King of the Monsters

When it comes to NeoGeo games, a fan favorite has always been King of the Monsters. Who wouldn’t get a kick out of smashing cities while duking it out as a giant monster pitted against other giant monsters? And you have to imagine, in 1991, when this game launched in arcades, Kaiju games were few and far between in the West (beyond Rampage). This made King of the Monsters relatively unique, sporting 32-bit graphics that to this day still look great on the screen. If you have a penchant for smashing cities while fighting giant monsters, King of the Monsters is a blast that’s easily worth a revisit.

6 Star Wars: KOTOR

Eighteen years ago, the best Star Wars-themed RPG ever made was released for the Xbox. Eleven years later, Bioware’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was ported to Android by Aspyr Media. Now you can play this classic from the comfort of your phone or tablet. It even supports mods. The game plays great using the default touchscreen controls, plus it supports external controllers for those who require something more tactile. The sequel to this title is also available on Android for those that wish to play both.

7 Chrono Trigger

Square Enix’s Chrono Trigger is considered by many to be the best turn-based JRPG of the 1990s and maybe of all time. The Android port has had a bit of a checkered past, with Square Enix leaving it completely broken for over a year. It seems the developer turned a new corner, as a few major updates have rolled out in recent years that improve the controls, graphics, and sound. The updates also added cloud save and fullscreen support. Plus, there are a couple of new areas to explore with the Dimensional Vortex and Lost Sanctum dungeons’ additions, which should give players something new to try out if they’ve only ever played the SNES version.

8 Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Classic

Sega’s Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Classic was released as part of the studio’s SEGA Forever program, which, for a time, was how Sega published its classic games on Android free of charge. Sega did this by stuffing a ton of ads into these games. However, Sega includes a way to remove these ads. All you do is plunk down $1.99 for a one-time in-app purchase, and the ads are gone forever.

9 Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes is a popular real-time strategy game that was initially ported to iOS, but the game made its way to Android, and the wait was worth it. This is a solid port of the classic that performs well, and the game is fun, especially if you enjoy real-time strategy games themed around WWII. While the small UI, lack of online play, and large price tag may hold a few people back, there’s no denying that console-quality strategy games are hard to come by on Android, making Company of Heroes one of the best options available on the platform.

10 Big Tournament Golf

Neo Geo has some excellent classics under its belt, and if you’re into golf games, Big Tournament Golf (otherwise known as Neo Turf Masters) should be on your radar. This is a classic arcade golf game, with six golfers to choose from and numerous courses spread across the globe. While there is no online play, pass and play is included, which means you can play a friend on a single device by taking turns. Even though controller support is included, the touch controls work well for this release since it isn’t action-centric.

11 R-Type

R-Type is one of the most well-known 2D sidescrolling space shooters ever made. We have played it for many years on an original 1989 Gameboy. The level design is fantastic, and each stage has a huge boss fight at the end that takes plenty of practice before you recognize all its patterns. Plus, there’s something to be said about the versatile weapon system that allows you to attach one of your guns on the fly so that you can shoot forward or backward.

12 Crazy Taxi Classic

Crazy Taxi Classic is another Sega port that was re-released under the SEGA Forever program. It’s a taxi racing game that tasks the player with delivering passengers under a specific time limit, which usually results in crazily driving around the city. It offers a kicking soundtrack, and the timed arcade mode is perfect when you only have a few minutes to spare but feel like taking a quick spin around the block.

13 RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic

Atari may have taken a dump on the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise, but that doesn’t mean the earlier games aren’t worth playing. RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic is still heralded as the best of the bunch, and it has a mobile port available on Android. The graphics may not look great compared to newer games, but it should run on a wide range of devices, which is a good thing.

14 Gunstar Heroes Classic

Gunstar Heroes Classic is another standout in the SEGA Forever group on the Play Store. If you have yet to play Gunstar Heroes, you are in for a treat. It is one of the best run-and-gun platforming shooters, and this port stays true to its excellent gameplay. Bluetooth controllers are supported out of the box since the touchscreen controls don’t do the game justice. Quick movements and fast shooting are necessary to make it through this one. If you’re having a tough time, cross-platform multiplayer is supported over local Wi-Fi when you need a hand.

15 Phantasy Star Classics

Phantasy Star Classics was initially released as Phantasy Star II under the Sega Forever moniker. The game was eventually updated to add the third and fourth titles in the series. This means you can play all three games in this classic RPG series for free with ad support, and you can remove these ads for each game through individual in-app purchases. Like many of Sega’s ports, the touchscreen controls are a little rough, but there’s Bluetooth controller support for those that want to dig in.

16 Karateka Classic

Back in the day, Kung-Fu on the NES was the best-known karate game out there, and Karateka Classic is reminiscent of that game, even though this was an Apple II title from the creator of Prince of Persia. Still, the goal is the same since these two karate games are similar. It’s your job to fight through a horde of enemies. This is so you can save your girlfriend from the evil clutches of the warlord Akuma. If you’re looking for a classic beat ’em up, Karateka is about as classic as it gets.

17 Simon the Sorcerer

Simon The Sorcerer was released in 1993, staring the titular Simon as a fish out of water tasked with discovering magic in a Narnia-style hidden world. The game’s controls have been adapted to touchscreens and work well. This release offers the original graphics, but you can also play in HD, thanks to a new graphics mode created for modern devices. All in all, this is a quality port that brings a few new things to the table. Simon the Sorcerer is a quality choice if you enjoy classic point-and-click adventure games.

18 Space Invaders

Space Invaders needs no introduction. It’s about as retro as it gets, and Taito brought the title to Android. Since this cover-shooter is simple, the touchscreen controls work phenomenally, and you can reach the highest levels in this release without a slowdown or imprecision. The asking price may be a little high for an old game, but it’s a solid port, so you won’t waste your money on a lazy mobile interpretation.

19 Secret of Mana

Square Enix has ported several classic 1980s and 1990s RPGs to the Play Store. Secret of Mana is one of those games, and it is one of the best to be released. Unlike many of SE’s titles, this is an action RPG that plays similarly to the Zelda franchise. This means the touchscreen controls can be a problem if you are not used to playing action games. There is support for physical gamepads, so no matter how you prefer to play, there’s a control option for you. And if you would like to check out the first title in this series, Adventure of Mana is available on the Play Store.

20 Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap began its life as a 1989 Master System game, and it was remade for modern consoles in 2017, complete with new graphics. Thanks to its newfound popularity, DotEmu brought the game over to Android, and it comes with controller and Shield TV support. The game is a classic 2D platformer. Since you can switch from the old pixel graphics to the new hand-drawn art on the fly as you play, you can play through the entirety of the title with its original graphics intact, making this the perfect game for our classic roundup.

Conclusion on Best retro ports on Android in 2023

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