This year we’ve decided to take our 2017 retrospective a step further by selecting ten essential best of genre games on Android. This is the start of the Uptodown Game Awards, and these are our ten candidates. In a few weeks we’ll announce the three winners, whose creators will each receive a special prize that we’ll unveil very soon.

In many ways it’s been a decisive year for the Android platform. Nintendo betting the house on developing games for the platform (Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp), the arrival of Battle Arena games on mobile devices after the smashing success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and the solidifying of Supercell’s game catalog as the most successful in the mobile market are just a few memorable moments of 2017.

But we don’t want to focus on the obvious, so we’ve compiled a list of games that for the most part aren’t among the most downloaded on the platform. It’s easy to miss gaming gems in the deluge of releases on the platform, so we’ve tried to select just those that truly deserve it.

Last Day on Earth – Best survival game

The game developed by the studio Kefir! is proof that its always possible to breathe new life into seemingly stagnant genres and lift the bar for future releases. Last Day on Earth isn’t just an MMORPG, nor a building game centered in crafting, nor can it be called a ‘zombie game’ because that’s just a small part of the gameplay. It has its own unique identity, which by the standards we’re using for this list, is something to applaud.

In Last Day on Earth you play a survivor in a world devastated by a zombie pandemic. You have to travel around diverse areas of the environment to collect resources. You use these resources to build a shelter and all kinds of gadgets to stay safe. The trouble startes when other players start to move into your territory and get into your property, often without the best of intentions. These interactions are this game’s special sauce. [Review on Uptodown]

A Planet of Mine – Best Strategy game

One of the main problems when translating gameplay from strategy management games on PC to mobile devices is that it can be difficult to preserve the depth of the game without over complicating interfaces on small screens. A Planet of Mine manages to avoid these pitfalls easily, offering a great 4X strategy game that feels like a light building game. They succeed in simplifying the complicated thanks to the game’s fantastic design.

In the game you have to get your civilization to prosper by exploiting natural resources on a small planet divided into small segments. By developing your extractors you can eventually make it to space, where you can contact other civilizations and plant your flag on new worlds. [Review on Uptodown]

Stormbound – Best Competitive game

The incredible success of Clash Royale has brought about a proliferation of strategy games based on collectible cards. Of the hundreds of titles copying the formula, Stormbound by Paladin Studios stands above the rest, although in this case, creating an effective deck and the interactions between different units and effects plays a much more important role than in other similar titles. In fact, it might even be a bit offensive to compare this game to Supercell’s title. Stormbound offers much more.

Turn based battles are fought on a 4×5 rectangular board where you launch units and special abilities with the goal of taking the enemy HP down to 0. Positioning and anticipation are fundamental to victory, and that’s why we consider Stormbound an incredible collectible card game. [Review on Uptodown]

Super Phantom Cat 2 – Best platformer

If Super Phantom Cat was one of the best games of 2016, its sequel is deserving of its own praise in 2017. How can you value so highly a 2D platforming game with controls that only let you move horizontally, jump, and eventually a secondary action? Well, these controls are more than enough to have fun and bring back memories of classic platformers that still serve as references in the genre.

Super Phantom Cat 2 is pure unadulterated fun. Jumping between platforms, overcoming obstacles, and finding hidden secrets are the three pillars upon which this game is built. It could easily join other 16 bit classics that live on in collective memory. An essential title of 2017. Also there are cats. [Review on Uptodown]

Miracle Merchant – Best card game

Arnold Rauers is an Android artisan. He has already shown his capacity for creating original card games with deep but accessible gameplay in Card Thief and Card Crawl. Miracle Merchant is the pinnacle of his design philosophy, and as a bonus features an aesthetic that could be ripped right from an episode of Adventure Time.

In the game you manage an alchemy shop and are tasked with preparing all kinds of potions ordered by a never ending line of clients that visit the establishment. You make them by drawing the required ingredients from different decks, and the effects depend on the adjacent cards. Perfectly balanced gameplay is another sign of the game’s playful architect, and that’s why it’s one of the year’s essential titles. [Review on Uptodown]

Dandy Dungeon – Most Innovative game

The fact that we are including Dandy Dungeon in our list of the 10 best games of the year demonstrates just how much we love its creator Yoshiro Kimura, an often misunderstood developer that has participated in other equally original works like Little King’s Story. In Dandy Dungeon, you embrace the meta-game by joining a 36 year old programmer who decides to embark on a journey to develop his own video game while dealing with life’s disappointments and entanglements.

The game has many layers beyond thinking about the daily life of poor Yamada in his room, since you can also play the game he is developing, which is a fun puzzle RPG that has you solve small puzzles by choosing the path of the hero. This simple premise leads to endless hours of gameplay, which features yet another crazy task. Without going too into detail, after completing the game you gain access to the second part of the game, hidden within the first. Madness and excellence can be one and the same. [Review on Uptodown]

Rogue Life – Best genre Mash-Up

Mixing genres to get new successful formulas continues to be a constant in 2017. Rogue Life is closer to a shoot ’em up than a simple runner, but it also has RPG elements. And does the combination work? You bet it does!

You beat different levels by controlling the lateral movement of your team of heroes, defeating enemies while avoiding their attacks and other obstacles along the way. Once you return to your base of operations, you can exchange the treasures you found for materials that you can use to improve your team’s equipment. Then start again. The problem is that the game doesn’t seem to end, and we’ve been hooked on the formula for months. And we likely will be for many months ahead. [Review on Uptodown]

Road Warriors – Best arcade game

Quick and powerful experiences are what the body craves when playing a match on the bus. Post apocalyptic races in Road Warriors offer just that: a quick jolt of adrenaline to sprint to the finish line first, traveling at full velocity around the track thanks to powerful turbo boosts.

Road Warriors offers a new randomly generated track every day, shared by all players. If you’re good, you can also get resources by arriving at the finish line first, and use them to improve various parts of your car. Checkpoints are optional, and come with an additional cost, but they allow you to save your progress as you speed to the next point. Mad Max for dummies. [Review on Uptodown]

Flippy Knife – Best game of skill

Physics games have an extra component of difficultly thanks to their basis in the interactions between virtual elements. And who doesn’t find it disturbingly thrilling to throw sharp knives? Flippy Knife offers a lot, and that makes it the year’s best game of skill.

You have at your disposal hundreds of knives, swords, and saws that you unlock little by little while participating in different minigames. These range from overcoming obstacles without dropping to the ground to hitting a moving target. It’s a grim formula that works thanks to the games controls, which work in proportion to the precise strength and distance of touch screen gestures. [Review on Uptodown]

Lionheart: Dark Moon – Best RPG

A turn based RPG could be just another game on Android or a smash hit. It all depends on the elements that give the game flavor. Not everyone has a lucrative licence to slap on their games like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, but Lionheart: Dark Moon features spectacular graphics that have nothing to envy from any superproduction by a renowned studio.

There are barely any external elements in the game, and everything is centered in battles within the game’s distinct modes. There are more than 100 characters from which to draw your trio of heroes. Luckily, you can choose both who your characters attack and when they launch their special abilities (automation is a double edged sword). On top of deep and fun gameplay the game has great graphics and animations, making it an easy choice for 2017’s best RPG on Android.

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