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From the beautiful puzzle game, Lost in Play to the innovative bullet-hell action of Roto Force, there was a game for everyone this July. We also saw interesting experiments with games like Space Invaders: World Defense which, while unlikely to make it to our frequently updated list of the best games on Android, attempted to try something new with our phones' capabilities.

July saw a higher proportion of puzzle and arcade games released than other months; few are graphically intensive, so even our favorite budget phones can handle them.

1 Lost in Play

A puzzle game that evokes feelings of settling down to Saturday morning cartoons as a child, Lost in Play is a supremely charming and heartwarming experience. But don't let the cartoonish visuals fool you; there is plenty of substance to be found in the game's point-and-click gameplay. It's undoubtedly one of the best puzzle games on Android.

Lost in Play has received stellar reviews across all platforms, but many have pointed out that the game's price on most platforms doesn't match its length. While it's free to download on Android, you must pay $7.99 to unlock the full game. This is less than half the price of other platforms, so the Play Store is the most affordable place to play this beautiful game.

  • In-app purchases: $3.49 – $7.99 per item

2 Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals

Oxenfree 2 is a worthy sequel to one of our favorite horror games, retaining the core experience that made Oxenfree a hit while effectively delivering an original story. While it might not be innovative enough for some people, it's undoubtedly a fantastic stand-alone adventure game.

Not only is Oxenfree 2 a spectacular game, but it's an excellent addition to Netflix Game's ever-expanding library. While you need a Netflix subscription to play, this means the game won't bombard you with ads or in-app purchases.

  • Available on Netflix Games

3 Dumb Ways to Climb

Dumb Ways to Climb is less a parody and more a clone of the game Only Up!, which exploded in popularity this year. Dumb Ways to Climb offers the same addictively frustrating gameplay, poking fun at Only Up! by highlighting the game's pointlessness.

While Dumb Ways to Climb has little in common with the Dumb Ways to Die series, and the frustrating gameplay dulls its satire, it's entirely free to play, and unlike other games in the series, there are no microtransactions. It's a better use of your time than Only Up! but we wouldn't recommend it for the easily stressed.

  • In-app purchases: None

4 Space Invaders: World Defense

Space Invaders: World Defense isn't perfect, but if you can get over the restrictive gameplay elements, you'll find a fun, if dizzying, AR shooter. Unlike the AR games pioneered by Niantic, Space Invaders: World Defense forces you to stand in one spot, spinning around as you target and destroy the invaders with your phone. This is challenging when the game forces you to play outside amongst buildings; it's hard to keep one eye on the game and one eye on your surroundings. However, it's a nifty example of AR tech that is more a celebration of the original game's 45th anniversary than a complete experience.

Space Invaders: World Defense is free-to-play, with no ads or microtransactions. However, be aware that many people have reported that the game cannot detect their location, rendering the game unplayable.

  • In-app purchases: None

5 Roto Force

A bullet-hell shooter that doesn't waste your time, Roto Force brings innovative gameplay to a classic genre. While the rotating arena will feel claustrophobic at first, you'll soon master the swipe controls as you dodge, dash, and shoot your way through waves of pixelated enemies. It's fast, challenging, and fun; everything you want from a bullet-hell game.

Roto Force is free to download, but you must pay $4.99 to unlock the entire game. It's well worth it; while there are plenty of fantastic shoot-'em-ups on Android, few do it better than Roto Force.

  • In-app purchases: $4.99 per item

6 Tetragon

The third game on this list themed around spinning; Tetragon is a puzzle game where you'll rotate the world to solve puzzles. It's a simple idea, especially when you can only rotate the world by 90 degrees at a time, but there's enough substance to make it satisfying to play. It's part-platformer, so fans of the best platformer games on Android should undoubtedly give it a go.

Tetragon is available for a one-time purchase of $5.49. This gets you the whole game without microtransactions or ads.

  • In-app purchases: None

7 The Queen's Gambit Chess

The Queen's Gambit Chess might be the best chess game for beginners on the Play Store. As you follow the story of the Netflix show, you'll learn all the chess techniques you need to start your journey. The game surprised us with its accessible approach to chess, and the charming graphics and variety of game modes only added to the experience. Chess veterans shouldn't dismiss this game either, as The Queen's Gambit Chess also offers a competitive matchmaking mode where you'll play against people of equal skill.

The Queen's Gambit Chess is part of Netflix Games; considering how microtransactions could have been stuffed into this title, it's probably best that it's locked behind a Netflix subscription.

  • Available on Netflix Games

8 Pokémon Sleep

After testing Pokémon Sleep against a dedicated sleep tracker for a week, it becomes clear that this isn't a game about improving your sleep but about catching Pokémon. So don't get fooled by the marketing; you'll spend most of your time in Pokémon Sleep interacting, catching, and feeding Pokémon. While the game is centered around sleep, it doesn't actually require you to drastically change your sleep schedule to successfully collect Pokémon.

If you enjoy Pokémon, but can't stand the grinding inherent in most of the series' games, give Pokémon Sleep a go. It only takes a few minutes a day to perform all your tasks; all the hard work is done in your sleep. It's free-to-play with optional microtransactions.

  • In-app purchases: $1.19 – $97.99 per item

9 Teeny Tiny Town

Teeny Tiny Town is essentially a clone of matching games like Triple Town, but it's not without its unique charms. As the name suggests, you'll work through bushes, trees, construction materials, and buildings to build a tiny town. While it may be simplistic, the feeling of finally constructing a skyscraper is hugely satisfying.

In-app purchases will enable unlimited level refreshes and remove ads. However, Teeny Tiny Town isn't ground-breaking enough to justify spending money on as the free version isn't frustrating enough to necessitate it.

  • In-app purchases: $0.99 – $1.99 per item

10 Geo Gods

Most of our favorite card games on Android are competitive experiences; you'll build decks to compete against real players. Geo Gods, on the other hand, is a solo game where you'll use magic to create the perfect garden. Creating a garden might sound relaxing, but Geo Gods is a strategic game with a steep learning curve. However, once you master it, you'll be competing in the weekly tournaments in no time.

Geo Gods is free-to-play. A single in-app purchase unlocks extra cards and features, but you don't have to pay anything to enjoy the full game. Overall, it's a beautiful game that will appeal to those who enjoy solving complex problems with limited resources.

  • In-app purchases: $4.99 per item

Play some of July 2023's best games

Whether it's the solo challenge of Geo Gods or the relaxing gameplay of Pokémon Sleep that appeals to you, there's a high chance that one of these games will become your favorite game of the year.

These games won't stretch your phone's hardware, but if you've got a flagship Android phone, push it to the limit with our favorite graphically demanding games instead.