Professional and/or competitive shooter games are fast becoming a sustainable industry trend for mobile gaming. Both game development and smartphone hardware is reaching the point where phones can absolutely deliver top-notch gaming experiences — even for first-person shooters.
This still probably sounds like crazy talk to traditional PC gamers, but the fact is mobile shooters have cut out a nice niche within the pro-gaming community — franchises such as PUBG Mobile and Guns of Boom have competitive esports leagues that can be advantageous to people who love to stream or try playing for cash in a tournament. Just like other online games for console or PC, mobile games reward teams who can practice and train together — or you can just jump into the game and have some fun on your phone.
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And if you’re looking for something a bit less violent, check out our favorite Android games of 2021!
Afterpulse is a competitive third-person shooter and a worthy challenger to Call of Duty: Mobile’s crown. It looks good, plays well, and has plenty of weapon options to choose from. The developers are constantly working to improve the game and add features that the community wants, too.
There are a variety of game modes, maps, weapons, and optimization options. If you feel like spending some real-world cash, you can buy skins if you’d like. Afterpulse doesn’t lack in the skin department.
Afterpulse is an awesome third-person competitive shooter. You have a lot of game modes to play, maps to learn, and weapons to use. And there are plenty of skins available for purchase, too.
Bullet Hell Monday Finale
Bullet hells. You know them, you love them, and now the beloved Bullet Hell Monday has spawned a worthy successor, Bullet Hell Monday Finale. This newer version keeps most of what made the original game so valuable and adds a much-needed Endless Mode so that seasoned players can push the limits of the leaderboards.
In classic arcade-shooter fashion, you pilot a ship and blast your way through—you guessed it—a gauntlet of bullet hells. Starting with just a few abilities in your arsenal, you swipe to move and attack with one hand and tap with the other to launch bombs. As you progress, you’ll gain new abilities in the process. The learning curve can be pretty brutal at first, but there’s an optional Easy Mode, and you can even skip levels that are proving to be too much of a challenge without penalty.
The graphics are stylish, vibrant, and bold, the gameplay is intuitive, and the soundtrack is absolutely awesome. If you’re looking for a good time with an arcade bullet-hell title, this one’s for you!
Bullet Hell Monday Finale
The beloved Bullet Hell Monday gets a facelift and adds a much-needed infinite mode in Bullet Hell Monday Finale.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty is one of the most popular selling game franchises of all time, so it was only a matter of time before a proper mobile version of the game was released by publisher Activision. CoD Mobile offers several ways to jump into multiplayer action with friends or strangers. Each multiplayer match type is 5-on-5, and the parameters are slightly different depending on the mode you choose:
- Team Deathmatch is pretty standard fare with random respawn points and each team racing to get to 50 kills (40 if you’re playing a ranked match)
- Frontline is similar to Team Deathmatch, except each team’s respawn point is fixed on either side of the map.
- Domination adds in capture points that each team must secure and hold to earn points. The first team to reach the score limit wins.
- Search and Destroy is a tactical mode with no respawns played over several rounds. One team is tasked with destroying an objective while the other team plays defense.
All those modes are available to play in unranked matches, while only Team Deathmatch is available to start for ranked matches. Ranked Domination and Search and Destroy modes are only unlocked as you move up the rankings ladder.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a 100-player Battle Royale mode that you can play in first-person or third-person view in solo, duo, or 4-person team modes. Battle Royale mode also introduces a class system that gives your player a special ability to assist your team on the battlefield. Finally, there’s Warfare mode, a 20v20 match on the Battle Royale map with respawns that straight up kicks ass and leads to an all-out war as both teams race to reach 150 kills first.
Call of Duty: Mobile is another free-to-play game buoyed by a Battle Pass system that encourages you to buy in-app currency to spend on a premium battle pass for more rewards or even more cash on cosmetic skins for your character and weapons. The good news is that you don’t need to pay any attention to the in-app purchases to enjoy the game, but they’re there for those who care.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty has won Game of the Year awards for good reason. It’s a surprisingly complete version of Call of Duty for phones that’s entirely free to play.
Critical Ops is one of the best first-person shooters available for Android. It offers three game modes to choose from: bomb defusing, team deathmatch, and gun game, where you cycle through different weapons every time you kill an opponent. Boasting over one million active daily players, you’ll always be able to jump into a match with little to no wait time.
It’s kind of got that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare vibe to it, mixed with a healthy dose of CounterStrike to create a best-of-both-worlds scenario that offers great graphics and really solid controls. It’s free to play with in-app purchases available, but you can only buy skins for your guns, and the developers have assured players that this game will never be pay-to-win.
I appreciate the simplified menus and how quickly you can jump into a match here. The action is always fast-paced and intense, making Critical Ops one of my go-to shooters when I’ve got a couple of minutes to kill.
Critical Ops is one of the best shooters available for Android with multiple modes and a large community, so you always have somebody to play with.
Dead Effect 2
Dead Effect 2 is a gruesome first-person shooter set in a dark, gritty, and somewhat horrifying nightmare. It features some RPG-lite mechanics (including character personality), controller support, plenty of weapon and implant upgrades to chase, a long campaign with side missions, and more.
This game isn’t for the faint of heart, with you shooting or cutting your enemies into gory pieces. As such, player discretion is advised. That being said, Dead Effect 2 is a high-quality game that looks fantastic. And there’s even a katana! Unfortunately, there’s also some freemium nonsense, like grinding to upgrade your weapons. Still, it’s a fun shooter.
Dead Effect 2
This gorgeous shooter is a dark and gruesome adventure. Blast your way through enemies with a variety of weapons and upgrades.
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2 continues to be the quintessential zombie-shooting experience on mobile. The graphics are amazing, though the game hardly takes itself seriously — there are many tongue-in-cheek references and over-the-top baddies to mow down. This version is a little different because players now have their own hideout and a crew that can build stuff for them.
The controls were streamlined for touch; all you have to do is move the crosshairs over a zombie, and if you’re in range, you’ll automatically start shooting. There are tons of missions to enjoy, and the in-app purchases were scaled back, removing the premium currency so now you can buy and build everything yourself without spending a cent.
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2 is a zombie shooter that’s packed with content, featuring 33 different battlegrounds and a formidable array of deadly bosses to battle.
One of the most popular games in the world came out for Android a while ago and, after a brief stint on the Play Store, it became the center of a legal battle. Luckily, it’s still available outside of Google’s storefront if you want to play it. Samsung users can install the Epic Games app directly from the Galaxy Store. If you have another Android device, you can grab the file directly from Epic, which will be linked below. You will then need to sideload the Epic Games app to play it.
Fortnite pits you and 99 other players against each other with the goal to be the last individual or team standing. The map is huge, but it slowly shrinks over time to force people closer together. Conflict, mayhem, and death ensue as you’re put between a rock and a hard place (sometimes literally) to survive. This is the full version of the game, too, not a mobile spin-off, so you get access to all updates and goodies when they happen. You can then make progress on your battle pass wherever you are.
Besides being popular due to its low (read: free) cost to entry and ease of accessibility for all kinds of players, Fortnite is infamous for its microtransactions. This game popularized the battle pass system, a split between a free (and much less rewarding) tier and a paid tier of progression throughout a given season. There are also cosmetics to buy, so you won’t run out of ways to give Epic more money. Love it or hate it, Fortnite is a juggernaut and should be respected on that basis alone.
Fortnite has been booted off the Play Store, but you can still sideload the king of battle royales if you want to play on your phone.
Guns of Boom
Guns of Boom is a bright and colorful cartoony first-person shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously while still delivering one of the purest competitive online shooter games for Android. The game gets all the basics right that you want from a good FPS — quick and responsive controls that are customizable, well-designed maps and weapons that allow for adaptive gameplay, and a healthy community of players.
Matches are 4v4 deathmatches that take place in vibrant and colorful maps that allow for a mix of rush assaults, close-quarters combat, and long-range sniping. One of Guns of Boom’s biggest strengths is how easy it is to load up the app and jump right into the game. Alternatively, you can spend time in the menus connecting with friends, organizing with a clan, or diving into the Arsenal to buy and upgrade new weapons and health kits using in-game cash and gold.
To that end, Guns of Boom may give you the feeling that it’s pay-to-win, and that might be the case once you get up to around Level 30 with the hardcore players who’ve maybe invested $100 or more into the game. But the game is super generous with cash and powerups if you’re diligent about completing all your daily challenges.
Guns of Boom
Don’t let the cartoon graphics fool you — Guns of Boom is a seriously competitive shooter with fun and frantic gameplay. It also has great support for older devices and a simple control layout.
Hitman: Sniper finds you, Agent 47, stationed with a sniper rifle outside an estate filled with rich people, bodyguards, and a certain high-priority target. Your job is to take your time, plan a course of action, and begin removing enemies any way you see fit (as long as it’s through a scope). Each mission has different objectives you can complete for extra money, which you can then spend on weapon upgrades and new sniper rifles. If you’re incredibly proud of a mission, use the Share Replay function to share gameplay footage with your friends.
This game has nice graphics and great mechanics: you must lead enemies on the move and must account for their sometimes unforeseen actions. They will not shoot back but will take cover and move around the map, attempting to help your prime target escape. Controls are easy and responsive, meaning you won’t have too much trouble lining up the shot. The music is great, especially when you miss a couple of shots and set off some alarms, and the voice acting is also above par for mobile games. Get your heart beating with this great shooter, and enjoy no ads or in-app purchases.
Step into the shoes of Agent 47 and peer down his sniper rifle scope as you assassinate high-value targets in this beautiful mobile shooter from the folks at Square Enix.
Infinity Ops is the only game on this list that meaningfully pulled me away from CoD Mobile. This multiplayer shooter is more than just its incredible sci-fi aesthetic. There are a few different classes to choose from, each with its abilities and strengths.
The robust social features are great for people who appreciate that sort of thing. There are even clans! Infinity Ops contains a wide variety of weapons to choose…