Chromebooks have been going strong for a while now, but one way in which they’ve been lagging behind is in the way of gaming. Now that Android apps are becoming increasingly available to use on Chromebooks, everything’s changed, as you can play the best Android games on Google’s lightweight laptops.
Not all Android games are available on Chromebooks (yet), but a good bunch are, and many of them even have mouse-and-keyboard controls. Here are the Android games that have proven our no-nonsense Chromebooks can double as excellent gaming devices.
If you’re a board game aficionado, you’ll know that Pandemic is all the rage in all the hipster board game joints. This co-operative game tasks you and several other players with containing a series of deadly diseases that threaten to wipe out humanity.
Each player has a unique role, such as the Medic who’s particularly nifty at wiping out diseases, or the Researcher who discovers cures quickly, and each turn is a suspenseful race against the spreading diseases-by-way-of-cards. Best enjoyed on a touchscreen Chromebook, which essentially turns your screen into a giant digital board.
Or maybe you just want to watch the world burn? If that’s the case, then Plague Inc. could be more your tipple. Here, you are the disease, trying to outwit pesky humanity as it tries to contain your pestilent spread of virulent particles.
Different diseases work in different ways, ranging from bacterial nasties to the more irreverent zombie viruses. Unlike Pandemic, it’s lacking in a shared-screen multiplayer mode (you can play online), but it’s nevertheless a weirdly compelling power fantasy to take on the ruthless, impersonal role of a deadly pathogen. For the morbidly-minded.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The game that needs no introduction, probably, if you’re a child of the PS2 era that is, or have some sense of seminal video-game history. “San An”, as we liked to call it, was the last GTA game of its generation, taking the monumental step of setting the action across an entire state containing three cities, plenty of backwater towns, and a whole lot of wilderness.
It was a good time for mobile gaming when San Andreas came to Android, and it’s even better on Chromebook, offering all the nice textures and graphical streamlining of the Android version while blowing it up to a bigger screen. It’s aged a bit, sure, but the whole 90s West Coast vibe remains ever alluring. It’s best enjoyed with a gamepad.
Moving away from the somewhat intense themes of global pandemics and West Coast gang wars, Monument Valley is a beautifully stylized puzzler, filled with pastel-and-neon shades and lovely floating castles that you need to navigate a silent princess through.
You guide her by shifting perspectives, creating non-euclidean pathways by way of optical illusions that Escher would have been fond of. Both the first and second game are equally dreamy and compelling, with the sequel upping the scale and tasking you with controlling a mother and her child instead.
The Battle of Polytopia
Not a lot of people seem to talk about The Battle for Polytopia, but that hasn’t stopped over one million people downloading the deceptively deep turn-based strategy game. It looks cutesy with its bold colors and pixel graphics, but in reality it’s the closest thing to Civilization you’ll find on the small screen (and that includes that dumbed-down Civilization Revolution 2).
In Polytopia you attempt to guide a tribe to rule a vast randomly-generated world of grasslands, forests, seas and deserts. You compete against AI opponents for land, power and resources, discovering technologies and building armies to make your tribe rule supreme. Playing it on the relatively large Chromebook screen naturally magnifies the fun, and it works with mouse-and-keyboard for those who don’t have a touchscreen.
That’s all we have for you so far, but there are undoubtedly plenty more top Android games to be put through their paces on the Chromebook. Have you discovered any gems that we’ve missed? Let us know below!