The mobile MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) market has grown to the point where there are millions of players enjoying live matches on their smartphones. But as more new MOBA games have arrived on our phones, it’s become increasingly difficult to separate the best from the rest. So here is a breakdown of the best Android MOBAs around, separated into tiers. All of these games are free to play and contain in app purchases:
The Best Android MOBA Games
For a long time, Vainglory was the only game in town when it came to mobile MOBAs that tried to be more than an attempt to cash in on a trend. First released in 2014, Vainglory has taken advantage of its head start to create an active competitive MOBA scene on Android. That helped it cement its place as one of the best Android MOBA game for a while. Though it might not be in a dominant position thanks to the emergence of other games that are more willing to spend on marketing to attract new users, Vainglory still stands in a unique place in the MOBA market. Unlike most other games, Vainglory uses tap controls instead of a virtual joystick for movement and targeting. That helps make the game feel different, and it could appeal to users who are not fans of the control schemes used in most mobile MOBAs. Even among those who prefer different control schemes, it’s hard to deny that Vainglory’s tap controls are well executed. Vainglory started with its core mode being a 3 vs 3 mode, but has been updated to include a new map and a 5 vs 5 mode in February, 2018. Constantly evolving, the game has added the option to use a virtual joystick control scheme, and will soon add voice chat, ranked leaderboards, and more.
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor is undoubtedly the most popular MOBA game on Android thanks to its immense fan base in China. It has high production values with great visuals and a soundtrack by Hanz Zimmer that are among the best in any MOBA game. The game features over 40 heroes, and has licensed characters from the DC Universe including Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman. The game uses a virtual joystick to control hero movement, and feels like a game built from the ground up to be a mobile experience. Targeting feels a bit looser than some competitors like Mobile Legends, and some users have reported latency issues after the launch of the game in North America. Arena of Valor has a version that is available in North America, and one that is available in Southeast Asia.
Games Worth a Look, and Maybe a Download
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has become extremely popular, amassing over 50 million downloads on Google Play alone. Like Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends uses a virtual joystick based control scheme, and the controls are generally excellent. Unfortunately hero skins give minor stat boosts and the heroes themselves lack creativity. That lack of creativity has resulted in League of Legends developer Riot Games taking legal action against Moonton, the developer of Mobile Legends. It should be noted that Riot Games’ parent company, Tencent, created Arena of Valor.
Heroes Evolved is in the same boat as Mobile Legends. The game’s controls are fine, and everything works as it should. The heroes are not exactly original, but there is a nice selection of skins available. Heroes Evolved is definitely not a bad game, but it does not do anything better than the games above it, putting it firmly in fourth place. If you want a MOBA that uses a virtual joystick for movement and Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends didn’t quite click with you, Heroes Evolved is worth a try.
A unique entry on the list, Paladins Strike does not try to offer the same MOBA experience as the other games on the list. Instead it offers a much faster experience, played on a different map and with different objectives. Instead of just pushing towards the enemy base, players need to summon an explosive payload and bring it over to their enemy’s base. The side that fails to summon the payload must then stop the delivery by pushing the payload back towards the center of the map. While offering a unique and exciting take on the MOBA genre, Paladins Strike is not without its issues. For one, the game is a bit too pay to win to be considered competitive. Players can buy runes that give them substantial advantages and the game’s skins also boost a character’s performance.
Here are the rest of the notable mobile MOBA games that are available on Android. These games tend to be rough around the edges, have less active communities and fewer updates. Though they are not in the top tiers it doesn’t mean they’re not worth a look.