While lots of apps and games on Google Play don’t charge you to download them, most aren’t truly free. If you feel that ads and in-app purchases ruin the experience, Google Play Pass might be for you.
Let’s take a look at what Google Play Pass is all about, along with the best games and apps it has to offer.
What Is Google Play Pass?
Everything included with Google Play Pass is free of ads and in-app purchases, so you won’t be subject to the typical mobile gaming nonsense. If you manage a family, Play Pass offers even greater value, as you can share your subscription with up to five other family members.
You’ll need an Android device with access to the Play Store to use Play Pass, so phones, tablets, and even Chromebooks will work. Android 4.4 is the minimum required version, which all but the oldest devices should have.
Apps join and leave Play Pass regularly, so check back for new ones occasionally. If a free app that you use leaves Play Pass, you may start to see ads or prompts for in-app purchases. In case a paid app is no longer part of Play Pass, you’ll still be able to use it for a while before you have to buy it separately.
How to Sign Up for Google Play Pass
At this time, Play Pass is only available in the US. To sign up for Play Pass, open the Google Play Store on your phone and tap the three-line icon at the top-left to slide out the left menu. There, select Play Pass to review some information. Choose Start free trial to try it for a month before you have to start paying.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll see a Play Pass tab on the Play Store’s bottom navigation bar, allowing you to browse included titles. When you open an app, you’ll see whether it’s part of Play Pass or not. If it is, you can download it at no extra charges
For games that offer more content through in-app purchases, simply open the item like you’re going to pay for it. The title will see that you have Play Pass and unlock it automatically.
The Best Games on Google Play Pass
Whether Google Play Pass is worth the cost for you depends on how many of the apps you’ll use. Let’s first look at a selection of the best games available with Google Play Pass, then we’ll pick out a few top non-game apps.
1. Stardew Valley
This indie title captured the hearts of many with its calm farm-life simulation. In it, you move to your grandfather’s old farm and must rebuild it from scratch. Alongside growing crops and raising animals, you’ll also get to know the other villagers, potentially get married and raise a family, and explore caves.
If you enjoy other building games like Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing, you must check out Stardew Valley. It’s a relaxing title that’s enjoyable both in short bursts and big chunks of time, and will hold your attention for quite a while.
Download: Stardew Valley ($7.99, free with Play Pass)
2. Monument Valley | Monument Valley 2
Both Monument Valley titles are exactly what mobile games should be: beautiful, easy to pick up in short bursts, and fun. They center around spatial puzzles where you must spin impossible shapes and work with optical illusions to guide your character through stages.
It’s a calming, family-friendly experience that makes you think while treating you to gorgeous visuals. Play the original first, and you’ll appreciate the enhancements they made in the second one.
3. Star Wars: KOTOR
Many consider Knights of the Old Republic (or KOTOR) to be one of the greatest games of all time. It was created by legendary RPG developer BioWare, and takes place thousands of years before the Star Wars movies.
Download: Star Wars: KOTOR ($9.99, free with Play Pass)
Evoland is a short walk through the history of action video games. You start with a monochrome screen and low-res graphics, eventually unlocking various enhancements that games have received over time. You’ll go from a simple 2D adventure to 3D areas similar to a Zelda game, and even engage in turn-based combat.
It’s a short but enjoyable romp that illustrates how far video games have come in just a few decades. If you enjoy it, Evoland 2 is also on Android, but it’s not part of Play Pass at this time.
Download: Evoland ($0.99, free with Play Pass)
If you enjoy games like Minecraft, you’ll love Terraria. It’s a 2D sandbox game that features action-adventure elements. In addition to building your own structures, Terraria also has caves to explore, bosses to fight, and events to discover.
This makes it a good fit if you want more direction than Minecraft offers. Terraria also features multiplayer, so you can enjoy creating and exploring with friends.
Download: Terraria ($4.99, free with Play Pass)
If you love tinkering with your Android device, Tasker is a must-have. It’s a well-known Android app that lets you set up automated routines based on triggers and actions. For instance, you might have your phone mute itself automatically at a certain time, or change the brightness level based on your current app.
If you put some time into it, you can do a whole lot with Tasker. It requires root for some commands, but most are available on all devices. Check out our Tasker introduction for some ideas of what it can do.
Download: Tasker ($3.49, free with Play Pass)
7. Moon+ Reader Pro
Moon+ Reader is a popular and well-reviewed ebook reader. It supports lots of popular formats and offers a wealth of customization options for reading, highlighting, and similar. The Pro version supports PDFs, offers more customization, and includes reading statistics.
If you don’t already use Google Play Books or the Kindle app to read ebooks on your phone, this is definitely worth a look.
Download: Moon+ Reader Pro ($4.99, free with Play Pass)
If you often have trouble falling asleep or relaxing, Sleepa can help. It offers a big collection of sounds that you can mix and match per your preferences. When you’re feeling anxious, put on the sounds of nature, rain, or a bustling city to help you calm down a bit.
The base app is free, but offers a subscription for extra sounds. Of course, you get to add this at no extra charge with Play Pass. The app has a clean look and features handy tools like timers and dark mode support, so give it a look if you like calming background noise.
Download: Sleepa (Free, in-app purchases available free with Play Pass)
What Will You Enjoy With Play Pass?
Now you know how Play Pass works and a bit of what it offers. However, we’ve collected just a sampling of apps and games available with Google Play Pass here. You’ll find many more available, including games and reading apps for children, video editors, audio players, and productivity tools.
Give the gallery of included apps a look if you’re still undecided. Hopefully, after seeing what’s available, you’ll know whether Play Pass is worth it for you or not.