Cell phones and the ease with which they make the world easily available to us is both a blessing and a curse. Though they allow us to instantly connected with both our loved ones as well as the world around us—which has helped us maintain some vestiges of normalcy during this pandemic—they also encourage us to doomscroll regardless of how much downtime we schedule or app limits we set. The next time you find yourself continuously ignoring Bedtime reminders to immerse yourself in Instagram, tapping through Twitter threads, or refreshing your Facebook feed, distract yourself with these fun—and free!—mobile games instead.
Tiny Tomb: Dungeon Explorer by Tiny Corp
If some part of you is still nostalgic for your youth despite—or perhaps because of—corporations’ desperate attempts to capitalize on it by ruining, er, rebooting childhood staples, download Tiny Tomb. As you kick, punch, and dodge your way through traps and enemies to escape the picturesque dungeon an unknown blue monster trapped you in, you can’t help but think of arcade games except without the expensive tokens and the repetitive gameplay.
Yellow by Bart Bonte
All the 50 puzzles in Bart Bonte’s Yellow share the same objective: to make the screen, well, yellow. What they do not share, however, is the same logic. Some levels may require a series of taps while some may require remembering and repeating a pattern but all of them require outside-the-box thinking that will leave you equal parts absorbed and agitated and indebted to the Hints button. And if you’re not fond of yellow, or run out of puzzles to solve, you can have your pick from Bonte’s Red, Blue, Green, Black, or Pink instead.
Dadish by Thomas K. Young
Discover the soaring highs and spiky lows of parenthood in Thomas K. Young’s Dadish where you are a radish and a dad (hence the name) forced to jump your way across blades, balloons, and hat-wearing burgers to find your unruly and impulsive children. With a fun background score, funny dialogue, and fantastic graphics, Dadish will leave you grinning despite the numerous attempts it might take you to clear a single level. And if, unlike me, you easily conquer all 40 levels in both radish and possum form and want more, worry not, because Dadish 2 just released.
Smoosh Lab by Curious Labs
The premise of Smoosh Lab seems simple: all you have to do is “smoosh” balls of colour together and push them into the corresponding puddle. However, the increasing number of colour balls, obstacle blocks, and their complex setup creates a game so complex and compelling, you keep on wanting to play one more level yet savour the game at the same time. Don’t worry if you finish the game, however: you can always build your own levels or download its predecessor Smoosh!
Empty by Dustyroom
Take minimalism out for a test-drive in Dustyroom’s Empty, where your objective is to empty a room by rotating it so that the objects inside it are absorbed within its walls. With its stunning graphics, soothing soundtrack, and simple yet stimulating game-play, Empty will help you to declutter not just its virtual rooms but also your mind.
The Witch’s Isle by Cocosola Inc.
If you are in need of an island getaway, escape to (or rather from) the solitary and mysterious Witch’s Isle where you only have a few hours to uncover the true identity of the witch who rules it before you die from the curse she put on you. With the island’s eerie ambience and atmospheric sounds, unsettling conversations with its residents, and 8 possible endings, the Witch’s Isle is a movie-like game that will haunt you long after you’ve finished it.
All games are free on Google Play and in the Apple App Store.