mobile games that aren't just timewasters

by which i mean, mobile games that are not arcade games

i was playing yearwalk on my iphone (before i lost it a year ago), that was an atmospheric little point-and-click adventure. really enjoyed the low-grade creepiness of it.

now i have an android and it strikes me that a mobile gaming platform is much better for actually finishing games than is a computer, where you have a million distractions at your fingertips. i remember being much more committed to my games back in the days of gameboy color. any recommendations?

Device 6 is the obvious one. Still haven’t beaten Dream Quest, or Touchtone (but just because it’s too damn long).

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Sword and Sworcery EP
Hitman Go
Tomb Raider Go
80 Days
Monument Valley

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Steven Universe: Attack the Light. It’s a really cute little Paper Mario style RPG, worth playing even if you don’t know or care about the show it’s based on.

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A friend started me on Subterfuge last night. I see some potential there. If you’re looking for a mobile game probably worth checking out. Thus far it’s free, and I haven’t seen a dollar sign once.

angry birds, the first one, is a genuinely good physics game for the most part if you’ve never played it, though the level design is inconsistent

desert golfing is the artsier, more relaxing version of angry birds

hookchamp, on iOS, is like six or seven years old now and when I wrote the developer they said they’d lost the source code but is still probably the best touchscreen platformer I’ve played

ziggurat (tim’s game) is similarly timeless

mini metro is on mobile and it’s phenomenal

downwell was one of the best mobile games of the year, in addition to being one of the best japanese games of the year, in addition to being one of the best games with contra-style powerups in a long time

plug & play is funny and I only just realized that you said “are not arcade games” and that’s the only one on this list that meets the description, oops

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I’m vouching for the Steven Universe RPG. I have pretty limited knowledge of the show but still played through.

Downwell is amazing on PC but I can’t imagine it being as satisfying or playable with touchscreen controls.

Eh, I adjusted to the downwell controls on my 4S fairly easily, and still had a good time. Reminds me that I still haven’t given hard mode a solid attempt since unlocking it.

Seconding sword & sworcery for a good non-arcade experience. I guess kero blaster is pretty arcade-y but it also has some great platforming and a cute story.

Framed is a really brilliant puzzle game about arranging comic book panels into a coherent narrative. It only takes a couple of hours to complete from memory, but it’s worth the price imo.

I am going to say this game is worth your time but that this game is not relaxing it is filled with existential dread and self loathing

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Pocket Mortys is a thing that makes you wish Nintendo made mobile games. Then you realize it’s probably for the better that they don’t.

Haven’t you heard? Nintendo IS making mobile games now. I think the first one is out this year, although I don’t know anything about them.

Board Games:

Steam: Rails to Riches
Galaxy Trucker
Tigris And Euphrates

Choose Your Own Adventure:

80 Days
King of Dragon Pass


I liked Tiny Thief

depending on what you mean by “arcade games”, please try and enjoy Time Surfer which is a fantastic game. the android version is the definitive version, FYI.

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Can’t believe we’ve gone a week without mentioning Neko Atsume.

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Something where the main appeal it to play it again to better your previous score.

Maybe Hiversaires if you want to play something like Myst


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I just learned my friend Kevin Snow is gonna be releasing one of their twine games, Beneath Floes, on mobile for free in the nearish future. While I am a bad friend and haven’t yet played their games, I do know they’ve been discussed in at least one overseas university class. Look into the mobile port if you wanna see neat stuff on Inuit mythos.

I just played this one because it was a dollar and I had some change left over from goog opinion surveys. It’s good! Pretty far on the easy end, but solid turn based dungeon puzzles. I love the game’s efforts towards teaching mechanics mimetically, gives it a very old school charm though the game is generally very modern in feel. There’s no tutorial level, no indication even of how to play, a basically text free, empty interface. Instead, you’re introduced to each element of the game sequentially and then have to contend with elaborations and combinations of these elements after you learn their rules.