Metatalktail Hour: Phone Games March 14, 2020 8:52 PM   Subscribe

Do you cope with your anxiety by playing phone games? I totally cope with my anxiety by playing phone games. Tell me your favorite phone games, ideally for Android (my system) but I'm down with iPhone and I'm also down with desktop/console games!

This is a conversation starter, not limiter, so tell us everything that's up with you (excluding politics). But I definitely need some new phone games to control my coronavirus anxiety. I just finished Flow Water which was AMAZEBALLS and now I need new games, that are either very zen repetitive games or very soothing problem-solving games!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:52 PM (78 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

My kids are home for at least the next three weeks and it's a LOT, but as I work from home it's not as disruptive as it is for a lot of families. We are also fortunate to live in a place that created a coronavirus task force three weeks ago involving EVERY local unit of government (town, township, schools, parks, libraries) and we've been getting clear, consistent, and timely messaging from them, where all the messages are approved by the local hospital's infectious disease experts and the community closings have been highly coordinated. Unlike a lot of our friends, we've had very clear and consistent information, and not a lot of rumors and back-and-forthing and different community groups doing different things. It's been well-managed! So I feel very fortunate and I know I'm very fortunate, but I also need to manage my anxiety by playing phone games once I'm in bed for the night and freaking the fuck out about worst case scenarios. :)

My older two (8 and 10) mostly understand about Covid-19 and we can give them information about it and they have e-learning from their schools and so on. But my 3-year-old doesn't really understand why she can't go back to preschool EVEN IF she's coughing in her elbow like she's supposed to, and it's hard to explain to her. At least she has her brothers to play with so she's not lonely, but she already misses her teacher and her friends, and "social distancing" is a tough concept when you're three.

posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:01 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Gems of War; match-3 / card-collecting / team-building, free to play (it hits you up to buy stuff in-game but you totally don't need to, I never have); repetitive in a soothing way. I've been away from it for a while but coronavirus stress has had me picking it back up again.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:20 PM on March 14, 2020

Honestly, the thing I've been playing the most recently has been Pokemon Go, and March was supposed to be chock full of events and chances to get rare mon, but Japan, Korea, and Italy all had those events cancelled (and, yeah, for good reason). Instead of having fun events and reasons to keep going, it just sort of reverted to the basic game with no real incentive to keep playing. Since things got serious in America, though, Niantic seems to be finally trying to figure out how to keep people invested in the game. Unfortunately, that seems to be shifting focus to battle league, which you can play without going outside, but just isn't remotely as interesting to me as the explore/catch 'em all game I started playing (dear god) almost four years ago.

Aside from that, though, I went back to Mini Metro for a while. It's a weirdly soothing, yet anxious game, where you're trying to keep train stations from getting overcrowded, yet with really simple game play and pretty relaxing music. Alto's Adventure and it's sequel are pretty good, too, with great music, very soothing.

And I just found out that X-Com: Enemy Within is available on iTunes, yet my iPad is too old to play it.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:27 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Monument Valley is soothing and lovely to look at, though I haven't played the sequel.

The Room is lovely to look at in a different way, and I don't know how soothing it exactly is, but the puzzles are satisfying and when you're done there are a couple of sequels.

They're both a few bucks, but as a totally average puzzle-solver who hates paying for apps I found them a decent value for money.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:37 PM on March 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Iphone recommendation, unfortunately, but I like It's a very simple game mechanic (eat things, grow larger) with a few different varieties of game (Battle Royale, Beat the Clock etc) and I find it insanely soothing. At 2 minutes roughly per bout, it's very good for when you have little to no attention span and need to park your brain for a bit. Is a bit of a battery hog, though, and there is advertising (which I think you can pay to remove).
posted by ninazer0 at 10:00 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Wordscapes is the only game I've been consistent with really. But considering that I've pulled the trigger on stepping away from work for a while I could use others. I am... not in the best place right now. Work was like 90% of the way I combated my anxiety and this whole situation is... trying.

Well. A few days ago the worst thing I was dealing with was the spring return of the bugs.
I killed a ton of brassicas on account of the grey aphids, cursed be their name- but pink aphids are easy to control. Clearing the beds gives me a ton of space for spring, which is something I suppose. I also Got down and dirty on fixing up my mint situation.
So. On my last day of work yesterday, figuring that in the name of my incredibly frail parent's health, I was going to have to take a break from work and do this whole social distancing thing, I got my dad to drive to work and haul some soils home for me that I bought. Like- he can drive again! That's a huge victory right? But terrifying in case he thinks he can go get something and catches... Ok good thoughts. Some very good boys and girls have come to work recently, and I should share them here for all of you to enjoy.

This is Cody, a doofy boy so friendly his harness says so.
This is Julie- a rescue girl with a million dollar smile.
And this is Lana, who reminds me of my late dog, down to the face she makes when I patted her belly.

So since I'm gonna be home 95% of the time now, for at least a couple of weeks, and considering how much soil and a few plants I got, I guess if you guys are in the same boat and need something to do- check my blog? I'll do a round-up on weekends here but I do have a comment section and as long as everyone plays nice all you garden and plant minded folks can have nice chats about my ridiculous tomato situation and the new beds I'll be construction with my spare time. I'm gonna go absolutely stir crazy, I'm already having panic attacks so any distraction like a spirited discussion on IDK integrated pest management would be a welcome distraction.

Please please please, for my parent's sakes- flatten the curve. Stay safe.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:05 PM on March 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

Has anyone said "Two Dots" yet?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:15 PM on March 14, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'm compulsively playing Doodle Jump this week and reveling in all of the little theme-specific game play details.
posted by desuetude at 10:24 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm an old person -- when I read "phone games," I imagined variations on prank calls, or literal games of telephone, or something like that. Then I realized you mean playing games on phones. Which probably tells you how much I play games on phones ;)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:26 PM on March 14, 2020 [16 favorites]

Fishdom is a ridiculous dumb game that I’m heavily addicted to right now. It’s basically exactly the same as candy crush except you get to decorate an aquarium and feed your fish between levels. So far it has also been very easy to avoid spending money but it is one of those games - the pssst, hey, wanna buy a life? kind - so be forewarned. WordWow is my other phone time waster. As for desktop, well. . .have you met Stardew Valley? You can also play it on a tablet and I guess a phone but I would think it needs a bigger screen.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:56 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been all about that old school point and click "Escape Room" life for the last little while (real escape rooms are fun but too expensive to be done aside from special occasions.) So my two recommendations are (links are for Google Play Store):

Statue: Little escape puzzles with no narrative but adorable graphics. Makes me really nostalgic for the classic point and click escape games of my youth.

And Agent A: A puzzle in disguise which is an escape room game with multiple areas and levels and an overarching spy narrative.
posted by vespertinism at 11:05 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Carcassonne, I Heart Hue and Set are my consistent go to games. Sometimes Splendor, to try to beat my high score with fastest time in fewest turns.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:14 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Boom Beach
The forced tutorial is annoying but once you're done, you're set. No need to buy anything.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 1:37 AM on March 15, 2020

Killer Panda. No ads for this or Boom Beach
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 1:40 AM on March 15, 2020

I had a lot of fun with Mini Metro, a subway routing game. (But, after some hours, the standard mode was too easy and the challenge mode too hard, and it stopped being fun.)

Threes was also engaging for quite a while.
posted by eotvos at 2:07 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've been playing Pixel Dungeon for like literally 7 years nonstop. I spent some time with various mods, but honestly I like the original even though apparently everyone except me hates the item degradation. I think it adds a nice bit of difficulty.

I also play the shit out of Rogue Adventure, which is also roguelike, but is a card game rather than a more traditional dungeon crawler.

Unrelated to the prompt, the family couldn't handle being home any more (the kids have had like 2 weeks of school since Christmas due to the virus that shall not be named) so went to a nearby place to walk along the sea and (also) collect oysters.

It was the most crowded I have ever seen it, so I am worried that people in Korea are having a hard time staying home which might have bad consequences in the future. I think as the weather gets better it is only going to get harder and harder to stay inside.

On the positive side of things, I ate so many freshly collected oysters.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:42 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I Love Hue, Shattered Pixel Dungeon, Mini Metro. And Stardew Valley!
posted by Freeze Peach at 3:20 AM on March 15, 2020

Mini Metro (mentioned above)
Letterpress (word game)
Capitals (word game)
posted by pompomtom at 3:21 AM on March 15, 2020

Let me reveal my weeb self here.

Azur Lane is an anime tiddy boat game, in which you are the commander of a fleet of anthromorphised WWII warships fighting off an alien invasion. Core game play is that of a bullet hell shooter, where you take a fleet of max six ships and battle the enemy through a series of maps, while getting loot to upgrade and level up your ships.

It is of course a gacha game, but it's much more forgiven than most. The currency you need for the gacha (coins plus wisdom cubes( is freely available in the game itself, while the one paid currency (gems) is mainly necessary if you want to buy new skins for your ships, not so much needed for the actual game. It's relatively cheap too, especially the first purchases, when you get twice the amount that's normally in the bundle.

It's a very horny and very heterosexual game to be honest, your goal being to assemble a fleet of waifus and there are some 400 or so ships (and variants of ships) in the game so far. Some very "oh no Japan" moments in this as well, but it is actually a Chinese game.

If you know KanColle, it's both a hornier and a less nationalistic version of that

Single player, the only time you play against other players is in exercise and that's computer controlled with no input from either player.

Currently has an anime adaptation running at Funimation.

Bang Dream on the other hand is a wholesome rhythm game about high school girls in bands. You pull girls from the gacha, play songs with them where you have to match the rhythm and level them up and as a reward you get to see stories about how they brought the band together and such.

I mainly play it for the stories, my reflexes being just decent enough to not make a fool out of myself too much on hard mode. You can play on your own (not recommended) or together with other players which gives you more points. Interaction is limited to spamming stickers.

The third season of the anime is currently running at iirc Hi-Dive, which also has the first two seasons. First season is about the main band in the game, PoPiPa, the second and third branch out to the other five bands, especially Roselia and Raise A Suilen. These, together with PoPiPa are also actual bands, with the voice actresses performing live concerts doing all their instruments themselves.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:36 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I play Threes all day long, still.

Alto's Adventure is soothing, meditative, and has enough challenges to keep you engaged and entertained. I haven't played the sequel.
posted by Balthamos at 4:01 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm glad this place exists so we can all hang together. I love you all. Well , most of you.
posted by Fizz at 5:33 AM on March 15, 2020 [8 favorites]

Note: If you have an iPhone and Apple Arcade subscription, some if not many of the iPhone games mentioned here are included in the subscription. I believe the first month of your subscription is still free if you're a first time subscriber.

Some of my faves:
- Hidden Folks (it'd like Where's Waldo but better)
- (like Donut County minus the story so you just get the pure pleasure of things falling into holes; also has an online multi-player option)
- I Love Hue (peaceful arrange-blocks-by-color puzzle game)
- Card of Darkness (really dynamic, fun, perhaps even could be described as a rogue-like card game)
- Mutazione (intelligent adventure game; won't say much more so as not to spoil the plot)
- Pilgrims (clever puzzle card game)
- Monument Valley I and II (puzzle)
- Overland (zombies)
posted by nightrecordings at 5:53 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

The cat has been dealing with a health issue for a few weeks and so this is the face I have been looking at this weekend. He is under the care of vets and we have a plan and he should be fine. In the meantime he is the grumpiest of flowers.
posted by janepanic at 5:57 AM on March 15, 2020 [6 favorites]

I currently enjoy these games:

Cat cafe. You run a cat cafe. Some adds and in-game purchases but not bad.

Wordscapes. And Wordstacks

I <3 Hue which I think is mentioned above.

The Cats Meow Town which is not a lot of gameplay per day and I spent dumb money on to buy room decorations, but cats.

Alpaca World was a fun game where you collect different coloured alpacas

Mr Love which is a (Korean I think?) sorta card/ romance game where you are a TV producer. There's a lot in it and I play it every day. No adds, payments help but aren't necessary.

Battlecats was a very good game when I played it but I haven't in a while so it may have changed.

Egg, Inc and Terrarium were nice clickers if you're into that.

Then of course there are metafilter favourites Stardew Valley and Hatoful Boyfriend.

I would love recommendations for more games that are closer to "real" games like on the pc rather than stereotypical mobile games because I would love to play those. (We have consoles, but I'd have to get my husband off it)
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:57 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have long been in love with Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection (browser, Android, iOS), a collection of 39 free (and ad-free!) logic puzzles. It includes classics like Minesweeper ("Mines") and Sudoku ("Solo"), as well as more unusual puzzles (I particularly love "Tents" -- it's basically Star Battle -- "Unruly", and "Light Up"). You can easily select the size and difficulty level of each puzzle, which makes it fun for a variety of skill levels.

I've also been catching up on the NY Times Crossword archive, and playing the NY Times Spelling Bee puzzle (only one puzzle per day, but it is a good one). These ones are behind a paywall.

And of course, there's always Stardew Valley <3
posted by ourobouros at 6:51 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

My favorite mobile games to play:
• Void Tyrant - Similar to Slay the Spire, card-based rogue-like, very easy to pick up and a surprising amount of complexity.
• Hearthstone - It's a World of Warcraft themed Magic the Gathering style card game. It's fun and addictive. And you can totally just play against AI and not humans if you prefer.
• Really Bad Chess - You play Chess on a normal board, but you get 15 random pieces and 1 King piece. It's hilarious and frustrating (in a good way) and totally worth your time.
• Tetris - It's not Tetris 99 (which you should totally play if you have a Switch), but it's still Tetris and a ton of fun.
• Solitarica - An RPG combat and challenging roguelike progression with a fantasy setting and solitaire. It's hard to describe but once you see it in action, you'll be glad to have added this to your phone, or maybe you won't (all those wasted hours).
• Ridiculous Fishing - You use motion and touch controls to catch fish and subsequently shoot them out of the sky for cash with guns. It's ridiculous and it's fishing. What more can I say.
posted by Fizz at 7:04 AM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Azur Lane is an anime tiddy boat game, in which you are the commander of a fleet of anthromorphised WWII warships fighting off an alien invasion

There is no part of this summary in which I knew what word was coming next.
posted by Think_Long at 7:11 AM on March 15, 2020 [18 favorites]

Go download Flow Free. Pay for the ad-free version.

See you in six months.
posted by bondcliff at 7:21 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

All of these are on Android, some may be on other platforms but I'm not sure:

Hoplite - a fun turn-based roguelike dungeon crawler where you hop. The free version has games that last ~10 minutes so perfect for my commute, you can pay a few bucks for longer games
DATA WING - a very pretty racing game with a tron-ish/computer/hacking theme can be very flow-y
lichess - for playing chess against a decent engine or online with a huge community
Antiyoy - minimal 4x game
Mini Metro - building mass transit systems!
F-SIM Space shuttle - sometimes I like to land the space shuttle
posted by skynxnex at 7:31 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Nthing The Room plus sequels. The only games I actually shell out for. So satisfying.
posted by doornoise at 7:38 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Typeshift and SpellTower are great (as are most of Zach Gage's games), but SpellTower+ adds daily challenges and leaderboards, and it's super-great.

Grand Mountain Adventure is a really satisfying skiing/snowboarding game--kind of a 3d Alto's Adventure.

In Apple Arcade games, I've really enjoyed Sayonara Wild Hearts, What the Golf, Mini Motorways (Mini Metro is better though), Grindstone, and Skate City. Oh, and Dear Reader.
posted by box at 8:06 AM on March 15, 2020

I've been playing Alphabear 2 for a long while now. It's a word game that is moderately compelling, can be closed in the middle of anything with no difficulty, but it is also kind enough to limit the amount you can play each day. There is an ads-can-help-you option and a one-time real money upgrade that removes ads. But you can also ignore both of those while you see if you like it enough to want to play for the next few years.

After you play each game, there will be an image of a bear, usually doing something odd, and a cartoon speech balloon, filled in mad-libs style from the words that were just played. At some point my spouse was puzzled at how innuendo filled they all seemed to be and I was like, uh, well, you've only seen the ones I especially picked out to send you. So, yeah, it's me, not the game. I really like the weird bears. I will cycle through the comics until I get something sufficiently bizarre.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:10 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I need to get out of my own head, I've been enjoying the little Qix-like game at Be a little thing moving around and acquiring territory. Kill other people trying to do the same. Colorful. Quiet.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 8:31 AM on March 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

So as a coda to my above comment, and so I don't just have random comments on random threads, I have posted an Open Thread on my blog for all your plant discussions and questions. It is pouring rain here in SF which means all my gardening is inside. I know quite a bit now about houseplants thanks to my job, so if your garden is all indoors feel free to comment too. Same general commenting rules as metafilter, and no doom talk please.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:40 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm an old person -- when I read "phone games," I imagined variations on prank calls, or literal games of telephone, or something like that.

I immediately thought of the days back in the pulse dial days when I could dial phone numbers by flicking the switch on the old school telephone fast enough rather than pulling the dial.

When I need to get out of my own head, I've been enjoying the little Qix-like game at

There's a Qix-Like game out there? Qix ate SO many of my quarters back in the day! I'll have to check it out!
posted by hippybear at 8:55 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm not a big phone gamer but am a huge devotee of Hidden City. It is the most elegantly designed of the hidden objects genre, IMO, and blends a narrative quest with mini-games and changing seasonal themes. There are in-game purchases but I find it extremely enjoyable without ever spending a cent.

The other thing I'm doing a lot of, though not a game, is Duolingo. Learning Irish.
posted by Miko at 9:05 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have been playing Dope Wars on my phone for so long it used to be a Palm game. Wasn't really a BBS scener (non-free local calls will do that to you) so never played the QuickBASIC original much. It's basically a clicker game for me now.

You may need an older Android device to run Jeff Minter's Five a day, but it's the most soothing psychedelic bullet hell shmup you'll ever play. May you never see A MINOTAUR HAS FALLEN.
posted by scruss at 9:08 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you like (and I really, really like, you might also enjoy

(Also, I just learned that 'Qix' is pronounced 'kicks'--I've been saying 'quicks' for approximately the last forty years.)
posted by box at 9:09 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Kami is quietly enjoyable and pretty to boot.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:50 AM on March 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

My favorite right now is Design Home-I have spent the last year and a half preparing flor and living through a huge home remodel, in which it seemed like all my time was researching home things online and going to paint stores and plumbing store and.. on my lunch hours, buying samples and making decisions. Now that it’s (mostly) over, this scratches that itch. Also I’ve learned that Virtual rooms feel incomplete to me without a rug, so probably should remedy that in my actual house, which is currently completely rug-free.
posted by purenitrous at 10:11 AM on March 15, 2020

I haven't thought about Dope Wars (or Drug Wars, which seem more or less the same thing) in years.

I think of it as a TI calculator game you play in math class. (Math is great. I spend a non-trivial part of my day trying to convince students of that. My highschool math classes were in close competition for the least interesting thing I've ever put up with. Calculator games were a life saver.) I remember playing a PC version in the late '90s. Probably the DOS game. I'm excited there's a phone version. And a little worried I'll be captured by it now that I know it exists.

But, to really win at it, you had to keep detailed notes on both purchase prices and historic prices in each location. I'm not sure I have the patience for that any more, or the resilience to accept that I'll never come close to my teenage scores.

Also, best wishes, janepanic! Sick kitties react to medical treatment the same way I do, which is no fun for anybody who cares about us.
posted by eotvos at 10:24 AM on March 15, 2020

Twenty—Zen Mode
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:50 AM on March 15, 2020

Can’t wait to finish all my real life chores so I can do my virtual chores in Stardew Valley
posted by btfreek at 10:56 AM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Can’t wait to finish all my real life chores so I can do my virtual chores in Stardew Valley

Tired of looking at BAD SCREEN. Can't wait to get home and look at GOOD SCREEN.
posted by Fizz at 11:32 AM on March 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

I like:

Alphabear 2
Blendoku (1 and 2)
Neko Atsume
Monument Valley
posted by bile and syntax at 11:59 AM on March 15, 2020

I used to play Draw Something with a friend; the words they give you are on the simpler side, so we got to playing/drawing more and more outlandish word games/puns to keep the challenge level up. It was a hoot for a while but even so we eventually lost interest in it. Other than that - I don't know if Jackbox games count, but we do use our phones to interact with it so maybe. Lots of fun in a group setting.

The other day I mentioned that I'd been leveraging the potential for a shorter-term quarantine/lockdown situation to start getting a bit more serious about long-term earthquake prep, only to be thwarted by my own procrastination (Amazon was sold out of bulk freeze-dried meals). That evening I headed out to do some regular grocery shopping and also start gathering back-up provisions that would last me 3-4 weeks if needed, without going full-on Hoarding Frenzy. The first place I went was one of the big chain supermarkets, where I was (amused? disconcerted? both?) to see that the frozen-veg and pasta sections were almost totally wiped out; clearly I wasn't the first person to think of that approach. I did manage to snag a couple bags of off-brand frozen mixed veg, a pack of the most expensive spaghetti (the only brand that wasn't sold out), and a few cans of sardines. The produce section wasn't as depleted, so I picked up some extra garlic bulbs, onions, and potatoes plus some fresh veggies I can make soup with and freeze. I also grabbed a couple of nice looking (BOGO, sa-weet!!) chuck roasts I'll smoke, then parcel out and freeze most of. Mmmmmm, smoked meats. I didn't even bother to poke my head into the TP or hand sanitizer sections!

Another smaller store was stocked more normally and I was able to grab a few packs of pasta, some dried beans, and 3 or 4 more sardine tins without coming close to exhausting their supplies. Also a nice big hunk of Parmesan, yum. None of it was as cheap as it would be in the chain market, but at least I'm supporting a local business, right?

I also availed myself of some non-sold-out shelf-stable pantry goods on Amazon such as powdered mushroom (adds umami to anything), powdered bouillon, a jar of duckfat (easy to see where my palate's priorities are...), and powdered lemon. Also, after being buffeted by so much pro-bidet propaganda :) here on Metafilter, I bought a portable bidet (i.e. a squeeze bottle with appropriately-shaped nozzle) - I doubt TP availability will be an actual issue in the short term, but again I'm also equipping for a potential larger and more drastic civic disruption.

My plan is to keep up my normal weekly shopping alongside slowly building up and setting aside a cache of emergency rations. I don't really expect to have to deal with longer-term confinement as a result of the current virus, but "fortune favors the prepared mind" as Pasteur said.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:09 PM on March 15, 2020

PvZ Heroes - this a Magic: The Gathering clone with characters from Plants vs Zombies
Shop Titans - you own a store and make equipment for sale.
Splash - Manage an aquarium and harvest coins/ingredients from pants and animals to build more plants and animals.
Puzzle Page - Each day you can play 8-10 new puzzles.
Creeps! 2 (and the original Creeps!) these are castle defense games
Board Kings pseudo monopoly for a single player
I play all of these on my iPhone or iPad, but they are all available in the Google Play store.
posted by soelo at 12:29 PM on March 15, 2020

A few that haven't been mentioned:
The Dooors series, very light, frequently a little silly, 40 short levels per game, but there are 8 games in the series now, and the levels do get harder as you go.
Colorzzle, another one that starts out very easy, but gets harder in the later levels. Relaxing and calm.
The Guides, very challenging and interesting. Definitely not easy.
Goragoa, hard to explain, very unusual and interesting. Not simple, but not so hard I gave up.
If you happen to like Yukon (like Freecell, but harder), Mobilityware has just recently come out with a very good implementation of it.
Exits, a fairly lighthearted room escape, sometimes silly but can be very absorbing.
Cell 13, get a ball through a kind of maze, with puzzle-like obstacles.
Red, Yellow, Black, and Blue, by Bart Bonte. Thinking outside the box.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 1:02 PM on March 15, 2020

Oh dear, I'm about to expose myself as an old but here we go. I only use an Android phone.


Cookie Jam

Cookie Jam Blast

Jewels Magic because it's so pretty

Jigsaw Puzzles
posted by Lynsey at 1:09 PM on March 15, 2020

But, to really win at it, you had to keep detailed notes on both purchase prices and historic prices in each location

They seem to be random on the versions I've played. Also, buy cocaine if it's under 3× the price of heroin.
(this offer not necessarily recommended in real life)
posted by scruss at 1:22 PM on March 15, 2020

Two Dots. I’ve been playing for at least a couple of years. Highly recommend!!
posted by lyssabee at 1:28 PM on March 15, 2020

The Arcana is a lovely story-based game with fantastic characters and an interesting world. Monument Valley is a gorgeous little puzzle game. Cooking Craze and Homescapes are good mindless repetitive fun. Puzzle and Dragons is a neat take on Match-3 games.
posted by brook horse at 1:29 PM on March 15, 2020

I Love Hue is great, but I Love Hue Too is even better! I have been addicted to it the past few days and I find it so beautiful and soothing. (I did pay for the ad-free version which was like ... $5 or something. Cheap).
posted by darksong at 1:52 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I really love solitaire-based RPGs. I've played these on iOS, but they're all on other platforms too:
Card Crawl (brilliant strategic dungeon-crawling fun)
Solitairica (more fast-paced card battling)
Miracle Merchant (clever little potion-crafting game)

Other favourites are Warbits (charmingly designed Advance Wars-style turn-based strategy), Hexologic (pretty six-sided sudoku), and MegaCity HD (sort of a mashup of SNES SimCity and Tetris). Someone above mentioned Antiyoy, which is a straight-up ripoff of Sean O'Connor's classic Slay.
posted by oulipian at 2:36 PM on March 15, 2020

When my dad was in hospital (when, what, already 6 years ago) and it began to dawn on us that that was becoming It for him, I developed an intense addiction to playing 2048 Doge version. I kept at it until a few months after he passed away, then deleted everything and never went back. I just want to note here that 2048 Doge was probably the one thing that kept me sane at that time: the organized predictable Doge place where I could safely return every day.
posted by Namlit at 3:09 PM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Whenever I move to a new phone, one of the first apps I install is a port of Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzles. Procedurally generated so you never run out or get a repeat, difficulty options ranging from ones that take a few minutes to ones that might take a few days, and 39 entirely different kinds of puzzles.
posted by solotoro at 4:18 PM on March 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Not quite a game, but I'm a Tap Color fanatic. iOS and Android. Sadly, they took away their buy the game outright and moved it to a subscription model. It still works fine, you just have to watch ad videos (30 sec or less)
posted by kathrynm at 5:35 PM on March 15, 2020

I'm an old person -- when I read "phone games," I imagined variations on prank calls, or literal games of telephone, or something like that.

I thought of Ace of Aces (picture book game). Literally playing a WWI air combat game with someone else over the phone by turning pages in a Choose Your Adventure sort of way.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:54 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Toon Blast. Through some magic chance, I’m on a “team” that takes the game super seriously- we try to win the tournament every weekend so we can get lots of coins. We even have a Facebook group so we can see each other’s “real” selves.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:41 PM on March 15, 2020

Dots, Dots & Co, Two Dots
I Love Hue
Several varieties of the pinball/bricks games
Unblock Me
But mostly Pokemon Go, and now Wizards Unite, the Harry Potter-themed game built on the Pokemon platform.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:12 PM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I love match-3 games or anything along those lines where you play levels to collect resources to use to build things.

Do anyone have any recommendations?

It's not my cup of tea but if you like tower defense games and Anime, my friends love Ark Knights. Strictly it's a gatcha game but you don't need to spend money on it at all. The girls are also almost all appropriately dressed.

My favourite is cookie run, it's a running game with lots of cookies and challenges/pets/abilities. Good stuff.
posted by Braeburn at 2:24 AM on March 16, 2020

I'm enjoying June's Journey (definitely iOS, not sure about Android) which is a 'find objects in a scene' game with somewhat implausible 1920s storylines involving murder and crime solving. Also, you decorate an island. It's quite soothing, although sometimes I am baffled by the object choices.

If anyone else plays, I am the same username as here and there are mini-games that can be played with friends, apparently.
posted by halcyonday at 2:29 AM on March 16, 2020

I'm still on Nonograms, currently Somnus. And the Simon's Cat games are quite good for gameplay, I finished both the bubbles and the match 3 without paying for anything.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 3:00 AM on March 16, 2020

I am a match-3 junkie and I am particularly fond of the Playrix apps:
- Homescapes
- Gardenscapes
- Wildscapes

No need to pay, you get 5 lives that get refilled over time.
posted by like_neon at 7:15 AM on March 16, 2020

Archero is pretty dang fun.
posted by Grither at 7:33 AM on March 16, 2020

I've been playing Best Fiends fairly obsessively since this whole mess started. if anyone wants a buddy to trade little gifts back and forth with, hit me up.
posted by sciatrix at 11:34 AM on March 16, 2020

/me saves anime tiddy boat game as a possible sock name.
posted by hanov3r at 12:15 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hi sciatrix, I too have been playing way more of Best Fiends than is good me. My code is: 1078461. I'd love to trade gifts with you!
Anyone else who'd like to add another friend to their list is welcome to use that code to shoot me a request as well. I think I'll probably show up as Julie (but there is a photo of Bosco).
posted by BoscosMom at 7:39 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like Gardenscapes, it's like Candy Crush I guess, but it's charming, and just difficult enough, wiht enough variation.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:46 PM on March 16, 2020

Polytopia is my go to. It's like a simpler, cuter version of civilization.

I also like Night of the Full Moon: a red riding hood themed card battling game like magic the gathering but with a better story.

Both have some free content with extra characters/storylines available for one-off purchases. No ads.

I've just started playing Lily's Garden, which is like candy crush but with a gardening plotline involving a semi-retired accountant. No ads, but like candy crush you can run out of lives and then you have to wait for refill or buy extra lives/extra goodies
posted by lollusc at 2:58 AM on March 17, 2020

Seconding all these for Android: all turn based, light puzzle/wargames.

  • Polytopia Simple CIV, lots of upgrading and little awards, cute.
  • Hoplite Puzzle/fight your way through monster levels.
  • Antiyoy More hex-ish resource-ish.

  • posted by alasdair at 7:35 AM on March 17, 2020

    Oh, splendid! Added you, and my own code is 1791264 for anyone else who wants to play. I should show up as Erin.
    posted by sciatrix at 8:44 AM on March 17, 2020

    On a PC note, I am playing Deep Rock Galactic and really enjoying it as a co-operative game. It's great to play with my brother, considering I probably won't see him for at least 12 weeks now. Not relaxing or soothing though, nope.
    posted by stillnocturnal at 10:38 AM on March 17, 2020

    I am also devoted to Pokemon Go, though mostly as a walking and social thing. The mothers in my neighborhood started playing with their kids; the kids have moved on but the moms are still playing.

    But the great battle league started interesting me when they started allowing a whole lot of play (five sets of five battles I think) with no requirement to walk in between sets. If you're stuck inside, you can play for half an hour and earn stardust and gifts. And by playing for a period of time, you can get a feeling for the rhythms of the game, and see all the weird costumes and usernames and the funny pokemon people choose. Finally, the jankiness of the battle system is less of an annoyance because if it glitches out, you can just play again.
    posted by BibiRose at 12:49 PM on March 17, 2020

    Alto’s Adventure has been recommended a couple times already, but both it and the sand-surfing sequel, Alto’s Odyssey, are free for the next week.

    I’ve only played the latter, but it’s really good.
    posted by lazugod at 5:09 PM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

    Because of coronavirus, social isolation, and generous developers, a lot of games are free for a limited time, including Cribbage with Grandpas, which I highly recommend.
    posted by box at 5:11 AM on March 18, 2020

    Thank you, box. Cribbage with Grandpas is, indeed, charming (I do think he cheats sometimes though).
    posted by BoscosMom at 5:17 PM on March 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

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