Mobile games rival anything available on computers or consoles—and lots of them are cheap. If you want something immersive for standing in line at the grocery store, but you only want to spend candy bar money, the below titles might be of interest to you. They have been known to be captivating experiences.
Lifeline is an acclaimed story game that challenges players to guide an astronaut marooned on a new, strange planet to safety. It’s not what you’d expect. One of the most interesting aspects of Lifeline is that it plays out over a long period of time. The other is that it’s text-based. You receive text messages from Taylor, the astronaut, who confronts various challenges. Taylor will message you several times over the course of the day, and it will be up to you to help.
2. Death Road to Canada
Somehow, Canada has survived the zombie apocalypse unscathed. Your goal is to take you and your friends north to safety.This game is a romp. It’s endlessly replayable—each time you start a new game, you draw a new scenario. You can change out your cast of survivors with customizable features. It’s also thoughtfully designed: for example, you’ll notice that melee weapons wear out characters faster than range weapons. Best of all, it’s goofy and weird. It’s as if Tim and Eric had made a zombie movie.
If you love action, this is the mobile game for you. This platform side-scroller is simple but engaging. Your character has two guns. One is a rocket gun that helps him jump from platform to platform. The other blasts at obstacles and bad guys.This game is straightforward, throwback fun. It’s perfect when you want to get pumped up before an appointment or meeting.
4. Super Mario Run
This is the first Super Mario title developed for smartphones. However, Nintendo isn’t new to mobile gaming—think of the Switch and DS. Their experience shows in this fun, well-designed game. Super Mario Run is a platform game like all the other titles in the Super Mario franchise. Somehow, it’s much simpler. You only need to use one hand to get Mario to speed up, slow down, or jump, because he’ll never stop running. It’s a new twist on a beloved classic, and it fits in your pocket.
Did Earth come from the barrel of a potato gun? SPACEPLAN says yes, with its tongue in its cheek. In SPACEPLAN, you fly a spaceship across time and space to restore a mysteriously destroyed Earth to its former state. The tool you’ll use to bring back your home planet is a potato torpedo. Somehow, it all has to do with Stephen Hawking.
6. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Like Super Mario Run, this title is an installment in a classic series that was designed for smartphones. It features all the familiar open world mayhem that GTA fans have come to love. Liberty City Stories features shorter missions that that will take up a bus ride instead of a weekend afternoon. It also syncs with GTA: Liberty City on your console. You’ll be able to transfer gear and in-game money across platforms.
7. Dust: An Elysian Tail
Dust is a 2D, scrolling swords and sorcery RPG. You play as Dust, a fox who is on a quest to liberate an oppressed village from an evil lord. Critics praised its throwback style, engaging story, and beautiful visuals when it launched on consoles. All of those features can now be in your pocket. This title is the perfect choice for someone who wants to game seriously on their lunch break.
8. The Big Journey
“The Big Journey” is a warm, gentle game that will help any mobile gamer unwind. It’s a fun title for kids and parents to play together. In “The Big Journey,” you play Mr. Whiskers. He’s a cat who misplaced his favorite dumpling. Your goal is to tilt the roly-poly Mr. Whiskers to the tastiest treat on every level. You’ll be accompanied by charming graphics and a pleasant soundtrack.
9. Fallout Shelter
If you enjoy “The Sims,” you’ll love this goofy mobile hit. In “Fallout Shelter,” you’re the master of an underground bunker after a nuclear war. You manage the resources and time of a growing number of shelter occupants. The game plays on the nuclear paranoia of the 1950s. Its visual style and music allude to the height of the Cold War. “Fallout Shelter” is an absorbing, tongue-in-cheek strategy game.
10. Monument Valley 2
The recently-released sequel to Monument Valley builds on that hit mobile game’s gorgeous design and engaging puzzles. Gamers guide a mother and child through whimsical landscapes that resemble MC Escher paintings.The game features the most beautiful visuals of any on this list. It’s an engrossing puzzle game that adults and kids can both savor.