Mobile gaming is just one of the dozens of uses for smartphones. I keep thousands of personal photos, all of my favorite music, and new episodes of my favorite TV show on my phone. I’ve even used mine for serious stuff, like paying bills or getting a prescription filled.
All of those uses take up valuable space on my device’s hard drive, which means I have to get rid of some of it when I want to take a bunch of pictures at a party or a baseball game. If I have to delete something with on my phone, I usually get rid of big, capacity-sucking games first.
So I did some research, and found mobile games that won’t take up too much space on my device. These are some of my favorite mobile games, and they’re all small enough that I can keep a few them alongside all my other apps and media.
Get it for: Android
Size: 13 MB
It’s hard to do much with 13 MB of space now days, but Gem Miner has managed to pack quite a bit of digging fun into this small app. In this 2-D exploration game, players start with basic supplies (a lamp, bag, pick axe, etc.) and mine for rare minerals, precious gems and the occasional dinosaur bones to sell. Along the way, players must avoid hazards like falling into crevasses, running out of energy or being crushed by boulders.
The mines layouts are randomly generated, so no two games are the same making it highly replayable. The app comes free with the one difficulty setting and about half a dozen challenges to complete. Three more levels of difficult and several new pieces of equipment can be added by upgrading to the paid version, Gem Miner: Dig Deeper. The block style artwork isn’t going to win any awards, but that helps keep the size down. As a bonus, Gem Miner doesn’t need wi-fi, making it a great game to keep on your device to play anywhere.
Size: 32.5 MB (iOS)
Snakes vs. snakes
This throwback snake game is a revamped update to Snake, the flip phone classic. If, like me, you used to spend every after-school bus ride eating up dots and avoiding your tail, you’ll love this popular remake.
Gameplay in Slither.io is almost the same as in Snake, but with one twist: when you play Slither.io, you compete against every other person in the world who is playing the game.
There’s no chat, which thankfully means no trash talk or taunting. The multiplayer experience just adds a new dimension to a classic game: if you bump into another snake, or your own tail, your snake will disintegrate into the dots that you eat in the game. If another snake bumps into you, you’ll win points.
You can restart as many times as you want, but when you build a giant snake over the course of an hour or two you’ll have lots of exciting near-misses.
Size: 29.7 MB (iOS)
If you like mystery and adventure, Lifeline is the game for you. In this sci-fi, text-based RPG, you’re the off-planet guide to a stranded space traveler, Taylor, who crash landed on a mysterious moon.
Taylor will send you messages, and you have to find a way to get them off the planet. (Taylor’s gender is never specified.) All sorts of mysterious, creepy, and thrilling challenges will come across your plate. Everyone who’s played Lifeline says that they become deeply invested in Taylor’s fate.
Grandpa, What the Fone?
This quirky puzzle game was introduced in France where it topped the charts for a few weeks, but has sadly been overlooked in the US. It might be in part because of the odd premise, where players are on a mission to help Grandpa grab the Granddaughters’ smart phone (so he can play games) without being caught. This is done using puzzle solving skills and understanding how distinct items might relate to each other.
The situations are mostly absurd, like getting the donkey to eat the pizza without kicking Grandpa, or the ghost to come out of the closet without waking up the Granddaughter. But the whimsical nature of the puzzles is both innovative and addicting. The current version has 30 levels, but hopefully this game will be successful enough for the developers to add more.
Size: 15.4 MB (iOS)
This is another game that’s fun for short waits. Players add two tiles with the same number together until they reach 2048. However, tiles have to stack on top of each other, so your screen might fill up quickly.
There’s no time limit, so 2048 is a fun game to pick up after a break. When I play 2048, I’m always able to stop and pick up where I left off. It’s a similar game to Merged or Mini Metro, but it has a more soothing interface and rewards a more deliberate pace. It’s solid game from the train or bus ride home from work, when you’re more likely to want to unwind.