I’m not sure about you, but I really like playing games on my phone. You won’t find widely popular games like Candy Crush or Snood in my game library, though. No shade at those titles, but they’re not my cup of tea. My tastes are a little different, as I tend to favor unconventional mechanics or narratives. A sweeping orchestral score doesn’t hurt, either. Whether you’re looking for a unique experience or something truly challenging, I’ve got you covered. Not only are the following games highly rated, but I’ve also personally played every single one of them. Here are some of my all-time favorite games to play on a phone or tablet:
Monument Valley is one of the most visually stunning games I’ve ever played. You’re tasked with guiding Princess Ida through a series of puzzles. Many, if not most, of these puzzles are optical illusions, so you really need to have a keen eye to play this game. It’s a beautifully designed game with a really chill soundtrack. I usually play this game at night when I’m in bed because there’s something so serene about it. If you’re looking for a low-stakes experience, then this is it. Monument Valley 2, the sequel to the first game, is also very good and worth checking out. It has a more fleshed-out storyline than its predecessor, that’s for sure.
When Pokemon Go materialized back in 2016, you bet your buns I was outside creeping around my local cemetery looking for those cute (sometimes menacing) creatures. Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that uses your phone’s camera to find critters both big and small. It’s a great way to get in shape, as you have to venture outside in order to play the game. Whether you’re looking for a Snorlax in your area or installing your top-level Gengar in a gymnasium down the street, the game is really fun. As someone who grew up watching the television show that the game is based on, the above trailer really hit me in the feels. Some play for the nostalgia, while others play for the physical activity it encourages.
Burly Men at Sea is a charming story-driven game about three brothers with awesome beards. I’d classify it as a point-and-click adventure with some visually novel elements. You shape the story as you go by picking whatever direction tickles your fancy. The soundtrack is quirky and whimsical, too. Similar to Monument Valley, Burly Men at Sea is a very low-stakes game. If you’re looking to unwind with a fun adventure, it fits the bill. The mechanics are simple and you don’t really need to dedicate a lot of time or mental energy to complete the game. Normally, I can finish a story path in one sitting. It has 12 different story paths total, so it’s very replayable.
Kingdom Two Crowns is a side-scrolling, resource management game where you have to keep your dominion safe from otherworldly creatures. You’re responsible for recruiting archers and knights, erecting barriers, updating the main castle area, filling your bank with gold coins, and much more. I invested an embarrassingly large amount of time in this game. I mean, I was playing it almost every single night. There was something so satisfying about building up my kingdom and turning it into an impenetrable fortress. My one piece of advice is to never lose your crown. If those otherworldly creatures get close enough to you, they can knock it clean off your head. If they end up snatching it from you, you’ll lose the game.
Reigns: Her Majesty is a ball of laughs, really. Imagine you’re the Queen of a fantasy kingdom and the way you manage it is by swiping left or right on a card (much like the Tinder app). You can either reject or accept whatever comes your way. Do you want to take a hunky hunter as a lover? Swipe right and the members of your court will be positively tittering with juicy gossip. Interested in starting a war? Chose wisely, as there might be a coup in your near future. I appreciate the out-of-the-box mechanics, as it really adds a fresh spin to the management genre of games. The idea is to maintain a healthy balance between the church, the people, the military, and the economy. It’s a great deal of fun and the cards are cleverly written.
Ashley is a professional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku, StarWars.com, and Nerdist. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.