Smartphone games are a great way to kill time. If you’re stuck waiting for a bus, or just need a way to occupy a few moments, they’re hard to beat.
Unfortunately, sometimes you’re waiting in line but you only have one hand free — perhaps you’re holding a bag or lost an arm in a bizarre shark wrestling accident. Regardless, you’re standing there with only one hand free and you need a way to entertain yourself; here’s eight great games that can do it.
Ridiculous Fishing is extremely accurately named. The game is absolutely bonkers.
You start by casting your line and trying to get the hook as deep as possible with the help of handy tools like power driven chain lures. When you catch a fish, the line begins to ascend and you need to catch as many additional fish as possible. Once you reel in your catch, they get thrown into the air and you have to shoot them out of the sky before they plummet back down to earth.
The highest praise I can pay Ridiculous Fishing, is that it is as fun as it is crazy. There’s even a charming story.
When we first reviewed Monument Valley we called it a drop-dead gorgeous puzzler. Our opinion hasn’t changed. While it doesn’t take long to beat, the beauty and atmosphere of the game make it something you’ll revisit again and again.
If you ever want to step out of our world for a few moments, and into one where MC Escher rules, Monument Valley is the way to do it.
Tiny Wings is one of my favourite iOS games. It’s beautiful art design, relaxing music, and gameplay that encourages you to fall into a flow state make it more like meditation than gaming. Even with Flappy Bird and countless Angry Birds games on the scene, I believe Tiny Wings is the best bird-based mobile game, which is clearly what they were going for. Its only downside is that it is iOS only.
Download Tiny Wings for iOS.
A Flappy Bird Clone
The story of Flappy Bird is pretty crazy. Dong Nguyen developed the game in just two days. It shot to the top of the app store and then, in a surprise move he pulled it. Fortunately, it’s such a simple game — you can program it yourself in 20 minutes — loads of clones are available.
The appeal of Flappy Bird (clones) is simple; it’s easy to play but fiendishly difficult and you’re always tempted to have another go.
Hitman Go — and it’s spiritual sequel Tomb Raider Go — are far better games than they’ve any right to be. Square Enix took a popular (and very violent) stealth game and turned it into… a turn-based puzzle game styled after a board-game.
Despite the offbeat inspiration, Hitman Go really works. The gameplay is challenging but rewarding. Completing a level will normally take a few tries, but when you pull it off it’s extremely satisfying. It’s also simple to play one handed.
Cut the Rope
Cut the Rope is one of my favourite puzzle games on this list. Its deceptively simple premise — cut ropes to feed candy to Om Nom — belies surprisingly deep and complex gameplay. The later levels combine planning, timing, skill, and a little bit of luck to make a truly addictive combination. Each level is short and self-contained; never taking more than 30 seconds or so to beat (or fail dismally at), which makes it perfect for passing time with just one hand, leaving the other free to do anything else.
With the same ease, you can spend two hours or two minutes playing.
A few months ago there was a major productivity dip at MakeUseOf. Half the staff — including our venerable Managing Editor Ryan Dube — ended up addicted to Chess. At any free moment, a MakeUseOf staffer could be found using Chess.com to try and win bragging rights over their colleagues.
Chess has been around for almost as long as Ryan, and it’s well established on smartphones. I recommend Chess.com because it’s free and it’s easy to play against real people online instead of just a computer, but any app will do.
Dots is a simple, beautiful, and extremely addictive strategy game.
The premise is basic: connect dots of the same color to remove them. The more dots you remove, the higher your score. What sets Dots apart from other similar games is the minimalist styling. Rather than the flashy set up of games like Candy Crush, Dots uses pastel colored circles against a white background. It’s easy to relax into a game of Dots and not realise time is passing.
Putting the Phone Away
So there are eight awesome smartphone games you can play one handed. Some are so good, you might even be tempted to play them when you have two hands free!
Have I missed any of your favorite smartphone games that are simple to play when you’re stuck in a queue? Let us know in the comments.