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There are tons of mobile apps that are great for wasting time 15 Mobile Apps Guaranteed to Waste Your Precious Time 15 Mobile Apps Guaranteed to Waste Your Precious Time Some apps will add value to your life, making you more productive or helping you improve in some meaningful way. Other apps, well, they'll have the opposite effect. Read More , and some games are the worst offenders. Many mobile games want to nickel and dime you with in-app purchases 5 Warning Signs For Avoiding Freemium Games That Want To Suck Your Wallet Dry 5 Warning Signs For Avoiding Freemium Games That Want To Suck Your Wallet Dry Many games are free up-front, but bombard players with an endless array of in-game purchases, some of which are impossible to avoid if you want to complete the game. Read More , and they force you to progress slowly if you don’t pay up.

If you want meaty gaming experiences on the go, you probably feel cheated with these apps. Let’s take a different look and examine games that offer a lot of content even though they’re free.

While these games are all free to download, not all of them are totally free of in-app purchases No Hidden Cost: 7 Free-To-Play Games That Are Actually Free No Hidden Cost: 7 Free-To-Play Games That Are Actually Free Mobile gaming has a problem. You download a game, you start playing, but you hit a paywall. These games don't have that problem at all. Read More . However, these seven titles do not require microtransactions in any way to enjoy; I’ll note which games contain them and what they’re for.

Note: Some of the free titles on Android contain ads but also offer a paid ad-free version. Unfortunately, many of these apps do not have a free version on iOS and must be purchased.

Doom & Destiny [Android | iOS ($3)]

There are some awesome role-playing games (RPGs) on Android 3 Amazing Role Playing Games for Android Phones and Tablets 3 Amazing Role Playing Games for Android Phones and Tablets There are plenty of high-quality RPGs on the Google Play Store - some so beautiful and polished that you might confuse them for AAA titles. Read More , and Doom & Destiny deserves a spot on the list. Despite being made in RPG Maker, it’s a unique title that any RPG fan should try.

As a satire of the RPG genre, you play as four nerdy friends who get sucked into an alternate world and have to save it. Common RPG tropes such as taking items from people’s houses, using food to restore health, and using magic to summon attacks are all joked about; this is definitely a game that will make you laugh 10 Funniest Video Games Of All Time 10 Funniest Video Games Of All Time Video games are serious business, but that doesn't mean game-makers and their fans take it too seriously. Game developers also have their own sense of humour and aren't afraid to infuse their creations with it. Read More .

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Depending on how thorough you are, you could spend 10 hours or more with this game. There’s also some post-game content to check out after you beat the final boss, which is a nice bonus. Overall, if you’re a fan of SNES-era classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI, this game is perfect for you.

Note that this game contains some mature content — due to some swearing and innuendo, it isn’t recommended for children.

Little Alchemy [Android | iOS]

Alchemy is an addicting puzzle game that starts off simple but quickly blooms into something much more complex. You start with four items: wind, water, fire, and earth — by combing these, you create new items (up to 550 in this version!).

You’ll have to try tons of different combinations, and while some make sense, others might require a bit of imagination. The developers also have a good sense of humor; items such as Batman or McDonald’s can be created when you find their ingredients.

If you like puzzle games and don’t mind a few far-fetched combinations, Little Alchemy will bring you a ton of fun. It’s as easy to play for a few minutes at a time as it is to marathon for an hour.

Stardash [Android | iOS ($2)]

Last year I examined the Mario copycat games on Android; most of them are terrible, but Stardash was one of the awesome alternatives. It’s a game that would have been at home on the Game Boy due to both its graphics and gameplay.

In each of the 40 levels, you can earn three stars: one for collecting all the coins, one for beating a specific time, and one for completing the level backwards (which can be tough). There are also four hidden temples to unlock by finding secret keys in each level of a given world. If you try to complete all this game has to offer, it will last you a long time.

If you like Stardash, be sure to check out Meganoid (Android | iOS, $2) and Meganoid 2 (Android | iOS, $2) from the same developer — these games are similar in gameplay style and offer a lot of content as well.

Fallout Shelter [Android | iOS]

Fallout Shelter was unveiled at E3 this year, and while it’s unlike the main Fallout games, Rachel found it to be worth playing Does Fallout Shelter Live Up to the Fallout Name? Does Fallout Shelter Live Up to the Fallout Name? As the audience watched in surprise, Todd Howard showed footage of a mobile game set in the Fallout universe, Fallout Shelter. But is the game actually any good? Let's find out! Read More . Instead of wandering around a post-apocalyptic world, you play the role of a Vault Overseer in charge of keeping the people safe and happy.

This game isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of Fallout or management simulators Nerd It Up With 6 Awesome iOS & Android Simulation Games Nerd It Up With 6 Awesome iOS & Android Simulation Games Simulation games used to be all the rage. Games like Sim City, Microsoft Flight Simulator and Freespace 2 practically sold themselves. These days PC gaming has taken a bit of a tumble from grace and,... Read More , you’ll find a lot of depth in managing your citizens, expanding your vault, and sending people out on adventures. Fallout Shelter does contains in-app purchases to give you quicker access to items, but they’re not necessary to advance the game.

You’ll probably know whether this is a game you want to spend a lot of time with in the first few minutes of trying it. Once you get going, though, it might be hard to stop.

Gurk, the 8-Bit RPG [Android]

Gurk is an RPG like Doom & Destiny, but it has an even older feel. With a grid-based movement system and an archaic inventory screen, Gurk feels akin to the first Final Fantasy game on NES.

Gurk has a neat battle system 5 Classic RPGs With Unique Battle Systems You'll Love 5 Classic RPGs With Unique Battle Systems You'll Love Skips the usual affair and start playing these 5 RPGs with unique battle systems you'll fall in love with. Read More where you can choose to move a character or have him attack. Using a swordsman, archer, and wizard, you must defeat strong enemies to progress and find new gear.

This game doesn’t give you a ton of direction, so if you get lost easily it might be best to skip this one. As a barebones RPG in a tiny package Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Less Is More: 5 Small Games That Are Big On Fun Hundred-hour games with loads of content are awesome, but sometimes you just want a focused, fun-filled experience. These 5 titles deliver just that. Read More , it’s a good fit if your phone doesn’t have enough storage space for larger games.

You can grab two sequels to Gurk if you want more. Gurk II is available on Android for $1, as well as Gurk III for $3. If you’re on iOS, the only available game is Gurk III for $2.

Slice It! [Android | iOS]

Slice It! is a different kind of game — a geometry puzzle. Your goal is to slice various shapes into equal pieces. While this starts out easy, the game throws more complex shapes and requires more cuts as you progress.

With 200 levels, a time trial mode, and a rating system based on how close you were to equal segments, Slice It! offers plenty of content to keep you playing. It’s simple to grasp but offers a lot of tricky puzzles for those who like a challenge. The cutting controls are perfect for touch screens; both kids and adults should enjoy this fun title.

Slice It! is totally free on Android. For iOS, Slice It! Begins is free and contains less content than the full $1 version.

Commander Pixman [Android | iOS Demo]

Another retro-styled platformer, Commander Pixman features 135 levels of sci-fi action. You’ll need to run, jump, and shoot to avoid all kinds of traps and enemies to reach your goal at the end of the level.

While mobile controls usually aren’t great Why Touchscreen Controls Are Useless For Retro Gaming & How To Fix It Why Touchscreen Controls Are Useless For Retro Gaming & How To Fix It For far too long have forgotten classics been reduced to curios because touchscreen controls just don't give you the genuine experience of playing them. Rise up and take back your retro gaming experience! Read More , this game makes the best of the touchscreen 5 Mobile Games With Phenomenal Touchscreen Controls 5 Mobile Games With Phenomenal Touchscreen Controls Games on Android and iOS deserve touchscreen controls made for a touchscreen -- not ported from a gamepad. These five games use the touchscreen to its fullest. Read More and gives you natural-feeling controls. If you thought that you couldn’t play a platformer on your phone, this is one to try. As for length, like other games on the list, each level gives a rating based on how fast you complete it, so completionists will have plenty to work on.

Pixman features in-app purchases on Android that are only for purchasing extra levels. On iOS, Commander Pixman — First Blood serves as a 20-level demo, while the full version is available for $2.

Plenty to Play

Unfortunately, many apps available for free on Android cost money on iOS, but there’s still a good selection for either platform. If you’re going on a long trip or just want a game that lasts more than an hour, now you have plenty of games to load up your phone with.

Looking for lengthy titles outside of your phone? Check out games you can play for over 100 hours 5 Games You Can Play For Over 100 Hours – That’s Value! 5 Games You Can Play For Over 100 Hours – That’s Value! One of the many traits unique to video games is the sheer volume of entertainment a game can provide. While a movie is over in two hours on average, and a TV show may offer... Read More .

What games have you spent a lot of time with on your phone? Do you prefer meaty games on mobile, or do you think they’re better suited for other platforms? Leave your thoughts below!

  1. Sean Quinn
    March 22, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Hey Ben, I recently created a 2 Truths 1 Lie Trivia game called Box of Lies for the iPhone and was wondering if you or anyone else for that matter would be interested in checking it out. I was recently diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (or Crohn's Disease we are still unsure) and I created this while I was in and out of the hospital. It is my first app and it really helped distract me from everything I was going through. If you would be so kind as to play it and honestly rate and review it I would very grateful. If not, I understand.

    As for anyone in the comments section, feel free to respond to my comment with apps of your own as I would love to check them out. Anyways, have a great rest of your day!

  2. Sarah Johnson
    March 14, 2016 at 10:13 am

    When it comes to pass time on my phone I make sure its not complete waste of time. That's why i play mostly word or puzzle games. if you like simple but interesting games, Word Teaser is my favorite. their online real-time multiplayer mode is awesome

  3. Alpha
    January 12, 2016 at 8:45 am

    There are a series of tower defense games from Ironhide both on Android and iOS called the Kingdom Rush series. They're awesome with very high ratings! 4.7 ?

    • Ben Stegner
      January 12, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Looks like a decent game based on ratings, but it also features lots of microtransactions. I was trying to avoid the "pay to win" types of games in this list.

      • Alpha
        January 13, 2016 at 7:29 am

        Yeah Ben but I got all the stars without spending a cent. Maybe for some difficult challenges spending is necessary. Also all the achievements can be completed without payment!

  4. ElaineMDG
    January 12, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Can somebody please recommend a GOOD low-price or free driving/racing game I could get for an iPad2? Thanks in advance!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 12, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Hmm, I'm not much of an iOS user, but you could try asking on Grouvi; I bet a group there has a good recommendation for you!

      I think Asphalt 8 is supposed to be pretty good, but don't know if it's supported for iPad 2.

  5. trixs
    January 9, 2016 at 8:02 am

    You aren’t pressured into buying premium currency (which doesn’t frequently drop, but isn’t a super-scarce resource either), but if you do, you’re also given access to a special area with lots of goodies! Not to mention that there are always weekly updates, the developers are honest and transparent, and lots of great content continues to be added! There’s no energy system, AND it works offline! It’s probably the game I enjoy most on phone

    • Ben Stegner
      January 12, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      You forgot to mention the name of the game :)

  6. andreriza321
    January 5, 2016 at 11:04 am

    fallout shelter is still leading among the game apps for android and ios. Little Alchemy is also fun to play

    • Ben Stegner
      January 12, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      People love Fallout, and it shows! It's funny how a game from a different point of view in the game universe is so popular.

  7. Tom
    January 4, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    I can't figure out why people have such hated for freemium games.

    That's pretty much all I play, but have NEVER had to buy premium currency in order to get anywhere in the games.

    Sure, it might take 3 days to level up that gold mine in Dungeon Keeper or a full 24 hours to open up that plot of land in Family Guy... but so what? Be patient and play multiple games.

    If you really must spend money for premium currency folks, just be smart about it. I'm not sure about anything on iOS, but the Google Opinions app on my Android has paid me over $40 in the past 2 years... so it's been at least that long since I've spent any of my own money. (Plus, most of the games will give you premium currency slowly add you play. Again, be patient.)

    • Károly Németh
      January 5, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      I agree with you. I don't want to pay for game neither. Unfortunately Google Opinion isn't available in my country.

      By the way I met Blood Brothers what is a freemium also. I played for 4 years and I give up couple month ago because I couldn't really develop my creatures and I couldn't access to really powerful ones for free of charge.

      Actually my favourite simulator (Real Racing 3) is free also. You don't have to spend real money. You can play offline if you downloaded every car and racetrack what you want to use. Unfortunately I lost my cloud saving (their fault) but this is a very good game for waste your time. I couldn't find a better or same experience in my case (I tried these: "GT Racing 2", "Asphalt 8: Airborne" and "NFS No Limits"). I'm not a hardcore player maybe you will love them.

      Fallout Shelter is disappointing for me. I love manager games but this one is can be extremely difficult in a short period of time. I played for a week but I faced very strong enemies.

  8. Victor Ong
    January 4, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I would have to recommend Doctor Who: Legacy. The game is completely free, but there is a TON of content in there. You aren't pressured into buying premium currency (which doesn't frequently drop, but isn't a super-scarce resource either), but if you do, you're also given access to a special area with lots of goodies! Not to mention that there are always weekly updates, the developers are honest and transparent, and lots of great content continues to be added! There's no energy system, AND it works offline! It's probably the game I enjoy most on my phone!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      I'm not a Doctor Who fan, but I know lots of people are and it sounds like this game is pretty good! Thanks for the recommendation!

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