With today’s digital age and portable pocket computers, we’re almost always online in some way. That is, until we’re not.
Most smartphone owners have a cellular data plan to go along with them. But sometimes, you just can’t get a signal, such as underground commutes on the subway or out in the middle of nowhere.
After a hard day’s work, we just want to relax. So we have games on our iPhones and iPads. And while there are a ton of gaming options to consider on the App Store, what if you’re looking for something that you can play even if you don’t have a data connection?
Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered with these great games that don’t require an internet connection to play.
If you grew up in the 80s or 90s with great platformers and want some nostalgia, then Kraino is a perfect title.
With Kraino, you get a blast from the past with the incredibly detailed pixel art style that’s clearly inspired by classics like Mega Man and Castlevania. The eerie music is sure to delight as well.
There are six castles with various environments to go through in Kraino, and each one is unique and hosts a variety of monsters. Even though you’re controlling a skeleton protagonist, there are many other castle baddies to hack-n-slash your way through, like slime blobs, bats, and ghosts.
While six stages doesn’t sound like much, each one is lengthy with multiple checkpoints before you face off against a challenging boss battle. For those who are concerned about the touchscreen controls, worry not! These controls are fairly responsive, reachable, and rather accurate.
There are ads in Kraino, but only if you want to get a Continue after losing your three lives. Otherwise, there are no ads and no in-app purchases.
Download: Kraino (Free)
2. Super Stickman Golf 3
In the mood for some physics-based golf puzzles? Then Super Stickman Golf 3 is a hole-in-one. Super Stickman Golf 3 is the third installment of the Super Stickman Golf series. Get ready to tee off in the most challenging courses yet!
There are 20 brand-new courses in Super Stickman Golf 3. The goal is to complete each part of the course by getting the ball to the hole in as few pars as possible. It’s a test of both physics and skill. Plus, the controls are simple and make it possible for anyone to pick this game up and play right away.
As you play, you’ll find “Bux” scattered around on the courses. You want to collect these, since you use them to get card packs. These packs unlock powers, golfers, hats, and trails, allowing you to customize your golfing experience. The powers can change how your golf ball works, so it adds fresh new gameplay to the tried-and-true formula.
While you can enjoy all the single-player levels and modes without a data connection, there are extras that you can access once you’re online. This includes multiplayer mode, daily races and rewards, and more courses to download. Plus, if you want to get more Bux, there are in-app purchases.
Download: Super Stickman Golf 3 (Free)
3. Flipflop Solitaire
Solitaire is a classic card game that we’re all familiar with and probably played way too much of when we’re supposed to be productive. However, while the old formula works, it still gets stale.
This is where Flipflop Solitaire comes in. The developer, Zach Gage, has taken this routine game mechanic and turned it upside down, literally. The regular Solitaire is all about untying knots of unordered cards into clean and sequenced stacks. Flipflop Solitaire is the exact opposite.
In Flipflop Solitaire, you take knots of cards and tie them into other, perhaps even better, knots. At some point, after shifting the knots around, they end up untied and go in the final stack of properly-sequenced cards.
For example, say you have a stack of cards containing K, Q, J, 10, 9, and 8. In regular Solitaire, you’d continue this stack in descending order, so the next cards would be 7, 6, 5, and so on.
With Flipflop Solitaire, you can play the next set of cards as 7, 8, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 6, 5. To put it simply, the next card you put in a stack can be lower or higher than the previous one. Again, it pretty much takes the standard formula and flips it upside down, hence the name.
Flipflop Solitaire includes four game modes for free, which is the number of suits included in a round. It’s recommended to start with one suit, and then work your way up after you get the hang of the rules. There are always four empty slots at the top to stack your cards in sequential order from Ace to King. It’s the getting the cards up there that’s a puzzle.
This is one of those games that may sound weird and confusing at first, but you get the hang of it after trying it out for a few moments. And then it becomes incredibly hard to put down.
If you want even more Flipflop Solitaire, there is an in-app purchase of $2.99 to unlock the full game, which includes two more game modes (five suits and extended one suit) and cosmetic customizations.
Download: Flipflop Solitaire (Free)
4. Threes! Free
The developer of Threes! describes it as a “tiny puzzle that grows on you.” And mathematically speaking, it literally does grow.
Threes! is a popular little puzzle game that has a simple goal in mind: slide the number tiles around and merge like-numbered ones to get the next multiple of three. Sliding your thumb in one direction moves all tiles at once in that direction.
You repeat the process until the board fills up. Your score depends on how high of a multiple of three you get, as each tile is worth a certain number of points. The more high numbers you have, the better.
There’s only one game mode in Threes!, but believe me — this is a game that’s hard to put down. Once you see your score for the first round, and after you’ve mastered the concept, you’ll keep trying again and again to beat your previous best. Leaderboards let you see how you stack up, so if you’re the competitive type, you’ll definitely want to beat your friends’ scores.
To top it all off, each number tile in Threes! is its own character. These numbers become their own beings, with unique designs and even personalities. The higher value you get, the more distinctive they become. Threes! also has delightful and endearing sound design, which you’ll fall in love with immediately.
Threes! Free grants you the full Threes! game, but with limited plays (about 10), and you must watch an ad (internet required for this only) to get more. If you prefer an ad-free experience, then you should pick up the regular Threes! game. There have been many knockoffs of Threes!, but none are as good as the original.
Are you a fan of relaxing puzzles and cute robots? Then Mekorama is a must.
In Mekorama, you’ll meet an adorably short, one-giant-eyed robot who’s lost and trying to find its way home. The robot’s found itself in a beautiful world of detailed 3D architectural structures that look like something you’d build in Minecraft. Your goal is to help the robot navigate through these stages from the starting point to the end point.
Sounds easy enough, right? However, Mekorama focuses on shifting perspectives and physics. For instance, interactive parts of the environment require you to toggle a switch to reveal hidden paths. Rotating the structure can also reveal new solutions.
While the initial free download contains 50 levels, there’s a level editor so you can create your own dioramic puzzles and share with others. This is also reciprocated, as you can scan “cards” from others to download and play their own creations.
Mekorama is a true hidden gem mobile game, and you can enjoy it at any time, anywhere.
Download: Mekorama (Free)
6. You Must Build A Boat
Need a match-three RPG fix? You Must Build A Boat will satisfy all your cravings.
This pixelated adventure has you assuming the role of an unnamed protagonist who must build a boat and set out to explore various lands with comrades. Your ship starts out small, and you must complete quests in order to recruit NPCs who can enhance your weapons, spells, and defenses in order to make the journey easier. And as you go, you’ll capture monsters and mobilize them for further enhancements to your character’s skill.
The actual match-three part is fast and frantic, so you’ll need to stay on your toes. There are several different game pieces: swords, staffs, shields, keys, muscle, and thought.
To do basic melee attacks to foes, you match three or more swords. Matching staffs lets you cast spells, and shields prevent you from getting knocked back. The keys unlock treasure chests, and the muscle and thought are for drafting monsters onboard your boat.
In order to make matches, you must slide entire rows and columns so that the pieces align with what you need. At the top part of the screen you can see your character running along and encountering monsters and finding chests. If you aren’t fast enough at taking out your foes, then they can knock you back. When you’re too far behind, that run ends and you can reap your rewards.
Before you embark on a run, you’ll want to add quests to it. These increase the difficulty but can net you fantastic rewards. Plus, you’ll need to complete them if you want to move on to the next area.
You Must Build A Boat is one of the most addictive and challenging match-three RPGs that you’ll come across on mobile. It’s well worth the cost, because it’s incredibly difficult to put down once you start. If you enjoy it, check out the first game, 10000000, for the same price.
Download: You Must Build A Boat ($2.99)
7. Pair Solitaire
Solitaire is a classic, but you have plenty of new ways to make it feel fresh. If the aforementioned FlipFlop Solitaire isn’t enough for you, then Pair Solitaire is another fun one to consider.
With Pair Solitaire‘s tasteful skeuomorphic design, you’ll feel like you’re at the casino with the textured green table and attractive card decks. And the life-like sounds of shuffling played cards just adds icing to the cake.
If you’re used to traditional Solitaire, then Pair Solitaire is a breath of fresh air. Your goal is to match pairs of cards in the deck until there are no cards remaining.
What makes a pair? It’s simple: if two cards have the same suit or number, with another card between the two, then they’re considered a pair. Just tap on the card in the pair that you want to clear out. Repeat the process until you either have no more cards remaining in the deck or you’re out of moves.
Your score is dependent on the number of cards you managed to clear. This awards you with a gem multiplier, and each card is worth a certain value. If you want the best scores, then some careful planning is required in Pair Solitaire. The moment you learn how the concept works, the game becomes hard to put down.
Pair Solitaire is a refreshing new approach to a classic card game. The game mechanic is simple but does take some time to get used to.
Download: Pair Solitaire (Free)
8. Ridiculous Fishing
Whether you’re a fan of fishing in real life or not, Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption is one you don’t want to miss.
Ridiculous Fishing features a kitschy art style that’s packed with charm. There’s also a quirky, relaxing soundtrack. This great visual and sound design is not surprising since the game comes from Vlambeer, a developer well-known for other indie hits like Super Crate Box.
In Ridiculous Fishing, you follow along with Billy the Fisherman, as he seeks redemption for his uncertain past. And the only way to get redemption is to sit out in the middle of the ocean and fish while contemplating life.
The game itself is simple. Just cast the line, and as it drops, see how far you can get the line while avoiding fish. You tilt your device to move the line horizontally. The moment the line gets a bite, Billy will reel it in. While this happens, you’ll want to tilt your device to get as many fish on the hook as possible.
After Billy pulls them up above the surface, the fishy haul gets thrown up into the air. Now you must shoot the fish to cash in. Each species of fish is worth a different value, with bigger and rarer ones netting more dough.
But when you’re out in the middle of the water, what do you do with that cash you earn? Don’t worry, as Billy’s equipped with a phone that can order the best new fishing gear on demand.
You’ll find many upgrades to purchase, including longer lines to go deeper in the water, better guns, chainsaws to hack through the fish instead of avoiding them, and more. These upgrades are necessary to progress, as you must catch a certain number of species to move on to the next area.
Ridiculous Fishing has been around for a while, but it’s still an App Store classic that you can play anytime, no data required.
Download: Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99)
9. Alto’s Adventure
Want to hit the slopes but can’t quite do that in reality? Then Alto’s Adventure is the infinite runner that’ll help you get your skiing fix.
Alto’s Adventure is a popular title well-known for the minimalist art style that’ll pull you in to its beautiful, snowy world. While retaining a simple aesthetic, Alto’s Adventure features dynamic weather and lighting that reflects your progress in the game. And the music and sound effects are top-notch too.
Players take control of Alto and his friends while they ski and snowboard their way to rescuing the village llamas and race the Elders. The endless odyssey involves steep slopes, chasms, rails and rooftops to grind on, realistic weather changes, and plenty of magnificent sights to see while you race down the mountain.
While Alto’s Adventure is peaceful and relaxing by design, there’s still much to do. The one-touch controls allow you to perform jumps and backflips, which you’ll need to get across those deadly pits and over rocks. But doing flips and tricks also nets points, plus you’ll see coins to collect.
Hold onto those coins, because they’re used to purchase boosts and the almighty Wingsuit item, which drastically changes the gameplay. There’s also a quest system, and once you complete all of the goals, you gain a level. Reaching certain levels unlocks new characters, who have their own unique traits that affect gameplay.
Once you get beaten by an Elder, crash into a rock, or miss your landing, the run ends. Scores are determined by your distance, trick score, coins and llamas collected, chasms jumped, and completed goals.
With all of that in mind, it can be pretty hard to beat your best, but it sure is addictive. There’s also a Zen mode where you can just play to your heart’s content without worrying about everything else.
Download: Alto’s Adventure ($4.99)
10. Campfire Cooking
Whether you love the great outdoors or not, Campfire Cooking is a puzzle game that everyone can enjoy without the minor annoyances of being outside.
When you go camping, chances are you’re cooking meals over an open fire. Campfire Cooking is just that, except you find some puzzling issues about cooking with sticks. The goal in Campfire Cooking is easy enough: prepare all of the food that’s on a stage. But it’s easier said than done.
The puzzles in Campfire Cooking all involve sticks and skewers. Players need to twist, rotate, and jostle the wooden and metal skewers around and over the fire so that all the food cooks evenly. But you need to cook marshmallows evenly on both sides, keep soups on a fire, and can only rotate the wooden skewers. As you can imagine, preparing your food gets challenging.
Plenty of new foods and mechanics get introduced as you play, but everything moves along gradually. While some puzzles are trickier than others, it’s still super relaxing, especially when you have the realistic sounds of an open, crackling fire and toasty food. Plus, it’s hard to resist these delectable treats when the game looks so good too.
While the magic in Campfire Cooking lies in the puzzles, there’s a charming story of a vacationing family. This family is doing the typical storytelling around the campfire while cracking jokes with each other. It’s relatable for many, and a delight to play.
Download: Campfire Cooking ($3.99)
What Are Your Favorite Offline Games?
While we’ve covered some of the best games you can enjoy offline on iOS, these are just the start. Mobile gaming’s great, but it’s even better when you can play games without having to use up your data, or needing to worry about having a connection like during a road trip or on a flight where the cost of Wi-Fi may not be worth it.
Though they’re not strictly offline, but for games with friends in an offline setting, we recommend these iPhone party games.