Never thought it would be me posting here, but...

Nov 25, 2019
Well hello there! I was a hardcore gamer for many years and admit that I had some level of vague disrespect for puzzle and mobile games.

Suddenly, a light appeared and I realized I WAS WRONG.

Casual games and puzzle games have become a fantastic distraction in a world where I am commuting a lot, or only have ten minutes at a time to squeeze in between other real life commitments.

Here's the top games that vie for my attention on the small screen right now:
  • Empire & Puzzles - just good puzzles, lots of variety, great guild system. Can be a bit time-sensitive if you're in a competitive guild
  • Best Fiends - super cute, challenging, many advancement paths, lacks in guild/friend interaction, but is VERY low pressure
  • Hay Day - cooperative to a significant degree, a bit repetitive but comforting. Def casual, no puzzle about it.
What are you playing on the teeny screen and why?

(I am still primarily a big screen gamer when time allows)


Community Contributor
Dec 9, 2019
Fate/ Grand Order on mobile. A very interesting story based addition to the Fate franchise.
Probably very confusing if you don't know Fate in general. But you basically play Pokemon with overexaggerated versions of history and mythology.
The story written by the experienced writer Kinoko Nasu provides a quick constantly expanding hook while you advance your historical figures and make them stronger (it does make sense in context).
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Lauren Morton

Staff member
I'll boost two of my usual recent recommendations!

Reigns: Her Majesty - I sneaked this one in to PCG's weekend question about politics recently. The intended experience is on mobile, in my opinion, given that its swipe-based decisions are a gag at Tinder's expense. You can grab it on Steam though! It's a silly game with lots of meta where your queen is constantly reincarnated and in each new life you'll try to balance all your kingdom's attributes by approving or denying your advisers' proposals. Across your lives you'll get new cards for the deck, new advisers, and achievements! I've gone back to it several times trying to 100% the cheevos.

Donut County - I love this silly game and it's another that you can do on mobile or desktop. It's basically Katamari Damacy but instead of a giant stuff ball you're dropping things into an ever-expanding hole in the world. The hole is controlled by raccoons who want to amass garbage because of course it is. It's got lots of silly animal characters and a fun story about how this hole started trashing the town.
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Dec 20, 2019
food fantasy can be a good casual game .there loads to do and I never felt I needed to pay to get anywhere or get a rare thing .

another fun silly little casual game for a minute or two at a time is Magiclkarp.

I also agree reigns amazing to play on mobile:D and you could happily lose more time then you thought to it .

finally as you ask what we been trying on tweeny screen :) .I been playing Forgetting Annie . I had play it on PC and fell in love with it and wanted to see how the port over to mobile played .If you like anything studio ghibli like with a great story that may make you feel thing of what chooses to make and have fun little platform like puzzles there a demo out you can try .
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Nov 25, 2019
Oh yes, Food Fantasy was a lot of fun for a while. It got grindy when I joined guilds with high activity requirements - I dislike any gameplay that forces me to log in at specific times. I am an old, grumpy goat.

I also play Horse Haven World Adventures. I have a horse in real life, but hey, now I can have dozens. There is definitely a cash component for the cooler horses (though many are offered during events for tokens you can earn in game), but I just like plinking around in the steeplechases and racing and never really feel pressured.
And of course my stables are always FULL, so I can't complain about not having enough horses. It's a bit fiddly, but it's enjoyable to me. I was surprised to learn that the game will be 5 years old in March. For a mobile game, that's a pretty good run (they recently upgraded to the Unity Engine so they could develop new game options).
I've tried a lot of mobile games over the past few years. Most of them get boring within a day, but there's a few that stay fun for at least a few days, maybe even multiple weeks.

Some of the better ones:
Hex Frvr - It's a very simple puzzle game that just plays very well while watching an episode or movie and is addictive enough to keep trying to get a higher score.

Space Rangers: Legacy - Pretty standard game where you start out with a tiny spaceship that you can slowly upgrade or replace with a better one by playing as a mercenary, merchant or pirate. It's fun for a bit, but the gameplay isn't very engaging after a while.

Caves - One of the best roguelikes for mobile I've played. It has a nice sense as progression as you keep managing to delve deeper and deeper, but it becomes quite unforgiving and luck based as you get further into the game.

Antiyoy - A great casual strategy game. Very simple mechanics, but still quite challenging. I've played this for quite a while, it was just a lot of fun slowly taking advantage of the opponents' mistakes until you could steamroll them.

Pixel Dungeon - Another good roguelike. I prefer Caves myself, but I spend quite some time on this game as well.

Punch Quest - This game is just satisfying once you get a good rhythm going and see the combo meter climb higher and higher.

Sorcery! - I've only played the 3rd of the series and I haven't completed it, but the concept is quite interesting. It's kinda like a choose-your-own-adventure where you can easily go back to earlier choices and see what happens when you choose something else. It's pretty well written, but I didn't have the patience to keep trying different options to get to the end.
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Jan 14, 2020
I don't really play phone or tablet games at all. When I'm at home and actually have time to play video games, I either play on my PC or my Switch Lite, already a portable device. Some people get hopelessly addicted to the gacha game designs where you can only do so many things in one day before you either have to pay money or put your phone down for hours in between sessions. That's not me, I lose interest after a day or two. There have been exceptions, however. Sometimes phone/tablet games are actually good. The few that I actually played and enjoyed were almost all traditional pay-to-play games.

Who doesn't remember Monument Valley, for instance? I was completely spellbound by this game's visuals and music. It's also incredibly simple to control, but the puzzles get fiendishly difficult! I have always had a soft spot for M.C. Escher-type stuff and this game does it amazingly well.


Another one I loved but sadly never finished was Lara Croft GO. The visual style is actually quite comparable to Monument Valley, now that I think about it. Maybe that's what attracted me to the game. GO is a series, of course, with versions of Hitman and Deus Ex also available. I liked Lara Croft's outing the best, simply because I loved Tomb Raider growing up in the 90s. It's a turn-based puzzling adventure which captures the spirit of Tomb Raider quite well! This one also has a Steam release, which is quite interesting. Why shouldn't it work as a PC game?


My last recommendation for the day is The Trail. Once again it was the visuals that attracted me to this title, and this game has also received a PC and even a Nintendo Switch version! In this title you are literally hiking across the American wilderness in the late 1800s. There's loot to find along the way, animals to hunt, trading to be done and above all, lots and lots of beautiful vistas to enjoy. It's incredibly relaxing! Not a puzzle game at all, but very enjoyable nonetheless. I guess Peter Molyneux had another good game in him after all.


On a final note, the Apple Arcade service seems kinda cool. I don't own an Apple TV, iPad or iPhone, but I find myself eyeballing a simple entry-level iPad in stores every once in a while, if for no other reason than to play some Apple Arcade games on it from time to time. Oh, and Civ 6, of course. I hear the tablet version's pretty good!
*Cough* well, my phone is a Nokia 100 from 2011 so it is quite limited the games I can play. A game I do play on it is called Forbidden Treasures - a timer-based game. You dig your way down looking for objects that give you enough points to get to the next level before your health reaches 0. You have to avoid flames as they will burn your health away and so will the timer.
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Dec 9, 2019
And in reply to @Rensje's post for those of us on iPhone:

Monument Valley:

Laura Croft GO:

The Trail:

Now that I found them......I think I'm going ot have to get them. :)
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Nov 25, 2019
These are some GREAT suggestions, thank you all! I am really glad to see mobile games evolving toward what one would consider "legit" gamespace, with solid storylines, room for meaningful advancement, and away from the traditional PTW models. Commuting is less drudgery with these in pocket.
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Jan 22, 2020
I've found a handful of pretty decent roguelikes on the Play Store. Pixel Dungeon has seemingly dozens of variants, all free to play. Cardinal Quest 2 has a cool class unlocking and progression system. Hoplite is sort of a roguelike puzzler which is great fun.
Jan 5, 2020
My favorite mobile game is Another Eden.
It is a single-player RPG, similar to Chrono Trigger, it features time travel between three main time periods, hidden bosses to defeat and lots of items to obtain. It does have a gacha mechanic, but you can play and finish the story using only the free characters, of which there are quire a few and they are useful.
Besides the main story, which has 55 chapters so far, there are a lot of side-episodes, mini-games, most characters also have their own side-quests.
The best thing about it that I like is that none of the content is time limited, so you can play at your own pace. Also there are no guilds, player rankings or other PVP elements.
I also consider its soundtrack to be very good.