When a few hours of your day are down, mobile games are a great way to fill them up. But so many titles take dozens, or even hundreds of hours to fully enjoy them, so let̵
We’ve usually limited our selection of games here to titles that take less than or about two hours to complete. Not long enough to change in your chair, but still enough time to leave a lasting impression. So let’s see which games run masterfully over that tight rope.
Still life: Old Man’s Journey (Android / iOS)
In this 2D adventure, you play as an old man on a quest to revisit cherished memories and make up for past mistakes. The story is conveyed solely through images, and fortunately they are just as beautiful as the story told. Gameplay has been kept simple, with a simple “tap to move there” control scheme, but as you progress more interesting elements are introduced. If you want to enjoy quality art and a good story, Old Man’s trip does both in just under two hours.
Live the life: Florence (Android / iOS)
Florence is actually the shortest game on this list clocking in at just 45 minutes, but you shouldn’t underestimate the quality of the game. This is a very story-focused experience, with the gameplay only serving as a way to further bond yourself with the main character, Florence, who is in a bit of a rut. With simple mini-games, characters you care about and a pleasant art style, Florence will hardly take up any of your day, while you will stay with you much longer.
Pure pop: Sayonara Wild Hearts (iOS)
Rhythm games are an interesting bunch, but the fast response times they need don’t always translate well to touchscreens. Fortunately, this lively rhythm adventure is more about putting on a show than testing your ability to tap squares to a rhythm. Every stage of Sayonara Wild Hearts has over-the-top action, fun visuals and some great pop music. Story elements have been left largely ambiguous, but there’s still plenty here to push you through the levels.
Unlike the other games here, Sayonara Wild Hearts is only available on iOS through Apple Arcade, Apple’s gaming subscription service. However, there is a free trial that you can use to play this game now, and the subscription costs $ 4.99 per month after that.
Time is running out: Minutes (Android / iOS)
Some tough clues from the Legend of Zelda series, Minutes delivers a unique top-down adventure where you die every minute. No matter how short you are, there is actually a lot you can accomplish in a minute before respawning. From watering a plant to sprinting like crazy through the desert, there are a host of clever puzzles you’ll need to figure out to complete the game. Simple visuals let you focus on what’s important, and gameplay follows a similar route with just some basic movement and combat. But besides that, Minutes is still unique from start to finish.
Take it in: GRAY (Android / iOS)
GRAY is the longest game here clocking in at around three hours, but its unique take on the 2D platforming genre should be enough to make you sit just a little bit longer. This silent story of dealing with grief features beautiful visuals and music in the foreground, with well-executed platforming to keep your cutscenes busy. If you are willing to play a game a little longer than usual, GRAY ensures that time is well spent.
Puzzler: Monument Valley 2 (Android / iOS)
Puzzle games are a dozen on mobile platforms, however Monument Valley 2 stands out as a remarkable entry into the genre. Rather than the more tried-and-true gameplay styles that many titles in the genre use, Monument Valley 2 experiments with perspective-bending, isometric gameplay to deliver unique puzzles. You play as a mother and daughter navigating a world full of beautiful, vibrant architecture as you discover the mysteries of the valley.
Both this game and its predecessor, Monument Valley, are worth playing, but of course the sequel had stronger designs thanks to the more experienced developers. Fortunately, you don’t need to have played the first to enjoy the second.
Consume everything: Donut County (Android / iOS)
Donut County has arguably the most unique protagonists on this entire list. Not only do you play as a gaping all-devouring hole, it’s also controlled by a raccoon. As you consume more and more objects, ranging from trash, cars and eventually entire buildings, you’ll also be presented with a fun story and some adorable images. Unlike the ship you are piloting, Donut County is not a particularly profound experience, but it is a unique and enjoyable time nonetheless.
Real Detective: I am innocent (Android / iOS)
The classic scenario of a detective hunting a serial killer has been brought to the scene via the mobile game scene I am innocent. In this puzzle / adventure game, you manage your relationship with multiple people to get information about the true culprit while the killer challenges you via text messages and phone calls. There are also multiple endings to unlock, so if you don’t get enough of this thriller the first time around, you can revisit it and still get a unique experience.
Plus, this is the only free game on this list so there’s no risk of trying it out.