Attention, Review Geek staff: it is prohibited to read this article. You may not play any of the following games during your allotted work hours. Especially during video meetings. I repeat: don̵
With that out of the way: are you incredibly bored during a work from home meeting, via Skype, Hangouts, Zoom, FaceTime, etc. Have you ever caught yourself checking the news or your feeds on social media while people are discussing something that has nothing to do with you? Why not replace that dead time with a fun game?
We’ve selected 10 games, and many more, that are perfect for playing in a remote meeting. They all have a few points in common: they don’t require constant attention, they can be played with little or no sound, and they can be stopped at more or less any time (if you really need to do something during your meeting). Most can be played on mobile, but a few can also be played in the browser on a different tab or monitor, or as a standard PC game.
Look, we’re not trying to tell you to relax at work. We’re just trying to keep you awake while you’re at work, right?
Strategic Card Battles: Hearthstone
Blizzard’s free-to-play card game owes a lot to real world card games, such as Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh, but the fully digital presentation is truly unique in both structure and game mechanics. At the heart of the game is an online two-player affair, with alternating turns and a one-minute timer. But if even that requires too much attention, you can play the single player story and dungeon modes without any time constraints. I’m a huge fan of the eight player Battlegrounds mode, which doesn’t require an existing map collection to dominate.
Hearthstone is available on Windows and MacOS, as well as mobile versions on iOS and Android (and the Android version works well on Chromebooks too). If you want Hearthstone, checking out Magic: The Gathering Arena, DOTA automatic chess, and Team fight tacticsalso.
Break out, Laid back: Ballz
Ballz (you, in the back, stop giggling) is a title from casual game masters Ketchapp. It is very similar to the classic arcade game Break out, but you don’t have to move the paddle: just throw your balls (I said stop!) once to get the correct number of hits on each block. At higher levels, and with hundreds and hundreds of balls, it can take 20 minutes for the level to run its course. It’s perfect for zoning while someone is reviewing TPS reports.
Ballz is available as a free download with in-app purchases on iOS and Android. Try it for similar one-step, zone-out games Angry Birds, Worms, or Completely Accurate Battle Simulator.
Turn-based tactics: In the break
I love this pixelated little game, which is a combination of chess and robot-on-alien monster action Pacific Rim. Take on bug-themed aliens on small grids with your three giant robots and develop your tactics to overcome the overwhelming odds of In violation. It’s completely turn-based, just like the old one Final Fantasy Tactics or Advance Wars games so you can take as much time as you need to plan your next move (or answer that question on your calendar).
In the break is available on PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch. Try it for similar turn-based strategy games X-COM, Wargroove, or Skulls of the Shogun.
Slide to Solve: Threes
Threes graduated from a simple mobile game to a certified puzzle classic. Often imitated but never duplicated, the tricky numbers-combining gameplay can take days (or weeks, if you’re really good). Once you’re in the mood, you’ll find yourself whipping out your phone almost everywhere for a few more combinations and smiley numbers … including your marketing gatherings.
Threes is available on iOS and Android. Try it for similar puzzle fun 2048, Bejeweled, or Candy Crush.
Once you click, you can’t stop: Universal paper clips
“Clicker” games, where all you do to advance the story or structure is click or tap over and over, are ideal for playing while other people are looking at your face. In this way, Universal paper clips may be counterintuitive: its simple text-based interface covers some sci-fi concepts that might just surprise you. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Universal paper clips can be played on almost any device in the browser. For more graphic, less conceptual clicker games, try it Cookie clicker, Clicker Heroes, and Bit City.
Drama is in the cards: Rules
Rules is a fascinating game about managing a kingdom … but all you really need to do is make yes-no choices. It’s a bit like Tinder, if you’ve ever used it, except you choose between royal advisers and international invasions. If you screw up, you might die … but don’t worry, your royal heir will take over where you left off. And none of your advisers care if you close the app for a minute to justify your expense report.
Rules, along with a number of spin-off games, are available on iOS, Android and Steam. Similar card-based nail biters include Card crawl, Alluris, and Hand of fate.
A built-in standby: Minesweeper
Strange, Minesweeper is no longer built into Windows. But if you’re reading this article, you’re probably old enough to remember when it was. The grid-based bomb search game is great for killing a few minutes of time, but if you get a big enough grid, you might be able to blow away an entire hour of boringness. Just make sure to mute your mic when you trip that inevitable bomb.
The original Minesweeper is available in some form on more or less every platform, although you may have to search to find a truly free version. Ditto for other built-in classics such as Solitaire, Hearts, and Snake.
Isometric Exploration: Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a great mobile game in its own right – you don’t have to wait for a video meeting to watch it. But it’s also a great companion for said meetings, thanks to little beautiful puzzle stages that don’t require muscle reflexes or timing to complete. Just try not to get too involved in the simple story and visuals, even with the sound turned off.
Monument Valley and its equally brilliant sequel are available on iOS and Android. Similar chill exploration games include Shadowmatic, Did, and The witness.
I have to catch them all: almost all Pokémon Game
Almost any old-fashioned RPG with turn-based combat and a lack of jittery elements would work here. But as far as I know Pokémon is still by far the most popular RPG in the world. The monster-catching mechanics let you take your time and pause anywhere, at least in the main series of games, so it’s a great game that you can play for hours or in small bursts. Note that many of the spin-off games (such as the location-based Pokémon GO) will not work for this collection.
The last full Pokémon release is Sword and Shield for the Switch, but any DS or Game Boy game (or an emulated version!) would work too. If monster fighting isn’t your thing then try similar no pressure RPGs like Breath of death VII, Knights of pen and paper, or the Ace lawyer collection.
Cubicle farming: Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a bona fide phenomenon. It is the spiritual successor to old-fashioned agricultural “simulators” such as Harvest Moonincluding an extra portion of life elements, such as finding a husband and raising a family. While I wouldn’t call the game “easy,” it includes enough busy work and daily goals that you can make a lot of progress in the space of a PowerPoint deck as long as you skip the short dungeon sections.
Stardew Valley is available on every gaming platform out there. Try it for similar low pressure games Animal Crossing, My time in Portia, or virtually any mobile game released by Kairosoft.