Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is just one of many mobile games you can play to pass the time

Bingeing shows and watching YouTube videos are great, but sometimes you want to have some interaction. No, not the social, face-to-face kind of interaction, but an interactive activity like a video game. Well, maybe not a video game, something a little more… mobile.

Yes, I’m talking about phone games.

Sometimes when you’re just bored and tired of idly watching a show, you might want to have some hands-on action with your phone. But the app store or Google Play store’s game leaderboards are often filled with games that aren’t appealing to you. Here’s a more curated list of interesting, lesser known games that might pique your interest instead.

Action Games:

Contract Killer 2 – Contract Killer developed by Glu Mobile was one of the first games I ever played as a kid on my mother’s iPad. It’s a little violent for a child but it’s actually a really good first-person shooter game. You play as a contract killer by the name of Jack Griffin, and you get switch between close-contact melee attacks as well as long-range sniping. The graphics run pretty smoothly for a free mobile game and the gameplay itself is interesting as it contains a linear plot involving a Russian mafia. The feel of the game also reminds me of older Resident Evil games, but maybe I’m just being nostalgic.

Marvel Strike Force – This game is more about strategy. If you’re a fan of Marvel and superheroes, this game should be exciting for you. It’s more of a roleplay game where you get to collect characters. They are constantly adding new characters to the game to keep it interesting. You get to assemble your squad and upgrade your characters. The game runs smoothly, which is unsurprising since it’s developed by well-known and well-funded FoxNext. The only qualm is it can get boring unless you constantly upgrade and seek better characters to play with.

Clash of Clans – If you don’t know what Clash of Clans is, you’ve truly been away from the game section of your App Store or Google Play Store for years. Clash of Clans is another strategy game, but there’s just something about this strategy game that keeps it very interactive. I really enjoy this game because no matter how high you climb in the leaderboards, there’s always a real threat of slipping off. You get to design your base to protect it as well as to your troops as best as you can so you can attack others. You also get to join clans and fight together, adding a faction element to it. When I was a kid, they had global chatrooms and servers, but they seem to have removed that, which I think is a good call because of the toxicity that comes with that.

Wholesome Past-time:

Stardew Valley – The well-rounded nature of Stardew Valley and its cute, nostalgia-inducing 8-bit pixel style of art makes it a gorgeous and heartwarming game to play. There’s one problem, though—it costs $7.99 on both the App store and the Google Play store, which is a little expensive to some, especially those who prefer to only download free apps. However, if you have the time on your hands to build a beautiful farm of your dreams, it’s very worth it. You also get to complete quests and build relationships. It’s definitely reminiscent of the iconic Harvest Moon, so if you’re interested in more wholesome games like that, Stardew Valley is the pick for you.

Fallout Shelter – Fallout Shelter is another simulation game where you try to build a perfect vault, and while it sounds simple, it can get very addictive as you try to keep all your Dwellers happy and keep your resources up. A few years ago, the game was a little more boring to me since it felt like a clicker game where you just clicked to get resources, but the mobile game now includes a feature where you get to go on quests with your Dwellers. Fallout Shelter is definitely less action-packed than the Fallout series, which is also a on post-apocalyptic roleplay video game with a little more gore than Fallout Shelter. Fallout Shelter is definitely a much more wholesome alternative that isn’t as stressful.

Dumb Ways to Die – Okay, maybe it’s not very wholesome to play a game where innocent looking “dumb” characters come very close to dying and your mission is to save them. However, the way this game looks and the way it came about is absolutely wholesome. If you haven’t heard the jingle for “Dumb Ways to Die,” where have you been? It started as a public service announcement from Australia to promote railway safety, and now it’s a game with 82 little mini games. It’s beautifully designed even with some of the gross ways the characters die. It’s just simple and funny, which makes it a perfect game to lift your spirits.

Back To Classics:

Fruit Ninja – Remember this game? Yes, it’s still out there, ready to be downloaded. The game is simple enough: fruits fall from the sky and you, a ninja, have to slice them all and get as high of a score as you can. Three strikes and you’re out—this means if you make the rookie mistake of missing a fruit or slicing a bomb, which will end your game instantly. Not even Ninjas can deflect bombs. Fruit Ninja now has levels and you get to purchase different blades, which makes it more interesting. The core of the game is still the same though, and the slicing sounds are just oh-so satisfying.

LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum – You may argue that this is not the most classic of games but the way it works makes it a classic. It’s a reliable game with a cute design and I am personally always incentivized to keep playing because it allows me to collect new, adorable characters that have unique special skills. The way it works is that you have to connect three or more of the same Tsum Tsum to pop them. Yes, it’s that simple. The game comes with five hearts, so once you use your hearts, you have to wait for a set amount of time to regain them. This discourages you from keeping your eyes glued to your screen for hours on end, because that’s just how addictive the game is.

Solitaire – The most classic of all classic games has arrived. There’s a plethora of apps out there that offers Solitaire but honestly my favorite way of playing the classic card game is by just typing solitaire into Google and playing it without having to download an app. However, if you want to have a more interesting gameplay where it records your best scores and times, any app out there will probably do the job. It’s just a simple way to pass your time and stimulate your brain a little.

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Digital editor, Spring 2020. Claudia is a journalism student with an emphasis in magazine writing. Feel free to contact her at claudiakhaw@mail.missouri.edu.

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