From Monument Valley to Minecraft: 10 of the best mobile games | Games


Monument Valley

Given that we are all sitting at home staring at our phones anyway, it’s a good time to take a break from the doomscrolling to broaden your phone game palette. Nobody has really bettered this Escher-esque puzzler about guiding a wee girl through levels full of optical illusions and cool perspective changes. The calming colours and minimalist style offset the fiendishness of its architectural conundrums.


A beautiful, touching, short game about young love, capturing the initial meet-cute and the inevitable first fight, told through actions, music and relatable illustrations rather than words. Be warned, however: it’s so relatable it will almost definitely remind you of your first proper attempt at love and relationships, and you may at one point have to try not to cry.


The pocket version of one of the world’s most popular games is not just for kids: it’s another world to disappear into briefly, one where you can either go on the kinds of outdoor adventures that are currently out of bounds in real life, or spend time making art or architecture out of blocks.

Alto’s Odyssey.
A load of hot air … Alto’s Odyssey. Photograph: Team Alto

Alto’s Odyssey

A very zen game about surfing down endless dunes of sand against a gorgeous backdrop of ancient buildings and changing weather cycles, before flipping over in the air just in time to land perfectly. All you have to do is tap to jump now and then, but this game casts its spell with chill music and enticing aesthetic.

A Monster’s Expedition

In this game you are a little monster exploring the ruins of a long-dead human world, pushing over trees to create bridges between islands and find your way around. This is a puzzle game with heart and soul that will make you feel by turns incredibly stupid and like a total genius.

Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery

Pan around little doll’s-house dioramas of people’s homes, hunting for clues as to why everyone in a small town has disappeared. It will turn you into a detective, sticking your nose into strangers’ drawers and prying open windows to get into attics.

Mini Metro is a minimalist game about managing an underground travel network, kind of like playing the Tube map. Its premise – planning subway routes for a growing city – might sound stressful, but its methodical process is actually weirdly soothing, like ironing out your brain. Absorbing enough to make you forget that dinner’s in the oven.

Pika winner ... Pokémon Go.
Pika winner … Pokémon Go. Photograph: Wachirawit Iemlerkchai/Alamy

Pokémon Go

You might not have thought about Pokémon Go since 2016, but its developer has been perfecting it ever since, and it is now better than ever. Get outside, catch virtual critters, hatch eggs, and add a much-needed measure of novelty to your walks around the same old boring local parks.

Stardew Valley

If you really want to kill some time, try this appealingly retro-looking game about moving to an abandoned farm and fixing it up. The enjoyable, busy work of planting crops and looking after animals is balanced with amusing chat with all the people in the local village. You can even marry one of them, if you’re sick of whomever you’ve been living with for the last 12 months.

The Room 4: Old Sins

This is the newest in a series of puzzle-box games, but they are all pretty great. You poke and prod at peculiar objects, finding switches and levers and clues that let you dive deeper into the story. These are the ultimate in mobile puzzles, like a sequence of Crystal Maze challenges through the lens of a short mystery story.

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