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People look for different things when it comes to mobile games – some want adventure, others want strategy and millions want Candy Crush. However there are a few games which prove to be hits due to their sheer addictiveness, departing from the typical format of Bejeweled and Farmville.
So what are these mobile games? And what makes them so addictive that you’ll probably end up regretting downloading them when you find yourself still playing at 2am? Here are seven games that will keep you glued to your phone…
1. Rodeo Stampede
Rodeo Stampede takes inspiration from endless runner games, but has a unique spin on the genre. Your goal is to jump from animal to animal in a stampede, to get as far as possible. The game has various biomes and animals that you can unlock, with missions and achievements to help spur you on.
Besides being a relaxing game you can play with one thumb, it has a lot of the fun of runner titles without the feeling of repetitiveness. For those who like collecting and unlocking achievements in games, this game will definitely scratch the itch.
The game has in-app purchases, but you won’t feel greatly disadvantaged without them. If you do want some perks, such as replacing difficult missions, you can opt to watch 30 second ads. It is one of the few games that doesn’t force ads on you – you have to opt in.
If you like easy handling with the occasional challenging stages, this is a great game. The devs even have an update every now and then which add new biomes so you’ll keep expanding your collection.
2. Two Dots
Two Dots is the sequel to Dots, another addictive mobile game. It’s minimalistic in design, but doesn’t skimp on gameplay mechanics and special events. It could be seen as very loosely based on matching games like Candy Crush, but without the gaudy, childish and overly colourful presentation. Two Dots also provides more engaging content that will have you making strategic moves and decisions.
There are hundreds of levels with different goals. Sometimes you need to eliminate a certain amount of dots, many times though you need to activate certain mechanics (like circuit boards, nesting dolls, etc). This is where the game proves more superior than its glitzy competitors.
Once again, ads are always optional and never necessary to progress. You also have in-game purchases, but the game gives you some of these items daily when you log in.
The best part of the game, in my opinion, is its rotating events – treasure hunts and expeditions. Expeditions are almost like a marathon mode, where you attempt to eliminate a certain item. Rewards are tiered, and you attempt to reach the highest number possible, but you eventually run out of moves. You also get occasional rewards such as in-game items, making purchases of said perks unnecessary.
The treasure hunts are mini-chapters that experiment with different mechanics and often prove more difficult for users. The developers also add updates to the game, which add more content to keep you levelling up. This is the kind of game you’ll play when in bed – delaying sleep for “just one more” stage. There’s a reason over 10 million people have downloaded it.
3. Make7! Hexa Puzzle
Make7 is a very simple game without much variation, but the challenge keeps you coming back for more. It is described as a block match puzzle game. You essentially place randomised number tiles on a hexagon board. You need to match three of these numbers next to each other to reach the next number (e.g. three 1s make a 2, three 2s make a 3, etc).
It sounds simple enough, but the tiles you are given are randomised, meaning there is an element of strategy. Your goal is to get three 7s to match, which will clear part of the board. You keep going in an attempt to reach a high score, with the game ending when you cannot place any more of the generated tiles.
There are three game modes – the original, where you can rotate the tiles you’re given; the larger three-hexagon board where you cannot rotate tiles (my personal favourite); and a bomb mode where certain tiles will end the game if you don’t get rid of them in a certain number of turns.
While challenging, it is also quite soothing. It is actually a great way to take your mind off of your stresses and focus solely on matching patterns and numbers
The only downside is the occasional ad pops up after you wake your screen or your game ends. However, these ads have no required watch time and can be exited immediately, making them only a tiny inconvenience. Your back button solves this in a second though.
4. Word Cookies
This game comes with the cheesy aesthetics of some of the overly cartoonish and glitzy games, but its presentation belies the intellectual challenge of the game. Rather than just being another game you can mindlessly play while not paying attention, it actually makes your brain work.
For each level, you are given a series of letters which you have to link to create words. The level will have a certain number of slots that need to be filled with words, with designated lengths. So for the letters K, A, W, E, T you can create words like awe, eat, tea, take, teak, wake, weak, tweak – and two other three-letter words I’m still trying to figure out. It is definitely one of the more fun ways to exercise your mind, without the brain-intensive tasks of multiplication and memory games.
You’ll be surprised at just how versatile a few letters can be. And even language junkies will sometimes find themselves stumped for a while. Luckily there is the ability to shuffle the letters in circular pan to help your mind make new connections. In-game currency can be used to get hints. These use a few in-game coins and will identify the first letter in the word you’re looking for. You can keep asking for hints if you’re really stuck.
Despite the in-game currency, there is little pressure to try buy it or watch ads to earn it. I haven’t had to watch a single ad or consider buying coins as the game gives me a sustainable supply for hints. You also earn coins by logging in, completing chapters and scoring bonuses.
It’s not as relaxing as some of the other games, which you can sometimes play to destress before bed. Rather, this game keeps your concentration so you’ll find yourself a bit too drawn in to doze off. While it’s not as relaxing, it is definitely as addictive as the other games on this list.
5. Age of 2048: Civilization City Building
While city building may sound like a mechanic of a simulation title, Age of 2048 is actually a puzzle game. It takes a short while to figure out the gameplay strategy, but once you do, you’ll find yourself combining tiles for hours. The game involves merging identical tiles in order to create an ‘upgraded’ tile, continuing until you have built a wonder and completed the level.
It has a very similar aesthetic to a tile sorting game – the ones where you slide tiles around to create a picture [it also brings to mind Threes – ed]. However, using tiles to build is a great concept which is executed well in Age of 2048.
Like many of the other free games in this list, you can opt to watch ads for boosts and also earn daily rewards when you log in. The drawback though is that as you advance through the different levels, boosts move from being a perk to a bit more of a requirement.
For each level, wonders are created by a larger number of tiles. This causes exponential growth in the number of tiles needed to create a wonder as you progress. So for example, an initial wonder may take 64 combined tiles, but by adding another tier for the next level, you would need 128 tiles. The next level’s wonder would then need 256 tiles, etc.
This means that when the game asks if you would like to watch a video to start the game with a higher level building, you will likely choose to do this whenever you can as the number of tiles needed becomes very difficult to achieve.
If you’re a person who doesn’t mind watching a few 30 second ads to get ahead, it is a very addictive and fun game. However if ads are your pet peeve, you might want to steer clear of this title.
6. Hungry Shark Evolution
This is one of the first mobile games I really became addicted to, with its arcade style and entertaining premise.
Hungry Shark Evolution sees you take on the role of a hungry shark which grows as you eat prey. Growing allows you to tackle more prey with more dangerous features – but you have to keep eating to prevent starvation.
The game is addictive, rewarding you for every catch as your shark becomes more powerful. It also has a slightly dark sense of humour regarding your human snacks, with spectacularly bloody animations. As you gain more experience, you can upgrade your shark or change its species.
One of the best things about the game is that while it has microtransactions, they don’t feel needed to progress in any way. Ads are not intrusive at all with the option to watch one is presented only when you die in a completely understated manner.
This is one of those free, addictive games that actually respects the concept of being free-to- play, without pushing players to buy currency or watch reels [lol – ed] of ads.
7. Fallout Shelter
Released originally in 2015, Fallout Shelter is such a great mobile game that it was ported to PC so that more traditional gamers could enjoy it.
If you love colony management simulators, this is the perfect game for you. Meanwhile, fans of the Fallout games will appreciate all the nods to the franchise in this mobile title. Your aim is to build up your vault (bunker), by accepting new survivors and gathering more resources. You will eventually be able to increase your vault population by having babies. As your population and needs grow, you will expand your vault with new rooms and upgrades.
Random events such as raider attacks and infestations also keep you on your toes, as letting them go unaddressed can sometimes lead to certain parts of your population being wiped out.
This was one of the first games I found myself dedicating entire lunch hours to, and the lack of prompted ads and microtransactions makes it really immersive and enjoyable.