The 10 best free mobile games to keep you busy

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When was the last time you had enough time on your hands to check out some mobile games (and actually play them)? The self-isolation era has given us ample time to explore new hobbies, other genres of Netflix series and even project management software. Now we’re on the best free mobile games available right now. 

You don’t even need a console or R50k gaming machine to game the spare time away. These days you just need a decent smartphone (sometimes even super-budget phones can run most games). We took some time to list our favourites. 

Monument Valley 2

Free / iOS, Android

The developers behind Monument Valley 2 recently made the game available for free. Probably because they know what we’re going through. Monument Valley 2 is a puzzle game in which players guide a mother and her child on a journey through the mysterious valley. It allows you to manipulate enchanted buildings along the way.

The mesmerising graphics and sounds create a chilled gameplay atmosphere, while you navigate the perspective-shifting challenges. The goal is to rotate each perfectly formed stage, sometimes manipulating specific contraptions, in order to create seemingly impossible pathways and escape. 

Alto’s Odyssey

Free / Android

Although it’s only currently free on Android (sorry iPhone friends), Alto’s Odyssey is one of our all-time favourite mobile games. And if you thought Monument Valley is mesmerising, check out this platformer. 

Odyssey features simple mechanics, gorgeous graphics, and overall relaxing gameplay. Players ski down a hill while avoiding obstacles and making massive jumps. There are also items to collect that can be traded in to customise things with. It’s an absolute blast to play, and is one of the only games that puts us into a relaxed state instead of hyping everyone up.

Call of Duty: Mobile

Free / iOS, Android

Interestingly, first-person-shooter games are only growing in popularity on mobile now. We’ve never seen game developers push to get their titles on mobile as much as they do right now (thanks Fortnite). Which is why we’ve decided to include our favourite mobile FPS on this list. 

Call of Duty: Mobile is just so good that we had to add it. The game includes classic online FPS PvP like any Call of Duty. But it also includes a 100-player battle royale mode. So you can either decide to shoot your friends in good ole multiplayer or shot up to 99 strangers in battle royale. The choice is yours. It has stellar gameplay and controls for a mobile FPS, so give it a shot. 

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

Chapter 1 Free / iOS Android

Not quite ready to dive head-first into the (inherently confusing) world of Final Fantasy? It’s not even easy to explain how we’ve gotten to number fifteen, but here we are. You can now play a small segment of Final Fantasy XV Pocket on your mobile phone, which is pretty rad.

The full game will cost you money, so you’ll need to enter those credit card details after you’re done with the free chapter (Chapter One). The game features toned-down chibi-figures of the main characters, and it takes you on a guided gameplay session through a segment of the world. The free portion is available on both Android and iOS, so get your fantasy on. 

Pokémon Go

Free / iOS, Android

If all else fails, stick to what you know, right? We know you downloaded Pokémon Go at launch and then never bothered to play it for more than a week. Don’t lie. So go ahead and download it again and sign in to your account. 

Pokémon Go was arguably the biggest mobile game of 2016, for a while at least. In the game (don’t act like you don’t know this), players explore the real world around them all while catching Pokémon, taking on gyms, and finding Pokestops. We know you can’t leave the house right now — but the developers have made some adjustments to give you more access to the game’s features from your home. So there’s literally no reason not to play the game right now. 

Vainglory

Free / iOS, Android

Probably one of the best mobile MOBA’s (multiplayer online battle arena) around, Vainglory is perfect for anyone looking for an RPG-feel. It’s got very high frame rates and unlimited free play — a few things that you don’t see often in mobile games. 

In the game, you team up with other players and go head to head against other teams. Yes, like a battle. Throughout the game, you’ll get to unlock more heroes. The game is also completely cross-platform, so you can play along with your PC-master race buddy who is also self-isolating.

Plague Inc.

Free / iOS, Android

Of course we’re including this one on the list, because… well, you know. Plague Inc/’s popularity has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe, and for obvious reasons.

Plague Inc. is a simulation/strategy game that allows the player to infect every human on the planet with a virus. You can bulk up the method of spread, symptoms and even delay medical response to the infection using points gained throughout the game. China has, in fact, banned the game following the recent outbreak. But we can still play it. 

Plants vs Zombies 2

Free / iOS, Android

A long time ago, Plants vs Zombies revolutionised the tower defence game mode with its strange new concept. Zombies try to get to your house, and you need to protect it by planting vegetation. It’s as odd as it is fun. 

The second version of the mobile edition is a helluva lot of fun to play and includes additions you won’t find in the first game. All you have to do is make sure zombies don’t reach your humble abode by planting your collection of plants strategically. And it’s all free to play (with some in-game purchases). 

HearthStone

Free / iOS, Android

The real World of Warcraft nerds will know this one all-too-well. Hearthstone is a strategy card game based in the fantastical world of Blizzard, and it’s free to play on Android and iOS. 

If you’re at all into trading-card games irl, check out Hearthstone. It gives players the ability to collect cards and create decks that they then pit against each other. Players can summon minions and cast spells to seize control of ever-shifting battlegrounds. The graphics are fantastical and spells look brilliant — it’s truly something you won’t be able to experience on paper. 

Lara Croft Go 

Free / iOS, Android

Another instalment that has been made free for now, Lara Croft Go is a brilliant addition to the (already rich) world of Tomb Raider. Have you only seen the films? Not to worry, because this mobile addition is perfect to get into the game franchise. 

In the game, you’ll explore more ancient ruins, but this time it’s a turn-based puzzle-adventure game, all in a bid to uncover the myth of the Queen of Venom. It’s only available for free for a limited time, so head to your app store now to discover some secrets and outsmart deadly traps. 

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About Author

Digital Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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