back to top

29 Games Every Procrastinator Should Know About

All we want for Christmas is a good distraction, amirite?

Posted on

So why not load your phone up with a couple of the best games we played this year so you're always ready to zone out when you need to?

All year we've been serving up lists of the best games to play when you're bored, and offering recommendations from BuzzFeed writers every week in this series. So here's just a few of our favourites!

1. Exploding Kittens

Hiding in a deck of weird things is an exploding kitten. Draw it and you’re screwed – so most of the game is spent playing cards to avoid drawing cards and marvelling at the weird and wonderful illustrations by the creator of The Oatmeal.

THIS IS MY FAVOURITE GAME, and the mobile version is just as excellent as the hard-copy tabletop version, so invest in both.

Get the mobile version for iOS and Android. Buy the tabletop version here.


2. 80 Days

80 Days/Inkle

If you only download one game on this list, make it 80 Days. Guys, it's just so good. I am going to describe it now, and it's not going to sound appealing, but it really is.

80 Days is steampunk-influenced text-based trading adventure following Phileas Fogg on his journey around the world.

It is so funny, and smart and addictive – and bears multiple replays (I have been playing it for over a year now, with different objectives each time).

Get it for iOS here and for Android here.

BTW, if you like this kind of game, I can recommend Inkle's other offerings, such as Down Among the Dead Men and Sorcery!

3. Ingress

You’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go at this point. BUT HAVE YOU HEARD OF INGRESS? It’s an app-based augmented reality game that predates Pokémon Go and is actually pretty awesome, especially if you, like me, have a lot of deep-seeded childhood issues related to your parents not allowing you to play good old-fashioned analogue Pokémon.

Basically Ingress is like a super-intense sci-fi capture-the-flag. It’s locationally based and requires you to visit landmarks in your area in order to capture portals located there for your team.

Granted, it loses out on the Pokémon cute factor, but when you’re ready to play with the big kids, Ingress is the next level up.

Get it for iOS and Android.

4. Alto's Adventure

This addicting indie game is well worth £2.99, especially if you’re looking for something chill but absorbing.

Rachael says: “It’s an endless snowboarding game – you can never complete it but it imposes challenges. It’s a simple, beautifully illustrated game and a perfect way to switch your mind off.”

Get it for iOS, and Android.

5. Level With Me

This adorable game will keep you busy on commutes and is insanely addictive. It’s simple enough: Beat mini games to keep your surface level in the face of heavy bowling balls, dynamite, zombies, and more.

Get it for iOS and Android.


6. Just Dance Now

This is a seriously fun, active game you can play alone or with friends. It’s basically DDR on your phone: Simply sync your mobile up with a computer and follow the the dance moves on screen to burn the calories and the competition.

Get it for iOS and Android.

7. Zen Koi

This delightful little game is perfect for chilling out. You can zone out without no pressure while raising some lovely fish and maybe even helping them become dragons (!!!). It’s not complex or fast-paced, making it a perfect before-bed wind-down.

Get it for iOS and Android.

8. Little Alchemy

Little Alchemy

I'm so sorry for introducing you to this – you will never get any work done again. Little Alchemy is like Minecraft for elements: Combine fire and sand to make glass, combine glass with water to make...well, you'll have to figure that one out.

Play it here.

9. Leo's Fortune

This delightful game combines classic platform adventure play with gorgeous graphics for a super-fun and absorbing experience. Once you’ve hunted down the thief that stole Leo’s gold, you’ll unlock a seriously addicting “hard-core” mode.

Get it for iOS and Android.


10. Lifeline

This Choose Your Own Adventure-style game is the perfect alternative to fast-paced or mindless click-heavy apps. Get into the story and guide it with your choices for a super-engaging and more relaxed play experience.

Get it for iOS and Android.

11. Magic Mansion

This adorable game offers a major throwback to your old favourite Nintendo classics. Avoid traps and jump your way through the charming but challenging platform levels.

Get it for iOS and Android.

12. The Room

The Room

The Room (and its two subsequent iterations) is all you want from a locked-room puzzle. Turn keys, open mysterious boxes, and remember codes as you pass from one room to the next, all in search of the ~fifth element~.

(I've found that it's easier to play on a bigger screen – some clues require very specific tapping, which is hard on a phone screen.)

Get it for iOS here, for Android here, and on Steam here.


14. Magic Piano by Smule

This charming game is chill and consuming in one go. Think Guitar Hero but with piano and for your phone. Choose from a load of song options, from classics to current hits, and follow the dots to play along.

Get it for iOS and Android.

Recommended by delaynab.

15. Lumino City

Lumino City

Lumino City is absurdly charming. It's a puzzle game handmade entirely from paper, card, miniature lights, and motors. You play as Lumi (that's her, on the left in both images), out to solve the mystery of her grandfather's disappearance. The puzzles are challenging but not fiendish.

(BTW Steam fans, you might have played Lume a few years back – Lumino City is the sequel.)

Get it for iOS here and for PC here.

16. Swoopy Space

This adorable pixel game is the perfect time-waster. Manoeuvre “space stuff” to collect and avoid things and enjoy the cheery, mind-numbing escape only a simple, classic game can offer.

Get it for iOS.

17. Akinator


Akinator is a 20 Questions genius: Whatever you're thinking about, he knows. Seriously. In all my years of playing it, the only thing I have managed to defeat it with is Wishbone the dog, from the TV series Wishbone.

Play it here.


18. Plague Inc.

Plague Inc. isn’t the App Store’s top paid game for no reason. For just 79p, you get clever, engrossing, and endless fun in this apocalyptic strategy game. It’s also perfect for when you hit your dealing-with-people limit for the week, since instead of saving humanity, you are the plague, out to destroy.

Get it for iOS and Android.

19. Orbit

This puzzle slash gravity simulator is gorgeous and easy to get completely consumed in. Across 45 free levels, you launch planets and then work to keep them in their orbit and away from black holes. It’s totally engrossing and so cool to watch.

Get it for iOS and Android.

20. A Dark Room

A Dark Room

In October, BuzzFeed editors recommended their favourite games, and Natalie Brown's review got me hooked: “The game is really a playable short story — which is why I love it so much, those are my favorite kind of games — where you slowly build your world, click by click on the desktop, tap by tap on your phone. You gather wood, you build a village, you take care of the people in your village. It sounds simple, but it’s as addicting as Candy Crush.”

Get it for iOS or play in in a browser window here.

21. Seabeard


Seabeard = Minecraft + Farmville + Zelda. There's a bit of backstory, but essentially you're building a village, stone by stone.

If you don't want to pay for buy-ins, the downside of Seabeard is there's sections of dead time while you wait for things to sell or build. You'll also need an internet connection to play.

Get it for iOS here and Android here.


22. The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

“The big ones are very hard (and get increasingly harder),” says Remee, “but actually the mini and midi crosswords packs are really great (some packs are free some you have to buy). They are a good way to challenge yourself while on the tube, but also not hard enough so you feel like a dumbass! Always makes the commute go by really fast!”

Get it for iOS and Android.

23. Dashy the Cat

This simple but addictive arcade-style game will have you sliding across shoots and down ladders to collect watermelon treats – just avoid the dead ends and spikes as levels get increasingly difficult!

Get it for iOS.

24. Final Taptasy

So my partner recently spent at LEAST three full days trying to recalibrate his MacBook to support Final Fantasy because it makes him all nostalgic for his teen gaming days. My advice: Do not try to recalibrate your MacBook. Pick up this retro-style Final Fantasy-inspired pixel game instead.

Get it for iOS and Android.

25. New Star Cricket

Patrick says: “This is the fiendishly addictive follow-up to the BAFTA-winning New Star Soccer, which became a firm favourite among commuters and bored office workers the country over.

"It’s firmly in the same fast-paced, cartoonish arcade style as its predecessor and is just as easy to pick up, with no knowledge of cricket really needed – this isn’t one for purists. The elation of smacking the ball over the ropes for six is about equal to the frustration of getting out on your first ball.

"It’s free to play, with a host of paid-for things available to buy to give your cricketer an extra edge – but you can just about get by without them.”

Get it for iOS.


27. Geoguesser


Geoguesser is one of my fave browser games: You are dropped into an unknown location on Google Maps and have to work out where you are. On a good day, there'll be a road sign you can work from. On a bad day, you'll find out that fields look broadly similar the world over.

Play it here.

28. Agent A

Agent A

Agent A is a nifty puzzle game with a 1960s spy theme (think Modesty Blaise). Some of the sections are challenging, especially if you're as bad at spatial puzzles as I am – but there's no shame in YouTubing a walkthrough. It's a little short, but a second adventure is due to be added.

Get it for iOS here.

29. The Trace

The Trace

The Trace is a locked-room murder mystery with a forensic twist. Written by David Varela (who was a writer for Sherlock), the storyline is tight and the clues are clever. Again, the only downside is that it's a little short.

Get it for iOS here and for Android here.

Comment below with your favourite games for a chance to be featured in upcoming BuzzFeed posts!