The advent of always-online games is a bit of a mess. The fact that you need to specifically find offline games when you’re in the subway or on a flight is ridiculous. Luckily, there are a lot of great offline games out there, whether you’re playing on iOS or Android.
So, we’ve collected together our favorites, from quick arcadey fixes to hefty, near-console quality titles. Head below for that, or check out our guides to the best mobile games, FPS games, and best word games so you can find even more to play on the go.
Okay, let’s get to some of the best offline games on iOS and Android.
Alto’s Adventure offers hours of snowboarding adventure with an easy arcade-style hook to keep you interested. As Alto, you need to glide down the mountain, pulling off tricks and collecting little doodads, all while rounding up your llamas that have escaped.
It offers a very chill time, so maybe not the type of game that’s set to while away hours on a long-haul flight. But a quick subway ride with Alto by your side is a great way to keep your mind off of the commute. Oh, and the sequel, Alto’s Odyssey, is also ace – more than enough to keep you busy.
Read our Alto’s Adventure: The Spirit of the Mountain review to find out more.
Ahh, Civilization VI, the love of my life and the bane of my existence. This grand strategy game is all about colonization and conquering. It may be morally hard to reconcile if you spend too much time on Twitter, but in reality, it’s just an excellent strategy game. From the first stirrings of life in 4000 BC, all the way to the first inhabitants of Mars, this game gives you a wide sweep of history in the palm of your hand.
If it wasn’t for the portable versions of this game, I wouldn’t have racked up thousands of hours (I’m nearer ten thousand than zero…). That may not sound like a positive thing to have in your life, but it’s also pretty darn enjoyable. And the mobile version is more than good enough compared to its computer counterpart.
Read our Civilization VI tier list to pick the best leader.
If you like Civilization VI, you probably also like maps and miniatures. And nothing is more map-obsessed than Mini Metro, a minimalist metro sim puzzle bonanza. You build out the subways for different worldwide cities – and deal with the issues that arise therein – all to a gorgeously incorporated soundtrack.
Every inch of Mini Metro is designed gorgeously, keeping things minimal yet legible, melodious yet demure; simple, beautiful, and useable. It’s a high point for mobile games in my opinion, and it’s a must-play for any mobile game lovers out there.
You can play a whole pile of Dragon Quest games on mobile, and as one of the most venerated JRPG series in history, it’s an excellent history lesson. Sure, the original DQ is very old-fashioned, but if you take your time, journeying through them all is a delight.
Now, it’s not the ideal way to play them, but it is one of the only ways to play this many on one piece of portable hardware. It’s worth the money, especially given the hundreds of hours of gameplay they offer.
Check out our Dragon Quest Treasures review to learn more about the latest in the series.
Stardew Valley is one of the most heartwarming success stories in the indie space. It takes you to a small town, gives you a little farm, and slowly unfurls into a sprawling and deep sim that’s just as much about parsnips as it is human connection.
There are people to romance, dungeons to crawl, and yes, of course, fishing. What more could you ask for? And, better yet, the Android version is absolutely ace, especially if you pick up one of the best Android controllers. Turn your mobile phone into a portable powerhouse and get farming, kiddo.
Dead Cells sent a wave through the roguelike space when it arrived. With silky pixel art, slick and ferocious combat, and endless, engaging, and tantalizing hours of gameplay, it’s an indie classic through and through.
We wouldn’t say that playing it on mobile is the best way to play it, but it’s more than good enough. The pixel art pops on a small screen, and it’s well worth taking a look at it. Even better, it’s part of Apple Arcade if you’re a subscriber.
Check out our Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC review for more.
Bloons Tower Defence 6
Bloons Tower Defence made up much of my childhood. The endless hours on some flash game website sat at the back of a boring physics lesson were a joy, and you can relive that same magic now with the latest entry in the series.
BTD6 has the same setup as all the previous games. You need to stop balloons from reaching the end of a twisty track by setting up monkeys with various weapons to take them down. It’s fun, maybe a little too much fun. Oh, and it’s on Apple Arcade!
Just like DQ, there are a bunch of Final Fantasy games on mobile for you to sink your teeth into. Perhaps the most legendary series in RPG history, Final Fantasy’s mobile ports are a little contentious – but they’re good enough if you’re no purist.
Diving into FFVI, for example, on mobile, is a real treat. There’s so much to see, so many people to meet, so much maths to wrap your head around. When I was a kid, I would’ve never thought that I’d have hundreds of hours of JRPG greatness in my pocket. What a delight.
Check out our Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters Switch review for more.
This is going to sound a little too absolutist, but Grid Autosport is the only racing sim really worth your time on portable consoles. Both its mobile and Nintendo Switch versions are the only racing games with any real depth available portably. At least if you’re after realism.
With a wide array of cars and game modes, there’s more than enough to do. But, what’s more, the feel of driving in this game is second to none, at least in the portable space. It demands a premium price, but it’s worth it.
The Danganronpa games are weird. They take you into a world of school kids who want to win a reality TV murder game all arranged by a spooky bear. Weird, right? Well, through many hours of murder and mystery, things just keep getting weirder.
But, the masters behind it, as we chatted about in our Danganronpa interview, have no plans to stop the series. So, if you want to keep up with this cult hit, pick them up on mobile and experience the zany horror therein.