When it comes to wholesome mobile games, just because I want something without combat or complication doesn’t mean I want to be violated with gems, candy, tiles, plants, zombies, fruit, ninjas, repetitive cooking, crap farming, home décor management and all the other churned out mobile monstrosities.
I haven’t even played Candy Crush, and yet I feel I know it intimately having been forced to listen to the insane noise it makes by every boomer on every flight I’ve ever taken.
Then you have the mobile games that try to trick you into believing they’re just as good as regular games by putting those fiddly touchscreen controls in the bottom corners. They never work and I end up wanting to throw my phone out the god damn window.
How is it that the children of today don’t know a world without smartphones, yet they know a world that’s 99% horrendous smartphone games? It’s got to be one of the greatest injustices of our time.
But, wait, there are some actual gems out there
Thankfully there is that 1% – the wholesome mobile games that make you forget that you’re playing on your phone, the ones that transport you to a different world with engaging storylines, half decent humour, simple mechanics, beautiful design, and endearing characters, but how do you find these needles in a such a huge shitstack?
Over the years I have stumbled upon a few, so I thought if I have an ounce of humanity in me, I should share these publicly. This is not a long list, and it also includes quite a few older games, but I have a job, a kid, and a shower to cry in, so I can’t always keep up to date with the newest wholesome mobile games out there. But, please, if you know of more, I would love to beef out this list so drop them in the comments. Thanks friends!
Here Are 9 Wholesome Mobile Games That Are Actually Good:
1. Alto’s Adventure / Alto’s Odyssey
These endless runner snowboarding/sandboarding games stand out from similarly formatted mobile games with their insanely beautiful graphics and smooth gameplay. It’s a physics puzzler that wants to give you more than just a way to pass some time on your commute; it delivers a mood-boosting, captivating alpine/desert escape.
2. Monument Valley
For a lot of people, this timeless mobile classic may seem like an obvious inclusion, but I actually discovered the game quite late, and I’d imagine there are still a few out there that haven’t heard of it. So, this entry is for you. Just play it, it’s magnificent.
This is not the first time Gris has appeared on one of my must-play lists, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This watercolour masterpiece feels so different from other games, despite the common side scrolling format. It’s the gaming equivalent of yoga and I implore you to experience it for yourself.
4. The Room
It appears that anyone can make a point and click puzzle game these days; even people who apparently don’t have any eyes, going by the junk that’s in the app store under this genre. But The Room was one of the first and is still one of the best, with realistic graphics and a tangible atmosphere of intrigue.
5. Donut County
Another favourite of mine; the combination of incredibly satisfying mechanics combined with the tongue-in-cheek humour and generally ridiculous concept was just too much for me to resist. The more things you put in your hole, the bigger it gets. Insert vagina joke here –>[ ___ ].
Using the term “out of the box” to describe anything couldn’t be more “in the box”, but I’m still gonna do it. This genius little game will surprise you with its out the box environmental puzzles, and when was the last time a game truly surprised you?
I feel quite strongly that Amanita Design should be paying me some sort of commission for the amount I bang on about their games. But they really are showstoppers. The mechanics are your standard point and click, but the quirky worlds you’ll discover in Samorost will blow the eyes out of your head.
8. Thimbleweed Park
If pixel graphics make your 80s heart smile and you love nothing more than gruesome deaths, then this investigative puzzle game deserves your full attention. It’s a bit Twin Peaks, but with less mental scarring and more humour. Best played in a Garfield pyjama set.
Fair warning: This game does have ads and optional in-app purchases, but the reason I’ve included it is because you can play for as little as 10 minutes a day. So, if you’re one of those busy types, your job here is simple: take care of your little island at your own pace. Shape its fate, keep it clean, and don’t piss off the wildlife, all whilst enjoying its cute illustrative style.
If you like the sound of these and want more tried and tested wholesome mobile games that aren’t shit, make sure to check out the full collection in our super handy games directory.