Let me set the scene for you: it’s that time of day, and you sit down to do your business. You settle in to get the job down, pull out your phone because you have some time to kill, and … what then? You could endlessly flip through Instagram, scroll through Twitter, or do something actually engaging like play a game. Toilet time has never been more fun.
Mobile games are great for filling up the empty parts of your day like when you’re sitting on the toilet or waiting for the bus (if you don’t want to admit to playing games on the toilet). I mean, you’ve got nothing better to do, might as well sneak in a few levels.
Mobile games have evolved a lot over the years—there are some truly substantial games available on our phones today. And, while those are great, they require a good deal of commitment. That’s not great for our bathroom gaming sessions, so we sought out games that allowed you to quickly save or exit the game without any major consequences.
We also avoided games that have excessive microtransactions. Some of the games on this list will have microtransactions (they’re next to impossible to avoid in the mobile space), but we made sure the games we selected don’t pressure you into paying through gameplay.
Besides that, any low-stakes mobile game available on iOS and Android is fair game—so let’s just get into it.
Puzzle games make up a large part of the mobile gaming landscape, and they typically fall under the “pick-up-and-play” category, which is great for this list. So, sit back, fire one up, and put your brain to work while you do your business.
- Monument Valley 1 (iOS/Android) and 2 (iOS/Android): These two top-down puzzle games mess with your perspective to deliver on mind-bending puzzles. Add in some unique visuals and a simple but endearing story, and you have two great puzzle games to work through.
- Disney Emoji Blitz (iOS/Android): A simple match-three puzzle game with a Disney twist. On top of the standard puzzle solving, you can also complete missions and collect various Disney-themed emojis.
- Two Dots (iOS/Android): A unique puzzle game about connecting dots to break through obstacles. There are hundreds of levels to play through with some fun visuals, so this is one you’ll be returning to a lot.
- Wordscapes: (iOS/Android): A twist on classic crosswords and Scrabble, Wordscapes will put your vocabulary to the test.
These games revive the arcade mentality of competing for high scores. Typically, score-based games have endless modes where you play until you die or get bored, whichever comes first.
- Ballz (iOS/Android): All you do in this game is bounce balls off of blocks to break them and advance up the endless stages. It’s simple but addictive.
- Shooty Skies (iOS/Android): In the vein of other arcade shooters, Shooty Skies has you go through endless stages shooting down enemies for points. There are power-ups to find and even a few bosses to encounter.
While strategy games ask a lot of critical thinking and decision-making of you, they can find ways to make that less taxing. After all, you probably don’t want to run a nation as its ruler from a ceramic throne, so these two games are a bit chiller.
- Bloons TD 6 (iOS/Android): Bloons is a long-running tower defense series. You use various monkey classes to pop “Bloons” as they approach your base. There are plenty of choices to make and even some competitive online elements (but those are completely optional).
- Mini Metro (iOS/Android): While on the surface, Mini Metro may not look like much with its minimalist visuals, but under those simple colored lines is an intricate game about connecting subway lines.
This is one of the more popular mobile game genres, and for good reason—there’s something to be said about the addictive nature of a good endless runner. Endless runners even have a built-in timer of sorts with levels getting faster and more difficult the longer you survive, to the point where only the most inhumanly good players have a chance of continuing their runs. So, that sounds like a good endpoint.
- Subway Surfers (iOS/Android): One of the most popular mobile games of all time, in Subway Surfers you run on subways, tunnels, and train tracks trying to escape a police officer. While that may not sound interesting, there is a reason why this game has caught the attention of hundreds of millions of players.
- Sonic Dash (iOS/Android): Sonic Dash is pretty similar to Subway Surfers, but features everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. There are also some more Sonic-y elements thrown into the endless runner formula like loop-de-loops and boss encounters.
- Crossy Roads (iOS/Android): Frogger is a classic arcade title, and now you can enjoy its spiritual successor forever. Crossy Roads features plenty of new obstacles to expand on the simple car-dodging gameplay as well.
- Canabalt (iOS/Android): Escape a collapsing city in this 2D endless runner. Avoid simple obstacles with just one finger and enjoy the minimalist art style all at the same time.
While most sidescrollers require more active interaction from your end, there are a few mobile options that keep things simple. But simplicity doesn’t bar them from difficulty, some of these games will make you angry, but that’s fine—just try not to drop your phone.
- Alto’s Adventure (iOS/Android) and Odyssey (iOS/Android): Both Alto’s games feature gorgeous visuals and simple gameplay. Here you’ll ski down snowy slopes enjoying the vistas around you while listening to some great music.
- Mario Run (iOS/Android): Mario Run was Nintendo’s earnest attempt to translate a standard Mario platformer into a mobile game that only requires one finger—and it definitely succeeded. While Mario Run is on the pricier side, the expert level design you’d expect of Nintendo makes up for that.
- Geometry Dash (iOS/Android): There are a few different versions of Geometry Dash that feature more (and often, more difficult) levels. This is the original set of levels though—playing them will give you a good idea if you like the reaction-based platforming the rest of the series offers. That doesn’t mean there aren’t difficult levels available here, there are, and they can definitely make you flinch because you could’ve sworn you jumped in time to get over those spikes.
Now that you have these games, hopefully they can make your life a little more fun because staring at the laminate floors of your bathroom is really boring.