Actually Good Mobile Games

Mobile gaming is big, and it’s only going to keep growing. It already accounts for more than half of the total gaming revenue worldwide. Unfortunately, I find myself feeling quite cynical about mobile games these days as so many of them are filled to the brim with advertisements and micro-transactions.

With so many new games hitting the market every day, I have no doubt there are countless gems worth playing among them. Every once in a while, I find one! Here are some I’ve played recently that I can wholeheartedly recommend. The games I will list are either:

  • completely free,
  • have a large amount of content that is free and ad-free with optional paid extra content,
  • paid but don’t have any extra micro-transactions after the initial purchase.



Florence is one of the simplest games I’ve ever played. Most of your interactions with the game are completing unremarkable tasks like sliding pieces on screen. The story itself isn’t particularly original. It only takes around half an hour to complete. And yet, it’s the first game that made me cry.

Perhaps I played it at an overly emotional moment, isolated in my dorm room during the pandemic, away from most loved ones. But in any case, Florence really touched me. It just feels very intimate. It’s amazing how effective it is at conveying and evoking emotions using the simplest of interactions and some fitting music.

Speaking of, the music is just beautiful. I still listen to the soundtrack on Spotify and reminisce about the short story I am so glad to have experienced.

Song of Bloom


A very unique puzzle game with surprisingly great audiovisual design. It’s not a series of linear puzzles to solve, instead the game is structured like a tree. You’ll be revisiting the same screens over and over but interacting with them differently to discover new branches of gameplay.

I really like that the only limit to your progression is knowledge, everything in the game is reachable from the second you open the game; you just don’t know how to get to them.

It is quite cryptic at first and it may take a while to get used to the game’s way of thinking, but it becomes very satisfying once you do. I’ve spent a delightful hour with it!



If you are even the least bit interested in classical music and enjoy rhythm games, you owe it to yourself to try this game. I don’t know how well it simulates playing the piano, but I do know that it’s very engaging. It’s quite easy to get into but there is a lot of room for mastery. Each piece has a difficulty level, but there is also an overall difficulty setting that affects all pieces so you get to enjoy a smooth learning curve throughout the game regardless of your initial skill.

It has an awesome selection of pieces and taught me about a lot of composers and pieces that I now regularly listen to. Also, as far as I can tell, the development team has their own piano arrangements for each piece in the game (over 150 pieces), so musically every piece feels very consistent and you even get to enjoy piano renditions of some pieces that are not normally found on piano!



Another very unique game. The idea is very simple, you get an illustration of something (animal, building, object, etc.) and perhaps a small hint in the level title, and your task is to find out what it is.

Sometimes it’s a landmark or painting you recognize, so you get it instantly. But the real fun starts when you don’t recognize the object. You start trying to find the best way to Google what you are seeing and start jumping from link to link, usually learning interesting things along the way. It’s really fun to ask friends and search together too!

Sometimes if you input a wrong but related answer, you get a little message that jokingly comments on your mistake and perhaps even gives you a little extra nudge towards the right direction. The game has lots of free content and the potential to send you down multiple internet rabbit holes on journeys to find the name of some specific thing or another!



Interesting collaborative party game. Each person has different controls of a spaceship on their screen and each person receives instructions to play with those controls. The twist is that the instructions you receive can be for controls on another person’s screen, so you have to constantly communicate!

It gets pretty hectic if you are playing with several people. Everybody starts screaming at each other to do one task while trying to listen to what everyone else is saying and making sure you catch the tasks that happen to be on your screen. You probably won’t keep coming back to it but it’s definitely fun to try a few times!



Another interesting 3-player collaboration game. One player has to turn around so they can’t see what the others are doing, one player must not speak for the round, and one player gets loud crowd sounds played on their headphones so they can’t hear what the others are saying. Everyone gets a different piece of a puzzle on their screen and you are forced to interact with each other under these limitations to figure out the solution. The puzzles are designed with these handicaps in mind and require you to find creative ways to communicate and relay information between one another. Really fun idea for at least a few play sessions!

Zip Zap


Delightfully frustrating, smooth and polished skill based puzzler. There is a single interaction method: you can tap and hold on the screen to change the orientation of some of the metallic joints on the level and your goal is to get some object to stay in the target position. Despite the simplicity though, there is a lot of depth in figuring out what the level wants from you, understanding the timing so that the swinging physics will work in your favor, and actually executing your plan without messing up.

The soundtrack is similarly simple but fits the game really well and somehow manages not to get boring even after so many levels. The easy instant restarts help the game not be annoying, even though it can definitely be frustrating to try the same levels over and over again.



Simplistic, difficult, stylish. There is not even a jump button, but the use of clever level design and momentum creates a lot of precise platforming challenges. Later levels have a surprising amount of puzzling too as dynamic obstacles force you to plan your route through the environment before moving. The game is really polished and everything works super smoothly, making the gameplay as frictionless as possible.