Android game to help me survive my overwhelming life
October 4, 2018 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Please suggest an Android game that I can play when overwhelmed, but also easily put down.

I could use a distraction from the omnishambles of US politics and a series of shitty things in my life. I'm not a gamer, in part because I easily get engrossed in games and they take over my life. What can I play on my phone for a few minutes when I can't deal with reading about another attack on sexual violence survivors, but can also easily set aside when I need to act like an adult?
posted by medusa to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (32 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Solitaire. I don't even have it installed on my phone. If you google it, google has a game that is playable from the search results. It's not really addictive. No ways to level up. I get bored after I win a round and can easily put it away. It's the only game I allow myself to play when I need a mental break.
posted by pdxhiker at 6:02 PM on October 4, 2018

Bejeweled is my go-to for mindless distraction.
posted by The otter lady at 6:02 PM on October 4, 2018

Puzzle & Dragons is that game for me. It's a match-three game Don't judge me. with light RPG elements. It's generous enough with the play-without-spending-any-money points that you can basically play as much as you want for free, challenging enough to be engaging, and not addictive to the degree that, say, Candy Crush or Angry Birds can be.
posted by sourcequench at 6:05 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not a game, but what about Duolingo? An individual lesson takes less than 5 minutes, is fun and engrossing, and an opportunity to learn at the same time.
posted by lharmon at 6:19 PM on October 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Twenty is my anxiety game and it appears to be on Android. It is pretty boring but just compelling enough.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:19 PM on October 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

I like Covet for if I need to be mindlessly distracted for a few minutes at a time. It holds my attention longer than matching games and there's at least sort of an element of creativity, but because of the way it's set up you'd have to try pretty hard to be able to play it continuously even if you wanted to.
posted by jameaterblues at 6:26 PM on October 4, 2018

Alto's Odyssey is very pretty and soothing.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:53 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I play Polytopia for this. It's like a cut-down mini version of Civilization with simplified rules and tribes that harvest unicorns. (Okay, one tribe harvests unicorns, and it's not one you get for free.) A full game takes about 20-30 minutes, but you can stop any time and it saves the state of play to come back to when you next open it. You get three tribes for free, which is enough to play very satisfying games, and then you can purchase extra ones with different abilities for a few dollars each. There are no ads, and no spyware.
posted by lollusc at 6:57 PM on October 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

I recommend Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. There are goals (those reset daily) and tasks for animals (those reset every three hours) that you can do ... or not. (There are also "events" but you can decide to participate or not.)

I find Pocket Camp to be a bit more limited in scope than other Animal Crossing games and slightly less fun because of that, but I still like to just go fishing or collect insects or pick fruit. (You can also craft furniture and such & decorate your campsite.) I like that I can devote as much or as little time to it as I want and it's not a big deal if you don't do something.

Most everything you can do for free. There are things you have to pay for, but the game is pretty generous in giving you "leaf tickets" (the "dollars" you typically have to pay for) so you can definitely save up for some things.

I definitely find it a good distraction from every day life.

(I feel like everyone's stopped with Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, which was huge a few years ago, but that's a similar soothing "game" that I used to really enjoy. I may need to restart it, actually.)
posted by darksong at 7:05 PM on October 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

Wordscapes is my new favorite, kind of Text Twist meets Bananagrams on pleasant nature image backgrounds.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hyperrogue is sort of like a bunch of different puzzle-type games knit together into a coherent whole.

Like many other games you play a character wandering around a map, but it seems to have originally been created to illustrate the mathematical concept of “hyperbolic geometry”, a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland phenomenon where, at a given distance from any particular point on the map there are substantially more... places, or more space, than there would be at the same distance from a point on a flat map or on the surface of a sphere. But despite the fact it was apparently originally created to be a straightforward demonstration of the mathematical concept, the person or people making it turned out to be very good at turning it into an enjoyable game.

Anyways, the important thing related to your specific needs is that this unusual mathematical property of the map it's played on means that just fifteen or twenty steps away from your starting point you can arrive at something like a completely different planet or dimension where the whole world operates on different rules. At the same time, like other examples of the roguelike game subgenre it's easy to lose very quickly. So most games are short, but games where you only make it a few dozen steps before meeting your end can be completely different.
posted by XMLicious at 8:49 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Twenty. My partner and I both like to play it on Zen mode. (Just to be clear, it is not a 2 player game--we just both like it.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:22 PM on October 4, 2018

How about Self Care, a calming not-quite-a-game app developed specifically for stress relief?

If you want something that's definitely a game, I second Wordscapes. It doesn't get you in that addiction loop like most games, so I find it easy to put down, even mid round. No timer, just relaxing backgrounds and what feels like an infinite number of gentle word puzzles
posted by Joh at 10:03 PM on October 4, 2018

They're old, but Atomas and Sokoban are my go-to idlers.
posted by rhizome at 10:31 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Picross games like Picross Town, Picross Luna, Hamster Town, Picross Mon. Cute graphics, calming music, simple puzzle game.
posted by moons in june at 10:52 PM on October 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Some good suggestions here. I like Alphabear 2 (the original version is also good, but 2 is even funnier - and punnier). It takes "honey" to play levels and once you've exhausted your supply, you need to wait for it to come back before you can play more (or you can top up a bit from watching ads). For me this means I can play about 4 boards and stop and that's fine.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:58 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fern Flower! Simple and pleasant enough to look at and to play/restart when you fall that you can keep going as long as you want but not so engrossing that you can't stop whenever.
posted by gaybobbie at 11:03 PM on October 4, 2018

My default for this is Sherlock, which takes a while to figure out how to play, and then--for me, at least--requires enough brainpower that I can't think about other things while I'm playing it. I also like Picross Luna, though sometimes when I'm actively distressed and/or shakey, I find that I lack the fine motor control for it, which distresses me further.
posted by mishafletch at 11:15 PM on October 4, 2018

Viridi is stretching the idea of "game" a bit, but it's an app where you have a virtual pot of succulents that you tend to. It has lovely music and makes for a nice little interlude.

What's Cooking is a really cute game about making different recipes.

I also really like Rainbow Train's puzzle games. (Up Left Out is a favorite.)
posted by gennessee at 1:27 AM on October 5, 2018

I used to use 2048 for this purpose.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:26 AM on October 5, 2018

The Big Journey is a very relaxing (and cute!) game with lovely music.
posted by Skybly at 3:30 AM on October 5, 2018

I really like the gorgeous and soothing Monument Valley!
posted by diffuse at 4:55 AM on October 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Not quite the same genre as the other suggestions, but I started playing Episode last year to distract me from anxiety, and mostly switched to Choices this year because it has much better content (stories).
posted by LoonyLovegood at 5:06 AM on October 5, 2018

Seconding Monument Valley (and its sequel, which is more of the same delightfulness). Also, Contre Jour (which has a splendid soundtrack).
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 5:23 AM on October 5, 2018

I used to use Smashy Road for this. Now it’s
posted by rikschell at 5:34 AM on October 5, 2018

Tsuro could not be more chill.
posted by Freyja at 8:53 AM on October 5, 2018

Get better at chess, beyond the basic basics with chess king's sequence.
Memorize stuff with flashcards, getting free flashcards from ankiweb
Locked room puzzle.
posted by enfa at 9:53 AM on October 5, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, I greatly appreciate it.
posted by medusa at 10:53 AM on October 5, 2018

Slidey is my go-to when I'm not in the mood for solitaire. It's kinda like reverse Tetris - you fill a row and it disappears, and you have to fill the rows before they stack up to the top. The best part is it's not a timed game, so you can play at your own pace - I've been playing the same game for a week or so now, 5-10 min at a time when I need a distraction.
posted by pdb at 11:26 AM on October 5, 2018

I like Temple Run 2. It is an endless runner that is easy to pick up and put down. You can play the game one handed and it is very easy to play with the sound effects turned off so that you can listen to music or podcasts.
posted by mmascolino at 2:10 PM on October 5, 2018

Osmos. Very calming.
posted by stennieville at 9:38 PM on October 5, 2018

I play all the Dots family of games: Dots, Two Dots, Dots & Co. Easy to pick up and put down. Hard enough to keep my attention but not enough to stress me out. Always new levels and challenges.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:24 PM on October 6, 2018

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