20 Best One Handed Mobile Games for Long Commutes 2017
Mobile gaming has reached incredible heights in recent years, with general quality far surpassing what many imagined would ever be possible on handheld devices. While that’s correct in a broad sense, it’s also accurate to say that certain apps embrace the true concept of mobile gaming more effectively than others.
When we play games on our smartphones, most of us are looking for convenient, accessible experiences that can be enjoyed on-the-go or at a moment’s notice. And when a particular game requires a little more effort—for example, a two-handed approach or the use of tilting motion to affect the game—the purpose is somewhat defeated. Sure, there are circumstances in which games like these can be enjoyed every bit as much as the rest. But if you’re travelling or even just casually playing a game while you’re lounging around, a one-handed approach is really what you’re looking for. It requires less space and effort, and it takes full advantage of the simple nature of mobile gaming.
With that said, these are 20 of the best one handed mobile games that you can enjoy with just the one hand.
1. Monument Valley
By now, UsTwo’s Monument Valley has become one of the best-known mobile games designed, and it’s largely because of its sheer beauty. Apple may not be behind most of the apps in the iOS store, but everyone knows how much the tech giant values design.
So the fact that Cult of Mac lists Monument Valley as one of the Apple Design winners from 2014 about says it all: this is a spectacularly gorgeous game that has the rare ability to captivate you before you ever actually play it. But once you play, it only gets better.
The point of the game is to direct a princess through an architectural dreamscape, navigating by way of simple point-and-click guidance. The levels resemble MC Escher puzzles in their bizarre geometric patterns and surprises, and the game keeps you guessing consistently.
There are a lot of apps out there that involve matching up icons and drawing lines and patterns to create space.
Dots by Betaworks is just such a game, though it sets itself apart in two ways. The first is beauty. Like Monument Valley, this is a game focused on design. While there’s nothing particularly ambitious about the look of Dots, the effect is sharp and charming.
The second way the game sets itself apart is through non-repetitive simplicity.
Often, app games are either too simple or contrived, and this one strikes a nice balance: you can change up designs and themes, and constantly chase your high scores while playing a game that’s incredibly simple.
3. 80 Days
You don’t have to be a fan of Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days to fall in love with this game, but it is based on that book.
Your job is to take up the role of Passepartout, the valet (basically, servant) to the wealthy Phileas Fogg, who’s decided to travel all the way around the world. And within this structure, 80 Days is similar to a playable novella.
There’s very little in the way of action or pace, and yet it’s one of the most re-playable games out there because you can take so many different routes and explore so many destinations. Telegraph described the app as “miniature novellas woven together into a narrative that encircles the globe.” It’s an amazing achievement by the folks at Inkle.
Backflip Studios‘ NinJump falls into the unofficial category of “time waster” apps, but we all like to have a few on hand, and this is one of the easiest to play with minimal physical effort.
The game involves controlling a ninja who’s running up a wall on either side of the screen. You can tap to have him leap across to the other side, slicing up objects in his way and escaping obstacles that might knock him down off the wall.
In a way, it’s like a vertical Temple Run with elements of Fruit Ninja mixed in (though it doesn’t really play like either of these). It’s probably not as inventive as the first three apps on this list, but it’s every bit as addictive. You’ll certainly want to keep trying to top your score, and it’s easy enough to do so riding a train on the way to work.
5. Alto’s Adventure
This is yet another app that’s known as much for its aesthetic beauty as for its gameplay.
Basically, Alto’s Adventure is an endless runner that takes the form of a snowboarding adventure through mountain landscapes, and all you need to do is tap and hold to jump or flip.
More than a typical gaming experience, Alto’s Adventure is almost a form of stress relief, as its strong but soothing colours, smooth gameplay, and relaxing sounds can almost lull you into a pleasant haze. The app was developed by Snowman.
6. Temple Run
Speaking of endless runners, Imangi Studios‘ Temple Run is still among the best of them, though its 3D take offers a more unique experience.
If you haven’t played this game before, it more or less consists of a high-octane romp through the jungle as you control an adventurer, tapping and swiping to avoid obstacles, leap gaps, slide under objects, etc.
It demands concentration, but only one hand.
And best of all, there are a couple other versions such as Temple Run 2 and Temple Run: Oz.
7. The Guides
Kevin Bradford’s apps are largely educational, and mostly meant for children. But The Guides was the developer’s big, bold, and entirely different surprise that came out earlier this year.
If there’s a single game in the app store that can utterly confound just about everyone, it’s this unorthodox and dynamic collection of puzzles.
Basically, you open up The Guides and find yourself lost immediately in a series of tests and conundrums that are entirely unrelated to one another. It’s difficult to solve, but it’s an ideal one-handed game.
Also, the puzzles will help the time fly by, particularly on a commute.
8. Doodle Jump
Arguably the simplest game on this list, Lima Sky‘s Doodle Jump plays a little bit like a more varied NinJump.
You control a little cartoon something-or-other as you bounce up the screen from platform to platform, collecting jetpack boosts and pelting obstacles out of a nose cannon.
There’s surprisingly little going on, but like other straightfoward apps such as Angry Birds and Flappy Bird, there’s a raw charm that keeps Doodle Jump engaging.
9. Gala Bingo
There are innumerable casino gaming apps out there, and at a glance it’s hard to differentiate one from the other. But Gala Bingo’s mobile section is among the most varied and polished of any online or mobile casino, and the app version brings this professional level of gaming to your hands—or, rather, hand.
Bingo rooms, jackpots and scratch cards, and a range of slot arcades are all included to comprise a dynamic casino experience that can satisfy any fan of the genre.
And perhaps most importantly, it’s all presented with sharp, restrained quality. It’s bold and colourful enough to catch the eye, but without the cartoonish cheapness that infests so many casino apps.
Sometimes the best game for a commute or carefree entertainment while you’re just hanging out is a word or number puzzle.
Threes is the latter, and it’s the best of the genre, from indie developer Sirvo. Your only task is to manipulate numbered tabs on a four-by-four grid to combine numbers that make multiples of three.
So for example, pushing together two threes makes one six.
The board gets crowded with new tabs as you combine the old ones, so it actually gets pretty tricky to keep some kind of pattern going.
And that’s about it: last as long as you can.
11. Crossy Road
Why did the chicken cross the road? We still don’t really have an answer to this age-old question (unless you go with the boring old “to get to the other side” response).
Even though developer Hipster Whale didn’t provide any new answers, they did spin a Frogger-inspired game out of the idea.
You control the chicken, hopping across busy roads to avoid getting squashed while moving as far as you can toward the other side.
It’s a fun game, but the real delight is that the pixellated environment is an homage to the past era of gaming in which Frogger pioneered the same concept.
12. Lumino City
State Of Play‘s Lumino City is one of the most fascinating app games to be released in quite some time.
It recently made iDownload Blog’s apps of the week, and in that write-up it was revealed that the world of this game was made by hand out of real objects before it was filmed and adapted into an animation.
As such, the game has a realistic feel to it, like some funky combination between Toy Story and the old board game Mouse Trap, that you can jump into and play in. It’s gorgeous, weird, and lots of fun to explore what’s basically a point-and-click adventure style.
13. Ridiculous Fishing
This game was all the rage for a while and then seemed to disappear rather suddenly from public attention.
If you didn’t snag it back at the height of its popularity, you ought to give it a try now because it’s another simple but brilliant game with all the visual intrigue and unique gameplay you need to stay interested.
You play as an old man on a boat, casting a line and moving your screen to manipulate the bait as it falls down through the ocean. You drop the line as deep as you can before you snag something, and then try to drag up as many other objects as possible on the way back up.
And then, your catch is launched into the air for you to shoot down. It’s pretty strange, but perfectly playful, and perhaps one of the more active games that’s genuinely easy with one hand – a true triumph for developer Vlambeer.
14. Device 6
Simogo’s lineup of games is among the finest out there for any developer, and includes the spooky hit Year Walk and the interactive novella A Sailor’s Dream.
Device 6 falls somewhere between these two titles.
It’s similar to 80 Days in its quest to deliver a fully playable piece of literature, but equally focused on presenting a thrilling puzzle.
One hand is all you’ll need, though a good bit of brainpower helps as well.
A lot of mobile users will opt for the mobile adaptation of Risk or even games like Catan for a board game-style strategy experience.
But Affogato‘s Strategery is a little more optimised for mobile, simpler in its graphics but very easy to play.
This game allowed for multiplayer competition before the multiplayer app gaming phenomenon really took hold, though you can also play quick games against the computer.
The goal is to conquer and hold territories with your armies, like a stripped-down version of Risk.
16. Jetpack Joyride
You’ll need to have your phone horizontal (which is actually true of a couple of these games) but so long as you have a way to hold the device, one finger is all you need.
If you haven’t played this little game from Halfbrick Studios before, consider it as the mobile version of the popular online arcade game Helicopter.
All you’re doing is zipping through a scrolling landscape in a small jetpack, dodging obstacles, collecting coins, trying not to crash and all that good stuff.
This one doesn’t require a great deal of explanation.
The Japanese number game has been popular for years now in newspapers, magazines, and puzzle books.
And the simple Sudoku app brings hundreds of puzzles to your mobile phone, easily accessed, playable with a single finger, and able to keep you occupied for hours.
It was developed by Finger Arts.
Similar to Sudoku, the game of Solitaire needs no introduction.
It’s always been the card game that people can play by themselves, a sort of randomised puzzle of cards that you need to put back into order.
MobilityWare translated it extremely easily into app form, and though it’s nothing particularly new or exciting, it’s a wonderful way to pass the time.
Rop is designed with minimal focus on graphics (which is to its benefit), and is more or less a play on ordinary puzzles in which the task is to untangle ropes.
The difference is that Rop shows you both a tangled rope and a shape that you’re meant to create with the lines as you untangle it.
This adds an extra dimension of intrigue to a fairly classic format, and while it’s challenging, it lends more purpose to the game than a regular untangling experience.
There are a number of interesting word puzzle games you can find in app stores, and most of them solve the dilemma of wanting entertainment that you can enjoy with just one hand.
But Ruzzle might just be the most engaging of all of them.
Developed by Mag Interactive, the game just involves highlighting as many words as you can form in a grid of letters in a short amount of time.
But the game tracks your scores and progress in a way that makes it loads of fun to keep trying again and again to do better.
The weird part is, you really will improve pretty rapidly as you get used to the game.
In Conlusion – One Handed Mobile Games
No matter how impressive some other games get with graphics and mechanics, one thing that most every app gamer still appreciates is simplicity. That’s what these games all offer, without sacrificing any of their depth, creativity, or entertainment value. Whether for commuting or any other purpose for which you want simplified, one-handed functionality, any of these is a worthy addition to your collection.
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