For a game to be playable at work, you need something very specific. A game you can put down at a moment’s notice. A game that leaves you fully aware of your surroundings. And a game that won’t have you smashing your keyboard into smithereens and flipping your boss the bird out of pure, unadulterated nerd rage.
Developer: Iron Horse Games | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Idle Plague is an idle-clicker game that puts you in the shoes of a pathogen doing its absolute best to lay waste to the biological systems of multiple hosts. You can upgrade the toxins you receive from actively tapping on your lunch break, or invest in offline passive toxin power for whenever your boss is angrily glaring at you.
Developer: Eric Barone | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: $7.99
If you can’t be productive at work, you can at least get something done on a fictional, pixelated farm. Stardew Valley is a smash hit mashup of Harvest Moon and Sandbox RPG games that lends itself well to casual gameplay, given its solo focus. Whenever you want, you can pick up the game and derive the same sense of accomplishment we all hoped you would’ve gotten from a job well done.
Developer: Avid.ly | Platform: Android | Price: Free
Harvest Town is, plain and simple, an excellent ripoff of Stardew Valley — except for free. The game is well polished and has most of the same content that Stardew Valley has on offer with a slightly different polish but the same gameplay. And again, like we said, it’s free Stardew Valley. I wonder if there’s a correlation between idle gaming at work and a reluctance to pay for the real deal.
Download Harvest Town: Android
Progress Bar 95
Developer: Spooky House Studios | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Absolutely perfect for unambitious time travelers who for some reason find themselves locked in the monotony of a late 90’s office job and in need of something that looks like work. Progress Bar 95 is a nostalgia-fueled game made from a mashup of sprites from the windows 95 days — yes, including the under-appreciated Clippy. There’s upgrades and simple gameplay that can be picked up and put down without a hitch.
Don’t Get Fired
Developer: Quickturtle | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
From the makers of the deeply cynical but totally hilarious Workemon comes Don’t Get Fired — which seems like an especially appropriate reminder for you, considering you’re reading this article. The game is essentially a parodic survival game wrapped up in a pixelated aesthetic that pokes fun at modern office life (with a glowing hot fireplace poker, for that matter). The only problem is that the laughs the game will get out of you may alert your own corporate overlord to exceedingly inappropriate levels of joy from one of their underlings.
Developer: erow.dev | Platform: Android | Price: Free
Whatcraft is basically top-down, 2D Minecraft that has you running around a highly saturated landscape doing the sort of menial labor the average office-body can only recoil in horror at. Breaking rocks, actually crafting things — you know, with your hands — and fending off monsters with a sense of heroism that dissipated in us somewhere in our adolescence.
Download Whatcraft: iOS | Android
Developer: Mojang | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: $6.99
Minecraft is… Minecraft. What more can we say? The Pocket Edition gives you a pretty robust survivalcraft experience and you can play offline without a hitch — meaning once you realize you’re seven minutes later for your meeting you can switch the game off without having to worry about an villager invasion slaughtering your villagers while you’re scrambling to save your career.
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery
Developer: Kiary Games | Platform: Android | Price: Free
Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery is an award-winning (you can tell by all those white laurels) point-and-click style game where you step into the shoes of a Private Detective investigating the mass disappearance of the town of Redcliff’s entire populace. With neatly stylized, rotatable locations and an interesting story, the game is a lot of fun to play in your off-time at work and helps you live out the fantasy of everyone around you disappearing into thin air.
Download Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery: Android
Developer: Crescent Moon Games | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Marginalia Hero is a casual adventure game with one of the most unique art styles of any game out there. The game literally takes the illustrations from medieval bestiaries, with all their curly-haired youths and noodle-boned figures and faces them off against the more bizarre fantasy creatures found in these ancient, venerated, and wonderfully incorrect texts.
Developer: Sony Pictures Television | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Q*bert is the original isometric hopping game that those of us in our mid-twenties might recall almost as a fever dream from the very beginning of childhood memory. It has you play as Q*bert the… hoppy thing… and jumping around the same blocky puzzles that the ancient game sported back in the day, collecting bonuses and dodging the vile Coily. The game’s great for short doses of distraction when the pressure of having too much spare time starts to weigh upon you.
Developer: Everbyte | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Dead City is a creative text-based game that looks the least like a game among all those on this list — making it excellent for covert use. In-meeting playability? Bold move, but possibly yes. The game works like a messenger app, and has you contacted by a guy named Sam who has apparently found a blood-spattered phone in the middle of a zombie outbreak that had you in the contact list. Sam’s going to ask you for a lot of help, rather than calling anyone else because… games? Either way, it’s a ton of fun.
Developer: Exilium Games | Platform: Android | Price: Free
Anima is one of the more “serious” games on this list that might be too much for some to play at work but won’t punish you for putting it down in the middle of gameplay. A very Diablo-esque offline-capable APRG with sweet graphics, real-time combat and a grimdark open world make for a ton of fun for those who have no tattle-tales sitting next to them and a serious need to take their daily frustration out on hordes of unfeeling undead.
Download AnimA: Android
Developer: Dawsn Interactive Studios | Platform: Android | Price:
SimpleMMO is possibly the best casual game out for people who want super quick bouts of genuine fun. Not only is the game actually a super-ultra-simple MMO, but it’s hilarious. Journeying takes place in ‘steps’ which draw random events to you in the form of cards. Most of them are simply hilarious, allowing you to feel human again for a minute at a time during your workday, and you can open/close the game freely.
Download SimpleMMO: Android
Developer: allm | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Capsulemon is a genuinely fun Creature-collector game that merges the vector dynamics of 8ball pool with Pokemon — creating something that is quite unexpectedly awesome. Each capsulemon is fired off like a billiard ball to ricochet throughout the arena, activating special abilities when coming into contact with enemies or allies — opening up a pretty awesome combo system and some of the most gratifying gameplay we’ve seen boiled down into something so bite-sized. There’s solo and PvP, and everything takes place fast enough that you get a few games in while crying your eyes out in the bathroom stall.
Developer: Bad Review Games | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Line Driver is a somewhat blatant ripoff of Line Rider, the classic game from back when you could tell someone about an “awesome flash game” without getting shivved in the side by a knife of pure embarrassment. The game combines physics-based hill-racing games with a drawing game, having players guide their titular Driver to a goal by drawing the level itself. It’s puzzling, there’s lots to do, and it’s a great way to pretend like you didn’t stop drawing in middle school for some reason.
Developer: Bethesda | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Fallout Shelter is a fun mix of a city builder and an idle game. It’s been around for years now and is loosely, loosely tied into the Fallout franchise that Elder Scrolls fans like to pretend doesn’t exist. It has you managing a Vault full of Dwellers, managing their living quarters, professions, and skills — cultivating a diverse community that can thrive and flourish 2000 feet beneath an irradiated wasteland. It’s still here, and still going strong, and it’s made by Bethesda; if you haven’t checked it out, what else are you doing? It’s not like you’re working.
A Way to Slay
Developer: NoTriple-A Games | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
A way to slay makes intimate, melee violence a picture-esque zen-like experience that should be kept away from the more disgruntled of your office-colleagues — lest they get any ideas for their next performance review. Indeed, A Way to Slay is a stylish puzzler in the form of a blood-spattered fighting game that has you carefully selecting the order in which you kill those coming to poke holes in you. It’s awesome, and the levels are short and violently sweet.
Developer: Retora Game Studios | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Merchant is a great shopkeeping simulator about making money, perfect for those less enthused by the practice in real life. Players manage a team of heroes and crafters and must balance the separate economies both, selling the equipment the heroes need in order to harvest materials for your crafters to use to create said equipment. It’s kind of like a pixelated, economics-oriented ouroboros, and it’s pretty beloved by its community. The game is only 30MB and playable offline — meaning you could literally email the game it’s so small.
Soda Dungeon 1 & 2
Developer: Armor Games | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
Soda Dungeon 1 & 2 are extremely popular idle dungeon crawlers that have you running a non-alcoholic tavern. Your goal is to upgrade it in order to attract more and better heroes to send off into a dungeon full of vicious, cartoonish creatures from a child’s nightmare. It goes out of its way to crack jokes and is made by Armor Games, one of the big flash-game heavyweights from back in the day.
Download Soda Dungeon 2: iOS (coming July 9th) | Android
Developer: True Axis | Platform: iOS/Android | Price: Free
True Skate is our pick for the best casual, pick up and go game. It’s basically the game version of tech-deck fingerboards that had middle-schoolers enthralled for years. The awesomeness of the old-school skating games is condensed into an incredibly appropriate concept for mobile devices that has you pulling off all the same tricks using semi-realistic movements — but with your fingers. The game has awesome graphics, is super addictive, and totally conforms to any amount of free time. Plus it’s probably the least embarrassing to get caught playing.
And there you go! A whole world of games to ensure your career comes to a grinding halt! Yay! Let us know how your next performance review goes!