Clicking on the links on this website may result in us earning a commission. Find out more.
You’ll need to be online for long periods of time if you are constantly on the go. It doesn’t matter if you are on a long-haul flight or an overnight bus ride; or if you spend too much time on the subway, where radio waves fear to tread: having no Wi-Fi and cell service is common in our modern age.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy some of the most popular mobile games. Many developers have created great games that do not require an internet connection, whether they intended it or not.
When I have some downtime, I keep a few of these on my phone. These are the ones that I return to often.
Some are free and some are not. I have avoided those that require constant attention or where you must spend a lot of money on in-app purchases to make them fun.
Here are 14 great offline games that will help you get through long commutes and endless travel days. These are available for both iOS AND Android..
Shown below is the Table of Contents
Monument Valley 2
Mobile gaming was reborn by the original Monument Valley. The original Monument Valley combined stunning graphics with difficult problems and amazing, wordless storytelling in an innovative way that we have never seen before.
It was set in an Escher-inspired, colourful world. The only problem was that it ended too quickly and left players wanting more. They now have it.
While the sequel introduces new characters and levels, it doesn’t change much from the original. It’s an amazing experience with puzzles that will make you believe you won’t be able to solve them all. Until you do.
Every level is unique: you can control either the mother or daughter characters. You can move platforms up and down, sections turn, columns rotate, and suddenly there is a way to get to the exit that wasn’t possible before.
It’s an enjoyable game to play, far more fun than it is to explain. The few dollars it costs is well worth it. However, don’t expect it will take you through every step of a transcontinental flight. You’ll be able to finish the game in just a few hours, but you will still want more.
When will the third version be released?
Dungeon Cards/Rogue Cards
It’s one of those games that is easy to pick up, but has surprising depth. I have spent more time playing Dungeon Cards lately than I care to admit.
The mechanic, called Rogue Cards on iOS is simple: Your character lives in a “dungeon” that measures 3x3x4x4 and contains traps, chests, potions, weapons, enemies, and many other items. Move into an enemy holding a weapon (usually) and they will deal damage. Attacking without a weapon also deals damage.
It’s very simple, but the details are what keep you coming back. While some weapons only affect one square, others can impact an entire line or a larger area. Potions and chests can contain useful or harmful items. They can also have negative or positive effects.
Every character has their own strengths and weaknesses. They can make all the difference in your playing experience.. You can unlock characters, dungeons and special powers by collecting gold and gems when you kill enemies. The game’s outcome will change based on how many of these are collected.
Although the pixel-art graphics may not be beautiful, they are functional and will work on almost any smartphone. Android is the only platform that offers the game. You can pay to unlock characters but it’s not necessary if you are happy spending hours playing the game.
Ads can be viewed to increase the amount of gold that you get at the end of the game or to pay a few bucks to have it sent to your account automatically. The gold-doubling fee is paid upfront on iOS.
The Room: Old Sins
The Room was released in 2012, way back when it was still a popular game. It was one of those rare games that could be truly scary at times. The game’s level of detail, difficulty, and mysterious storyline made it one of the most popular mobile puzzle games.
The fourth edition of the series follows the same path as the others. The trail leads to the attic of the house where an ambitious engineer and his wife vanished. There is a strange dollhouse inside… that’s where all the fun begins.
When you are exploring your new environment, every detail is important. It’s easy to forget something if you’re too fast. You almost feel like you are touching the objects you find. Hidden mechanisms and clues await you as you study them.
This game is dark and atmospheric with haunting music. If you have friends, you will want to bring headphones. Be careful not to get out of your chair too often.
Carcassonne was first introduced to me in its original board form. It is a 2-5 player game that involves you joining tiles to make roads, rivers and cities. Then, you must make the most of a small number of pieces in order to outscore your opponents. It’s a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon rainy. My girlfriend and I have spent many hours playing it together.
The board game is too big to carry around in my bag or on the train so I was happy to discover an app-based version. And even more thrilled to learn how great it was. The 3D landscapes are bright and colourful. It’s easy to pick it up and start playing, no matter if you’re an old Carcassonne player or a newbie.
You have all the features you would expect, plus various expansion packs such as Inns and Cathedrals and The Princess and the Dragon that add fun elements to the game. Multiplayer mode can be slow, but Solo mode (which is offline) has never caused me any issues.
You can choose from one or two AI opponents, and you can also select their playing style. You will need to adjust your approach to win, as there is a significant difference between Builder and Aggressive.
You can get the base game for $5-$6 and unlock an expansion by creating an account. You can play it as is for as long as your heart desires, but you’ll need to pay a little extra if you want to add the expansions.
Really Bad Chess
If there is one thing I can do well, it’s play bad chess. This game’s developer felt the same, and decided to create his own version with one major difference.
The rules and board are the same for both players, but the starting pieces will be different for each player. This is a very similar look to what you would get if you placed a few hundred pieces of chess in a bag and shaken them about before you pulled them out at random. There are three queens, six knights and a few scattered pawns. It sounds wonderful.
You can play against an AI or, if you purchase the unlocked version of the game, someone beside you. The random selection of pieces makes it even easier and gives even beginners a chance to succeed.
You get better and the rankings rise. This means that the quality of the pieces changes, even though they remain random. You lose the overwhelming advantage that you once had over the computer, which makes it harder to win.
It’s said that it has helped people who don’t have any chess experience learn the proper game. I, on the other hand, have found the new approach to be much more enjoyable than I expected. It’s worth downloading if you have always loved the idea of chess but never been able to play it.
Flip Flop Solitaire is another success story from Zach Gage, the same developer behind Really Bad Chess.
As a child, I played Klondike Solitaire a lot. It was a better game than, for example, doing homework. However, it wasn’t very enjoyable after a while. You’ll soon realise that not all games are winnable, no matter how hard you try.
Flipflop Solitaire takes a different approach. Flipflop Solitaire uses a different approach. You have five piles of cards and you can stack them in any order that suits your preference. You don’t have to be a suit or a colour, and any card or stack can be moved to an empty column. It sounds simple, right? It’s not so easy.
You can only move a stack if all cards in the deck are the same suit and order. While you can be flexible about how you move cards around, you can easily get yourself in a long-term hole if you take a short-term win. It’s something I have done. Often.
Smartly, the difficulty levels are chosen so that you can choose how many suits to wear. Once you are comfortable with the process, winning with just one suit is possible. It is not possible to win with five suits.
Although each game ends quickly, the temptation to continue playing will probably last longer than your phone’s battery. You can download most parts for free. If you are online, there will be a few annoying ads. You can remove ads, adjust the appearance and play at higher difficulty levels for a very affordable $2.99
Have you ever had the strange desire to own your own subway system? Although I haven’t, it hasn’t stopped me from playing Mini Metro.
The idea behind building a metro system to serve your growing population is loosely based on maps of major cities such as London, New York, Paris. Start with a small number of lines, trains, cars, lines, tunnels and carriages. As the city grows, you will need to be able to deploy them intelligently. If you stay long enough, you’ll get some upgrades and extras. But they don’t seem like enough to make it worthwhile.
Although it seems simple at first, the situation quickly changes as new populations emerge. It becomes increasingly difficult to avoid overcrowding, which can lead to the end of the standard game. For a more relaxed experience, you can play endless mode. This turns off the overcrowding and allows for more freedom.
The game’s minimalist graphics and music do a good job. There are no in-app purchases or ads once you have purchased it. The game’s random generator allows for infinite replayability. Developers have also included night and colorblind modes.
Mini Metro is also available for Windows, Mac and Linux. I It was downloaded more than one million times on mobile. It’s easy to see why.
Two Dots sounds simple on paper but turns into a multi-hour gaming marathon when your phone battery runs out.
The basic mechanics of “Dots”, a game that was popular ten years ago, are the same as the original. Simply join dots of the same colour. That’s it. Connecting more than one dot makes them disappear. Joining them in a square or other shape makes all the dots of that colour disappear.
The variety of levels, quests and side games is where things get exciting. There are also dozens of critters and obstacles found on your board. The main game has two parts. You have to complete each level in a set amount of moves and you must complete all tasks before the counter goes to zero. You get more stars and points the faster you complete each level.
Side quests are a different way to go about things. They change every few days and typically consist of seven levels of increasing difficulty that are based on a specific theme. You can compete against other players to get the highest score. There are also “Where’s Waldo”-style levels, where you must identify hundreds of items on a beautifully-detailed board full of distractions.
There are many power ups available. These can be earned by playing and accumulating level wins, or bought in-app. It’s not excessive to want to spend real money, at least according to the standards of apps such as these. There’s no need for you to pay anything to make progress.
Add a chill-out soundtrack and regular updates and you have a recipe that will keep you coming back time and again. I know that I do.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic
Are you familiar with the RollerCoaster Tycoon games? You played the role of an owner of amusement parks, almost two decades ago.
Your job was to design the best combination of rides and facilities in order to make customers happy and keep money coming in. Or creating terrifying roller coasters that scared their riders and made them vomit all over the park. I remember which one I chose.
We finally have a mobile version of the game, after many years. This one, unlike many other adaptations of classic games for the small screen, isn’t terrible. It’s actually quite good.
The expansion pack combines the two original games of the series while remaining faithful to the original gameplay style and graphics. You can purchase expansion packs in-app, but there is no additional IAP after you have purchased the game. Both the fun factor and the value for money are unbeatable.
As you progress through more than 100 scenarios, you can either use pre-made or custom-designed roller coasters.
Add all the other elements of the game (footpaths, food and drink stands and dozens of rides, including water-based ones), and you have a game that will likely remain on your phone or tablet for many years.
Eternium, a long-standing favourite of role-playing games (RPG), is still regarded as one the best offline options for those who enjoy them even after all these years.
It was developed by RPG enthusiasts of old school, and has received major updates since its inception. It avoids the pay-to-win approach that many competitors use.
You’re sure to enjoy this game if you liked any other Diablo games. You can choose to be a warrior, bounty hunter or mage and battle an array of enemies to gain experience. Along the way, you will open chests that give you gold, gems and other equipment.
It’s easy to join up with NPC characters and upgrade your gear. You can also craft unwanted items into the things you really need.
There are three worlds in the game, each with its own quests and enemies. You can access most of the game’s features offline, even if you have downloaded it. There are many randomly generated levels.
This game has beautiful graphics and an intuitive interface. You can see that a lot of effort went into it. Give it a shot if you are a fan of real RPGs that don’t require endless micro-transactions.
You want to do something that is relaxing and takes your mind off all the chaos around you. Infinity Loop is your answer. It’s very easy to use: Tap on the puzzle pieces to rotate them and connect all lines. Then, close the loops.
Graphics and sounds are as minimalistic as they come. This suits the game well and doesn’t drain your battery. After completing the tutorial, you are on your own. There’s no need to learn anything beyond the basics of gameplay and controls.
Developers claim that levels get more difficult as they progress. You can also use the “dark mode” to get out of all loops and not create them. It’s not necessary to say that you won’t get bored no matter how long you stay in the transit lounge.
This is one of the best offline free games. You can play as much as you want without having to pay anything. You can pay anything between $1.99 and $2.99 to remove ads or support the developers if you are enjoying the game.
Bloons TD 6
Tower defence games are a popular genre on the app stores, where you place units along a predefined track and use them to battle increasingly-powerful waves of oncoming forces.
There’s more to the game than meets the eye, and each one adds its own spin, sometimes with great success, sometimes less. My favourite series is the Bloons. The relaxed early rounds quickly become a scene full of superpowered monkeys and exploding bombs. Attack helicopters unleash their might. Those balloons didn’t have a chance.
Bloons TD version 6 is now available. It adds 3D maps and new towers. Upgrade paths are also available. The previous version of Bloons TD is still available for purchase and offers a lot of fun.
No matter which one you choose, there are many maps to unlock, special events and co-op play. There are endless play modes. Later rounds can get really difficult. Just when you think you are ready to relax, a bunch of camo balloons slip through your defences and you have to act fast to stop them. You’re back to square one.
Bloons will make your 15 hours of economy class disappear in a flash. Perhaps.
The Battle of Polytopia
Although I don’t want to know how many hours I have lost playing Civilization, it must be in the thousands. I have searched for a mobile equivalent of the world builder for years. Even the official Civ apps were not that great. It was a sad face. Then I found The Battle of Polytopia. It’s not Civilization and doesn’t pretend to be. But it’s an engaging strategy game that’s fun to play and is a great way for a few hours to pass the time.
There are a few tribes that you can choose from, and each one starts with a different technology. You can unlock other tribes for as little as a dollar, and get more advanced tech and other benefits.
No matter what you choose, you will be dropped in a country you can only see part of with one unit and one city. Then you’ll explore the world, exploit resources, upgrade your technology and interact with (ie: attack) other tribes.
For quick games, there’s a 30-turn version and an endless mode for long-haul flights. The goal is to conquer every city on the map.
It doesn’t feel cramped, which is unusual for these kinds of games. The graphics are vibrant and easy to comprehend, and the controls work even when there is a lot of information.
In several dozen hours of gaming, I don’t recall Polytopia ever collapsing on me. Download it now if you are into world-building games.
Plague Inc is a long-standing member of this group that I don’t normally include in my list. It is updated regularly, but I was impressed with the new additions after reinstalling it. It is still as addictive as ever, but it has a new and unfortunate relevance.
Instead of trying to save the planet, you are trying to do the opposite. You use a pathogen on everyone to end all life on Earth. Every one of the 12 unlockable diseases has its strengths and weaknesses. The game will play very differently depending on which type you choose.
You’ll need to continue to improve your disease as it spreads across the globe by air, land and sea. This will allow you to stay ahead of medical researchers who are desperately trying to find a cure.
The graphics and sounds are more functional than beautiful. But it’s the addictive gameplay and perfect difficulty curve that make it one of the most downloaded apps on both the app store and Google Play. While you can get the limited edition for free, it is worth purchasing the full version to unlock all the features.
The creators of Plague have released The Cure, a new add-on. This is in tribute to recent events. It allows you to switch roles and race against the clock to stop a pandemic by using lockdowns, mask mandates, and locks downs.
Do you sound familiar? This add-on is available for free until the current situation is under control. Whenever that is.
Are there any other games that you enjoy that don’t require Wi-Fi? Let me know about them!
StockSnap main image, all other images via the respective game designers
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare at Pinterest
About the Author
Facebook TwitterFounder, editor of Too Many Adapters. Dave has been a traveller since 1995, and a geek ever since. He can usually be found in an old bus, in some remote corner of the world, when he isn’t playing with the latest tech gadget or trying to figure out how to charge his phone for a few minutes more.