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a mesmerising games app on an iphone
Photograph: Time Out

Relaxing games to download on your phone for free

Great free games for iPhone and Android to keep you calm and relaxed

By Joe Mackertich
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The real world is challenging enough right now. You don't needing a bleepy-bloopy screen to fill your teary eyes with any more drama than is absolutely necessary. That's why this might just be the perfect time to discover a few relaxing, ambient-style puzzle games. Attain actual inner peace (or at least get to sleep at night) with these genuinely good and not-at-all stressful games for your trusty phone. To make the experience even more zen-like, you'll be happy to know they're all absolutely free to download.

10 relaxing free games to play on your phone

Align Lines in a Line
© Simple Machine, LLC

_–_

Yes, it has a stupid title. Yes, due to the laws of alphabetising it has to be the first entry on the list. But you can’t get more zen than ‘align lines in a line’, can you? Extra points for the ‘Blade Runner’-y synth score.

Most relaxing bit: The none-more-pastel colour scheme.

Get it on the App Store.

Blendoku
© Blendoku

Blendoku

Bring order to various colour palettes. This might seem a bit easy at first, but once you up the difficulty you’ll realise there is a challenge there (albeit a very serene one).

Most relaxing bit: Ah, that soft piano score is quite the tonic.

Get it on the App Store and Google Play.

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Dots game
© 2020 Playdots, Inc

Dots

One of the best. A simplistic colour-matching game which gets everything right. A slightly more complicated sequel, Two Dots, is also available.

Most relaxing bit: When you zap a big ol’ line of red dots. Mmmm.

Get it on the App Store and Google Play.

Full Colour Tiles
© Technology and Creativity

Full Colour Tiles

A super-minimal game where you match coloured tiles in four moves or less. Everything about this game is stark and simple. Why can’t life be this straightforward?

Most relaxing bit: No ads while you’re playing. A genuine boon.

Get it on the App Store and Google Play.

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Into the Circle
© Denali Games LLC

Into the Circle

Chuck your puck in the right direction with the right amount of force. That’s all there is to it. A well-made, satisfying experience, slightly marred by the ads.

Most relaxing bit: Maybe just saying ‘chuck your puck’ out loud. Or maybe the typeface, which is a bit redolent of Pret A Manger.

Get it on the App Store.

Kami 2 game
© State of Play Games

Kami 2

Your goal? To turn an entire paper puzzle into one single colour, in as few moves as possible. Seems simple, but in order to get it right, you’ll do a fair amount of thinking.

Most relaxing bit: The paper-folding sound effect is very satisfying.

Get it on the App Store.

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Smove
© Simple Machines LLC

Smove

Move your little white circle around a three-by-three board, avoiding the evil black dots. Not the trickiest thing in the world, but certainly a great way to waste, ooh, a few hours this evening, maybe?

Most relaxing bit: This one’s actually a bit hectic compared to the others! Still, there’s a nice harp on the soundtrack.

Get it on the App Store and Google Play.

Stack
© Ketchapp

Stack

Build a big pile of blocks. Stack ’em as high as you can. Listen to that glockenspiel ascending, as you tap the screen with perfect timing. Sigh as you mis-time one and have to start again.

Most relaxing bit: The whole ‘neverending pile of tastefully coloured tiles’ does it for us. And the wood-on-wood sound effects. But in truth, this game is actually a little stressful.

Get it on the App Store and Google Play.

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Sticky Terms
© Philipp Stollenmayer

Sticky Terms

You know that thing where some languages have words with no English translation? Here’s a puzzle game where you ‘make’ those words (and then learn their definition) out of lines.

Most relaxing bit: the echoey finger click when you finally create a word.

Get it on the App Store.

Ultraflow 2
© ultraflow.net

Ultraflow 2

Get a small sphere into a hole on the other side of the screen. But don’t touch anything or you might shatter, just like in real life.

Most relaxing bit: The whole ‘no timer, no score’ thing. We always thought the notion of ‘winning’ was overrated anyway.

Get it on the App Store and Google Play.

11 more games to keep you occupied

Gaming with friends
Photograph: Shutterstock

11 video games you can get lost in

Things to do

Let’s be honest, staying in is getting really boring, really fast. You binge-watch a Netflix series or four (like you even have four left), eat even though you’re not hungry and discuss ridiculous hypotheticals with your housemates. All very entertaining for a time, but after a while, you need something to stimulate your brain. You need to see something new and live a life outside the walls of your (probably cramped) London pad. This is when the world of video games comes alive. We’ve curated a list of games you can really get lost in while you’re stuck at home. 

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