Boredom-busting mobile and online games to keep you busy in isolation

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The new normal of self-isolation has given many of us a bit more free time while we’re trapped indoors. And video games are a way to be entertained, often with the added bonus of being able to socialize with friends in the process.

If you’re not into gaming or don’t have a console, you might be wondering where to start. Luckily, there are a ton of great (and often free!) games you can play on your mobile or computer to keep you busy. so here’s NME best online games to break boredom.

Cards Against Humanity

What is that? An online version of everyone’s favorite extravagant card game. The rules are the same as for the physical version: a question is drawn, everyone looks at the sentences on their cards and places the funniest/dirtiest/most disgusting. A judge then chooses the best answer, and the person who has won the most rounds at the end is the dirty, rotten winner.

Where do you play it? On the PlayingCards.io website – they made it available while people self-isolate.

How much will it cost me? Nothing! You can play this one online for free.

You should play it with… Your most inappropriate friends.

Monument Valley 2

What is that? Wholesome indie puzzle game, where you guide characters through mazes that incorporate optical illusions. And it looks gorgeous.

Where do you play it? On your phone.

How much will it cost me? It is currently available for free on the App Store and Google Play.

You should play it with… It’s a single-player adventure, but this lovely game is the perfect distraction in these strange and unsettling times.

Scrabble GO

What is that? The beloved board game…but on your phone. The digital version of the word game lets you play against friends online. So even if you’re not with your family, you can still have fun playing Scrabble. It’s like Christmas!

Where do you play it? On your phone.

How much will it cost me? It is currently free.

You should play it with… family members from whom you are currently separated.

Stardew Valley

What is that? Award-winning farming role-playing game. Stardew Valley sees you leave behind your hectic city life when you inherit your grandfather’s old farm plot and move to Stardew Valley to start tending to his run-down farm. Open-ended play sees players engaging in farming activities such as growing crops and socializing with other villagers. Eventually, you can turn the decrepit fields into a thriving farm. Plus, if you’re playing on PC (or console!), you can play multiplayer and share your new farm with your friends.

Where do you play it? There are versions for Android and IOS and PC (as well as most consoles!) although the Android and IOS versions do not support multiplayer.

How much will it cost me? It’s currently £7.99 in the Apple App Store.

Should you play with it? Your most laid-back friends.

Lara Croft go

What is that? A turn-based puzzle game in the Tomb Raider franchise. You play as Lara Croft exploring the ruins of an ancient civilization, and throughout the 40 levels the puzzles become more complex as you uncover the myth of the Venom Queen.

Where do you play it? There are versions for IOS and Android, and you can also download it on Steam for PC.

how much will it cost me return? It’s currently free to download on your mobile and heavily discounted on Steam for PC!

Should you play with it? All alone. Or, since it’s a fairly short game, you can race your friends to see who finishes it first.

Mini-metro

What is that? A minimalist underground simulation, where you have to design a tube system for your city. No return! The puzzle game is much more fun than it looks.

Where do you play it? There is a version for your phone, as well as PC and various consoles.

how much will it cost me return? It is currently 99p in the Apple App Store.

Should you play with it? It’s a solo effort – and the perfect relaxation game for when your housemates are having a little too much.

Mario Kart Tour

What is that? A mobile version of the road rage driving game for Mario and the gang. The phone version of Mario Kart added the multiplayer option a few weeks ago, and you can race up to seven other players (either online strangers or you can create a room to race against your friends) on a series of classic Mario Kart tracks.

Where do you play it? On your mobile or tablet.

How much will it cost me? It’s free! But you can pay for a Gold Pass monthly subscription for £4.99 for options like more challenging races (although we’d recommend saving your money!).

You should play it with… Siblings – nothing like breaking that childhood bond with a cartoon racing game.

HQ Trivia

What is that? A once-popular mobile game show, where you compete against other players around the world in a trivia game to win a cash prize. Play came to a sudden halt a few months ago but has now returned, with every game this week donating money to a coronavirus-related cause.

Where do you play it? On your mobile. The games are currently running at 9pm ET (so 1am GMT) – meaning it’s a late night/middle of the night alarm situation for now.

How much will it cost me? It’s free!

You should play it with… Whoever you are currently isolating with. The goal is to answer all the questions correctly, so the more brains the better.

Drawing 2

What is that? A drawing game a bit like Pictionary. You’re challenged to draw things (with clues like “scary tiger”), and then other players vote on what they think is your masterpiece. It’s super easy to play with anyone you self-isolate with, but if you want to play with remote friends, game developer Jackbox has published a guide on how to play it via Zoom.

Where do you play it? On your PC through online gaming platforms such as Steam. (You can also get it for consoles like Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One).

How much will it cost me? It’s normally $9.99 (about eight books), but currently available for free on Steam!

You should play it with… The artists in your life.

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