Mobile games have come a long way, and there’s so much to choose from no matter what genre you enjoy. Despite the variety though, a lot of mobile games have strict online requirements, grinding, and predatory microtransactions. Sometimes you need a solid offline experience that doesn’t force you to interact with that part of mobile gaming. Here are our picks for the 17 best offline games for both Android and iOS that are spread across a variety of genres, and offer something for everyone.
The indie game Stardew Valley is a reinvention of the classic farming RPG, Harvest Moon. Released in 2016 by ConcernedApe and Chucklefish, this simulation RPG gives life to our countryside dreams. Here, you take over your deceased grandfather’s farm in Stardew Valley, where you grow crops, raise livestock, fish, and socialize with townspeople. Your character can even marry and have children. Moreover, a multiplayer mode is available if you play this game online.
Stardew Valley features some charming pixel art with plenty of unique animations for different gameplay systems. It’s very engaging, and you can lose track of time while maintaining your farm. Don’t let the cute pixel art fool you though, as it can be just as immersive as modern-looking RPGs with its customisability, similar to designing teapots in Genshin Impact.
This offline game follows you, an immigration inspector, as you control the flow of people passing through the border. After a 6-year war between Arstotzka and Kolechia, both countries have claimed half of a board town called Grestin. It’s up to you to root out the smugglers, spies, and terrorists from the crowd.
By inspecting travelers’ papers using a primitive system, you must choose who enters Arstotzka and who will be denied entry or arrested. The game progresses through 31 days and has 20 endings. There are also an enhanced inspection mode, leaderboards, and Game Center achievements.
It’s a game that tests your morality and frequently asks you to make difficult decisions. The gameplay loop of finding issues in papers is addictive and evolves as you progress through the days. Papers, Please is an award-winning dystopia thriller you won’t want to skip.
Mini Metro is a strategy simulation game where you’ll design a subway map for a city that keeps expanding. You need to account for new stations, the increasing number of passengers, and how your previous connections need to be realigned, especially with your limited resources. Don’t let its complexity scare you though because the game takes its time teaching you its mechanics.
It’s actually a very relaxing title after you have the mechanics down due to its minimalist presentation. The more you play, the more ways you can organize routes between different stations using carriages, tunnels, and lines. Seeing your subway network expand to essentially cover the entire city feels rewarding no matter how many times you play it, and there’s even an endless mode that allows you to get even more creative. Best of all, there are no in-app purchases or any online elements, and it’s just $0.99 on the Play Store.
Tsuki Adventure is an RPG made by HyperBeard. Although the name itself highlights the adventure of a rabbit named Tsuki. This stressed city worker transfers to the countryside after receiving a letter from his deceased grandfather. While the plot might seem similar to Stardew Valley’s, this game focuses on cute talking animals in a Japanese country setting.
This passive game will allow you to interact with other animals. Wait and come back from time to time so you can see Tsuki using the items in his backpack. Be sure to collect carrots regularly, as this serves as the in-game currency.
Arguably one of the best rogue-lites of the past decade, Dead Cells translates to mobile way better than anyone could’ve expected. It’s a game that’s still getting massive expansions, with tons of different weapon types, bosses, enemies, and challenging platforming obstacles. Even though you’ll die a lot, there’s a progression system that improves your chances of survival in each subsequent run with permanent unlocks.
Since each run is randomized, you’ll have to master the core gameplay to really stand a chance, especially against some of the harder bosses. Its fast-paced 2D melee combat is extremely satisfying with enough variety to last you hundreds of hours as you explore hidden paths, use devastating weapons, and even use crossover weapons with different franchises like Hotline Miami, Half-Life, Castlevania, and a lot more.
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is one of the best rogue-like deck-builder games on the market. It’s a turn-based title where you’ll always start off with a few cards. As you fight enemies, you earn more cards to improve your deck, create synergies, defeat bosses, earn relics, and die, a lot. Slay the Spire is a rogue-like, but there is a progression system that unlocks more cards that you can earn during your runs, so while you start off the same, you’ll have a bigger pool to choose from.
Since it’s a turn-based game, the touch controls are perfect for Slay the Spire. You can play each turn at your own pace, plan your moves, and even take a break. Despite its difficulty, you still control the pace of the battle. Despite tons of similar titles that have come after Slay the Spire, there’s nothing like it and is one of the best offline games for both Android and iOS.
XCOM 2 Collection
Firaxis’ tactical strategy masterpiece, XCOM 2, is one of the best offline experiences you can have on mobile. You’ll recruit powerful soldiers equipped to take on an alien threat in a variety of expertly designed levels. Each member of your squad is important though, as losing one of your soldiers means they’re gone forever. This makes XCOM 2 an exhilarating game with a lot of freedom on how you can take on enemies in a level.
A lot of the elements in the world are destructible too, and the game manages to look great on mobile devices, despite so much going on. The mobile version has all the expansions as well packed into a single package, with no microtransactions. The touch controls translate well to the turn-based battles, and Feral Interactive has done an excellent job porting a fairly graphically impressive game on mobile, with a redesigned UI.
Another roguelike that deserves your attention is Downwell. In Downwell, you go down a well, get it? It’s a vertical shmup platformer where knowing where to land is more important than actually killing enemies. Its simplistic control scheme means you can only move left and right, and use the jump button, which when pressed in the air allows you to fire your current gunboots. As you gather up gems, you’ll use those to buy different guns, but mastering your movement is key to surviving a run.
If you get good at the game, you can finish it in less than 15 minutes, but getting that good requires hours of practice and strategy. It’s a perfect game for mobile due to its limited control scheme and is easy on the eyes with its one-bit presentation that conveys information directly to the player.
The Wolf Among Us
Serving as a prequel to the Fables comic book series, The Wolf Among Us is one of Telltale’s finest narrative-driven titles. It follows the story of Bigby, “The Big Bad Wolf”, as he investigates a murder in Fabletown, which is a place where fables in their human forms live. The game is divided into five parts, and your permanent choices carry over in each episode.
Since this isn’t exactly a gameplay-heavy title, as most of your interactions are dialogue choices and quick time events, this is the perfect game for mobile. Unlike many mobile games though, The Wolf Among Us has excellent writing, character work, and voice acting too. Its comic book-styled presentation feels authentic to the source material and makes it a pretty immersive experience for fans, and newcomers. You can play the entire thing offline, and the first episode is completely free to download.
Originally released in 2012, Subway Surfers is still one of the best offline mobile games you can play in 2023. Its simple gameplay, colorful presentation, and superb performance across a variety of mobile devices make it accessible and engaging. Players run and jump over different platforms while trying to escape a grumpy officer and his dog.
While some of the game’s rewards, shop, customization, and quests features require an online connection, the actual endless runner part can be played completely offline. If you’re only interested in the gameplay, then Subway Surfers is a great way to enjoy a smooth, and addictive gameplay experience that only requires simple touch flicks, but good timing.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 are classic RPGs from Bioware with exceptional mobile ports. If you haven’t played the iconic series yet, I actually recommend the mobile port over the PC versions which haven’t been updated and require multiple mods, and tools for modern displays.
In KOTOR you’ll create your own character, with their light and dark force preferences, and go on a massive quest set during the Old Republic when Force users were basically at their strongest. You’ll make a lot of choices, learn about the history of the Jedi and Sith, use a variety of force powers, and encounter some of Star Wars’s most iconic characters like Bastila Shan, Darth Malak, Nihilus, and more.
While the turn-based gameplay might not be for everyone, the RPG side of KOTOR remains some of the most fun you can have in a Bioware title.
The indie puzzle game Monument Valley by Ustwo will squeeze out your mind’s creative juices while being visually therapeutic. You guide Princess Ida through mazes and optical illusions to reach her destination. While the game levels may somewhat confuse you with illusions, each provides a unique and clean architecture with geometric shapes and soothing colors, seen from an isometric view. Overall, it’s a creative and entertaining game for those who want a slight challenge while relaxing.
Like Florence, Monument Valley is a digital masterpiece by Ken Wong under a different company. With this puzzle game’s success, the developers also released a sequel entitled Monument Valley 2, which features a mother named Ro and her child walking through a maze.
Crossy Road is an arcade game from Hipster Whale. Interestingly, the game was inspired by the classic joke of “Why did the chicken cross the road?”, with a default chicken protagonist. It is an endless runner game as you try to guide the character in crossing busy roads, train tracks, and rivers against obstacles. The game’s environment also changes depending on the character you’ve equipped showcasing its nice visual variety.
Its gameplay is so straightforward that all you have to do is cross the road without dying. Despite being virtually endless, its pixel art, vibrant flat colors, and the isometric view will keep you focused. It would be harder not to lose first than to get bored with it, though.
Minecraft is a game that needs no introduction and continues to be one of the most popular games on practically every platform. This isn’t any different on mobile either, and Minecraft sits atop most gaming charts whether you’re on Android or iOS. Explore, mine, chop, craft, build, fight off against mobs of enemies, and survive in one of the most deeply rewarding survival games with endless replayability.
While the multiplayer aspect of Minecraft has its appeal, you can experience every gameplay system in the single-player survival and creative modes. The mobile versions are constantly updated with new mechanics and features added regularly, and the mobile interface is quite polished taking just a few minutes to adapt to.
Alto’s Odyssey is a sequel to Alto’s Adventure, and it’s an endless runner set in a vast desert with tons of biomes scattered across beautifully designed levels. The gameplay is quite similar to the first title, but the visuals and sound design are drastically better. You’ll snowboard over dunes, scale ancient structures, torpedo through oases, and perform tricks to improve your score.
It’s a lot like Journey, and ABZU in its presentation and the sense of momentum you attain by performing tricks is quite satisfying. Like Subway Surfer, Alto’s Odyssey is a free title, which means that while you can keep experiencing the core gameplay offline, there are in-app purchases and ads that can be a bit annoying. Either way, you can enjoy the endless runner adventure completely offline, but I do wish there was a standalone ad and store-free version that I could purchase.
- Mobile Platforms: Desktop site, Android
The site and app feature some of the most favorite card games of all time. These include, Hearts, Spades, Yahtzee, and Solitaire. Additionally, Solitaired features single and multiplayer options as well as rules and breakdowns of the history of each game.
The app and desktop site (suitable for iOS) is free of charge. Try Solitaired.
- Mobile Platforms: iOS, Android
Solitaire Bliss offers countless card games and variations of Solitaire both online and offline. Users can create an account where they can track their progress, records, and customize their card decks and backgrounds. Additionally, Solitaire Bliss offers history, rules, and strategies behind each of their games listed. Try Solitaire Bliss.
These are our curated selections for some of the best offline games you can enjoy on Android and iOS. There’s a good amount of variety here with genres like turn-based roguelikes, 2D action, simulation, tactical strategy, and relaxing life sims as well. You’re bound to like something here and don’t need an online connection to enjoy your gaming experience.
What do you think of our list? Do you have any suggestions for even better offline games? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.