Travel during the holidays can often be a monotonous and frustrating experience—especially knowing that an overwhelming feast awaits at the end of the journey.
So, to pass the time on holiday plane, train, and car rides this week, pick up any of these addicting and ingenious mobile games. They’ll make the trek toward a turkey dinner—and several meals of leftover turkey—that much more enjoyable.
1. Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores (iOS, Android, Amazon)
One of the best mobile games this year—and one of the most beautiful of any platform—Monument Valley released in April, but a recently released expansion, Forgotten Shores, nearly doubles the game’s size. A collection of levels laid out like gorgeous M.C. Escher paintings, Valley tasks players with navigating their character through loopy but fascinating caves, seaside cliffs, and other locations.
Never particularly difficult, Valley is more of an experience than a challenge. The picturesque locales of Forgotten Shores ensure that spirit continues with puzzles as beautiful and inspiring as the game’s original levels.
2. Vainglory (iOS)
Remember that guy with a scarf at Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement show? Well, he actually came on stage to talk about a game called Vainglory, and, it’s more than just a pretty marketing ploy. It won’t convince anyone who’s stayed away from League of Legends and its brethren to give this game a go, but for those looking for a mobile MOBA fix, Vainglory is a great option.
Vainglory has all the trappings of traditional MOBA games. That’s video game genre jargon for “multiplayer online battle arena,” games in which players’ cooperation with teammates can make or break a victory. Vainglory doesn’t always explain itself well for those just dipping a toe into a genre that went from nonexistent to worldwide phenomenon in a few short years. But for those who can handle the genre’s complexities, Vainglory is a strong and addicting MOBA experience that thankfully removes the pestering sound of a mouse constantly clicking, replacing it with the dull thud of tapping a screen.
Warning: Wi-Fi will be needed to fully enjoy the game, so this one may be best served for playing underneath the table at Thanksgiving dinner.
3. Golfinity (iOS)
For those who may have missed out on the sheer compulsive insanity of Desert Golfing, Golfinity is a worthy follow-up to what is fast becoming an endless golfer genre.
Golfinity is simple; there’s only one golf course, and it’s never ending, and your score is continuously tallied up or down based on the par of each hole. You can retry any level after completing it to improve your score, but once you move onto the next hole, there’s no turning back (unless you watch a video ad). The permanent score is a nice incentive to keep moving forward, and while some holes feel devilishly constructed, it’s fun to spend a few minutes mastering each green. 100 holes in, I don’t see any end in sight.
4. Crossy Road (iOS)
Crossy Road is like an endless Frogger, which should be enough to convince you. No? Okay, how about this: One of the many playable characters is a celebrity who, when sent flying by a car or rogue river log, dissolves into a bundle of cash in the wind.
5. Kingdom Rush: Origins (iOS, Android, Amazon)
The Kingdom Rush franchise is one of the best tower defense series around, and the third entry, Origins, is as fun as the franchise has ever been. The newest game doesn’t do much to dramatically alter the game players have experienced previously, but there is still plenty to love in Origins, and that’s thanks to how satisfying the gameplay coupled with its medieval animation can be. Fair warning for newcomers: Kingdom Rush games may be impressive, but they can also be difficult. Be sure to test out Origins on easier settings when starting it up.
6. 80 Days (iOS)
This game may be an older release, but in the spirit of traveling, 80 Days is definitely worth a download. Essentially a choose-your-own-adventure story, 80 Days takes the central idea of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days and puts players in control of just exactly how to circumnavigate the globe.
The game is nearly all text-based, as players choose dialogue for conversations and travel routes that can severely alter the course of their journey. Though it may seem simple, 80 Days‘ story branches allow for some fascinating worldwide excursions that may not be as flashy as other mobile offerings, but are just as enthralling as the best of them.