Family Life


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Game on! Five Free Phone Games to Beat the February Blahs

Black woman playing free phone games on a device

For many people, the shortest month of the year makes for a challenging few weeks. There’s a reason people talk about the “February blahs.” So, with this in mind, we’ve rounded up five free phone games to give you little moments of fun, to help get you through to March.

Between frigid temps (though not so much this year), little cash to go around after paying off credit card bills from holiday shopping, and dealing with cold and flu season ripping through your household, you might need a little boost throughout the day.

Thankfully, there are thousands of fun and free games to swipe and tap on your mobile device, to give you a few moments of joy, whenever and wherever you have the time.

Be aware—some (but not all) contain advertisements and many have in-app purchases, but that doesn’t mean you have to purchase. You’ll just need a little patience between rounds.

The following are five recommendations, focusing mostly on puzzle, strategy and adventure games rather than twitchy action titles or fantasy role-playing games.

All of these free phone games are available at the App Store (for iPhone and iPad) and Google Play store (for Android devices). All are guaranteed to be easy to pick up yet difficult to put down!

Royal Match

Published by Dream Games, this is a “match three” puzzler with gameplay mechanics that should be familiar to Candy Crush (or Bejeweled) fans. The premise is to swap to match at least three of the same items on a board, which causes them to disappear. Your goal is to break adjacent obstacles, unleash power-ups and unlock new levels as you help the hapless King Robert rebuild his castle (and surrounding areas) to its former glory.

The levels get increasingly difficult, as new obstacles and objects are added.

There are no ads to sit through (unlike other free phone games), which is refreshing.

There are bonus levels, mini-games and timed tournaments, and you can see how you fare against others via the global leaderboard.

Words With Friends 2

Billed as “the world’s most popular social mobile word game,” Zynga’s Scrabble-like game has you spell words from your tiles on a large board, in order to rack up the most points against a competitor.

While you can play against the game itself, it’s more fun to challenge a friend (or even a stranger you’re matched with) and take turns against your opponents at your own pace. That is, you can place your tiles on the virtual board and go about your day, and you’ll be notified on your phone or tablet when it’s your turn again. Words With Friends 2 also supports simultaneous matches, if you like, so you can have a few games going at once.

Chat while playing via the in-game messaging feature, take on several kinds of minigames, unlock new tile designs, use hints and other power-ups and compete for a top spot on a leaderboard.

The Silent Age

If you prefer a more story-driven adventure, this game challenges you to save the world by traveling through time.

You start off as a custodian in the early 1970s. While mopping the floors of a building, you stumble upon a mysterious man who warns you of a catastrophic event before he hands you a time travel device (don’t be alarmed, but he then dies).

By visiting the past, present and future, you’re tasked with collecting items that can be used at the right time and place. For example, you’ll need to pour poison on a plant so that it won’t grow and block a passageway forty years from now.

Developed by Danish company House on Fire, the first episode is free to play and should take you a couple of hours to tap through, and you’ll have the option to pay $7 to continue playing on to the next episode.

The hand-drawn animation, moody sound effects and music are all top-notch (headphones recommended), and it all adds nicely to the game’s chilling atmosphere.

Monopoly Go!

This fun take on the iconic Monopoly board game breathes new life into the 1935 classic. Scopely’s Monopoly Go!, in partnership with Hasbro, combines dice rolling and property building with a more “social” spin. In the new game, players travel to world-class cities to build fortunes. The game also lets you compete against a global fanbase of Monopoly players with a backdrop of high-resolution visuals, sleek animation and fantastic sound effects.

As with the board game, play as the racecar, top hat or battleship, collect properties, build houses and hotels, pull chance cards and even get sent to jail.

On your way to becoming a tycoon, Monopoly Go! features more than 100 new boards, daily tournaments, collectible sticker, and playable minigames to earn rewards.

Puzzle Page

If you like games like crossword puzzles, word searches, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, Codeword, and nonograms (“pic-cross” games”), this freebie has it all in one place.

As the name suggests, AppyNation’s Puzzle Page is not unlike a page of games in a newspaper, with a variety of free phone games and puzzles to play that day (and a fresh batch the following day). But at any time, go back in the in-game calendar and play a previous day’s collection. You can even filter by puzzle type.

Along with several number, word and picture games, there are daily challenges, unlockable “achievement” trophies and rewards.

Looking for more tech content from the experts? Check out Tech Tools for Capturing Your Family History and Gadgets to Give Parents a Moment of Zen.

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