My mum bloody loves her iPad. She’s that 62-year-old you see on your morning commute who fires it up the second her arse hits the train seat. Whether she’s reading a book, checking the news or stalking me on Facebook, she’s rocking that bad boy. The same goes for her iPhone, but that generally involves sending me texts at 5:45am asking how my weekend was.
Mum was never a gamer when I was growing up, despite the over-abundance of consoles in our house. However, I have began to notice that she has been getting into mobile games and will often ask me for recommendations. The Mothership may be an anomaly in many ways, but she certainly isn’t the only one in her age bracket who I’ve noticed forming this trend. Quite a few of my friends have confirmed that their own parents are beginning to dabble in mobile games and I’m beginning to notice it on public transport as well.
I can’t be the only one with a parent or two who asks them for hot game tips, so I thought I would compile a list of titles that casual, parental-type newbies may enjoy. In the very least it will be a good distraction next time they call about accidentally “deleting the internet” off their HTC.
Ticket to Ride
This digital version of the best-selling board game is the perfect example of adaptation done right. I find that I have a lot more fun playing on my phone because there is no arduous set up, the playtime is shorter and there’s zero risk of losing one of the thousands of pieces.
My mum loves Ticket to Ride because it’s simple but addictive. All you need to do is fulfil your tickets by building tracks between cities and whoever has the most points wins. On top of that, the AI is pretty well balanced so it won’t be too tough on anyone new, at least until they’re ready for it to get brutal.
Cook, Serve, Delicious!
One of the most hardcore but addictive sims I’ve ever played, Cook, Serve, Delicious! combines speed with having a nose for business. Menu upgrades, challenges and daily specials are all part of the strategy so you can grow your shitty 0 star diner into a world class restaurant. It’s also important that you are super fast at tapping your screen in the correct sequence to get those perfect orders out to your customers.
I would not recommend playing this on public transport lest you get sucked into the lunchtime customer rush so hard that you miss your station. Yes, that really did happen. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the sequel which is due out later this year.
Beautiful, unique and simplistic, twofold inc. is ideal for parents who loves puzzles. Combine colours in order to fulfil the orders that the cute alien gives you – that’s it. It’s quite similar to 2048, but prettier!
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of gameplay, planning your moves is important, particularly when the alien gets demanding and colours become scarce. twofold inc. is great to play casually on the go as it can be over quite quickly.
Possibly one of the simplest massively multiplayer games to exist, Agar.io has recently shot to mainstream success due to being featured in the latest season of House of Cards.
Set in a petri dish, players assume the form of a cell who is trying to grow as large as possible. You do this by consuming smaller cells/players while trying to avoid bigger ones who often have hilarious names. It’s perfect for the morning commute or just unwinding on the couch.
Some might argue that Fallout Shelter would only be of interest to fans of the franchise, but I have to disagree. Reminiscent of Sim Tower, I don’t see it being particularly different to any other simulation game. Sure, those with knowledge of the Fallout series will undoubtedly get more of a kick out of it, but Shelter absolutely works as a standalone game. Considering the amount of humour and charm that is injected into it, I can see just about anyone succumbing, as well as going into a rage blackout after waking up to a radroach infestation.
Does Not Commute
Turn an idyllic town into a vehicular nightmare as you plot an unstoppable car from point A to point B. Sounds easy, right? Sure, until you have to do it with every subsequent vehicle that is driving at the the same time. Things aren’t so easy when crash an ice cream truck into a school bus because you veered all over the road in the previous round.
The super fun thing about this isn’t just the chaos that ensues, but the humour behind it. This small 1970s town is full of secrets and it’s worth paying attention to the characters whose vehicles you temporarily control. Things get real dark real fast.
Does Not Commute is another great casual strategy game that your parents can pick up whenever they have a spare moment in the day.
For a hardcore freemium game, Clash Royale is a hell of a lot of fun. Supercell has managed to successfully combine elements of MOBAs, collectible card games and tower defence to create something with incredible mainstream appeal. My mum is a massive fan of Clash of Clans so I think this will suck in anyone with shares her addiction for that or similar games.
Train Conductor World
More trains, I know. I swear I’m not trying to highlight a stereotype here.
This game, as well as its predecessors, are about as straightforward as you can get – correctly route the tracks without having yours trains crash into one another. This may sound easy but it doesn’t take long for things to deteriorate into pure madness. The simple but elegant mechanics make for the perfect quick and casual game that can and will develop into full blown addiction.
Puzzle Quest 2
Combining elements of both the RPG and puzzles genres, the Puzzle Quest franchise is basically a cooler version of Bejeweled but with more nuance and vague storylines. If a D&D style adventure isn’t your parent’s thing, maybe try them one of the other versions such as Marvel or even Adventure Time. Seriously, there are so many incarnations of this thing that it makes Infinite Interactive an incredibly apt name for the development team.
Price: £2.29 (iOS), Free (Android)
If your parents are as obsessed with crime shows as my mum is, they will love Her Story. This non-linear narrative is set in 1994 and revolves around Hannah Smith, a British woman who is suspected of murdering her husband. Players must piece together clues from 271 live action police interviews where keywords and user tags become paramount. Praised as one of the best FMV’s of all time, Her Story offers a unique experience to each player and is a brilliant answer to cheesy crime games.
Price: £3.99 (iOS), not available on Android
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