Phone and tablets have changed the way we discover and play games.
But one of the most annoying things is that many games require you to stay connected to the internet while you’re playing, something that’s not always possible.
So we’ve picked 10 games that you can play while in airplane mode, whether you’re going on holiday or you just don’t want to use up all your data!
We’ve separated our choices into five distinct genres, and selected a game that’s ideal for phone and tablet in each.
Think we’ve missed any? Let us know your top picks!
Best Airplane Mode Game Genres
|1) Simulation Games|
|2) Puzzle Games|
|3) Action/Adventure Games|
|4) Narrative Games|
|5) Endless Runner Games|
1) Simulation Games
Simulation games do exactly what they say on the tin — they simulate some aspect of real life.
You may have played games like The Sims, Civilisation or Theme Park before, and if you enjoyed any of these you’re in for a treat with the selection available for mobile devices.
Simulations are great for playing on the plane because the time will fly by before you know it. One minute you’re building a single house, then within a few hours you’re running a whole city!
Best Simulation Game for Phones – Game Dev Tycoon
If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own game company, that long-haul flight could be the perfect opportunity!
Start off in the early 80s as a solo game developer, before progressing to a fully fledged company, complete with employees, hardware development and worries about piracy!
Its interface is specially designed for mobile platforms, and between managing your staff and developing new technology there are almost too many things to do.
This is a rare mobile game that’s not designed for bite-sized chunks of play — ideal for a flight!
Best Simulation Game for Tablets – RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic
You may remember Rollercoaster Tycoon from your early days of playing PC, and if you were a big fan, you’re in for a treat with this one! It brings together the best aspects of the original RollerCoaster Tycoon games into one tablet-optimised package.
The graphics look just as good as you remember, but it’s the solid mechanics that make it shine. It’s a joy to build and maintain your theme park on tablet, with the game’s on-screen buttons and hex grid standing in perfectly for physical controls.
RollerCoaster Tycoon is one of the best sim games of all time, and to be able to play on your iPad with no drawbacks is a wonder to behold!
2) Puzzle Games
Puzzle games are probably the first thing you think of when it comes to mobile games. But while games like Candy Crush or Monument Valley are great games in themselves, they’re not going to fill your time over the course of a flight.
Best Puzzle Game for Phones – Bejeweled Classic
Not very original, but sometimes things are popular for a reason.
At first glance, Bejeweled Classic seems just like any other match-3 game. Swipe on coloured jewels in order to match three of them and make them disappear.
But when you dig into what the game’s all about, it becomes almost impossible to put down!
First of all, the graphics are more impressive and spectacular than any other game of its kind — every victory is a glorious fireworks display that’ll make anyone feel like they’ve accomplished something great.
And the amount of game modes is astounding as well, from Classic mode to the fast-moving Lightning mode and the more thoughtful Poker mode.
Just when you think you’ve had enough, you’ll dive in for another go.
Best Puzzle Game for Tablets – The Room Series
The Room games each present you with a series of puzzle boxes that have to be solved in order to uncover further puzzles.
They make use of your tablet’s touch screen and motion sensors, enabling you to have a uniquely tactile experience. You’ll find yourself swiping, prodding and poking around the puzzle boxes as you work out how to unlock them.
There are now four games in The Room series, so if you’re able to purchase and pre-load all four games before your flight, you’ll be more than occupied for the duration.
If you don’t break your tablet in frustration that is!
3) Action/Adventure Games
While much of mobile gaming is dedicated to scaled down or slow-moving experiences to account for less powerful hardware, there’s definitely still room for console-style games on your phone or tablet.
And that’s where action adventure games come in. These larger-than-life games require skill, dexterity and timing, so they can be challenging and fulfilling in equal measure.
Just make sure you don’t elbow the person next to you while playing!
Best Action/Adventure Game for Phones – Pokemon Quest
It’s no secret that we’re Pokemon Go fans here at SkyParkSecure. But since Internet access and location tracking is very much a necessity with that game, we’ve had to hunt for an alternative.
Enter Pokemon Quest!
This RPG/adventure game hybrid brings back Pokemon to mobile devices, but this time with a cute, blocky aesthetic that’s not a million miles away from Minecraft.
The game involves going on expeditions around Tumblecube Island and battling wild Pokemon with your team.
One recommendation we’d make is to wait until you trip before you start playing. At the start you get plenty of opportunities to play, and the in-game timer is easy to recharge. But when you get down the line you might find yourself playing in shorter bursts.
Best Action/Adventure Game for Tablets – Grand Theft Auto Series
So when GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas made the jump to mobile phones and tablets, I was a bit nervous.
It turns out my worries were unfounded!
If anything the games run better on tablet than they ever did on PlayStation 2, with loading times reduced almost to nothing, draw distance massively improved and a graphical overhaul that will surprise you.
But it was the controls that were the most pleasant surprise. Games designed with a controller in mind don’t often translate to touchscreen, but Rockstar has done an incredible job of making it feel effortless.
4) Narrative Games
If you love a good story, but a film just isn’t long enough to last your whole flight, you might want to consider a narrative game on your device.
Essentially an interactive story where you control the protagonist, there are plenty of different types of games in this genre, but our two favourites are…
Best Narrative Game for Phones – Device 6
More of a text adventure/puzzle game than a strict narrative game, it’s the story of Anna and the strange castle she’s trapped in that’ll keep you hooked.
Brought to life by Swedish developer Simogo, this visual novel combines escape-room mechanics with an intriguing story to keep you picking apart Device 6’s central mystery.
The style is tough to describe, so I’ll let The Telegraph’s 4.5-star review do it for me: “Anna’s story unfolds in text, with the sentences on your screen doubling as the landscape she is travelling. As the paragraph reaches a thin corridor, a sentence will detach itself and stretch across the screen your finger tracing its path, a spiral staircase twists upwards in a whirlwind of letters, turn left and the text turns left in step, you rotating the device to follow.”
Combine these visuals with a living soundtrack and you’ve got a remarkable experience on your hands (but only for iPhone — sorry Android users!).
Best Narrative Game for Tablets – The Walking Dead
Based on Robert Kirkman’s comic series of the same name (rather than the TV show), the game depicts a completely new set of characters and story, so no prior knowledge of the The Walking Dead is required.
The game is separated into episodes, each more tense than the last, and the choices you’ll have to make as you near its end will have you in tears.
5) Endless Runner Games
A hugely popular genre on mobile and for good reason!
They’re easy to pick up but difficult to master, meaning you could be in for the long haul if you’re half-decent.
As you get better and better, endless runners will reward you with powerups, bonuses and accessories that’ll keep you opening the app again and again.
Best Endless Runner for Phones – Alto’s Adventure
This beautifully-designed snowboarding adventure will have you hurtling down a hill as you jump over obstacles, pull off tricks and earn a variety of upgrades.
Although there are hundreds of endless runners available, Alto’s Adventure stands out with an aesthetic that’s a joy to look at, as well as nearly 200 challenges to complete.
Plus, the sequel Alto’s Odyssey is a wonderful follow-up if you can’t get enough!
Best Endless Runner for Tablets – Run or Die
Run or Die is an endless runner that comes with a significant learning curve, so it benefits from a bigger screen if you want to master it.
The game features 170 different maps which swap in and out when you die — and you will die a lot, so you’ll get to see each one pretty quickly.
However the game’s speed and ‘one more go’ style of gameplay mean you’ll be keen to try again rather than throw your device in frustration.
And the games five abilities, which go way beyond the usual jump and slide mechanics, make Run or Die a surprisingly layered experience!