The new normal of self-isolation has left many of us with a bit more time on our hands while we’re trapped indoors. And video games are one way of keeping yourself entertained, often with the added benefit of being able to socialise with pals in the process.
If you’re not big into gaming or don’t have a console you may be wondering where to start. Thankfully there’s a ton of excellent (and often free!) games you can play on your mobile or computer to keep yourself busy. Here, then, are NME’s top boredom busting online games.
Cards Against Humanity
What is it? An online version of everybody’s favourite outrageous card game. The rules are the same as with the physical version: a question is picked, everybody takes a look at the phrases on their cards and places down the funniest/filthiest/most disgusting. A judge then picks the best answer, and the person who has won the most rounds at the end is the dirty, rotten winner.
Where do you play it? On the PlayingCards.io website – they’ve made it available while people self-isolate.
How much will it set me back? Nothing! You can play this one online for free.
You should play it with… Your most inappropriate friends.
Monument Valley 2
What is it? Wholesome indie puzzle game, where you guide the characters through mazes that incorporate optical illusions. And it looks beautiful.
Where do you play it? On your phone.
How much will it set me back? It’s currently available for free on the App store and Google play.
You should play it with… It’s a solo adventure, but this lovely game is a perfect distraction in these weird, unsettling times.
What is it? The beloved board-game… but on your phone. The digital version of the word game allows you to play against friends online. So even if you’re not with your family, you can still fall out over Scrabble. It’s just like Christmas!
Where do you play it? On your phone.
How much will it set me back? It’s currently free.
You should play it with… the family members you’re currently separated from.
What is it? Award-winning farming role play game. Stardew Valley sees you leave your bustling city life when you inherit your grandfather’s old farm plot, and you move to Stardew Valley to start looking after his ramshackle farm. The open-ended game sees players engage in farming activities such as growing crops and socialising with the other villagers. Eventually you can turn the decrepit fields into a thriving farm. Plus if you play on PC (or a console!) you can play multiplayer and share your new farm with your pals.
Where do you play it? There’s versions for Android and IOS and PC (as well as most consoles!) Although the Android and IOS versions don’t support multiplayer.
How much will it set me back? It’s currently £7.99 in the Apple App Store.
You should play it with? Your most chilled-out pals.
Lara Croft Go
What is it? A turn based puzzle-game in the Tomb Raider franchise. You play as Lara Croft exploring the ruins of an ancient civilisation, and throughout the 40 levels the puzzles get more complex as you uncover the myth of the Queen of Venom.
Where do you play it? There are versions for IOS and Android, and you can also download it on Steam for PC.
How much will it set me back? It’s currently free to download onto your mobile, and heavily discounted on Steam for PC!
You should play it with? On your own. Or, as it’s a fairly short game, you can race your mates to see who completes it first.
What is it? A minimalist underground simulation, where you have to design a tube system for your city. No, come back! The puzzle game is much more fun than it sounds.
Where do you play it? There are version for your phone, as well as PC and various consoles.
How much will it set me back? It’s currently 99p in the Apple App store.
You should play it with? It’s a solo endeavour – and the perfect relaxation game for when your housemates are getting a bit too much.
Mario Kart Tour
What is it? A mobile version of Mario and the gang’s road-rage inducing racing game. The phone version of Mario Kart added multi-player option a few weeks ago, and you can race up to seven other players (either strangers online, or you can create a room to race your pals) across a series of classic Mario Kart tracks.
Where do you play it? On your mobile or your tablet.
How much will it set me back? It’s free! But you can pay a monthly Gold Pass subscription for £4.99 for options such as harder races (though we’d recommend saving your cash!).
You should play it with… Siblings – there’s nothing like breaking that childhood bond over a cartoon racing game.
What is it? A once-popular mobile game show, where you compete with other players around the world in a trivia quiz to win a cash prize. The game suddenly shut down a few months back but has now returned, with each game this week donating some cash to a coronavirus-related causes.
Where do you play it? On your mobile. Games currently run at 9pm ET (so 1am GMT) –meaning it’s a stay up late / middle of the night alarm situation for now.
How much will it set me back? It’s free!
You should play it with… Whoever your currently self-isolating with. The aim is to get all the questions right, so the more brains the better.
What is it? A drawing game a little like Pictionary. You’re challenged to draw things (with cues such as “creepy tiger”) and then other players vote on what they think your masterpiece is. It’s super easy to play with everybody else you’re isolating with, but if you want to play with friends remotely, the game’s developer Jackbox has published a guide on how to play it via Zoom.
Where do you play it? On your PC via online game platforms such as Steam. (You can also get it for consoles including Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and Xbox One).
How much will it set me back? It’s normally $9.99 (about eight quid), but currently available for free on Steam!
You should play it with… The artists in your life.