Don’t succumb to those February blahs.
It’s easy to feel blue with chilly temps blanketing much of the country, along with post-holiday credit card bill payments and guilt over blowing your new year’s resolution so soon. Amirite?
Perhaps you just need a bit of joy in the form of a great game to tap on your favorite smartphone or tablet.
OK, so these virtual getaways won’t replace a beach vacation, but these fun and free digital diversions might just be what the doctor ordered to keep your mind off ol’ man winter.
While free to download and play, each of these following five games – available at the App Store (for iPhone and iPad) and Google Play (for Android devices) – support in-app purchases for additional content, extra time, or no advertisements.
Angry Birds Dream Blast (Rovio)
The birds are back! But this time around, this puzzle game has you popping bubbles rather than flinging fowl.
The premise is simple: tap same-color bubbles to free them from the board. The more adjacent bubbles you pop, the bigger the bird it creates, which can then be used as a booster to destroy other bubbles on the board. But toss in obstacles like bricks and chains, not to mention specific challenges – such as only green bubbles to advance, removing black fog, or dropping eggs to the bottom of the screen – and this simple game gets surprisingly tough over time.
The game offers hundreds of levels, side quests (including time-based goals), and new levels every Friday.
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Another Eden (Wright Flyer Studios)
If deeper role-playing games (RPG) are more your speed, Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space is an engaging single-player Japanese game about a teenage boy, Aldo, and his younger sister, Feene, who start the single-player adventure performing various missions for townsfolk, battling goblins, and exploring a large map.
But without giving too much away, a major event transpires, tearing a hole through space and time and sending Aldo hundreds of years into the future. The bulk of the 25-plus chapters has Aldo traveling back and forth through time, confronting enemies in turn-based combat – where players take turns playing rather than playing simultaneously – expanding party members, and upgrading abilities.
Along with the great story and memorable characters, expect gorgeous graphics and a fantastic soundtrack featuring more than 60 songs recorded with an orchestra.
Be aware, however, it’s a big game at roughly 2.8 gigabytes.
From Atari, one of the most iconic videogame companies, comes Citytopia, a new city building and management game from the same studio behind the smash hit mobile game RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch.
This free-to-play 3D city simulation challenges players to create, build, and manage their own thriving metropolis. You’ll be tasked with constructing residential, industrial and commercial areas; building roads to connect the areas; boosting your population; and satisfying the needs of your citizens by taking on contracts ranging from staffing factories and delivering goods to supermarkets to increasing tourism by building attractions.
Citytopia also adds virtual cards to the gameplay, as you’ll acquire and open packs to construct rare items such as a supermall, downtown skyscrapers, and more.
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If you like horror movies, you’ll love Granny.
Consider it a cross between A Quiet Place, where you can’t make a peep, and Saw, about a sick and deadly game, your goal in Granny is to escape a demonic woman’s home – before she can find and bludgeon you with a baseball bat.
Uh, yes, this one is certainly not for kids or the faint of heart.
Played from a first-person perspective, you’ll tiptoe around a rickety old house, hiding under beds and in wardrobes, and finding items (like keys) that can help you progress through the game. Can you survive five days in Granny’s home – the amount of time she generously gave you – or will you try to find another way to break free without making any noise?
This game should be played while wearing headphones and with the lights turned off – if you dare.
Puzzle Page (AppyNation Ltd)
Love Sudoku? Crossword puzzles? Word searches? You can have it all inside of this one free app, Puzzle Page, as well as other fun and challenging games, including Picture Cross, Xs and Os, Futoshiki, Kakuro, and other word, logic, number and picture puzzles.
Use your fingertip to tap and type, with a simple interface and fast load times.
Brand new puzzles are dished up daily, but should you complete them all you can use the Calendar view to quickly browse through previous day’s pages. To keep things fresh, this game also offers special daily challenges, bonus games, unlockable “achievement” trophies, and rewards.
Puzzle Page is a must-have for those who enjoy classic word and numbers games found in daily newspapers.
What are some of your favorite new mobile games we need to try?
Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. Email him at www.marcsaltzman.com