15 Best Games to Play When You're Bored
Are you tired of awkwardly whistling to yourself on the bus to pass the time? Sick of being bored while skipping gym class to avoid getting smacked with a dodgeball by Brock, your older brother's mean best friend? Then boy, oh boy, do we have the games for you! All kinds of games. Mobile. Browser. Even TI-84 calculator games, for you future architects and engineers out there. After all, who needs parabolas and higher education when you have Super Mario?If you need a distraction, nothing will kill the time better than the games on this finely curated list. Say goodbye to boredom, hello to entertainment and enchantée to some of the best time killers ever programmed.
Credit: Sam Loeschen
Not only does Duet feature simple-to-play, hard-to-master, obstacle-dodging gameplay and a killer chillstep soundtrack, but it also sports a deceptively complex narrative. Delivered entirely through level titles, an Australian woman's soothing voice and your own reactions to in-game failure, Duet explores the Kübler-Ross model (otherwise known as the five stages of grief). As you play and hear the mysterious woman's ASMR intonations feed strange riddles to you, you start to realize she wants you to examine how you deal with the five stages of grief everytime you die across the game's plentiful, bite-size levels.With that said, you can totally tune out and ignore all the metatextual stuff going on if you just want to experience one of the best, hardest, most boredom-relieving mobile games ever.
If you ever wanted to be a glowing, rainbow-colored caterpillar, this is the game for you. It's a browser-based MMO where you go around collecting orbs and growing your caterpillar, all while avoiding other people's bigger, more hungry caterpillars. If you touch another player, you die and turn into the very orbs you were just so happily feasting on. It's a macabre game that speaks to the nature of life, and how our deaths help sustain the universe. Now go, feast on the orbs of your deceased caterpillar brethren, and glow brighter than they ever could.
Credit: Lowtech Studios
It's neon pinball, 'nuff said. If you want a dope soundtrack, crazy retro-'80s color palette and the pure fun of a nearly endless pinball table, there's no better way to lose yourself for hours, mashing flippers and shouting curse words until your phone's battery is dead and you're left wondering how it got dark outside so fast.
Marvel: Contest of Champions (mobile)
This game's for the folks who want to mindlessly tap their thumbs and watch Iron Man beat the snot out of Deadpool. Is it fun? For sure. It's shallow, visually extravagant fun — the kind that is perfect for filling boring voids in the daily grind. Marvel's Contest of Champions has a gazillion different modes to play through, so expect as much brawling as you can handle. With dozens of unlockable characters, hundreds of playable missions and microtransactions out the wazoo, this is a Marvel-flavored-diet fighting game that's immensely enjoyable to look at and almost half as fun to play — just remember to turn it off and go outside, at some point.
Ultimate Flash Sonic (browser)
No game permeates the browser history of grade-school computers more than Ultimate Flash Sonic, otherwise known as Sonic Advance: Student Edition. If you couldn't whip out your Game Boy in the middle of technology class, you'd quietly open a new tab and bounce over to this bad boy. Featuring the Angel Island soundtrack, two different zones and four playable characters, this remains one of the best browser experiences a Sonic the Hedgehog fan or platformer-genre fanatic can have when a standard console or handheld isn't available.
Credit: All Sonic Games
Lara Croft: Relic Run (mobile)
While infinite runners are a pretty overdone genre in the mobile scene, I can't help but acknowledge this game starring everybody's favorite tomb raider. Featuring running, platforming and lots of gunslinging, Lara Croft: Relic Run is a fun game that packs diverse, fully realized environments (some of which include motorcycles and dinosaurs!) and tons of replayability. If you want a mobile time killer with some cinematic flair, this is the one to download.
Credit: Square Enix
10 Bullets (browser)
For those whose boredom can be satisfied only by an endless cacophony of explosions and destruction, 10 Bullets is the game to play. The rules are simple: you have 10 bullets, and once they're spent, it's game over. The goal is to set off a chain reaction with each bullet, causing targets to combust, explode and detonate each other until the dust settles, at which point you'll need to expend another bullet. This means you click once and, if you timed it well, won't click again for another minute or two. It's the most fun I've had doing nothing in a long, long time.
Credit: Michel Gerard
Wordscapes is a simple game where you make words out of a set pool of five to seven letters. It starts off fun enough and, for the first few hundred levels, it's pretty realistic in its expectations of your vocabulary. There comes a point, though, when you hit level 500, then 600, then 700, that Wordscapes starts to get ridiculous. So, should you invest enough hours into the game to reach that point, get ready for wacky, completely nonsensical words to throw off your flow and impede progression. Seriously, who the hell designed the levels that require you to play words like "emus." Emus! That's emu, the exotic bird, pluralized. Barring that one gripe, Wordscapes is a great time killer that'll make you look extra smart around your friends, and, more important, help you sharpen your SAT-word vocabulary.
Four in a Row (mobile)
Four in a Row is Hasbro's Connect 4 minus the official branding. It's a great free app that lets you take on tough-as-nails (or easy) AI or a friend in classic Connect 4 fashion. The game has an interesting tug-of-war style scoring system, where each game won pushes you closer to an overall victory, and each loss tugs you away from it, meaning one match will turn into five-plus, and before you know it, half an hour will have gone by. If you need even more replayability out of your Connect 4 clones, this game also has achievements for completing additional objectives. It's light on ads and heavy on fun, and it is definitely worth a download.
Contre Jour ($1.99 mobile/free browser)
Contre Jour puts you in the blobby body of a gentrified version of one of the fuzzies from Super Mario Bros. You must modify the terrain to help said fuzzy collect glowing blue orbs. It's a simple game with simple controls, which is why it's available on both browser and mobile (though the browser version is free, while the mobile app is not). If you want a low-key, artsy, terrain-manipulation game that's got the same timeless, neon-blue and black color palette as Tron, Contre Jour might be right up your alley.
Credit: Mokus Games
Nothing beats the original Doom, a game in which you can do three things: run, punch and shoot. This is the first-person shooter that started it all, for you youngsters out there. Halo, Call of Duty, Destiny — they all stem from this masterpiece of game design, which has gained a reputation for being playable on just about anything. If you want to know why the excellent 2016 Doom had so much to live up to, check out this browser port of the original. It's a time capsule full of fun, gore and insight as to what was up in the 1993 gaming scene.
Credit: ID Software
Superhot prototype (browser)
Superhot is a first-person game where time only moves when you do, meaning if you fire a gun, the bullet won't start traveling 'til you get bustling. The same rule applies for enemies and incoming objects. It's a nutty concept that made for a neat, if overpriced, Steam game, but you don't have to worry about price if you're content with just trying out Superhot's prototype, which the devs made playable for browsers. It's easily the most graphically and computationally taxing browser game on this list, but if you can run it, it'll let you sample the Superhot action for free. It's definitely a fun way to pass 15 minutes, if you have the time to spare (just don't move, and you will!).
For fans of Star Fox, this on-rails lock-on shooter is as good as browser games get. It's a stylish, monochrome take on the genre that tasks you with locking onto enemies and shooting them down. Watch out, though, as they'll all be firing back at you, meaning you'll need to employ some swift strategic maneuvers (no barrel rolls in the game, unfortunately) to outfox the enemy. It's a fun fighter-pilot game that requires quick reflexes, though it is a bit one-note and can get boring pretty fast. Still, if you have a hot 2 minutes to kill in between computing activities, this is as good a way to pass the time as any.
Credit: Sam Loeschen
Vector is what Mirror's Edge might look like if it was 2D and free of any unnecessary combat mechanics. Though the game is slow and won't satisfy those with a need for speed, it's got a great sense of flow and excitement to it, as you effortlessly run across rooftops while police with electric batons doggedly chase you. The levels are well-designed and play nicely with the game's core physics, resulting in a fun game loaded with bite-size missions that are perfect for quick commutes.
Geometry Dash Lite (mobile)
This is a free mobile game that'll leave you angry, excited, energized, twitching, screaming and a nervous wreck — basically, anything but bored. You play as a shape that must bounce across a dangerous 2D landscape in accordance with some dank EDM beats. Make one misstep and you'll have to start over from the beginning of the song, until you know each tune and its corresponding level better than their respective composers and designers. Five years after having first picked up Geometry Dash, I still find myself waking up in cold sweats, quietly humming the first few notes of the "Jumper" level's song before sobbing myself back to sleep.
Credit: RobTop Games
Bonus: The Perfect Game to Play When Bored (In Math Class)
Picture it: it's 1:55 p.m., and the clock stops moving. The bell won't ring. Math class literally won't end. The teacher says put away your PS Vita. Then they tell you to pocket that phone of yours. Besides your handy-dandy Etch-A-Sketch, this leaves you with only one other device to game on — your graphing calculator. But how does one play Super Mario and Parappa the Rapper (Google it) on a graphing calculator?The answer is MirageOS. Find some instructions online on how to install the OS on your TI-83 or 84 calculator, then bask in the glory of being able to play Super Mario while your pals suffer through trigonometry class like the non-technophilic troglodytes they are.
Mario Game on the TI-83 and TI-84 : Super Mario Level Pack