What did people do to cure boredom before video games? They could read, watch something, go for a walk, or chat with friends — and you can still do all those things.
However, video games have the benefit of being both passive and active. You’re sitting there playing, but you’re also mentally and physically engaged since you’re controlling the action on the screen.
The perfect video game for your situation can help hours fly by in a blink. Of course, not all boredom comes at convenient times. Some games are boredom killers simply because they’re easy to pause and set aside when something else comes up. Others are great because they’re in-depth and help keep your attention for long periods.
Best Bored Games to Play
Cookie Run: Kingdom
When you have some time to kill and want to get invested in a game, try Cookie Run: Kingdom.
It’s a role-playing game that lets you design your kingdom, learn the history of the kingdom’s past, and creates stories for the fighters you can recruit. Users report spending a lot of time in the game because they’re so interested in the story behind it.
Check out Cookie Run: Kingdom on Android and iOS.
Stardew Valley is a great game to play when you’re bored because each day is a save point. In Stardew Valley, you inherit a farm from your grandfather and find a place in the nearby small town.
Spend your days fishing, mining, making friends with the locals, or working on your farm to make more money.
Stardew Valley is a great boredom-killer because it’s available on so many devices.
You can play on Android, iOS, PC, Switch, and others.
Tetris is a classic for a reason. Different configurations of blocks drift down from the top of the screen, and you must arrange them to make complete horizontal lines.
If you do, the blocks disappear, and you regain filled space. If you don’t, though, you eventually lose the level.
Tetris can be paused, which means that it’s perfect for quick sessions when something else might require your attention at a moment’s notice.
Factorio is a building and management simulator game that is much more exciting than it first appears. Your spaceship has crashed, and you have to start from scratch to be able to take to the stars again.
Work on processes that help automate the collection and quality of different materials to make your tasks less overwhelming.
Factorio is exceptionally complex, but the game will lead you into it — you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to it in each session to have fun and understand what’s happening.
The game is available on PC.
In Alto’s Odyssey, you sandboard through various maps with tricks and traps that might trip you up. Since it’s a game without a lot of text or dialogue, it’s easy to pick up and put down even if lots of time has passed.
The only issue you might encounter with playing intermittently is remembering how to pull off the flashy moves that get you past difficult areas.
You can play Alto’s Odyssey on iOS or Android.
One of the best things about Portal 2 is that each room is its own level. If you’re bored, you can drop into the game and know your objective: you must get through the room.
Use the portals placed around the facility to travel from one area to the other in an attempt to escape.
Portal 2 is highly rated and can be played solo or with a friend if you’re both looking for something to do.
Check it out on Steam.
Deceit is a game that you can lose hours playing with your friends or strangers. While there are monsters to fight and tasks you can do, the most important aspect is deciding who you can trust.
Everyone in the game uses their microphones to communicate, and most of them will promise that they aren’t monster. Of course, you can’t trust everything people say.
Check out Deceit on Steam.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
When you’re looking for a bit of action, look no farther than the latest racing game from the Need for Speed franchise. There are more options than just racing other cars to be the winner.
You can also try to outrun the police or play against your friends online. The mobile games offer tilt or touch to steer, so you play the way you choose. You can choose from more than 40 cars.
You can buy Most Wanted on various platforms and consoles, on Android or iOS.
Everyone has heard of Minecraft at this point — but not everyone knows just how portable it is. Minecraft on your mobile devices makes it a game you can easily pop into anywhere, even during your commute or lunch break.
Build an entire world or just attempt to stay alive when the creepers come out to play at night. There’s so much to do in the game, with various server types to choose from. If you’re hoping to kill some time, try it out.
Minecraft is available on PC, iOS, Android, and various consoles.
Guide your cube-shaped character through more than 40 levels with Suzy Cube. It’s a platformer that uses bounce movements to get you from one end of the level to the other.
Your objective is supposed to be to recover the stolen treasure, but the real treasure in Suzy Cube is how much fun it can make a dull afternoon.
The game also supports controllers if you prefer to use something other than your device screen to control the character. It’s available on iOS and Android.
Draw Something is a game best played with friends. Each person draws a word from a prompt, and the other person has to guess what they’re trying to draw.
It’s more complicated than it sounds at first, especially if you’re playing with a funny group. As you complete more drawings, you’ll get rewards to help you earn new colors and other prizes.
If you don’t have a friend with time to play, the app can match you up with other players online. Try Draw Something, available on iOS and Android.
Nothing kills boredom faster than throwing stars — and that’s only one of the weapons you can control in Ninja Arashi. The main character moves through the levels attempting to rescue his son, who was kidnapped.
That adds a bit of intrigue to the straightforward gameplay, as do the various environments and enemies.
Ninja Arashi is a game that’s complex enough it can hold its own against console games — but since it’s on iOS and Android, you can play almost anywhere.
Best Fiends is a puzzle game with some neat team-building elements. Different characters you collect come with other skills that might help you work your way through the thousands of available levels.
While matching items sounds pretty straightforward and standard, you might be surprised by how quickly they can become addictive.
The game has daily events, so there’s something new to do each day if you need to kill some time. Check it out on Android and iOS.
Don’t Starve is a game that you can play for a short session or several hours at a time — making it the ideal way to erase boredom. The main character in the game is just trying to survive while he’s stuck in an uncharted wilderness with lots of things he doesn’t recognize.
However, you also have to balance your sanity, hunger, and health while you explore. Don’t Starve creates a new world automatically for each save the file, giving it lots of replay value.
You can play on Steam, Android, or iOS.
One way to have some fun time with friends is with Spelunky. Up to four people can take on its levels, which are procedurally generated and never repeat.
There is a lot of exploration to do and many skills to master before the game is no longer hard enough to be frustrating. That’s one of the great things, though — you won’t be bored while you’re learning.
Check out Spelunky on Steam.
Assassin’s Creed Series
The well-known Assassin’s Creed series is perfect for someone who has a long stretch of boredom coming up. You can start with the first game and work your way through chronologically, mainly playing on PC or consoles — but also trying out a few games on mobile devices.
The stories aren’t all linked, but they’re still in the same world, use the same technology, and are interesting enough to keep you entertained.
The most recent Assassin’s Creed game is Valhalla if you’re looking for something more modern.
Check it out on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
Pinball isn’t as dated as it seems — especially when you can play in an environment that continues to increase the difficulty and chaos as you go.
It uses intense music and a moody atmosphere to help set the scene for pinball that flies in the face of traditional physics. Even though the basics of the game are easy, the difficult boards and controls will keep you glued for longer sessions.
Demon’s Tilt is on PC, Xbox, and Switch.
Even though the summer of Pokemon Go ended years ago, the game still has a thriving community and more features now than it did in 2016.
It’s one of the best games to play when you’re bored because it can get you out of the house and into exploring new parts of your area. You can search for Pokemon, capture them, level them up, and fight with them.
Make sure your phone has the required specs to play Pokemon Go before you install it. Check it out on iOS and Android.
Sky: Children of the Light
Some games are action-packed with fighting and exploration. Others are more gentle, and this is the kind of gameplay you can expect from Sky: Children of the Light.
Complete puzzles and explore a dreamy fantasy world with your friends while learning more about the world.
The game also offers seasonal events, which can be fun to explore at different times of the year. Sky is available on Android, iOS, and Switch.
Design your plague to end the world, starting with a limited set of options and then racing against time to infect the globe before scientists come up with a cure. You’ll enjoy the little snippets of news that run across the screen as you play — most are pretty humorous.
There are many different techniques to master with each type of disease and strategies to make them infect more people despite geographic barriers.
You can play Plague Inc. on Android, iOS, or Steam.
One great way to choose from so many games is to consider what platform you’re going to play on. Mobile platforms like the Switch, phones, and tablets are great because they’re portable. They’re perfect for when you’re bored on the go or in a place where you can’t access your PC.
If you’re at home, you have more options. Start by deciding whether you want to play with friends or alone. Next, choose a game genre. Puzzle games and platformers are different from racing games or simulators. There are so many to choose from — but that just means you can try more than one.