Today, it’s safe to say that most of us crave an escape. Whether you’re stuck indoors, looking for adventure, or simply want to travel, one of the best methods to explore the world is through games.
With that in mind, here are some fun mobile games that let you explore the world, look for clues, and/or traverse unfamiliar landscapes.
They are all available for Android and iOS, and many of them are also completely free to play.
Dark. It’s mysterious. It feels like a cross between Finding Nemo and a horror movie.
In the world of Seashine, you play a lonely little jellyfish looking for a way out of a massive underwater cave. Results? To get out of this cave before your light disappears. If you linger, you will be eaten by one of the big fish.
Don’t let this game’s foreboding premise scare you. Seashine is really simple to play, and the fact that you’re allowed to explore a dark and fantastical world full of deep, bioluminescent sea creatures can actually be downright calming.
While you can make in-app purchases to complete levels faster, Seashine works well as a “freebie,” too.
Do you want to play mobile games that are just as scary, cute and pretty? Feist is an action-adventure side-scroller with animations that smooth your character moving across the screen like water.
Featuring a dark fairy tale tone and subtle sound design, Feist is set in a mystical, twilight forest. You play a tiny, fur-covered creature that needs to make its way through this forest to save its mate. While doing so, you’ll have to dodge more dangerous creatures lurking in the dark.
With pared-down controls consisting of forward, backward, and jump actions, Feist is very easy to play with almost no learning curve. It’s perfect for anyone who wants an activity they can dive into.
While Mars: Mars isn’t as exploration focused as some of the other games on this list, the gameplay itself is so engaging that we’re still including it. We feel this is a great tool that will help you find a way to escape.
A free-to-play side scroller, the objectives of Mars: Mars are really simple:
- When a manned space mission places an astronaut on Mars, it’s up to you, the player, to guide this astronaut across the Martian landscape.
- You do this by jumping from platform to platform using a jetpack.
- If you don’t land on the platform, your astronaut explodes.
The controls for this game are very user-friendly tap left for booster left, tap right for right. As you progress through each level, you are also expected to collect “coins.”
Once you have enough coins, MarsCorp sends you new astronauts with new skills. You can also get additional content through in-app purchases.
Overall, this game is great if you’re looking for something to unknowingly play late at night.
OPUS: Rocket of Whispers
Looking for a mobile game to play that is very story based? Check out OPUS: Rocket of Whispers, a narrative about hope and perseverance in the face of civilization’s decline.
While the subject may be too heavy for some to discuss the post-pandemic impact we thought it was still worth mentioning. After a pair of characters some 30 years after a devastating virus outbreak, players guide their journey as they search for pieces of a damaged rocket. Aim? To help the souls of the dead reach the stars through this rocket.
Best of all, you can play the game in Normal or Story Mode. The latter let you focus exclusively on the game’s complex narrative.
NB: While OPUS is officially labeled “free with in-app purchases,” and this is technically true, you must purchase the full game to play past the first “arc.”
Are you looking for an open and expansive mobile RPG game that lets you explore? Would you like the ability to create special characters, craft supplies, hunt animals, trade objects, build houses, and interact with other players?
Then you really need to check out The Trail; one of the best free to play games on this list.
Taking place in a vast, unspoiled wilderness that looks a lot like western America, you take on the role of a pioneer who has just landed, trying to make a name for himself. After you descend, you must go to Eden Falls, where you start a new life.
While the controls for this game are not as intuitive as some of the other games on this list, once you get the hang of them, operating The Trail becomes easy. The ads are also so minimal and unobtrusive that it almost feels like you’re playing paid content.
Pavilion: Touch Edition
Looking for a beautiful, beautifully animated exploration game that forces you to use your mind to progress? Then you need to give Pavilion: Touch Edition a try, which calls itself a puzzle adventure.
Even though Pavilion is a paid game, we think it’s worth the nominal fee to buy it. Pavilion’s goal is to move an animated little character through a series of mazes. Through this maze, you’ll explore hidden passages, wander through ruined staircases, and explore abandoned temples.
You’ll also open drawers, step on rune stones, ring bells, and turn off lights to achieve your goals.
While we love this game, we don’t recommend playing it late at night, especially if you’re just looking for something simple to help you relax. You have to think critically about these puzzles and not aimlessly mash buttons to progress through the maze.
Last but not least is Samorost 3. Probably our favorite game on the list. Samorost 3 is a very whimsical, completely escape and very beautiful puzzle-based adventure game. It appears as a mix between the Studio Ghibli films and Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal.
In the game, you play a gnome who travels through the vastness of space to find its “mysterious origins.” You do this by using the flute to talk to the creatures around you, and by exploring every nook and cranny in the game to find hidden objects.
There are several alien worlds for you to explore, and the game itself is a tap-and-click adventure, where you have to understand the controls intuitively to find clues on how to progress.
While Samorost 3 is a paid game, like Pavilion, we think it’s worth the price.
Explore the World While Stuck At Home
While you may be stuck indoors for now, or don’t have access to a game console or PC, you can still escape to the wider world using your phone and this mobile exploration game.