Sometimes, doom-scrolling on your phone isn’t enough. Enough for what, dear admirer of the Esquire Gamer Zone? To distract yourself from the pain inflicted by this burning planet and its inhabitants. To sedate yourself with light and images and words, until the death of it all clouds your head, until you are your phone and your phone is you.

Anyway! Doom-scrolling sometimes doesn’t cut it. Right. When you need to really get away, sometimes trekking to the App Store and downloading a game or two will do the trick. Since we still see people on the subway grinding their fingers raw during furious games of Candy Crush, we thought it’d be a good time to declare the best mobile games of all time. In other words? The games that gave us comfort when we needed it. Just promise us you’ll read a book someday. In print.

Flappy Bird

For years, I had Flappy Bird on my phone—and losing the game is one of the biggest regrets I have from updating said phone. I know there are copycat games out there, but nothing will ever compare to the strategic tapping of the original. RIP Flappy.—C.S.

Angry Birds

How angry are these birds? Would an Angry Bird brutally kill Flappy Bird if it had the chance? What are the pigs? Why are the pigs? I have questions. So many questions.

Pokémon GO

“Pokémon Let’s Go to the Polls” was a real thing that happened in a presidential race. I mean, hell, two police officers recently were fired for ignoring their civil duties while catching a Snorlax. Pokémon GO may very well have brought us the last era of peace we’ll see in our lifetimes, back in the summer of 2016. For that, I’ll never forget you.—C.S.

Temple Run

If Angry Birds got a movie, then I refuse to believe that Temple Run never got an Indiana Jones-esque adventure. Only with, you know, more temples. And running.I’ll be here all night.—B.L.

Retro Games

It’s not just Candy Crush and Scrabble on your phone. I know you may think that, but you’re wrong. Tons of classic titles, like Sonic, Golden Axe, the original Final Fantasy games, Pac-Man, and so many more are downloadable for cheap. So there’s really no excuse to fill up your storage with garbage.—C.S.

Retro Bowl
There’s a reason why we shunned the 2Ks and the Maddens of the world when we named Retro Bowl our favorite sports game of 2021. It’s a genuine treat. Crafted to look like an old-school football situation, Retro Bowl pairs delightfully simple gameplay with an addicting franchise mode.—B.L.

Among Us!

Sniff out the sussy imposter. You and some friends (or strangers, or whatever) are all aboard a crew ship, but there’s one imposter killing people. It’s the online equivalent to Mafia or One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and much like Tinder in that it’ll teach you to never trust again.—C.S.
The New York Times Crossword
Nothing on this list, not even Angry Birds, can say that it has been a fixture in gamers’ lives since World War II. World War II! The New York Times and its lovely crossword? Cheers to you.—B.L.
mean what’s more of a game then love, right? Truthfully, this game has everything. Action. Role play. But mostly just comedy.—C.S.
Words With Friends

We goons at the Esquire Gamer Zone will throw Wordle in a ditch if it crosses us. Don’t step on Words With Friends, territory. That’s our first and last warning.—B.L.


Grindstone was a hit when it launched on consoles, but rest assured that this is anything but a cash-grab title. In fact, there are no microtransactions at all. Grindstone‘s mobile edition is a puzzle game that puts you in the middle of a battlefield, chaining enemies while monitoring a health bar. There is literally no way I can explain this to you, if I’m being honest. But if you love Tetris, Bejeweled, Poyo Poyo, or any damn puzzle game, Grindstone is an absolute must-try.—C.S.

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