The 5 Best Android Games to Play One-Handed
Few things in life are more relaxing than a cozy mobile game. But often, life gets in the way. Sometimes, you don’t even have enough free hands to play anything on your Android device (parents, we’re looking at you)! In those moments, you need a game that’s easy to play one-handed.
Below are five one-handed Android games found on the Google Play Store that are guaranteed time-sucks.
1. 80 Days
If you’ve ever read Jules Verne’s classic novel “Around the World in 80 Days” and wondered how much planning went into Phileas Fogg’s epic journey, you’ll sort of have your answer in 80 Days. You play the role of Fogg’s servant as the two of you begin your trek in 1872 London and attempt to travel entirely around the steampunk-inspired world and dock back in London within 80 days.
You must strategically plan the duo’s route while buying local items that fetch higher prices abroad, keeping Fogg healthy, and making the right choices during conversations to learn more about the world and the routes ahead. 80 Days is an edutainment game in disguise, as you have to learn about world geography to determine the fastest and safest routes. You also learn about real-world historical events happening during your travels in 1872.
80 Days also plays like a Verne-esque choose-your-own-adventure game, written in his classical style filled with gusto and confidence. It’s well-written and makes you feel like you are walking alongside the automaton soldiers of Moscow or riding a high-speed sand train into Baghdad. The sounds and minimalist visuals bring every region to life, making 80 Days feel like a globe-trotting adventure for the ages.
Playing with one hand is also extremely easy. The gameplay involves mostly reading, scrolling, and selecting dialogue choices. You’ll need to tap a few times when you buy and sell goods, but it’s similar to reading a book on your Android device.
Download: 80 Days ($5.99)
2. Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a puzzle game about finding the proper perspective: an allegory for life. Identifying the correct perspective to solve each level’s puzzles is sometimes as easy as turning a wheel to move a platform. Other times, you may need to walk on the side of the level itself and bend the laws of gravity to walk to your end goal.
Monument Valley feels like you’re playing abstract digital art based on M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” lithograph, complete with surreal (but gorgeous) pixilated visuals and sounds that feel oddly calming, even when the Crow People caw at you and block your path. The puzzles are the perfect difficulty, and when you complete a puzzle—if only for a moment—you feel like a certified genius. It’s a gameplay loop that will have you returning until you finish the game.
The tapping and sliding of the screen feel natural and right, and it’s very easy to maneuver in-game with one hand.
Download: Monument Valley ($3.99)
3. Shattered Pixel Dungeon
Shattered Pixel Dungeon is a roguelike dungeon crawler that will kill you repeatedly. Get used to it, folks, because it’s inevitable. But that’s okay because Shattered Pixel Dungeon is procedurally generated, making no two runs feel the same.
That adds to Shattered Pixel Dungeon’s heightened sense of urgency since you can’t exactly map out the dungeon and plan for what lies ahead. In that sense, Shattered Pixel Dungeon, at times, feels more like a tense survival horror game than a dungeon crawler. Keep your wits about you because you never know what corner or room danger will be lurking…
You play as one of four heroes: a warrior, mage, rogue, or huntress, though you can only play as the warrior to start. Hero’s stats can be customized, and they all have their own unique abilities along with different subclasses. It’s a deep roguelike RPG with multiple layers of strategy, and just when you think you’ve got the game figured out, a pack of rats jumps out and pummels you to death.
Controlling Shattered Pixel Dungeon with one hand is easy enough, but the tense moments may make you jolt your hand and cause you to drop your device. Hold on to it tight because you never know what’s next!
Download: Shattered Pixel Dungeon (Free)
4. Vampire Survivors
Vampire Survivors plays like a cross between an auto battler like Auto Chess (Google Play Store) and a twin-stick shooter, but with roguelike elements. Kill enemies, and they will leave behind jewels you’ll need to collect to level up and acquire/upgrade new powerups. It seemed to come out of nowhere in 2022, but don’t think that this port is nothing more than a cash grab: it feels just as smooth as its PC and console counterparts.
Vampire Survivors is harder than it sounds at first. As your level increases, the types of enemies grow deadlier and in number. This leads you to tinker with weapons and abilities in your loadout. You will acquire and evolve weapons and abilities in each run as you race to be a deadlier force than your enemies without getting overwhelmed by the swarms.
Along the way, you will also find treasure chests containing gold and upgrades you can use to get the upper hand. Use your gold to improve abilities and unlock new characters, including a panda that throws cherry bombs and a psychic dog that’s quick on its feet. What’s not to love?
Vampire Survivors gives you the option to play either with two hands or one-handed, and both handle wonderfully. Moving your character is as simple as gliding or tapping on your device’s screen, and it’s the only movement you’ll be making besides tapping to upgrade when leveling up. Vampire Survivors controls and behaves like a stripped-down roguelike shooter, leaving only the good parts—and it works like magic.
Download: Vampire Survivors (Free)
Word guessing games like Wordle and other free mobile word games are wildly popular on Android, but what if you want to challenge a friend or a loved one to a word game throwdown? Then you need to check out Wordfeud—especially if you only have one hand to play!
Wordfeud plays exactly like Scrabble or Zynga’s Word With Friends, but without any in-app purchases or gimmicks. While there are ads in the game, they’re never intrusive. The premium version costs just $4.99—worth it if you’re going to spend hours playing against others.
Speaking of playing against others, it’s simple to invite friends and loved ones to join your game, either via Facebook, your phone’s contacts, e-mail, or username. Or, you can play with a random player and even join a Wordfeud tournament to see how you stack against other players.
Playing the game one-handed feels comfortable, too. Besides, you’re only moving tiles around a board. Unless you’re an octopus playing eight games simultaneously, you’ll be able to play Wordfeud one-handed just fine.
Download: Wordfeud (Free) | Wordfeud Premium ($4.99)
Addictive Android Games You Can Play With Just One Hand
Just because you’re busy and only have one free hand doesn’t mean that you can’t get lost in deep and addictive gameplay. Install one or all of these games on your Android device and give them a spin.
Chances are, you’ll be returning to at least one of these games long after you have two free hands!