Got some time to kill? Your first reaction might be to pull out your smartphone and start browsing through Facebook and all the other social apps you use – which is fine if you’re into the endless stream of clickbait headlines, photos of your friends’ kids, and YouTube links to videos of pets doing strange things…
But if you’re craving something more stimulating than simply skimming through all the junk that filters through your social feeds, your next best option would be to start hunting around for cool apps that are entertaining and creatively challenging. Now that the world has embraced mobile technology as much as it has, you’re pretty much guaranteed to come across at least a few great apps to try out that appeal to your interests.
For starters, you can check out some of the suggested gaming apps below.
1. French Girls
Download Link: iOS
French Girls is an app where you draw other people’s selfies and have your own selfies drawn too. Since the app is community-driven, it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which you’ll quickly learn as you go about using it. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and get a very talented artist to draw you. Other times, you’ll get a drawing back that’s purposefully rude or offensive.
2. Fab Tattoo Artist Secret Salon
Download Link: Android
Ever wonder what it’s like to work as a tattoo artist? This game puts your creative ink drawing skills to the test, presenting you with all sorts of demanding customers who want tattoos to fit their unique personalities. You can get started by taking your first challenge, or alternatively play in free style mode. This game is wickedly fun if you’re fine with it looking a bit like a flash animation from 10 years ago, and the only real downsides to it are the lack of colour choice variety and limited number of challenges.
3. Drawn Together
Download Link: iOS
If you have an iPad you can try Drawn Together – a drawing game inspired by the notion that people can come up with all sorts of different creative ideas when given the same simple challenge. You get a minimal tool set of colours and shapes to come up with your own interpretations. If you don’t mind the simplicity and minimal feel of it all, this could be turn out to be a great way to give your mind a workout. On the other hand, if you prefer more options for adding as much detail as you want to your drawings, this app may not be for you.
Dots is a purposefully simple but highly addictive game. To test your speed and colour-matching skills, the game tasks you to build up your points by connecting one dot to another in order to make squares or rectangles. You can get really creative by trying to plan out how you’re going to make your next square. If you’re into minimal-style games, this is a great way to kill time.
Colormania is a truly unique gaming app that lets you play around with colours and tests your pop culture knowledge at the same time. You’ll be shown a small section of an image from recognizable brands, celebrities, TV shows, and more, which you’ll have to dig through your memory to identify and see if you can colour in correctly. This game is highly recommended for people who love pop culture.
6. Kaleidoscope Doodle Pad
You don’t need a real kaleidoscope to see the beautiful colours and patterns that can be created. This app lets you challenge yourself to make your very own, using a variety of models and brushes to work from. The interface is a little bit difficult to use for drawing, but if you can learn how to make the right gestures and pick your tools wisely, the results will be breathtaking.
7. Jigsaw Puzzle
If colouring isn’t your thing, why not try a puzzle game? With an app like this Jigsaw Puzzle one, you never have to worry about the pieces going missing. Bonus: the larger your device, the more pieces you’ll have to work with – up to 400-piece puzzles if you use the app on an iPad! This is a great alternative to physical puzzles at at a fraction of the price and the convenience of portability and durability.
8. Cross Fingers
Jigsaw puzzles can be fun but if you want to step it up a notch, try Cross Fingers – a game that challenges you to combine wooden pieces into a huge tangram puzzle. The game is designed to seriously test your thinking and imagination, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself zoning out as you focus intensely on trying to solve the puzzle.
9. Smash Hit
Got a pair of headphones handy? You’ll need it to play Smash Hit – an artsy game that takes you through strange and colourful dimensions, challenging you to move along with the sounds and smash things that get in your way. With over 50 different futuristic rooms to explore, this app has received some incredibly positive reviews from its users and has been featured as an Editor’s Choice on the iTunes App Store.
10. Let’s Create! Pottery
Who says you need clay to start experimenting with sculpting your own pottery? All you really need is this incredibly fun and easy to use pottery app, which offers you a 3D sculpting experience unlike any other. If you have a real creative fire burning inside of you and the urge for something different, this is one app that definitely fits the bill. You get to embark on ceramic-making quests where you’ll be able to mould the clay in all sorts of different formations, create your own colour palettes, and even fire up your own kiln to complete each pottery project.
11. Finger Paint Magic
Download Link: iOS
One of the best things about mobile apps is you get to use your fingers for everything. What better way then to start finger painting without all the mess of real paint? Finger Paint Magic lets you choose different brushes, adjust for size and thickness, and even create mirrored effects on your paintings. It’s one of the best finger painting apps available, and it’s free.
12. Impossible Draw
If you’re looking for a truly unique drawing experience, take an intense journey through cyberspace with Impossible Draw: an app that brings you hundreds of dream-like drawing challenges to get your creative juices really flowing. With special effects, audio tracks, and different themes to choose from, this is one of those gaming apps that really stands out from the rest.
13. One Touch Drawing
Can you draw shapes without ever lifting your finger? If you’re up for the challenge to try and do it, One Touch Drawing is the app that you need. You get some hints with arrows that point you in the right direction, but you can’t draw on the same line twice. This is one of those simple games that brings a new sense of creativity to a classic game and only gets harder as you keep going.
14. Monument Valley
Are you an architecture nerd? If you are (or you think you could be) then you’ll love Monument Valley. This stunningly difficult game guides you through strange worlds of impossible structures and optical illusions for each different challenge, all in 3D. For those who are picky about the mobile games they play and prefer them to be as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as possible, you can’t get much better than this one.
Download Link: iOS
It’s pretty incredible to see just how creative some of these gaming apps can get with 3D graphics, and Shadowmatic is no exception. For this game, you rotate abstract objects around until you can see recognizable shapes come to life in the shadows behind them. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, and your imagination will really be put to work with each new challenge.
The award-winning Blek app has been praised for its elegance and genius gameplay that’s really incomparable to anything else out there. Designed to build off of the imagination and your own unique personality, the goal of the game is to create a shape from a line that collects all coloured circles while avoiding the black holes. With a seemingly endless amount of creative possibilities and 80 levels to get through, you can count on this app for killing boredom.
17. Last Voyage
Download Link: iOS
Here’s a unique gaming app that combines the vast mysteriousness of space exploration with creative challenge. In this game, you set out on a journey to find what lies beyond human culture and technology and are faced with new concepts to explore and different puzzles to solve. For gamers who love to get lost in the stories and unique atmospheres that the visuals present, this app is a must-have.
Deemo is a game that combines both storytelling and music rhythm as you embark on a quest to help a little girl who fell from the sky to return home. The app features over 50 songs in over 150 variations, with real instrumental feedback offered as you play. It’s the perfect game for any fantasy or music lover.
For those who like the minimal look but are still looking for a good challenge, Zengrams is worth a look. The game features abstract puzzles for you to solve, inspired both by origami and logic. There are over 70 levels (with no hints) for you to work through, bringing you a completely different gaming experience with incredible visual mechanics you won’t find in any other app.
20. har•mo•ny 2
Lastly, here’s a game that combines puzzles, colour, and music all into one. The app has been praised for being both relaxing and mentally stimulating, featuring over two hours of beautiful ambient music that carries you through hundreds of mesmerizing levels where you’ll work to rebuild colour palettes. If you’re skeptical that an app can offer both stress relief and a good mental challenge at the same time, you need to give this one a try!
Every app on this list has the potential to leave you feeling like a true creative genius. You’re not just wasting time with mindless gameplay – you’re actually challenging your brain and helping yourself unleash new ideas that are just waiting to be brought to life.