What is an idle game? Well, they’re sort of hard to pin down. In a way, they’re games where you don’t do very much. But this is a massive genre, filled with twists and fresh takes, and there’s much more to an idle game than not doing much.

Idle games are big business on the App Store and the Play Store these days. And you know what that means – some of them aren’t very good. Which is why we’ve written this guide.

If you’re looking for an idle game to fill up a few minutes of your time here and there, we recommend giving one of these a try.

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Realm Grinder

Realm Grinder is one of the biggest idle games out there, both in terms of player base and size. You’re building an entire realm, and there are loads of things to micro-manage while you do.

There are a dozen different factions you can chose to side with, a vast number of upgrades and buildings, spells to unlock and much, much more. There’s months of gameplay here, and new events crop up regularly too.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

AFK Arena

This one’s got a focus on fantasy scrapping. You build up a team of heroes and they head out into the world to plunder, smash and generally do heroic things. Save the world and all that jazz.

There are crossovers galore, loads of characters to pick from and the game looks sumptuous as well. If you’re looking for an AFK battler that’s polished to a mirror shine, this is the one for you.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

Fallout Shelter

It’s been around for a long while, but Fallout Shelter is still one of the most addictive idle games on mobile. Plus it’s got that sparkly Fallout branding, so you know it’s going to be put together with meticulous care.

You’re in charge of the residents of the titular shelter, setting them tasks, protecting your base and building up your society. If you’re not careful you’ll lose weeks of your life to this one.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

AdVenture Capitalist

Money money money money. Money. That’s what this one is about. Start with a lemonade stand and slowly but surely become a gajazillionaire. Top hats and monocles a-go-go.

There’s a simplicity to AdVenture Capitalist that’s endearing at first and soon becomes addictive. You’ll pop in to check on things a couple of times and then it’ll become a habit that it’s super tough to break. In a good way.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

Tap Titans 2

Giant bosses await in this mega-scrapathon. Which is a real thing. You’ll recruit fighters, upgrade them with the coins you earn from battles, then rinse and repeat.

It’s a neat system and it’s got a few twists to keep things interesting. Join a clan to fight together, and team-up in global battles to show everyone who’s boss. There’s more than 150 characters to collect too, so you’re going to be at it for a while.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

Bitcoin Billionaire

No one really knows what a bitcoin is, but the aim of this game is to have billions of them. Sounds sensible. You start off in a pokey bedroom office, expanding your bitcoin mining adventure as you earn more and more made-up money.

There’s some cutesy pixel art-ish graphics and on top of that, this is a game with its tongue firmly jammed in the fleshy bits of its cheek. It’s also a lot of fun. We call that a twofer.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

War Tortoise 2

This one throws shooting into the mix. And giant tortoises. So really it’s got everything a growing mobile gamer needs. You can take control of the guns and blap a whole bunch of enemies, but the tortoise continues its march when you’re not playing.

If you’re looking for an idle game with a bit more of the game and a bit less of the idle, then we’d definitely recommend checking out War Tortoise 2. And not just because of the war tortoises, although they are super cool.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

Idle Miner Tycoon

If you’ve played any mobile game with ads over the past few years then you’ve probably seen something about this one. It’s about mining, in the most literal sense. Dig stuff out of the ground, make money, dig more stuff out of the ground.

There’s a compulsive rhythm to Idle Miner Tycoon that loads and loads of other games strive for. It’s difficult to think of one that does it better though. Give it a try and find out.

Download from the App Store and Play Store

Dungeon Inc

Instead of playing the hero, in Dungeon Inc you’re the villain. You need to build and populate your subterranean lair and keep those pesky do-gooders out by any means necessary. Usually by whomping them good.

You need to hire your staff – witches, orcs, ghouls and the like – expand your operations and make as much money as you can. And then protect that money from loot-grabbing “heroes”. Sounds like fun, yeah?

Download from the App Store and Play Store

Nonstop Knight 2

Another action-packed twist on the idle game. You’re playing a knight who’s slashing and slicing their way through a series of levels. You control their super powers, and that’s it. Gain loot, toughen up, keep on moving.

There’s a whole heap of fun to be had here, and the added level of challenge isn’t exactly going to keep you on your toes, but it is going to keep you engaged. Dip in, dip out, earn as much as you can. Bosh.

Download from the App Store and Play Store