Not all games are created equal for people with chronic illnesses, as some can be tough to follow on brain fog days or be too loud and bright if you deal with sensory issues. So we asked our chronic illness community which smartphone games they like to play. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you entertained (or even teach you a new skill) without adding more stress to your body, check out their recommendations.
On Fun Hospital, you can build your own hospital from the ground up. Create a medical team, design treatment rooms, care for patients, and even create or join a union — basically, this is one hospital you’re in complete control of.
“For those who remember the good old Theme Hospital, it is similar and absolutely awesome. It also has a guild system so connecting with other people is easy. Plus a lot of players seem to be chronically ill or work in the medical field,” Sia Seifert said.
Download Fun Hospital — Tycoon for free from Google Play.
Join a clan (or start your own), fight other clans and defend your village using spells, cannons, walls and more. Since you have to play in a “clan,” the game can be a great way to connect with friends or make new ones.
“I have two different accounts so I can play any time of day, even if my other clansmen aren’t online!” Michelle Boehrs said.
Download Clash of Clans for free from Google Play and iTunes.
Tsum tsums are cute, round versions of Disney characters, and in the tsum tsum game, players can collect tsum tsums and earn points when you get three or more of the same kind. Janine Trala said she prefers this game when brain fog prevents her from playing in-depth puzzle and strategy games.
“The simple Disney games make me feel like I won something and also is something my daughter and I can share!” Trala said. “We compare what emojis or tsum tsum characters we have won with each other. Just one more thing to have in common with her since I can’t do a lot of the physical games.”
Download Disney Tsum Tsum for free from Google Play and iTunes.
If you want to learn a new skill while feeling like you’re playing on your phone, check out Duolingo. Choose from more than 20 languages and play games that teach you vocabulary, grammar, speaking and listening.
“It makes learning a new language fun. The memory aspect helps continue to heal my brain from a concussion,” Jezzika Dee explained.
Download Duolingo for free from Microsoft, Google Play and iTunes.
“I love aquariums and can’t keep up with them as much as I use to, so this fills the void,” Jessica Clark explained. “It’s like the other match/break shapes games but you win coins to buy fish and decorations for the tanks that you unlock. I love it!”
Download Fishdom for free from Google Play and iTunes.
Even if you’ve never worked on a farm a day in your life, you can become an expert farmer in FarmVille. Harvest crops, bake goodies, raise animals and join a co-op to interact with other farmers.
“I’ve been playing since it’s debut and have even met chronic illness warriors through playing that I’m still Facebook friends with years later,” Bin Thomas said. “When I’m in a ton of pain there’s nothing like a low key distraction to get you through. Also helps to have something to do when brain fog makes it impossible to read.”
Download Farmville 2: Country Escape for free from Google Play and iTunes.
This peaceful game allows your koi to chase and eat other fish, breed and create patterned offspring and ultimately transform into dragons.
“It’s such a simple premise but when your koi turns into a dragon it gives a real sense of achievement. And the music is soothing so my anxieties and stress just melt away,” Blythe Varney said.
Download Zen Koi for free from Google Play and iTunes.
In Covet Fashion, you can “shop” for clothes from real brands, create outfits, enter style challenges and vote on other players’ looks. Brittany M. Jones said she loves this game because it allows her to style outfits she wouldn’t be able to wear due to her illness.
“It also allows me to feel like I am going on a shopping spree without leaving my home or spending any money,” Jones added.
Download Covet Fashion for free from Google Play and iTunes.
Word Cookies is essentially a word search, and is a great pick for those looking for a game that builds your vocabulary and puzzle-solving skills.
“It helps my brain stay as sharp as possible and it’s fun and passes the time,” said Deborah McDermitt Castro.
Download Word Cookies for free from Google Play and iTunes.
Carcassonne is a real board game similar to Settlers of Catan, in which players place tiles featuring parts of a French landscape on the board, connecting features like roads and grasslands. Players then place a meeple on the board, which scores points. iTunes offers a version for your smartphone, no unwieldy board required.
“It’s a simple enough game that I can manage it on my fibro fog days, but challenging enough to be fun all the time,” Kate Winter Davis said.
Download Carcassonne for $9.99 from iTunes.
Pinterest isn’t a game per se, but you can easily get lost in pinning clothes, DIY projects, health advice, memes and more.
“From funny jokes to thought provoking articles and yummy recipes to try on my good days it’s my must-have app,” explained Jessica Urban.
Download Pinterest for free from Google Play and iTunes.
An oldie but a goodie — match candies to create three in a row or matches of four to create new candies. Jenny Milburn said she likes playing Candy Crush when she’s in a flare because it’s something fun to focus on that isn’t over-stimulating.
“I can turn the volume and brightness all the way down and pop some bottles,” Milburn said.
Download Candy Crush for free from Microsoft, Google Play and iTunes.
If you love to cook but aren’t able to spend as much time in the kitchen as you’d like, chef Gordon Ramsay’s game may be a fun alternative. Visit different kitchens around the world, compete in cooking challenges and battle other players.
“I love cooking alongside Gordon Ramsay,” said Rocio Saavedra.
Download Restaurant Dash with Gordon Ramsay for free from Google Play and iTunes.
Yes, there is an entire game devoted to hatching and selling eggs. It’s laid-back and doesn’t require lots of advanced strategy.
“It’s calming, requires no brain power, has a lovely little jingle, and is super cute!” said Shauna Corr.
Download Egg, Inc. for free from Google Play and iTunes.
The classic TV game show is now able to be played on your phone. Spin the wheel, guess letters and solve the puzzle.
“I don’t feel like I’m mindlessly staring at my phone but it’s not that hard,” Sami Higgens said.
Download Wheel of Fortune for free from Google Play and iTunes.
Have a game you love to play? Let us know in the comments below.