15 totally amazing one-thumb games to play on your iPhone 6
Love gaming but don't have banana thumbs? Don’t despair! Read our list!
You might have noticed that Apple has released the iPhone 6, and it comes in two sizes: big and bigger.
Unless you’re armed with banana thumbs, that means all those great one-thumb games you used to play while on a train/crossing the road without looking out for traffic/simultaneously in an epic swordfight with Zorro must now be consigned to the trash.
BUT WAIT! There are still loads of great games that you can totally play, even if your tiny digit can only reach a relatively small amount of the screen. Here are 15 of our favourites…
READ MORE: Apple iPhone 6 review
This insanely addictive puzzle game has you sliding numbered tiles around a grid, merging them to create ever-higher numbers until you run out of space. The concept is simple, like Tetris. But it will invade your dreams, like Tetris. Seriously. There’s no escape.
The game’s also surprisingly cute, each card having its own character and personality. And it’s also approximately 2048 times better than 2048, which horribly ripped it off.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Big buttons, which are easy to reach, and the game enables you to swipe from anywhere.
Doug Dug. (£1.49)
Doug is a dwarf on a mission. His aim is to dig deep underground and grab all of the shiny things, to satisfy his hunger for bling. The key is to not get greedy and end up crushed to death by avalanches that you mostly cause through overly ambitious digging, or get eaten by various subterranean nasties. It’s a bit of Mr Driller mashed into a smattering of Dig Dug, and it’s very addictive indeed.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Drag-hold anywhere to move. New games are easy to start. Minor thumb gymnastics are required for activating special objects you probably won’t use much anyway.
The original side-on leapy game, where a tiny figure bounds across rooftops and through office windows, attempting to escape from a city seemingly being torn apart by giant monsters. Fast-paced and with a rousing soundtrack, Canabalt now also boasts several alternate modes, soundtracks and leapy people, giving it a much-needed longevity boost.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! The main game is tap-to-jump, but it’s played in landscape and the entry screen requires some stretching to reach the options.
Sausage!! Sausage!! Sausage!! (free/69p)
The App Store description sums up this game nicely: “This is the best game for a billion people who loves sausages in the world!!” [sic] And in order to show your love for the sausages, which are cruelly being dropped from above, you must catch them in a bun. It’s the most basic of one-thumb timing tests, but it’s fun and what more could you want? Apart from mustard, obviously.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Simple gameplay and easy-to-reach buttons for starting a new game.
Fotonica takes Canabalt, turns it 90 degrees, zooms into a first-person view, and then shoves the lot through a Rez-style vector visual filter of fragmented landscapes. The arcade mode comprises seven really tough set courses, and then you can try your luck at three insanely challenging endless modes. It’s a gorgeous endless runner, and perfect for one-thumbing it with a new iPhone.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! In-game is hold to run and let go to jump. The menus might need Reachability on the iPhone 6 Plus, but otherwise it’s all good. It also works in landscape or portrait (the latter of which is best).
Forget-Me-Not isn’t only the finest old-school arcade game on the iPhone, but it’s so good that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the very best 1980s classics. You roam randomly-generated mazes, munching flowers, grabbing a key, and then making for the exit. All the while, creatures materialise and merrily go about annihilating everything around them, within seconds transforming a sedate Pac-Man-style game into a crazed neon battleground.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Swipe to move, and big menu buttons that are easy to reach.
Beat Sneak Bandit (£1.99)
Before Simogo went all literary with Year Walk and Device 6, they created oddball arcade games. This one’s a mash-up of single-screen platforming, stealth and rhythm action, with every movement controlled by tapping the screen. The aim: steal all the clocks, avoid the gaze of the guards, and escape with your life! It’s absurdly clever, and we won’t even hold the lack of a ‘tallscreen’ aspect ratio against it.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! The main game’s great, but you might need another thumb during the level-select screens.
Tiny Wings (69p)
This sweet survival title features a bird with tiny wings that nonetheless dreams of flying. Cunningly, she’s figured out that by sliding on her belly down hills, momentum will propel her off of the next. On holding the screen, the bird folds her wings; you must time this right, so she always hits downhill sections, and can then get as far as possible before the sun sets. A second game mode transforms Tiny Wings into a breakneck racer, featuring the bird’s four chicks speeding home in order to win the biggest fish.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! Single-thumb in-game, but the menus sometimes need an additional thumb to reach.
Zen Bound 2 (£1.99)
One of the most beautiful games to grace handheld devices, Zen Bound 2 is about wrapping rope around sculptures, which then paints them on contact or via the use of paint bombs. It’s a simple concept, but effortless one-thumb movement gives you a huge amount of control, and the environment somehow feels very real, despite its surreal nature and the fact you’re pawing at glass.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! A gloriously tactile game, and you can spin the view with a single thumb – even on level-select screens.
Badland resembles Tiny Wings set in a kind of alien hell. Flapping critters battle their way through a forest filled with a suspicious number of death-dealing devices, from spinning saw blades to lethal lasers. You tap to flap, grab power-ups to clone yourself, and figure out a route to the end. It might be pretty, but Badland very much has an evil glint in its eye.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! Simple one-thumb in-game play, but menu buttons are all over the place.
Slingshot Racing (69p)
The idea of a one-thumb racing game might fill you with suspicion, but Slingshot Racing works wonderfully. Set across dozens of icy tracks, you race steampunk sleds issued with grappling hooks that shoot out to nearby towers when you hold the screen. Momentum then speeds you along, beyond opponents, and, in some cases, mere inches ahead of terrifying contraptions out to crush you.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! One thumb’s enough for playing the game, but it’ll need to be a banana thumb to reach all the menus.
The ball here likes bouncing and moving on, but very much dislikes spikes, hence this game’s name. Press the screen and it scrolls. Time it right and the ball won’t get a spike up its… well, whatever a ball has for a bottom. Get really good and you’ll be awarded loads of combos and credits for unlocking new and bizarre game modes. For extra challenge, play in portrait, which gives you way less warning regarding nearby hazards.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! The interface is a bit of a dog’s dinner, but readily accessible in portrait or landscape.
Winter Walk (free)
Winter Walk finds a gent out for a stroll on a snowy, windy evening. It’s imperative that, as a gent, he not lose his hat, and so you have to hold the screen during gusts of wind. The longer you survive, the more of the gent’s thoughts are displayed. That’s pretty much it, but this is a sweet title with gentle humour, and a serious survival challenge is lurking beneath the charm.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Hold anywhere to start and anywhere to play. Lovely.
Relic Rush (69p)
Imagine Tomb Raider as designed by someone who owns an 8-bit home computer and a very broken joystick. You still have to speed through dusty environments full of traps and things out to kill you, but only your thumb can help you to victory. This one’s an auto-runner, with you pausing on holding the screen. At first, it’s easy to avoid the odd lazy (yet deadly) frog, but later on, your timing must be perfect to get you past lava traps, ghosts and snowball-lobbing yetis, and – importantly – to the idol before it turns from gold to tin.
Thumbability: TWO THUMBS UP! Big tappable buttons and you hold anywhere during the game.
Food Run HD (£1.99)
Your gaming life’s incomplete until you’ve experienced the sheer joy of a burger with legs wall-jumping like a meaty ninja. But this happens often in Food Run, where fruit, doughnuts and other tasty treats make a dash for level’s end, avoiding various hazards along the way. It’s colourful, simple platforming fun, but with plenty of smarts in both level design and controls. You could say it’s very tasty, only then you’d be arrested by the pun police – and that would be bad.
Thumbability: ONE THUMBS UP! Chunky buttons, but they’re a bit of a stretch. In-game, everything’s one-thumb leaping though.