In a world where we’re constantly connected, it’s almost impossible to stay away from the news and not be bombarded by some harrowing events taking place somewhere in the world.

It isn’t surprising, then, that 2018 also came with its fair share of games set in dystopian societies. Seeing as you probably have more time to kill in the holidays (see what we did there?) and if you consider yourself more of a Grinch than a Cindy Lou Who, have a look at these five mobile games. The setting might be rather grim at times, but the silver lining is that these games are gritty and sometimes quite innovative in their alternative approach to mobile gaming.

Plague, Inc.

You have to control and manipulate a virus to turn into an epidemic, which turns into a pandemic with the sole purpose of wiping out the human race. This game will also help you to understand how actual epidemics reach the, well, epidemic proportions that they do. Download for iOS or Android.

Limbo

This side-scrolling puzzle adventure game sees a boy looking for his sister, but the monochromatic and rather eerie style of the game makes it unique. Download it for Android or iOS.

Lifeline

Now, this is something totally different, and perhaps the essence of what a mobile game should be. The protagonist of the game, Taylor – the sole survivor of the crash of the Varia somewhere on a barren moon close to the star Tau Ceti in the constellation of Cetus – is able to establish communications with a single person who needs to help him. You take on the role of advising and trying to help Taylor see the ordeal through, and the game takes place in real time, notifying you of messages from Taylor via your phone’s alerts. You can download this text adventure on Android and iOS devices.

The End of the World

In this beautifully designed game, you assume the role of a grieving man that has just lost the love of his life. While this might sound depressing, this game might actually be useful to people who are, themselves, learning to navigate the avenues of loss. Download it for iOS devices.

Finger Driver

Games that distract us are generally quite popular, due to their meditative nature. Finger Driver’s premise is described by its name. Steer a car down a track using the steering wheel on the screen. It’s so simple, you’ll find yourself playing it all the time. Ideal for when you just want to take your mind off it all. Download it for Android and iOS.

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