“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” There's a lot of truth to this famous proverb. We need some room for entertainment and leisure! But how do you squeeze in studying languages with work, school, commuting, and relaxing? Well, there’s some good news: just take out your phone and play some games!
Today I’d like to present to you four of my favorite mobile games that you can use to test and improve your English skills. The selected titles are pretty casual, child-friendly and they don’t require a lot of time or effort to master. Give mobile games a chance and include them in your daily routine!
[single-player, slow-paced, puzzle game]
If you like adorable teddy bears and spelling out words, you should try out Alphabear: Words Across Time! On each level you are presented with letter blocks varying in how many times they can be used. Your task is to spell out words by using adjacent blocks (meaning, blocks that are next to each other), so that you can create a lovely bear and gain points. The longer the word, the bigger your bears are and the more points you receive after the level ends. Putting letters in random order isn’t really the most viable strategy - the game forces you to actively recall words and it tests your English vocabulary to some extent.
[singleplayer, slow-paced, puzzle game]
If you really want to test your knowledge of English idioms and proverbs, Between the lines will be the right choice. The game is very simple (in the sense of rules, the puzzles themselves can be far from it!) - in every level, you will get a visual clue that can be used to guess an idiom. Sometimes you need to count how many times a word is used, sometimes you need to pay attention to the positioning of letters or words, sometimes you need to think of a worldplay that might have been used by the authors. The puzzles can be very tricky but ultimately, it is a really good exercise of your creativity and knowledge of useful vocabulary. However, we need to warn you that the developers themselves state that many puzzles are based on British proverbs and idioms, which might make the game more challenging if you’re not really into the British variant of English.
[multiplayer, fast-paced, quiz game]
If you’re tired of playing alone, there are mobile games intended for multiple players as well. Charades! is a fun and quick game you can play during family meetings or a party with friends. Select or randomise a category (such as animals, tv series, famous places), and place a smartphone next to your forehead. The game will generate a word that other players need to describe to you. If you guess correctly, just tilt your phone downwards and a new word will be generated. Try to guess as much as possible before the time runs out! What’s really challenging and entertaining about this game is that it tests the vocabulary of all players - if either player doesn’t know the word, you just won’t get any points. And what’s the best way to learn or memorise something than to learn from your mistakes?
[multiplayer, fast-paced, quiz game]
Some of you might recognise Scattergories from childhood, as it is very similar to a game found in multiple other languages, although under different names (Państwa-miasta in Polish, Stadt, Land, Fluss in German, Nomi, cose, città in Italian etc.). In Scattergories, your task is to list as many elements starting with a given letter under a given category as possible. How many fruits starting with B can you list? And how many pieces of furniture starting with S? More answers means more points - and you’re gonna need those, because you compete with other players. Once again, this game is perfect to make you recall words and use them actively.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this short list of mobile games that can be used to improve your English. Just don’t get too addicted!