We all know that when it comes to using the bathroom, you’re supposed to go in, do your business, and leave as quickly as possible. For a number of reasons we won’t get into, however, that’s not always what happens. Sometimes you need to, or want to … ah, camp out for a few minutes.
Sure, you could spend that time planning your day or plotting the next Great American Novel. Or you could go in prepared, with a magazine tucked under your arm or Twitter loaded up on your phone. But really, aren’t video games more fun than any of that?
Here are five portable games you can fully experience in under five minutes. Better yet, they’re games you can keep coming back to day after day — or hour after hour.
1. Crossy Road for iOS and Android
It’s been a long time since Frogger captivated the gaming public, which means it’s high time for a resurgence. Thankfully, developer Hipster Whale has recognized this glaring issue and released Crossy Road, a game about guiding a chicken over streams, railroad tracks, and across busy roads. Each session ends when you mess up, so the farther you go, the higher your score.
The gameplay could hardly be simpler. You tap the screen to hop forward and swipe to go any other direction. Most play-throughs take less than a minute, making it perfect for those moments when you’re stalled in a bathroom stall. But the colorful graphics look great and the leaderboards can be mighty competitive. When you beat a friend’s high score, you can shove it in his or her face on Twitter or the next time you see that person. Just make sure you wash your hands first.
2. Peggle Blast for iOS and Android
The original Peggle is a pachinko-like game in which you shoot a limited number of balls at a vertical cluster of pegs. Each peg the ball touches disappears. Your goal is to nix all the orange pegs before running out of balls.
Peggle Blast is a free-to-play version of the game for smartphones that’s ideal for quick play sessions. It’s like Candy Crush Saga in that it gives you various goals to achieve in each level and rewards you points and in-game currency for achieving them. Better yet, you can play it one-handed, which makes it an even more versatile bathroom game — am I right, fellas?
Perhaps best of all, when you clear a stage, the game blares out a spirited rendition of “Ode to Joy,” making you feel like you’ve accomplished something special. On second thought, you’ll want to play this with earbuds in the bathroom — otherwise, things may get awkward.
3. Fantasy Life for Nintendo 3DS
Fantasy Life is one of those rare games that lets you be whomever you want to be. You can play as the hero who goes out and slays deadly beasts to save the day, or you can work as the unsung baker of the town who whips up delicious treats for citizens and adventurers alike. Either way, you’re going to be playing a lot of mini-games.
Fantasy Life is packed full of mini-games that fit perfectly into those moments of quiet bathroom-based reflection. Crack open your 3DS and bake some bread, work in the mine, or craft swords. Do whatever job you’ve chosen in the fantastical world of Fantasy Life. If you spend just a little time each bathroom break, you might be surprised how much fantasy work you can do.
4. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth for PS Vita
Here’s a bizarre game that’s bathroom-ready on a number of levels. First is that the average play session only lasts a few minutes. Second, the game world is littered with … excrement. You play as Isaac, a boy who’s been banished to the basement of his house. When you start exploring the cellar, you find a multi-tiered dungeon full of monsters and poo. It’s kind of like a Zelda game (except for the poo).
Rebirth is a dual-stick shooter, so you control Isaac’s movement with the left analog stick and direct a steady flow of projectiles at enemies with the right. The game is full of surprises, from random bosses to wicked power-ups. The only danger with a game as addictive as this is that you’ll never want to leave the porcelain throne.
5. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
Fighting games are great for filling limited windows of play time, because a single match only takes a few minutes to complete. And when it comes to portable fighting games, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one than Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
What other game lets you pit Mario against Pikachu in a hectic battle of physical prowess? Where else can you kick a buzzing hornet’s nest at Pac-Man’s giant head, or turn Sonic the Hedgehog into a Bullet Bill? You can do all that in the space of three minutes in Smash, so why not do it while you’re relaxing in the lavatory?
The great thing about mobile and handheld games is that you can take them anywhere. And since our organic human bodies still make us jog to the bathroom every couple of hours, you might as well enjoy your time while you’re in there.
Asphalt 8: Airborne on iOS and Android
While you might be on the porcelain throne in one sense, you could just as easily be sitting in the driver’s seat of a blazing fast sports car in Asphalt 8: Airborne. The Asphalt series has been around for over 10 years, and recent entries in the series have been well received on mobile. So buckle in, and get ready to go on a death defying race, as you take care of business on the road and in the bathroom all at once.
7. Not Golf for Android
If you prefer something a little more calm when you’re in the bathroom, why not play a few rounds of golf, or Not Golf. Another free game for Android, Not Golf lets you simply hit around a ball, aiming for the goal. Take your time and play multiple holes if you plan on being on the toilet for a while, or go for a speed run and see whether you can finish golfing before you finish using the toilet.
Additional writing by Mark Knapp.
Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed