How To Remove a Phone Case; Suggestions for Phone Games for My Mom

FIRST: I have been trying to get a phone case off of my phone for three days. Intermittently, I mean. Not without ceasing. I got a new phone, and so I needed a new case, and then Paul put the new case on without taking off the sticker on the back of the phone, so then the sticker showed through. But then I couldn’t get the case off. Paul tried and ended up damaging it, leaving a small sharp point on the top. So I searched online and found this video by I think a child, with an idea of how to do it, and it totally worked. (I showed it to Paul, who suggested I might want to start attending the Technology for Seniors class at the library. HE COULDN’T GET THE CASE OFF EITHER.) I have an android phone and that may be why I had to slide the card down to the bottom corner rather than up to the top corner, but it totally popped the case right off. (Idea starts at 0:50.)

Second, speaking of phones, my mom needs suggestions for phone games. She likes a very particular type of game: the kind where you play the same game over and over with varying degrees of success, NOT the kind where you endlessly level up. So for example, her top favorite game is Solitaire: you play the same game over and over, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard, but you don’t then level up, you just start over.

It isn’t that it can’t level up at all. Back at Christmastime, she liked that ornament-smashing game on the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar: as you complete each level it goes to the next—but it only goes to level five or something, and it’s always the same five levels. Maybe sometimes you get through all five and then you win; maybe other times you only get to level two or three or four before you lose; but it is always the SAME levels, again and again.

She likes Candy Crush pretty well, but doesn’t like that it endlessly levels up with new challenging features. She’d be happier if Candy Crush was a five-level game where you always start at level one and see if you can get to level five without losing a life. (Sometimes Candy Crush has special mini-games like that—but they’re temporary, and they change.)

If you are thinking, “Why doesn’t she just play the first five levels of a game over and over?,” that is something she has thought of, but it lacks the satisfying quality of a game that is supposed to be played that way: she has to keep track herself of the levels, and it doesn’t tell her she’s won if she makes it to the fifth level, and she knows she is SUPPOSED to keep going. It’s all wrong.

So she and I are wondering if you can suggest more games of the sort she likes.

56 thoughts on “How To Remove a Phone Case; Suggestions for Phone Games for My Mom

    1. Squirrel Bait

      I was just coming here to recommend 2048. I play it endlessly when I’m anxious and it’s quite soothing. There is also a very similar game called Threes.

      I also keep re-playing Cake Mania Main Street on my (Android) tablet. I’m not sure if fits your mom’s criteria because there are sort of “levels,” but I find it very pleasing and re-playable.

    2. Mika

      I third 2048. And it now comes in fun versions like Cupcakes or Flowers instead of numbers (instead of doubling numbers by matching, you keep matching same cupcake tiles together to create a more elaborate cupcake. Whatever the version , it is indeed very soothing.

    3. liz

      I fourth 2048, and was just coming here to do that!!

      Also, Word Warp (timed game, 2 minutes to get as many words as you can out of six letters. You win if you get a six-letter word (and one is ALWAYS possible), and then you move onto another set of letters, but it doesn’t get harder.

  1. Sian

    I’m not sure if she has an iPhone or an Android, but for the iPhone I have a game called Card Shark Collection (Deluxe). It’s $3.99 in Canada, not sure in the US. It basically has every card game you could ever think of (plus more you’ve never heard of) and lots of different versions of solitaire. It’s impossible to get bored because even if you tire of one game, there’s always another to try.

  2. Leah

    1010! (Why do these games have numbers instead of names??) I love this game. It is hard to explain. Kind of like tetris, but slower and not stressful. It is always the same. No levels. You just keep stacking blocks in a grid and when you fill a row it disappears. They keep giving you more blocks until you get stuck and don’t have anywhere to put it. When you run out of space you’re done. No levels. Each time you start at 0 and see how many points you can get. It is a good stress reliever game.

    1. Ruby

      I came here to suggest 1010 as well! I discovered it on a family vacation once, and then my mom asked me what it was and got it on her own phone, and anyway long story short that vacation is now known in family lore as “The Vacation of 1010.”

      I’d especially recommend this if your mom likes Tetris, but I’d still recommend it even if she doesn’t. I’m not crazy about Tetris, but 1010 is one of my favorites.

    2. Dawn

      I was going to recommend 1010 too. I love that it’s not timed and it also doesn’t end the “round” when you close the app — I can play it whenever I need a break or have a free minute, and pick up where I left off the next time without having to start over. I play it at night because I find it very soothing in a mindless, rhythmic way. It doesn’t get me all stressed out right before bed like that $%&# Candy Crush. LOL

    3. Chris

      Yes again to 1010! She might also like “Six!” and “Merged!” – that one is my favorite. It’s like 2024 but even more fun!

  3. Kate

    It sounds like your mom would love Rules! (The exclamation point is part of the game name – not a measure of my enthusiasm.) It technically has ~50 “levels” but it’s not a leveling up game. Each screen has 16 tiles with little icons on them (phones, animals, robots, etc.), and each icon has a corresponding number. You start at level one and follow the “rule” at the top of the screen (e.g., tap all red icons). If you succeed, you move to level 2 where you follow the new rule (e.g., tap all sixes) and then do the first rule, which you need to remember because it’s not displayed. I’m explaining this poorly, but you essentially need to be able to remember a certain number rules at a time and then it starts with a new set of rules (being intentionally vague because it’s fun to be surprised when you play). As the levels progress, the rules get harder to remember/follow and the time to complete gets faster. If you lose- no matter how high you’ve gone- you start back at level 1. It’s a very satisfying game for someone who actually enjoys replaying earlier levels, and the games take less than 10 minutes even when you are practiced enough to get to high levels.

  4. Carrie

    Somehow you’ve managed to describe exactly the type of games I enjoy, but have never been able to articulate. I like the game Six which most closely meets the criteria you listed above. I also really like Flow Free, it’s not the exact type of game you describe but It leaves me with feeling satisfied when I play. I’ll also third 2048.

  5. Lawyerish

    That ornament smashing game was THE BEST. That’s exactly the type of game I like, too! I may or may not have ripped the laptop out of my own daughter’s hands when I couldn’t wait any longer for my turn AND she kept moving TOO SLOWLY and wrecking our score.

    I have nothing helpful to add because I’m scared that if I put games like that on my phone, I will never do anything else with my life. Other people do not seem to have this problem, but I would fixate until my eyes dropped out of my head and I no longer had a job.

    Please tell your mom that I also mentioned her in my post about the Grand Canyon. Maybe she and I could start an organization and make some YouTube videos devoted to safety at national parks.

    1. Susan

      Oh Lawyerish, she DID tell me, and I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to read your post. I wondered … have you ever been tempted to visit the National Park called (oddly) “Black Canyon of the Gunnison?” I’m going to see if I can attach a photo here, because I think you would appreciate the view in the same way I did. I’ll try to attach one:

      Rats, it doesn’t seem to be sticking. I’ll send it to Swistle to send to you!

  6. Nora

    I enjoy solitaire card games so here are three unusual ones I’ve found:
    Sage Solitaire – making pairs, runs, etc. from stacks of cards to try and get to the bottom of the stacks
    Yaniv – swapping single high cards or pairs or straights to get the lowest score before your two opponents and calling “Yaniv”
    Card Crawl – I love this game and it’s difficult to describe because it’s a dungeon/medieval card game where there’s a bit of a learning curve as to what each card does and how to play them, but not an overwhelming amount of time.

  7. Leah

    Look at “Hexagon Colors” – there are timed levels or endless but ti doesn’t seem to ever get harder, it just keeps being mindless but varied enough to be interesting.

    1. Sarah!

      I love Dots! “Two Dots” is my favorite of the 3.

      Also, HEX FRVR is excellent. 100 Balls is fun but annoying at the same time, but sounds like something she might like.

  8. Sarah

    Othello is pretty fun! Like the board game but you just play against the game until one of you wins. No levels.

  9. Celeste

    Jumble, Tetris, Fruit Ninja, Sudoko. I like what your mom likes–a way to chill out, non-competitively.

  10. HereWeGoAJen

    I watched a YouTube video by a child once who taught me to change the battery in my roomba. It was definitely a child because at the beginning he said “I only have a few minutes before I have to leave for school.”

  11. KeraLinnea

    I will never not suggest Monument Valley when someone is looking for a new game. It doesn’t have levels, per se; subsequent stages do build on what you’ve done before, but the level of difficulty doesn’t increase. It is by far the most beautiful game I’ve ever played, and the soundtrack is amazing…very soothing and lovely. I found this game one weekend when I had a severe sinus headache. Watching TV was making my head hurt worse, reading was making it worse, but I was in too much pain to sleep, and bored to death of staring at the ceiling. This game, with it’s gentle colors and soft music, was playable with a raging headache, and I could feel stress draining from my body as I played. The downside is that it costs 4.99 to buy, but I think it’s worth it. You forget the trick to some of the levels, so you can play it over again without feeling like you’re repeating yourself, and there are a couple of expansion levels you can buy as well.

  12. Kelli

    All the ones already suggested are good, and I would add Wood Puzzle. It gives you Tetris-type blocks three at a time, and you have to form complete vertical or horizontal rows, which disappear and give you room to keep on. There’s no time limit so you can strategize, and the game is over when you can’t place anymore blocks. It just keeps your all time high score to beat,but you start over every time you lose.

  13. Eli Aravena

    What about SET and 24? I also enjoy the dots game. Particularly on the winter’s night setting, where it snows while I play.

  14. Tessie

    I really wish my parents would start playing phone games. I just returned from a visit and the cognitive decline is getting noticeable. My mom reads, but I think it’s not quite the same.

    TECHNOLOGY FOR SENIORS, oh FTLOG. The fact that you even consulted YouTube puts you miles ahead of many people our age, believe me.

  15. Ruby

    This comments section is giving me lots of ideas for games to get on my own phone! Your mom and I have similar preferences, it seems.

    Another commenter already suggested my favorite non-leveling-up game of all time (1010), but I really do think your mom would like it!

    Does your mom like logic games? 0h h1 has been an on-and-off favorite of mine. It’s a game where you have to fill up a grid with red and blue squares by following certain rules: no more than two squares of the same color next to each other, no two rows can be alike, etc. It’s simple in theory but can be pretty challenging in practice. There are “levels” in the sense that you can choose the size of the grid you play on, but then it just stays at that size/difficulty unless you change it again.

  16. Nicole

    Wow, am I your mom?? I love the same type of games & I was so frustrated by the new challenges in Two Dots that I uninstalled.
    Here’s my current (& only installed) game: Bubble Poke. My recommendation to her: 1. Play Classic (no levels, tells you when you beat your previous high score.) 2. In Classic, change settings (3 dots right upper corner) to Side gravity: ON. Push new columns: ON.
    Trust.
    Signed, Swistle’s other mom

  17. lynn

    The app version of Ingenious is good. It’s also a board game but in the app you can play against the computer or against another person. It’s about placing tiles in a hexagonal grid and scoring points for how many of the same color in a line.

  18. Britni

    I like boggle? It’s mostly the same over and over but I like to try to stretch my mind and find different/longer words

  19. Superjules

    I am following these comments with interest because apparently your mom and I have the very same taste in games.
    This is why I have a like-dislike relationship with the Mario Bros Wii game. I LOVE the fun elements (the propeller hats! The ride-on Yoshis! The tiny-fy mushroom!) but I don’t like how the levels keep GETTING HARDER.

  20. Carmen

    Doodle Jump. A cute little guy constantly jumps and has to move her way up the screen. There’s propeller hats and springs and things to do that will help her jump higher and the odd bad guy to avoid. You only have to move the phone side-to-side to control the direction she jumps. There’s lots of choices as to theme (Easter, Halloween, Pirate, Christmas, etc.) and all are adorable. It’s pretty mindless. When you fall, you start again from the bottom and I think the layout of the steps you’re jumping on change every time you start again. So to sum up: no levels, mindless, endless.

    Another option might be Tiny Wings. There are levels, sort of, but not in all areas of the game; there are different options like a race, or a setting where you try to attain goals to keep going, etc.

  21. A.

    Domino Drop is my favorite game right now on iPhone! It is a falling pieces puzzle game with three different modes/ways to play. Nothing to do with leveling up.

    Puzzlejuice is a Tetris-like word game but it hasn’t been updated in the App Store in a long time. My phone warns me that it can slow down my phone, but I have played this game for YEARS and still love it.

  22. Willa

    I also really recommend 1010! It’s very satisfying, very relaxing, strategic, unstressful, pace-yourself kinda game.

    Also Stack. Literally a block slides over a bottom block, and you tap to make it land perfectly. If you don’t, the part that is hanging off gets cut off for the next block–if you do, the size stays the same for the next block. The goal is to see how many blocks tall you can get your tower. The blocks change color in a gradient way, and it’s very nice to see your colorful tower at the end.

  23. Gigi

    I would think just about any word game would fill the bill for your mom. Currently, I’ve got Lexathon on my phone – basically, it’s like Boggle in that you find as many words as you can.

  24. CC Donna

    What!? Really!? Your mom is playing games on her phone and needs suggestions for more satisfying games!? I would have bet large sums of money that I would never have seen the day! (-:

  25. Lynn

    I also really like Dots, which has been mentioned here a lot, and now I’m addicted to Monkey Wrench – it’s kind of like a word find puzzle, you get a free one daily and you can purchase more puzzle packs if you like. Another one I’ve played a lot is Flow Free.

  26. Sarah

    I recently discovered Kami 2. It involves flipping blocks that are one color to merge them with an adjacent color, with the goal of making the whole image one color. It gets tricky sometimes. The levels are sets of 6 images that do get trickier as you go along, but then you get 6 new ones that are just new images, it’s not a numbered sequence. And there is a separate section where there are daily puzzles added and another where people make puzzles that anyone can solve.

  27. Barb

    Nertz. I’ve been playing it incessantly for a few weeks now. It’s a card game like Solitaire but with a speed component. This is embarrassing, but my in-laws play it and I never win, so I’ve been practicing by playing on my phone to get better. :) You can vary the difficulty level and how many (computer) players you are playing against. It also has a bluetooth option to play people in real life, but why?

  28. Kate

    I really like Drop7. Blocks with numbers on them are dropped down from the top, one at a time. You place them on a 7×7 grid and when you make a row or column that matches the number, it blows up (so, if you drop a ‘3’ block onto a column of two other blocks, the ‘3’ would go boom). There are also blank blocks that need to have another block blown up next to them several times to reveal the number underneath. It’s hard to explain but easy to get started and it’s only as complicated as you want it to be. Basically a ‘beating your own high score’ goal type thing.

  29. Robyn

    Yahtzee. It’s both charmingly retro (for me, anyway, as I grew up playing it) and soothingly repetitive.

  30. Melanie

    If she has an iphone…Hexus by Big Fish. 80 levels. No timed levels. Relaxing and fun. I think there is an android version, but it is by a different maker, and I have not tried it.

    Also – 4 Elements. It is timed and has three or 4 tough levels out of 64, but you can just play the first two worlds over and over and avoid the tough ones. The first two worlds are 32 levels (I think). This game is timed, but s so easy at first that the time doesn’t matter.

  31. Alice

    Oh my god. I downloaded that wood puzzles game after reading through these comments with great interest yesterday, and it has been DISASTROUS.

    (..In that I am literally NOT DOING WORK anymore, because I am playing the wood puzzle game. At my desk. Instead of working. HAVE NO WILLPOWER IN THE FACE OF WOODEN JIGSAW PUZZLES HALP.)

    1. KeraLinnea

      Same here. I am getting angry when clients call because THEY ARE INTERRUPTING MY PUZZLE.

      I meant to mention Best Fiends on this post as well. It does have levels, and they do get harder as you go, but you also acquire points that you can trade for increased abilities in your fiends, so your abilities go up at the same rate that the difficulty goes up. And, unlike Candy Crush, which seems to want to force you to buy boosters and extra moves by making the levels frustratingly difficult to finish without help, Best Fiends actually wants you to win.. They offer extra moves and bonuses to purchase, but they also do things like allow you to keep your points after a failed level, so you can upgrade abilities, and if you fail a level enough times, they’ll add an additional move or two. It’s really fun.

  32. Erin

    I love these types of app games, too! I would suggest Solitaire City, it has many different types of Solitaire like games. My favorite one is Casket.

  33. Jessica

    Based on all these comments, I downloaded 1010 onto my phone and our family ipad, and now I and both my kids (5 and 7) are addicted to it! This is bad! :)

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