Are you breastfeeding a newborn and pinned to the sofa for literally hours every day, holding a tiny head in one hand and in need of something to do with the other? Perhaps you like your little one to nap cuddled up to your torso, one arm wrapped around their sleeping form and the other flailing around for entertainment? Or maybe you don’t have children at all and just want something to play easily on your morning commute. We don’t judge here at Baby Plus Two, we just bring you the best in mobile digital entertainment that you can do with one hand while holding a baby or not holding a baby, whatever your current deal is.
1. Mario Run (iOS £7.99, Android version out later this year)
I’m not an especially huge Mario fan, or Nintendo fan in general, but I think this game is the absolute bomb. It’s perfect for playing one-handed: Mario runs along automatically, then you tap him with a thumb to vault over obstacles and collect coins. There’s a single-player “Tour” mode with six worlds of increasing difficulty and tricky coin collection challenges, and a “Rally” mode where you take on the ghost data of other players to win Toads for your kingdom. The game itself is lots of addictive fun, and winning in Rally mode allows you to customise your kingdom with cute objects that make your Toads happy. And that makes me happy. Buy this game (the first world is free so you can try it out before you purchase) and you will be happy too. I more or less guarantee it.
Rating: 5 Bowsers out of 5
2. Top Eleven Football Manager (Android and iOS, free)
I never really got into football management games in my youth, but this one (which I started playing as a Facebook app) has great pick-up-and-playability on its side. The format is simple and familiar: train your team, buy new members, win matches, gain fans and make money, rinse and repeat. What I wasn’t prepared for is how very invested I’ve become in my tiny little digital footballers. I’m excited when they win matches; I get a little bit sad if they get injured; I buy them the best training facilities that money can buy; I make sure they’ve had a good team chat to boost morale before games. It’s safe to say I’ve got quite into this game. Totally playable with just one thumb while you’re swaying on a busy tube or nursing a hungry baby. With the newest version you can even watch matches live, a function which is strangely compelling. Even if you think you don’t like management strategy games, or football, or phones, give this one a try – it might just change your mind.
Rating: 4 penalty shots out of 5
3. Strategery (iOS, £1.49)
This battle strategy game, revamped for iOS in 2015, was seemingly everywhere a couple of years ago and with good reason. The basics are extremely simple to learn but satisfyingly challenging to master. You command an army of blue blobs, and your blue blobs invade all your neighbouring countries by beating up their blobs before their blob armies come and smash you. That’s it. That’s the game. Try it, and I’ll see you in a few hours. Remember to put it down when the baby wakes up.
Rating: 4 world dominations out of 5
4. Sim City Build It (iOS and Android, free)
How much you like this game depends a lot on a) how much you enjoy city simulations in general and b) how much you don’t hate EA’s mobile model of “social” gaming, but I downloaded this two years ago and it’s kept me fairly occupied ever since. Plus, you barely even need the one hand to play it. Plan roads, zone residential areas, place businesses, meet daily challenges, and go and visit your friends’ cities for extra fun! I never visit my friends’ cities. What, I have friends. It’s just that my friends don’t like building lovely cities full of satisfied Sims as much as I do. But, dear reader, you might just be a better person than my friends; build lovely cities, satisfy your Sims, feel joy.
Rating: 3.5 towering skyscrapers out of 5
5. Civilization Revolution 2 (iOS and Android, £7.99)
This 2014 update of Civilization Revolution is one in a long series of one of the defining strategy franchises of our times. Basically, I shouldn’t have to sell this one to you. Either you’re already addicted to Civ in one of its forms or you have never played anything on a computer ever. Civ Rev allows you to experiment with different forms of government while you’re building an empire and smashing all the other oiks; if you like cute graphics and collecting achievements this game has both coming out the wazzoo. As gameplay is turn-based and consists of clicking (or tapping) on game squares, it’s very one-handable; if you are playing this on the tube on your morning commute, be aware that you may miss your stop as a result. What, me? No, that’s never happened to me. That may have happened to me. Twice.
Rating: 7 Wonders of the ancient world out of 7
Other things you can do one-handed, totally:
Eat, as long as you have finger foods cut into dainty portions and possibly fed to you by a thoughtful partner. Don’t eat soup and breastfeed, it will go wrong.
Cook, if you have your baby securely in one arm and you don’t need to do too much chopping, boiling, or putting things in the oven. This is, if anything, even more true with a toddler who has chosen the exact moment you wanted to cook dinner to demand a pickup. It can be done, with caution.
Laundry, but check you still have your baby tucked in your arm after you’ve loaded the washing machine.
Work, within reason.
Blog, with a phone and a thumb.
Things you can’t do one-handed, I tried, I tried:
Sew. You have to wait for nap time and put the baby down if you want to sew.
What are your top one-handed recommendations? Let us know on the back of a mobile device, or in the comments below.