Girls love gaming just as much as men. According to a report by Entertainment Software Association, of the total 214.4 million players in the U.S., 41% are female. 77% of women ages 35 to 54 say playing games helps them to relax and 78% are using their downtime to hop into alternate worlds on their smartphones or devices. Playing online games can be an amazing distraction from a long day on the job, a much needed break from intense news headlines, or a way to engage with friends and loved ones, with a side of friendly competition. And yes, playing games is totally an acceptable form of self-care! While online games have no gender attached to them and many women enjoy everything from a puzzle quest to a sports match or fight-oriented game, there are some games that female players tend to gravitate toward.
We surveyed game developers, pro gamers and everyday players to bring you this list of 25 free online games for women:
Free games for women
1. Sudoku: Sudoku is a logic-based combinatorial number-placement puzzle. In classic Sudoku, the objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 subgrids that compose the grid (also called “boxes,” “blocks,” or “regions”) contain all of the digits from 1 to 9. “The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid, which for a well-posed puzzle has a single solution,” says Neal Taparia, founder of Imagine Easy Solutions, a software company with a gaming platform that has noticed a high female user base within the game. Available for free on iOs, Google Play, and Soduko.com.
2. Sayonara Wild Hearts: This, per Brittni Liyanage, a product manager with Facebook Gaming’s product team, is a gorgeous game featuring Tarot card and astrology motifs with a sweet storyline that makes you feel like you’re in control of pop music video. “The game’s controls are simply left, right, and occasional taps to rhythm but they feel way more complicated when you ramp up,” she explains. Many players admit to listening to the soundtrack for months after beating the levels. It’s also narrated by Queen Latifah, which gives it an extra fun spin. Available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Apple Arcade, Xbox One, Windows via Stream, and to try for free on the Apple App Store.
3. Candy Crush Saga: In 2019, 64% of Candy Crush players were female and as the days go by, more and more women seem to become hooked. This puzzle adventure game allows players to match their way through hundreds of levels. Users swipe candy in a variety of directions to create sets of 3 matching candies. It’s like dessert without the calories! Available for free on Google Play, Apple’s App Store, King.com, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon’s App Store.
4. Harry Potter Wizards Unite: Are you a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin? There’s room for all in this augmented reality continuation of the Harry Potter franchise, which allows you to cast spells, enter fortresses, and engage in battles. “I love how it let me keep playing in the Harry Potter world beyond the books,” says Say Sarah Bean, a book marketing manager in Rochester, Michigan, who plays alongside her daughter. “I had two girlfriends who played it early on and I was hooked on the game with them.” Available for free on Google Play, the Galaxy Store, and Apple’s App Store.
5. Animal Crossings New Horizons: Animal Crossing is a social simulation video game series developed and published by Nintendo. In this game, the player character is a human who lives in a village inhabited by various anthropomorphic animals, carrying out various activities such as fishing, bug catching, and fossil hunting. It’s a fun way for Jennifer Chatfield, who manages media relations for a large hospital system in San Diego, to unwind at the end of her workday: “I go fishing, catch butterflies and dive for pearls that can be exchanged for ‘bells’ to decorate my island home with custom furniture and dress my avatar in the latest fashions, all while cohabitating with nine other islanders (including characters played online by my husband, son and daughter). It’s challenging yet fun.” And Liz Stahl, president of digital media agency, In Haus, uses the platform to host weekly meetings with her coworkers. “The ways we have chosen to design our islands in particular has inspired many exciting brainstorms for how we can bring this type of open world creativity to our work with clients,” she says. Nintendo Switch $59.99
6. Overwatch: Overwatch has become extremely popular with ladies who game. In fact, it reportedly has twice the number of women who play it versus any other first person shooter game. Women like it since it has a lot of female “heroes” to portray, giving them the chance to hold their own amidst the boys, and for its fantasy element. Players can portray everything from “a time-traveling freedom fighter or a beat-dropping battlefield DJ.” “It is so much fun and very forgiving — well, until you start playing competitive,” jokes pro gamer Allyx Lee, who plays under the moniker Motorcyclecat.
7. Solitaire: Sometimes, simple is best. Solitaire has been around since 10th century China and there’s something meditative about dragging cards around a screen to line them up by alternative red and blue and descending suite. And everyone loves the grand finale when the cards do that big on screen celebration when you hit it big and win. “From our user surveys, these types of classic games are often played as a quick distraction or break from what the person is doing,” says Taparia. “Our female users are surfing the web and see classic games as a quick and fun pit stop.” Play for free at Solitaired.com.
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8. Sims 4: “The Sims franchise has been around for just over 20 years, offering its users the chance to live life however they like, whether that’s killing the infamous Eliza pancakes or woohooing with aliens,” says player Kelsei Drury, a catering assistant in Hertfordshire, England. The “Create a Sim” feature is very in depth and the Sims community makes amazing houses and buildings, which make it a fun world to escape into. “Anything you want in real life you can achieve in the Sims,” Drury adds. Available as a PC download or on Xbox One or Playstation 4 ($39.99 -$49.99).
9. Stardew Valley: Stardew Valley is a captivating farming simulation with a player versus environment aspect and an in depth story line. And, per Drury, who has her own farm in the game, unlike most games, there’s no rush to complete the main story making it a relaxing game to play. In the game, players create their own characters, build a life as a farmer, raise animals, grow crops, go fishing, mingle with locals, attend a birthday party, and can even propose to someone they think is marriage worthy. Available on Stream, Nintendo Switch, Apple iOs, Google Play. $7.99.
10. Spelunky: Spelunky is an old-school platformer game where your character must make their way through different levels (starting with a cave, hence the name) and avoid being killed by the numerous amounts of monsters awaiting you. Players like Drury enjoy using it as an escape from daily stressors and feel a huge satisfaction when completing a level. Available for free on Spelunkyworld.com.
11. Bejeweled Classic: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Am I right, ladies? And they are even more fun when they come in a variety of sizes, neon colors, and when you get rewarded for properly matching them. Bejeweled was deemed “perhaps the most insanely addictive puzzle game ever,” which is why it’s a go to for many gals. Available for free at MSN Games, Google Play, and Apple’s App Store.
12. Bang Dream! Girls Band Party! This game originated in Japan and became so popular that the U.S. recently got its own version. Bang Dream! combines animated characters with real performances. It’s a music game where you tap on your phone to follow the rhythm of the songs. Joe Flanagan, founder of 90sFashion World and an avid gamer has seen this be a popular one for the opposite sex. “It is basically a music game where you tap on your phone to follow the rhythm of the songs,” he explains. “You unlock content by leveling up your team members and building better bands. It is free to play, looks adorable and has lots of anime covers that you might enjoy if you are an anime fan.” Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
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13. Casino World: Like slots? Is blackjack your thing? Or you might be more of a bingo gal. This community driven, free-to-play game allows players to build a casino empire and play more than 45 casino-style games like slots, blackjack, poker, roulette, and bingo. Casino World also allows for users to create party rooms, which act as interactive chat rooms where they can invite friends to, share Casino World Charms, which boost your gameplay winnings, and interact with other avatars. Available for free at casinoworld.com.
14. Star Chef: Cooking Game: This game gives players the chance to star in their own real life cooking competition show. In Star Chef, players will build their own high-end restaurant from the ground up. As the star chef in your kitchen, you’ll be dicing up vegetables, designing menus for customers, and exploring exotic cuisines. Available for free in the Apple App Store, the Microsoft Store, and Google Play.
15. Tiny Wings: “This game is now a bonafide classic in the mobile gaming world and I still go back to it every now and then to try to beat my score,” reveals Liyanage. It’s a simple single-tap game with a relaxing soundtrack and the only agenda is to beat your own score by playing a tiny bird hopping island to island before the sun sets. It’s endlessly playable and can be picked up during a quick 5 minutes and revisited on your own time. “I’ve often used this game as a personal stress reliever after a long day at work or a tough commute,” says Liyanage. Available on Apple’s App Store ($1.99).
16. Hay Day: When it comes to farming apps, Hay Day reigns supreme. A visit to the app’s Facebook page alone reveals that it has 13 million “likes.” “Hay Day is a fun way to be creative in starting a farm the ground up and interacting with a farming community,” says player Sue Jones, who enjoys dressing up her farm with items she earns in the game, such as flowers, fences, and trees. “It’s also fun to visit other farms and see what they did with theirs,” she adds. Available for free on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon.
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17. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Adventure: “Create your own celebrity story. Join Kim Kardashian in Hollywood.” This is the tagline of the popular game created by the reality queen herself. The game allows players to join your favorite Kardashian on a red carpet adventure, create your own aspiring celebrity, and “rise to fame and fortune.” You can also choose your own look and style your character, “rule the red carpet,” travel the world, and own exotic homes and pets. Available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The game is free but some in game extras are paid features.
18. Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories: “I love the Harvest Moon franchise! The games have been around for over 20 years on different consoles. The concept is simple, grow crops and build your farm up. But there are so many more things you can do in the game. It’s really satisfying to plant and water your crops, all while relaxing after a full day of ‘real’ life work,” says frequent player Jessica Forsythe. Available on Apple App Store ($9.99) and Google Play ($14.99).
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19. House Flipper: If you’re a fan of anything on HGTV, this game might be your thing. The premise is that you flip houses and take on jobs to redecorate houses. “I have fun with the interior design aspect of the game and enjoy seeing the before and after,” Forsythe explains. Available on Stream for $17.99.
20. Just Dance 2020: Have fun, shake off the stress of the day, and burn some calories in the process. Just Dance 2020 provides you a reason to get of the couch and shake it to 40 chart-topping hits from artists like “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande and the Grammy award-winning “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas and Billy Ray Cyrus. The game allows you to select your favorite songs and create your own playlist, play along with friends, and even features kid-friendly songs so you can rope in your youngins. Available on Nintendo Switch $39.99.
21. Disney Codeillusion: Who says coding is just for males? Disney definitely doesn’t. This online game teaches players computer coding lessons by incorporating famous Disney characters and scenes. Disney Codeillusion may sound like it’s for kids but there’s a huge adult user base, which includes many women. After registering, players learn various coding languages by playing with characters like Queen Elsa, Ariel, and Wreck it Ralph. Plus, they get a gorgeous physical Magic Book to go along with the online game. “70% of all people who have purchased Disney Codeillusion are female,” says marketing director Amanda Windsor. She adds that women enjoy immersing themselves in the world, while completing challenges that earn them life skills. Available on Windows and Apple operating systems. $30/month.
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22. The Game of Life: This online version of the popular board game is a big hit for those looking to reconnect with a favorite youth pastime. “It takes me back to my childhood and after all these years it’s still fun to get to put the blue and pink pegs in the car when you land on a space that says you have babies – and to try and make more money than your opponents,” says Jones, who plays from her home in metro Detroit. Available on Google Play, Steam, $2.99, and the Apple App Store.
23. Drawful 2: Drawful 2 by Jackbox Games challenges players to draw ridiculous prompts on their smartphone. It’s a fun game for your friends that love to markup their Instagram stories or relax with some adult coloring books. The game also has a “create your own episodes” feature, which allows you to craft rounds around a friend’s bridal shower or to be the perfect addition to bachelorette party game night. Available to purchase on the Jackbox website for $4.99 or on other platforms including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.
24. Love Letter: You are the suitor and are competing, The Bachelor style, to get your love letter to the princess. Now you must bluff, draw, and play for her affection. The game is a personal favorite for Kristen Seikaly, founder of game-oriented blog Cats and Dice, who often plays with her mother and has also roped her husband into playing alongside her. “It’s a great way to spend time together with our tight schedules.” Available to download on Stream $6.99 or at Board Game Arena, on Apple’s App Store ($3.99) and in Google Play ($3.49)
25. Tetris: Lining up blocks, squares, and other shapes, watching them fall, and striving to get them all in line? Who doesn’t love this classic game? Women especially are fans, says Taparia. Bonus: Tetris has some health benefits as well. Playing for as little as three minutes has been showing to weaken cravings. And brain imaging in another study showed that 30 minutes a day for three months increased brain efficiency and lead to a thicker cortex. Available for free at Tetris.com, Google Play, Android, and the Apple App Store.