Got a long Thanksgiving trek ahead of you? Download these mobile games to pass the time – USA TODAY

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AAA projecting travel to be up this Thanksgiving

While all modes of transportation will experience a rise, air travel will see the greatest increase in travelers.


Have smartphone, will travel?

You’re not alone.

About 85% of Americans now own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center, making it the most popular piece of technology we own – and something just as ideal to use away from home as in it.

In fact, with the massive Thanksgiving travel week ahead of us, these pocket-sized companions are ideal for staying in touch, navigating around unfamiliar cities, looking up last-minute stuffing recipes and capturing memories with family and friends around the table.

Phones and tablets are also ideal for staying entertained in planes, trains and as passengers in automobiles.

Whether you’re looking for something fun and free to download to your device – or ideas to reduce the dreaded “Are we there yet?” from the backseat – the following are five new titles worth considering from the App Store (iPhone, iPad) or Google Play (Android devices).

Note: While free to play, these following games include optional in-app purchases for additional content.

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FarmVille 3

Twelve years and more than 700 million downloads later, Zynga’s FarmVille franchise is one of the more popular “sims” (simulations) you can play — and now FarmVille 3 has cropped up for players of all ages.

As you might expect, use your fingertip to create and maintain your own bustling farm.

Breed animals (from hundreds of types to choose from), harvest what they produce (eggs, milk, wool, meat), trade or sell goods to complete orders for customers and grow your farm into an expansive and sustainable business.

Much of the fun for kids (and kids at heart) is matching and mating your animals to raise babies and discover new breeds – including rare ones – as well as customizing and designing your family ranch home with unique building styles, decorations, outfits and more.

There’s also an option to join someone else playing FarmVille 3, online, to complete special co-op (cooperative) events to unlock new farm animals and special items.

Pikmin Bloom

Originally released 20 years ago for the Nintendo GameCube, Pikmin challenged gamers to help an ill-fated spaceman find scattered spaceship pieces before his life-support system runs out (while avoiding hungry predators at the same time).

Today, the strategy game series is enhanced with augmented reality (“AR”) with the help of Niantic – the folks behind the Pokémon GO phenomenon – that has you play by walking around with your phone in real life (“IRL,” as the kids would say) to see and interact with the plant-like Pikmin creatures, seemingly around you, when viewed through your phone’s camera lens.

Called Pikmin Bloom, you’ll hatch different types of colorful Pikmin from seedlings found along your path and they’ll follow you around. Extract nectar from fruit and feed them and they’ll sprout flowers atop their heads. The more you walk, the more your loyal squad will grow.

Pikmin Bloom’s monthly Community Day events will soon allow you to stroll, plant and play with others.

Collect Em All!

While not an original concept, there’s something strangely addictive about Voodoo’s Collect Em All! for iOS and Android.

Easy to pick up but virtually impossible to put down, your goal is to make the longest chains possible of same-colored adjacent balls.

Therefore, you’ll drag your finger across, up, down or even diagonally, to create a string of, say, red, blue, orange, purple or green balls – but you only have a number of moves to complete the goal, which varies per level.

If you can string enough balls together, such as 10 or more, it’ll blow up part of the board to help you out. On a related note, use boosters, like rockets and bombs, to clear the board. Your success per level is measured against others in a global leaderboard.

Also fun is earning coins to change the “skin” of the balls to something else, but what isn’t fun are all the ads you need to sit through in this game (unless you pay a few bucks).

NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition

Available exclusively for Apple Arcade – a $4.99/month service that offers hundreds of games to play on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac – 2K’s ‎NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition delivers the thrills of professional basketball to NBA fans anywhere life takes them.

Play as or against today’s superstars, such as Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant, in various game modes, including Quick Match, Online Multiplayer or Blacktop mode, which is a 3-on-3 street ball variation. If you want more depth, become the GM and Head Coach of your favorite NBA franchise in Association Mode, to make trades, sign free agents, scout prospects and control your team’s finances.

Or, like its console brethren, the MyCareer mode lets you create and customize a budding NBA star from scratch and see if you can reach All-Star status over time.

Amazingly, the game looks and sounds like a televised NBA game and the touchscreen controls are tight and responsive. You can use a gamepad on the iPhone and iPad game, if you like, but you’ll need one to play the Apple TV and Mac versions.

While only for Apple Arcade, Android gamers can play the similar NBA 2K Mobile Basketball Game.

PUGB: New State

Krafton’s free-to-play action game hit became No. 1 in more than 165 countries when it launched in November, the developer says.

Based on the popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds action-game series on other platforms, PUBG: New State is a “battle royale”-style adventure that pits 100 players against one another on a remote island. You must stay alive as long as you can by using high-tech weapons, collecting supplies and battling other humans to become the last person standing.

As you might expect in a game set in the year 2051, PUBG: New State includes aerial drones, ballistic shields neon sights and futuristic vehicles to drive or fly in from a first- or third-person perspective.

The game also offers 4 vs. 4 multiplayer modes (like “Team Deathmatch”), seasonal events, collectable medals and bonus maps to fight on.

Follow Marc on Twitter for his “Tech Tip of the Day” posts: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast at The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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