You probably didn’t think, “what games can I play on this?” when you first got your Android Wear smartwatch.
But a bunch of developers did, building a surprising number of solid games to play on the small-screen world of Android Wear.
We rounded up a few of the best titles in case you want a way to kill some time when waiting in line at the grocery store, or need a quick mental break.
Given how new Android Wear is, we were a little forgiving when deciding what would make this “best of” list compared to the games you'll find in our Games Worth Paying For column. However, the following titles all show how you can still have some fun and enjoy quality gaming on a tiny screen that’s strapped to your wrist.
Test your reaction speed with Castle Stormer
Watch-sized games need to be simple, with actions limited to simple taps or swipes. Castle Stormer ($1) smartly uses the swipe action, which you use to control a knight who must dodge enemies while running up the side of a castle.
You’ll need to keep heading back and forth, avoiding crows, snakes, and thorny patches in your way. Grab the bubble for a little extra protection—the knight’s suit isn’t worth much, as one mistake is all you get and the game is over.
The only design element that could use tweaking is how the knight is a little too close to the bottom, so if you have larger hands your fingers may obscure the view when swiping.
Exercise your brain with Reversi
If you want something with a slower pace that is more cerebral, then try out Reversi for Wear (free).
It’s a downsize of the classic strategy game, where you take turns placing colored disks on a board, with the goal of capturing your opponent’s disks by surrounding them.
The grid squares are obviously rather tiny, but you can choose a larger board with bigger squares to make it more playable, a smart option for an Android Wear game. There’s even a two-player option if you want to challenge another to a duel on your wrist.
Video Poker is big fun with tiny cards
Wear Video Poker (free) is another ideal game for a watch, as it’s quick to play and can give you a squeeze of endorphin when you defeat the computer.
It’s straightforward five-card draw. It’s you against the computer: The only real customization is in how much to increase the bet. But it’s a good way to challenge yourself if you have a few minutes to spare.
The cards would benefit from a redesign. There’s no point in trying to replicate how a real-world card looks on a watch screen. Instead, make the middle of the card a giant “K” inside a heart symbol, for example, to denote the king of hearts.
TetroCrate is a cool twist on Tetris
Get ready to stretch your geo-spatial thinking with TetroCrate (free). It’s essentially a three-dimensional version of Tetris, where you must maneuver the blocks into a row, eliminating them before filling up the screen.
You swipe and rotate them to get them to land in the right place, which can be a challenge at times as your finger takes up a lot of the screen
However, I kept wanting to play, even with a much larger phone sitting next to me. If you like this version, the developer offers Android games for phones and tablets also.
Wear Orbits is right mix of simple, yet challenging
Wear Orbits (free) has that right mix of challenge and addiction to be a great option for smartwatch gaming.
You’re in charge of a lonely planet, which is about to be knocked out of orbit by others unless you help it leap to another path (ignore the obvious violations of physical laws).
It has a Flappy Birds-style element where you keep wanting to outlast the previous score, even though at times it seems like there’s no way out. You have to tap on the inside or outside of the orbit to move, which again can kind of block the view. A quick swipe anywhere may be a better way to keep the same action while preserving the screen real estate.
Rethinking what makes a good game for a tiny screen
Games on Android Wear are in their infancy, so I wasn’t too disappointed by some of the hiccups I saw with interface decisions and performance. However, just as mobile phones ushered in new types of games we couldn’t imagine, I’m hopeful we’ll see more developers think outside the box with the kinds of titles they develop for Android Wear.
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