If you're surprised to learn that some people use their Apple Watch to play games, you're not alone. After all, when considering the typical functions of Apple's iconic smartwatch — fitness tracking, convenient notifications, cellular network phone calls, checking the time, et cetera — gaming is not typically listed among the most-highlighted features. In fact, outside of a few standout applications, many mobile users don't seem to be aware that the Apple Watch can even run a proper video game.
Well, as it turns out, the Apple Watch has a considerable number of available games, even some from big-name developers like Square Enix. So while this list is by no means comprehensive, we've put together some of our picks for great Apple Watch games that users can pick up and play right now.
The Best Games for the Apple Watch
As we all know, one of the biggest limiting factors to enjoying any touchscreen-based game is input. Most games on the modern smartphone market are designed around the user directly interacting with on-screen objects; conversely, any game that was originally designed with a physical controller in mind would likely have soft controls placed on-screen. Obviously, neither solutions work well with the Apple Watch, whose screen is typically around 42mm measured diagonally. As such, most if not all of the games on this list are based around simple touch-based gestures. Thankfully, simple games are often some of the most fun, and the games we've featured below represent shining examples of that design philosophy.
Coming in hot with a suitably simplified control scheme is Mr Jump, a pared-down platformer that unsurprisingly tasks the player with hurling the protagonist over various obstacles. Just like with the control mechanics, Mr Jump also has a pretty sharp 8-bit visual aesthetic popping with color that feels perfectly suited to the Apple Watch's smaller screen size.
One of the most pleasingly simple games on this list is Desert Golfing, a game that tasks players with knocking a golf ball across a barren desert toward its requisite hole. It's a very spartan experience even on a normal iPhone, so it translates particularly well to the Apple Watch, where players can relax as they idly launch golf balls across the sandy dunes. More than simple and addictive gameplay, Desert Golfing also has a tremendous number of available levels, so there should be plenty of content to keep most Apple Watch players entertained no matter how insatiable their drive may be.
Trivia Crack a good entry for this list because it presents a gameplay style that appeals to those who don't necessarily play video games in their free time. Like other trivia-based smartphone games that came before it, Trivia Crack presents players with the chance to test their knowledge in general trivia across a range of topics, including sports, science, pop culture, and more. It's well-suited to the Apple Watch, too, thanks to its pared-down pinwheel topic selector and text-based gameplay.
Sure, it isn't the modern mobile remake of the Tamagotchi brand, but Tamagotchi Classic presents an interactive experience that should be instantly familiar to those who owned and cared for the classic Tamagotchi digital pets back in the late '90s. Though it may be unfair to compare this release to other video games, Tamagotchi Classic should still prove to be a potent time fill for those who don't mind hearing their digital pets pleading for attention every few minutes.
Nuggetz is one of the more popular games for the Apple Watch for one good reason: it presents an addictive and challenging gameplay formula that's based around the Stroop effect, where players have to tap on the color of the word written as opposed to the name of the color itself. It's sort of a brain-bending mechanic, and it's made all the more tense by increasing high scores and the notion that any missed match will spell the end of the player's streak.
Cosmos Rings is a rare entry on this list as it's an Apple Watch game that holds true to the RPG roots of its developer, the tried-and-true team Square Enix. Like some of the company's more recent offerings, Cosmos Rings is a game that could and sometimes does essentially play itself. However, for players willing to devote a few minutes here and there, Cosmos Rings offers up a considerable amount of gameplay based on classic fantasy-inspired RPG elements, including an undying protagonist fighting baddies as well as a host of upgradeable skills and unlockable items.
For those who like games which test their mental might, Letterpad is the Apple Watch experience of choice. The game presents players with a 3-by-3 grid full of letters as well as one topic word, then tasks them with spelling out different words that are related to the topic. It's not a game that requires split-second timing, which is great for those who prefer to stick to the more relaxing side of the entertainment continuum, but it's still more than capable of helping to fill the time during a long morning commute or a particularly uneventful work meeting.
Like with Cosmos Rings, Runeblade is a popular choice for Apple Watch owners looking to squeeze in some RPG action during their downtime. The game operates sort of like an idle clicker title, where players can attack enemies simply by tapping on the Apple Watch screen. There's plenty to keep players engaged otherwise, however, as Runeblade offers up a host of different abilities and items for the player to accumulate. Even better, the development team at Everywear Games has provided the title with several updates since its original release in 2015, the likes of which offer up new enemies, levels, and powerful bosses.