The Apple Watch might not sound like the most likely gaming platform, but many game developers have used it to great effect. From interactive fiction to brainteasers, and RPGs to arcade classics, it’s amazing how much fun you can have staring at your wrist.
It should come as no surprise that these games are primarily aimed at short bursts of gameplay. Some of them require an Apple Watch, while you can play others on both the wearable and iPhone. Let’s take a look.
1. Pocket Bandit
Pocket Bandit is a solid time-waster that makes excellent use of the Digital Crown. In it, you take on the role of a safe-cracking thief. The game uses haptic feedback to let you know when you’re close to cracking the code, at which point you tap on the screen and do it all over again.
You’ll have to work quickly against the clock if you don’t want to be caught. As you move from level to level, you’ll encounter difficulty spikes. If you’re caught you’ll lose some of your ill-gotten gains, so stay out of trouble if you want to set a new high score.
Download: Pocket Bandit ($1)
2. Trivia Crack
Trivia Crack needs no introduction. Just like Trivial Pursuit, the game fires questions at you from a range of categories, which you must answer using multiple-choice answers. Trivia Crack for Apple Watch simply puts the action on your wrist, so you can play anywhere at any time.
Spin the wheel, read the question, and answer directly on your Apple Watch.
Download: Trivia Crack (Free, in-app purchases available)
Elevate is a brain training program for iPhone, with an Apple Watch companion app. Shortlisted for App of the Year by Apple in 2018, Elevate works on both devices. However, it feels right at home on the Watch whenever you want to waste a few minutes and test your wits.
It features over 35 different brain teasers designed to tax your focus, memory, number skills, comprehension, and more. If you fall in love with Elevate, you can subscribe to the premium plan for $5 per month, or grab a year’s subscription for $40.
Download: Elevate (Free, subscription available)
An entire RPG on your wrist may sound unlikely, but that’s exactly what Runeblade goes for. The free-to-play fantasy adventure only works on Apple’s wearable, and was tailor-made for the platform by developer Everywear Games.
Gameplay starts out simple, but develops more depth over the 2,000 or so included levels. Use spells, runes, and magical artifacts on your quest. It’s a casual role-playing experience with the optional in-app purchases we’ve come to expect from similar freemium titles.
Download: Runeblade (Free, in-app purchases available)
5. Twisty Color
Twisty Color introduces another interesting way of putting the Digital Crown to use. The game requires you to collect as many balls as possible by turning the Twister to match the corresponding color.
If it sounds straightforward, that’s because it is. It’s proof that you don’t need a complex concept to create a fun and addictive game. This is the sort that’s perfect for a five-minute blast while waiting for your train.
Download: Twisty Color ($1)
If you love word games, Letterpad is the Apple Watch companion for you. The game provides you with nine letters from which you must find words related to the current topic. It’s an easy concept that will have you scratching your head in no time.
You can work through more than 200 puzzles, all of which are free for your enjoyment. Its only in-app purchases are hints to help you clear stubborn levels and move on with the game.
Download: Letterpad (Free, in-app purchases available)
KOMRAD isn’t just an Apple Watch game, since you can also play it on your iPhone. Fortunately, this example of interactive fiction works particularly well on the Apple Watch. It provides not only a good example of Apple Watch gaming, but also one of the best text adventure experiences on iOS.
The game has you talking to a Soviet AI from 1985 that hasn’t been informed that the Cold War is over. The computer has been training in the dark for 30 years, and may be connected to deadly nuclear missiles. You’ll decide the fate of the world by responding to KOMRAD from your wrist.
Download: KOMRAD ($1)
8. Tiny Armies
Tiny Armies is both an Apple Watch and iPhone game. The wearable version lets you undertake epic (if simplified) battles from the comfort of your wrist, as you swipe the screen to conquer enemies, navigate lakes, and traverse mountains and forests.
You can play solo or jump on iMessage to challenge your friends. It’s a tactical game that’s perfect for short bursts of gameplay, and is a bargain.
Download: Tiny Armies ($1)
9. A Tiny Game of Pong
Who doesn’t want to play Pong on their wrist? Turn the Digital Crown into the most precise paddle controller with this wrist-sized version of the original home console classic.
There’s really not much to say here. It’s Pong, on your wrist. However, it only works on the Apple Watch; there’s no iPhone version included.
Download: A Tiny Game of Pong ($2, in-app purchase available)
Lateres is Breakout for your Apple Watch. Just like Pong, Lateres allows you to use the Digital Crown to control the paddle for precise brick breaking action. Unlike Pong, however, Lateres also works on your iPhone. This provides you with two ways to play.
The game is a nice little value, providing 20 levels for a dollar.
Download: Lateres ($1)
Don’t Forget Pokémon GO
You can’t technically play Pokémon GO using your watch, but you can use the companion app to help you catch ’em all. Receive full-screen notifications, hatch eggs, and record your session as a workout simply by launching the app on your wrist.
The Pokémon GO Watch app allows you to spin Pokéstops when you’re in range. You’ll even receive a notification first so you don’t miss out. Plus, you can use your watch to spot any Pokémon that happen to be in range, allowing you to hand off to your phone to do the actual capturing.
Download: Pokémon GO (Free, in-app purchases available)
More Must-Have Apple Watch Apps
With all these unique experiences available for Apple’s wearable, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that it’s also a timepiece.
If you’ve had your fill of wrist-based gaming for now, don’t forget to check our full list of must-have Apple Watch apps, these workout apps, and these music streaming apps for the Apple Watch. And if these games give you Apple Watch envy, check out our tips for finding a cheap Apple Watch.