When we talk about smartwatches, what typically comes to mind is making phone calls, checking news updates, and tracking work outs. It is true that smart wrist watches are designed to perform phone-like tasks, rarely associated with serious fun like game consoles.
In fact, there are many great watch game apps designed to keep you entertained on a tiny screen. If you haven’t given it a shot yet, now is time to realize your watch phone can help you pass time with fun interactive games.
You’re probably wondering what games can you play on such a tiny screen? The surprising truth is, many smartwatches are designed to handle solid gaming. Here, we’ve rounded up the best smartwatch games that could become your favorite pastime.
Can you play games on smartwatches?
The short answer is a definitive yes. Depends your watch’s OS (Operating System), installing games on your smartwatch may require paring with a compatible smartphone and bluetooth/LTE connection.
Not all OS are created equal when it comes to gaming on smartwatches. The current world of smartwatch OS is nothing but fragmented, biggest players being Watch OS by Apple, Android Wear by Google, Tizen by Samsung and Pebble OS by Pebble.
Whether you want to install a watch version of your smartphone game, or download a new game app on your smartwatch, you will need to follow instructions unique to the OS.
How to install games on Android watch
To get game apps for Android watches running on Wear OS, you will first need to sign into the Google account you used to set up the watch. Your watch will need to be connected to Wi-Fi, and in the case of a standalone smartwatch, you can use LTE connection to get game apps.
Adding a watch version of the same game app on your phone is easy. Simply navigate to Play Store and look for “Apps on your phone” to install it. In the same Play Store on your watch, you can search and download new games.
Have a browse at this a wonderful selection of games designed just for Wear OS and get inspired. For the more tech-savvy watch owners, you can also directly downloading the game apk file and install from there.
How to install games on Apple Watch
For Apple Watch, game apps need to installed from your iPhone.After pairing your Apple Watch with a compatible iPhone, you can add/remove game apps from the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
To get an app for your Apple Watch, simply go to the “App Store” tab inside “Apple Watch” app, and download game apps like how you would on an iPhone.
There is also the option to add existing iPhone apps to your watch by using the “Apple Watch” app. You can do this by tapping on the “My Watch” app, and tap to install the Watch version of selected apps on your iPhone.
How to install games on Tizen device (Samsung Gear S watches)
Installing apps on Samsung watches is pretty straightforward right from the watch face. You can simply go to the “Apps” icon on your watch, and browse the Tizen store to install a game. Alternatively, you can install games from your phone using “Samsung Gear” app. Simple.
But there is one problem: compared to bigger platforms like Wear OS and Watch OS, the Tizen OS (only runs on Samsung device) is in its infancy with limited number of apps. Although the list of Tizen app is growing fast, for now Samsung watch owners will have to wait for popular Android/iOS games to come to Tizen store.
How to install games on Pebble Watch
Since Fitbit’s acquisition of the Pebble in Dec 2016, the beloved wrist device has gotten a upgrade from inside and out. The new full feature smartwatches – Pebble Time, Pebble Steel and Pebble classic – offer a more sophisticated gaming experience.
Installing games is easy enough through the official “Pebble” app on iTunes and Play store on your phone. If you miss the classic Pebble features, you can reinstate them through Rebble, a spinoff of the original Pebble platform offering classic games such as Pixel Miner and Tiny bird.
Best Apple Watch Games
The Apple Watch is especially small and nimble in the smart wristwatch world, making it impossible to replicate the full immersive mobile game experience on tiny watch face.
But the striped-down simplicity of the watch isn’t necessarily a disadvantage: in fact, games on Apple Watch are smaller, simpler but sufficiently fun. Whether designed as a companion app to the mobile game or as a standalone experience, gaming on Apple Watch is definitely worth your time.
Below is our list of top 3 games on Apple Watch.
Apple Watch brings the best of a mobile game to the real world adventure right from your wrist. The watch version of the game acts as a companion to your mobile game app, so when you receive a notification, you can use your watch to explore what’s around you.
What made the phone-free version of the classic iPhone game is the fitness tracking feature: with Activity on your Apple Watch, you can log each play session as a workout. Speaking of tracking steps whilst hacking Pokémon eggs!
If you are serious about leveling up your Pokémon game, consider getting Pokémon Go for your watch. That way you will still be able to discover Pokémons around you without being addicted to your iPhone.
If you treasure the kind of useless knowledge that keeps a dinner party bubbly and fun, this game is for you. The game offers a huge library of bite-sized trivia on 6 categories, so you will for sure find your category to shine. You can either play with your Facebook friends or challenge strangers.
Both iOS and Android version of this app saw smashing success with hundreds of millions of downloads. The watch version does a pretty good job at keeping the highlight of the board game. You can play the game entirely on your wrist without needing to reach for your phone.
One thing to note is that while the game is free to download, some skills are only attainable through in-app purchases.
Featuring vibrant colors in the game interface, Twisty Color takes full advantage of Apple Watch’s retina display and digital crown to offer fool-proof interactivity. So instead of pressing and tapping, you twist the digital crown to match the color at the center of the interface with the bullets coming at it (hence the name “twisty color”).
You can play the game entirely on your watch, and the game design makes it looks like it’s made for the Apple Watch. The mechanism is simple, but the difficulty quickly goes up, making it an addictive past time.
Top Android Wear Games
Since its initial release in 2014, Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) has truly thrived with a passionate community contributing to developing the app ecosystem. The game category on Wear OS is pretty robust with every genre from Action to Simulation to Role Playing. With more than 40 smartwatches launched with Wear OS in 2018, you won’t have hard time finding games that works on your Android watch.
Here are our top picks for best Android wear game:
It’s basically watch version of the classic arcade game Space Invaders. With exciting graphics and great sound effects, the wear OS remake does not disappoint.
Move your spaceship with tapping on the watch face or by rotating the crown if your watch comes with rotating bezels. The control is simple and your mission is pretty straightforward: destroy your enemy by firing at them. Not much brain power is needed to play but decent way to kill time while phone free.
This game is perfect for your watch: fun, simple and super lightweight (only 22k). Better yet, it works on both round and square watches. Dubbed as “candy crush” for math geeks, this game is addictive for those who have a natural affinity with numbers.
To play, you only need to use simple gestures like tap, swipe and long press to move tiles. Similar tiles get merged and doubling in value, until you get the number 2048 to appear. It’s a simple game without fancy colors and flashy animations, which also means you can play it for hours without consuming much battery.
The game is extremely elegant in its simplicity and yet offers a versatile experience. At a glance, it’s just lines connected into looping patterns. But the more you play, the more possibilities open up to connect the dots. It’s calming, mind-bending and addictive in a good way.
The game is wildly popular for smartphones but comes with Wear OS version as well. The controls are extremely simple: you simply tap on the shape to flip it around to form an infinite loop. If you are the anxious type, this game could be your cure.
Best Tizen Games for Samsung Smartwatches
Tizen store was initially only offered to Samsung devices, but with recent updates it has opened up compatibility with Android and iOS phones. The selection of gams on there are limited, but Tizen has put in lots of efforts including cash incentive to attract high calibre games to Tizen store.
You can download Tizen games from the Galaxy app store, or find game apk files to install directly. Here are our most recommended games available for Tizen devices.
One of the all-time popular casual games Fruit Ninja is now available for Samsung wearables, including Gear S2, S3 and Sport watches. It plays extremely well on the touchscreen watch face: you simply need to touch and slice fruits to score.
Although extremely simple to score, the game’s high quality visuals and sound effects makes it very satisfying to play. Halving watermelons on your wrist can be surprisingly fun.
Having proven its success on smartphones, Bubble Bash 3 releases an official version for Samsung Gear S2 with simpler controls. It’s a pretty simple premise: you shoot bubbles at a stack of bubbles so the same color bubbles will burst.
What’s unique about the watch version of the game is that it takes full advantage of the Gear watch rotating bezel design: instead of swiping and tapping on the tiny screen, you have more precise control by rotating the bezels around. The graphics and animation of the lightweight game is also outstanding.
An all-time classic casual game that is suited for screens of every size. Made for the Gear S watches, this game utilities the rotating bezel to control the snake. It’s an extremely handy feature for playing snake on a small screen – as your snake grows longer, you wouldn’t want to block any screen area with your finger.
No fancy graphics or sound effects, just a simple way to kill time without eating up too much battery.
Best Games for Pebble Smartwatch
With a round bezel and color display, Pebble Time and Pebble Steel are much more suited to play games than the classic Pebble. Most popular games on the Pebble app store are clones of popular apps elsewhere, except a few like Pixel Miner that was made unique to Pebble watches. Here are our top picks for Pebble watch games:
Pixels Miner first debuted on the classic Pebble, featuring black and white pixel-by-pixel game interface. Now coming to Pebble smartwatches with rich colors, this game is even more fun with a better user experience.
Your goal is to mine as many pixels as possible and as fast as possible. You can purchase new equipment and multipliers to increase your pixel per second mining speed. Simple to play but great fun for a wristwatch.
This is basically a miniature clone of Flappy Bird, with a similar interface design and challenge setup. You will need to constantly press the buttons on your watch bezel to keep the bird up in the air in order to pass the pipes.
Some say it is too hard to play on a smartwatch, but if you are patient enough and love a good challenge, give the free game a try.
It’s a pretty dynamic action game made for simple controls. Whilst the figure is running, you press the watch button the bezel to speed up or slow down, so your finger can stay clear of the watch display for a better viewing experience.
It’s like flappy bird in the way that it’s short sprints packed with challenges and surprises, and action-packed enough to keep you entertained for a few minutes at a time.
With so many smartwatch games to download, you will never be bored when you have a few minutes to spare. Be aware of the drain on your watch battery and cellular data, if you have a standalone smartwatch that runs on LTE. With a growing smartwatch app ecosystem, we can expect more games coming to the small screen made for the wrist-based interaction.