Should Apple Watch Be Doing More With Games?

The Apple Watch is a frequently misunderstood gadget. While some enthusiasts claim its basic interface and high level of customization have allowed them to become more efficient and be less distracted while working, others have complained about the lack of functionality. The device is much more than a watch with a pretty background. It allows users to check app notifications, reply to messages, and listen to music, but it won’t let you browse through Instagram or watch Netflix (unless you use third-party apps or find a clever workaround).

One aspect that customers find particularly frustrating is the limited quality of the gaming apps the Apple Watch has to offer. People can indeed use it to play games, but it’s disappointing to see how the most advanced wearable device used to limit itself to reproduce Nokia and even Atari era games, like Snake or Pong. Recently, however, developers have come up with titles that make better use of the device’s capabilities like text-based mystery adventures, minesweeper clones, and even a first-person haunted house game that plays surprisingly well. This proves that, with a little bit of creativity, developers can deliver truly engaging experiences for the Apple Watch. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Treasure Hunt:

Pokémon Go makes brilliant use of geolocation and online communities to create a worldwide popular pastime, and developers could take advantage of this and other features present on the Apple Watch. A Treasure Hunting game where the player has to use audio and vibration signals to indicate the direction where a local landmark is placed, with community-written riddle-style descriptions as the only hint that could be a great feature. Think The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild shrine radar but with your local city instead of Hyrule.

Casino Games:

Stack Cards already proved that the Apple Watch can handle solitaire card games, but developers can easily make things a bit more interesting by adding popular casino games like blackjack or poker. Players could enter a match of Texas Hold’em and learn the basic concepts of this variant of poker, which is by far the most popular among poker players. And they can take advantage of the touch screen to replicate real-world movements like double-tapping the screen or flicking their cards to indicate that the player is checking or folding.

Flag Capture Grid:

Back in the day the Atari 2600 managed to recreate a Capture the Flag game by building a grid the player could move around, one square at a time. Each square would then reveal a clue (in the form of an arrow) that could either be true or false, leading to either the flag or a bomb, respectively. It’s a simple mechanic that can be easily replicated and improved upon on the Apple Watch, as shown by a minesweeper clone already available for the device.

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Ball Balance Puzzle:

Should Apple Watch Be Doing More With Games?

Old ball-balancing toys have different presentations depending on which country you grew up in. Some resemble small plastic domes over a flat surface with holes where the player has to carefully place the different balls. Others are tridimensional puzzles encased in a transparent cube. The Apple Watch’s motion sensors could easily be used to guide virtual spheres around a pinball-like surface or even a first-person maze. Recommended for players with a steady hand.


Years ago, developer Eyemaze created a simple 2D game where the player could introduce a series of items on a planet. Each time this was done, the world and the other items would evolve, but only one particular order would lead to each resource achieving its maximum level of evolution and revealing the planet’s final true form. The concept is quite engaging and can leave players analyzing the effects of each action for several minutes. Developers could come up with 3D or motion sensor variants, providing a more unique experience.