Alright, this might be something that is well talked over by other people, but I’m going to talk it over again if it has been. You see, yeahs after my first encounter with one, I’m getting back into the habit of wearing an Apple Watch. To be specific, a series 3, what is now considered to be the more budget model of the line. It’s been great for keeping track of how much I’m moving around and being able to check notifications without having to grab my phone from the coffee table, and I think this is going to be a lasting habit for me. However, I am nothing if not always looking for ways to game-ify my life, so off to the app store I went to try and find what might be interested or weird to put on my watch. Here are some of my findings.
Neko Atsume is a game that I remember being really big a good few years ago, but has now kind of faded into being a memory for a lot of people. In short, if you need the refresher, the game is a simple one where you live in a house that for some reason just happens to attract local cats to come and visit. Putting out toys and food will bring them around for you to take pictures and add them to your collection book. When they leave, they’ll leave some of the game’s currency as well, which you can then use to buy more things to bring around more cats or even rare cats! It’s a cute game in concept and in execution as the artwork is simply delightful.
When it comes to the watch, it’s essentially a way to view your yard without having to open up the app. Since the game runs in real time, it can sometimes be hours between when things change and you have a cat to photo or currency to grab. Being able to check quickly without booting the app up is obviously convenient. Unfortunately, in my experience, the two don’t always match up. On my watch there may be a cat, but the phone yard is empty. I think if this could be ironed out, the experience would be better.
Racing Around and Around
Touch Round is touted as being a watch game right on the store page and it’s a fairly simple driving game. On the phone it’s controlled by touching either side of the screen in order to drive the car left or right, keeping it on the road of the track. There’s no way to increase or decrease the speed of the car and your speed will entirely depend on how little time you spend wiggling back and forth and how tight you can make those corners. It’s simple, but makes a fine time waster if you’re waiting in line or something like that.
On the watch, it’s very much the same, except instead of tapping controls, you do so by turning the crown on the side of the watch in order to steer left and right. Otherwise the only difference I was able to see was that the view was more zoomed in to make things more legible on the smaller screen. It’s not one that I would normally keep around… if not for the devilishly tricky single direction tracks. There are a handful where you can only turn right, no matter what direction you turn the crown and when your instinct is to straighten the car out if you turn too far, it can end up being quite hard. I think that I’ll be keeping this around at least until I manage to get through one of those tracks, if only for closure.
Flap Flap Flop
Birdie is fascinating to me because it’s one that I can only play on my watch instead of it being an expansion to an app that I can run in full on my phone. When opening it up on my phone, I’m just shown an image of the game running on apple watch instead. So, if we open it up on my watch… yeah, you guessed it, it’s an flappy bird clone, though a much easier one. Instead of your little bird bouncing up and down, turning the watch crown sends it up and down to a handful of set positions on one side of the app so that you can put it through the pair of pipes coming at you. It’s exceptionally simple and the easiest difficulty is frankly boring as it has a wide margin of error. As far as I can tell, speed does not increase and the difficulty you choose only narrows the space between the pipes. On the hardest difficulty you have to be in perfect position in time or you’re out. That does bring back some of the energy of the old game for sure, but it’s only interesting as a time waster here and there, not something that I really need.
Moving the Numbers Around
2048 is my jam. I’ve always loved it and find the puzzle elements to be absolutely addictive. If you’re not familiar, this is a puzzle game where you have a 4 by 4 grid in which you can slide around blocks. Each time you do, one in a low number is added. Blocks that are slid into each other that match combine to double the number on them and the goal is to get a block up to 2048. It’s not an easy task at all. There are many versions, (Some of which don’t give you a number at all and instead a picture to make them harder!) but the one that I currently have is a free one that is ad supported.
This particular version also comes with a watch equivalent, surprise surprise. However, I think it was handled smartly as this allows you to select a few other levels if you don’t have time to try for the 2048 number, such as 256 or 1024. There’s even a harder 4096 version for those long boring moments. I think this is great for a version that can be on my wrist since I might not have time for the full game. The downside is that it’s not exactly great in the smaller form there. I often have times that this doesn’t register what I am doing when I swipe so it can take a few tries. I love having this available, but I wish it were more responsive. Perhaps there’s another version from the one I have that will better suit my needs.
They Demand to Be Fed!
I didn’t try any of them out personally, but I found there to be a shocking number of virtual pet games available for the watch and they appear to range from being fully playable there to the watch app just being to check the status of your pet. This is nifty, but I know it’s something I would likely tire of quickly, so I didn’t bother getting too invested.
It brought to mind Tamagotchi for me and the power of nostalgia might be enough for me to stick with it! Looking into things, while there is a Tamagotchi app for smartphones, it doesn’t have any watch functionality as far as I can tell. I also did a little googling to confirm and while there was one in the past, it seems to have vanished these days, which is unfortunate. I would gladly get in on one that allows me to play an old Tamagotchi on my wrist. Heck, I would likely even drop a buck or two if there was a fee to get access to some of the licensed versions as well, like the Demon Slayer or Star Wars Tamagotchi.
Though perhaps that’s just a dream for the moment as I fiddle away with my little racing game where i can only turn one way, making frustrated noises every time that I fail.