What are you playing?

Published: April 23, 2014

Near the middle-part of 2013, I stopped playing games on my phone almost completely. I still had a few downloaded onto my devices, but I never got around to playing them. I had plenty of time, especially for the many titles out there designed to fill just a couple minutes of a day, but I just never got around to it for some reason. There are new games being released all the time, but I think many of them back then just weren't grabbing my interest all that much.

I'm not counting the sensation that was Flappy Bird, mind you. I've still got that game installed on my phone, but I haven't opened it in months now. I'm okay with that, as I'm sure a lot of others out there are, too.

A lot of the games that I've got ready to go on my phone are old, or are getting there, anyway. A few of them are even *really* old. I've still got Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, two titles that I've had on all of the devices I can get it on for so long, that I'm barely even able to remember a time when I didn't have them. I just didn't have the desire to play them all that much last year. If at all.

I'm a gamer, so this type of behavior was pretty strange. And I'm glad that I've fixed it (so far), at the start of 2014.

I try to make my way through any given app store to find new games at least once a day. I may not always buy something, but I'll always keep my eye out for a game that grabs my attention. In the last few months, there's been more than a couple that have not only looked good enough to get the initial install on my device, but have managed to stick around well after the fact.

The image above is the title screen for Smash Hit from Mediocre AB. At first, I can tell you that I wasn't completely enthralled with the game all that much, but after I put some headphones on and got lost in the music in tandem with the gameplay, well, my mind completely changed. The idea is pretty straightforward: You're moving through these locations, and you have to throw balls at crystals. You collect more balls as you hit more crystals. Every time you crash, you lose 10 balls, and when you run out completely you lose. Plus, as the game moves forward the difficulty intensifies, which makes going back in to pass a certain section that much more entertaining.

The other game that completely took me by surprise -- I don't normally like these types of games -- was Threes by Sirvo, and just how ridiculously addictive it can be. It was released not too long ago, but the attention the title's been receiving since then has been well warranted. It's a puzzle game of sorts, where you have to slide panels on a board to match similar numbers, to create larger numbers and hopefully match them if given the opportunity to do so. You can move the pieces up, down, left or right, and you need to create the puzzle piece '3' by sliding together a 2 and 1. The idea is to get as high a number as you can, with as many blocks as you can, before you run out of moves. My high score isn't that great, but I've seen people out there get ridiculously high tallies, which is one reason why I keep going back.

And then there's Monument Valley from ustwo, which is just something else entirely. It, too, is a puzzle game, and you need to move a single character from Point A to Point B to complete any particular level. The kicker here is that the levels can be manipulated by you, and you have to rotate pieces, move staircases or entire blocks, to get the level positioned in the right way for your character to make the journey. The levels are inspired by pieces from M.C. Escher, along with inspirations from Japanese woodblock prints and pieces of architecture out there in the world. The entire thing is beautiful to look at, and I got sucked in almost immediately.

All of these games reminded me of one thing: While the camera has become my most important feature on a smartphone for me, the games that I have installed on it can't be ignored, either. They're a great way to pass the time, and if you find the right title, you can encapsulate pure gaming bliss from wherever you may be.

So, in the hunt for interesting titles, I thought it would be fun to reach out to you and ask you what you're playing. Are there any games out there that have caught your attention recently that we should all check out? Let me know!

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