With all the immense power of our newest smartphones, it's easy to forget that minimalist games can look just as stunning as games which push your phones to the limit. There's a certain elegance in using bold colors and clean lines to convey an engaging concept.
The following games are shining examples of the proper way to combine satisfying gameplay and minimalistic visuals in one very appealing package.
1. Boson X - We’re really kicking it off with a bang... or at least with a collision between microscopic subatomic particles. Boson X is a fabulous endless rotational runner sporting twitchy and fast-paced action. Boson X rewards quick reflexes as well as knowledge of the patterns that reoccur in each of its stages, and delivers an addictive and enjoyable minimalist experience.
2. Lyne - Next in line for a shout-out is the sublime puzzler Lyne. As the name would suggest, playing this one entails using a single line to join shapes of the same type, while ensuring that your multiple lines never intersect. While this core concept stays the same throughout, Lyne does a remarkable job of increasing difficulty to keep you hooked.
3. Hundreds - This game is as difficult as bench-pressing a grand piano while conducting a symphony orchestra with your feet. To beat a level you must press several small moving circles, causing them to expand until the combined total of their numbers - which correspond to their size - reaches 100. Timing and dexterity feature heavily in this tricolored game, but Hundreds' diverse situations can only be solved with the right combination of actions - making this primarily a brainteaser.
4. Solipskier - By App Store standards, Solipskier has aged remarkably well. Hailing all the way back from 2010, it’s an endless skier / heavy metal rock-fest that remains great to this day. With the press of a finger you draw a slope for your character to ski upon and then, by varying the slope's height to create ramps, you guide the skier through gates and over cavernous gaps. Fluid, fast, and fun.
5. Puk - Like Hundreds, this game requires both quick reflexes and a speedy mind; however, the former takes precedence in Puk. The premise is simple - shoot small circles to make larger circles disappear within a time limit - but Puk’s real draw is in the random ordering of its short levels. No two runs will play out the same way; that said, there’s still a definite difficulty curve, with clever uses of the ricochet being mandatory the further you go. Puk is a game with a simple premise executed fabulously.
6. Flappy Bird - This game conveys a poignant metaphor through its minimalist gameplay - that of a dying beast caught in an eternal torment. Its glorious yet fruitless exertions will bring you to your knees as you cry for the fate of the poor, poor creature. As you shatter your iPhone - perhaps to release the bird from his glass cage of suffering - you’ll realize two things: first, that you need a new iPhone, and second, that you wasted over 30 hours over your life dying at the first pipe.