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7 Android games that are simple but beautiful
The words ‘beautiful’ and ‘Android app store’ are rarely used in the same sentence. Traditionally, the relatively open door policy set by the Google Play Store and its unofficial variants have resulted in a bit of a mess, dominated by freemium apps, cheap-looking puzzlers, and – in the worst cases – dangerous malware.
That hasn’t stopped people buying Android devices in their droves. As of February, the operating system held 81% of the global market and developers are following suit, creating original Android games and porting the most popular iOS apps at an increasingly rapid rate.
Your Android device, then, is really what you make of it, and these simple but beautiful apps are some of the most addictive and aesthetically pleasing around.
Seven simple but beautiful Android games:
1. Thomas Was Alone
We’re not sure how they did it, but Bossa Studios took us on an emotional journey with a game about jumping rectangles. This platformer has 100 levels to play through, but it’s the story – narrated by Danny Wallace – that really makes it. It even won a BAFTA.
Launched back in 2013, the original Dots game for iOS managed to turn a simple grid of dots into one of the most addictive games we’ve ever played. The sequel gets a little more complicated, but not much, and it’s still beautifully designed in its minimalistic approach.
3. Canabalt HD
Simplicity and innovation rarely go hand-in-hand, but it’s fair to say that the success of Canabalt had a major impact on app stores in the years that followed its 2009 release. The ‘endless running’ genre it spawned is now at saturation point, but this game almost single-handedly paved the way for Temple Run, Flappy Bird and countless others. The Android version was released in 2012.
Duet might be a one-player smartphone puzzle, but you’ll need to display great teamwork to do well – if only between your two thumbs. Navigating these co-dependent dots through a labyrinth of obstacles will delight and frustrate in equal measures.
A lot of iPhone and Android games are very similar, so when something a little different comes along we’re naturally inclined to cling to it. Framed is one of those games, and – blending an innovative comic book mechanic with sophisticated noir style – it deserves all the plaudits that come its way.
A hybrid of Pong and bowls, you can probably work out what to do with OLO by just looking at a screenshot. It’s simplicity only adds to its charms, though, and its addictive online multiplayer mode makes this a must-buy.
7. A Ride into the Mountains
Lastly, another rarity for app stores – A Ride into the Mountains is a rare smartphone game that feels genuinely peaceful to play. Even its name is calming, and, rather than being based around frantic action or frustrating puzzles, you’ll learn to master a bow and arrow amidst beautiful 8-bit scenery. Trust us, it’s more enjoyable than it sounds.