You can finally play a game while making the world think you’re merely checking the time … for 15 minutes straight.
Developer Unit9 Games just released Swip3 on the Google Play app market, and it’s the first game designed for Android Wear smartwatches. These web-connected, touchscreen timepieces from companies like Motorola and Samsung enable you to interact with your email while getting updates and notifications from your calendar or social networks. Swip3 isn’t about checking the temperature or getting quick access to your text messages. Instead, it has you flicking and gesturing with your finger to move around a 5-by-5 playfield filled with different colored blocks. As you might expect, once you connect three or more like-colored blocks, they disappear and you get points. It’s out now for $1.69, and it is also playable on smartphones and tablets. Unit9 also has a version on the Web that you can try. Players spent $16 billion on mobile games last year, which made that the top app category for revenue. It’s possible games could make a lot on touchscreen watches as well — wearables are already pegged to be a $3 billion to $5 billion market.
But we’re all here because we want to experience the future, and that means playing games on our wrists. You’re probably wondering how something like that works, so check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of Swip3 in action on a number of different Android Wear smartwatches:
“We started this project after being impressed by the technology in the Android Wear,” Unit9 business development manager Steve Brown told GamesBeat. “We develop mobile games in Unity and wondered if the technology could also be used on the Wear.”
The team found out that getting a Unity game up and running on a Wear device wouldn’t require a ton of extra work, and so it started to focus on designing something that would make sense on your wrist.
Swip3 is a simple game that looks clean and uncluttered. That is not by accident.
“We knew we had to make the gameplay simple but addictive due to the constraints of the device,” said Brown. “The game itself is designed so it fits in the tiny screen of a watch and all you have to do is simply swipe your Android Wear with your finger to play. At any point all the user has to do is make a choice: left, down, up or right. And it’s not always obvious which is the best choice.”
Smartwatches are still a fairly new category. Google revealed its big Android Wear initiative at its I/O developer conference in June. The company is hoping to do for smartwatches what Android proper did for smartphones. Rumors suggest Apple is also working on a smartwatch of its own, but the company hasn’t announced anything yet.
With games dominating the app market on both iOS and Android, it isn’t a surprise that a developer is already coming to the scene with a game for smartwatches. Now we can find out if anyone cares about gaming on a watch or whether most will just stick to playing Candy Crush Saga on their smartphone.