The Return of Minimalistic Game Play Apps

 Is it in the graphics? The background music? The characters? What is it that really makes video games so addictive? Why do often fall victims to eye-straining, back-aching games?

If you want a game that both adults and kids – even toddlers – can understand and enjoy make it simple. “If you can’t beat em, join ‘em,” right? Minimalist games have been on a rise these past few years because of how easy they are for players of all ages.

In an article from The Kernel, titled “The Psychology of Game Addiction”, they state that “Gaming addicts are more or less on their own, and have to fight their addiction by figuring out what makes the real world so unappealing when compared the bright lights of the computer screen. And the rest of us have to keep an eye on games manufacturers stepping over the line from entertainment to exploitation.”

But just as long as we don’t let it take over our lives, video game addiction shouldn’t be a problem. After all, what are our smart phones, tablets and computers for (aside from doing work and studies)?

Here are some no-sweat games from the past few years that we obsessed over, no matter how difficult they were to beat:  

  1. Flappy Bird

TIME magazine might’ve labeled the game as “bad and popular” yet “all those players, of over 18 million total listed, with game maximum leader board scores of 9,999. Mind you, that’s 10,000 taps out of your life — 83 minutes of consecutive tapping if we assume two taps per second maybe doing something like this — that you can never, ever have back.”

It initially reminds you of Super Mario because of the green, towering pipes as an obstacle. That’s all there is to it: a bird flapping its way through teeny gaps and spaces between pipes.

As annoying as it was, and as much as you tried NOT to get into the hype, you downloaded it anyways (and probably deleted it after you’ve set enough records). Admit it; you couldn’t resist being left behind when new mobile games were released.

  1. Piano Tiles

You can’t necessarily make a tune out of this app, but it does test your rhythm and hand-eye coordination. Anyone who can tell their colors apart will get the hang of this game, even toddlers.

Who would’ve thought tapping monochrome tiles could be this fun? Don’t say we didn’t warn you about how obsessive you can get turn about beating your own personal record. Personally speaking, I prefer playing with the sound muted. The piano sounds can get annoying and distracting after awhile.

This game is available for free on both Android and Apple devices, although it’s named “Don’t Tap the White Tile” on the android smart phone platform.

  1. 2048

It starts off simple, as you have to match multiples of 2 together. I won’t be surprised if your kid becomes so much better at his/her addition and multiplication tables after a few rounds. Want a bigger challenge? Keep going after 2048 then try to reach 4096.


  1. Color Switch

This game bears some similarity to flappy bird – if you let go (of the ball), you start again from the top. It’s simple enough for the little ones, yet still challenging for the older audience. It’s a feast for the eyes, thanks for the various geometric shapes and colors that appear as you progress through the game. Unlike Flappy Bird though, the obstacles transform, the speeds differ, the shapes and colors change and it’s easier to keep and set your own pace.

  1. Circle

“Make the circle jump and avoid hitting the line!” sounds pretty straightforward, but in contrast to Flappy Bird and Color Switch, the player’s sense of balance and timing has to be even more accurate.  The more diamonds you collect, the more options you get when you decide to unlock new circle designs. Unlocked new circles don’t possess any upgrades or “powers” though – you can’t make them bigger, go faster, or move slower.

  1. Stack

“Stack” comes from the same company that created Circle, so there’s no question where it got its minimalist user interface. The main – and only- objective of the game is to stack up the blocks as high as you can. Some players even admit that the game comes with some therapeutic value since it exercises your concentration and accuracy. Perfect for those who are slightly obsessive compulsive.

  1. Flow Free

It will be awhile before you start getting tired of connecting dots – with a twist. Flow Free comes with over 2000 puzzles where you can connect and match colors (without lines overlapping and crossing). You’ll exit the game always feeling like your spatial abilities have improved. This is a stress free game that doesn’t require super fast reflexes. If you like the thrill, there’s always the option of playing in Time Trial mode.


It’s hard to deny yourself the delight and challenge brought by free, simple, addictive and aesthetically pleasing games.


I’m Joseph, and I started this blog as a way to share ideas with others. I wanted to create a space where people could share their thoughts and feelings, and where we could all have a good laugh. Since then, the blog has grown into something much larger than I ever imagined. We have posts on everything from humorous essays to comics to interviews. And our weekly columns cover sports, video games, college life, and software.
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