Four Smartphone Games: A Pleasure To Look At And Play

Our smartphones – those powerful miniature computers we carry in our pockets or purses – have inspired countless design teams and others to create all sorts of interactive apps and games for our enjoyment.

Here are four of those games designed for both iOS and Android that use the elements of visual design to their maximum. Color, value, texture, space, time… The designers have created beautiful and intriguing images that blend seamlessly with the game’s platform and narrative. Looking at them from a purely visual perspective every frame in each of these games could stand alone as a small work of art.

Monument Valley was created by Ustwo, an international company specializing in mobile computing. Their designers were inspired by minimalist art, the subtle color blends of classical Japanese prints, and the convoluted spaces found in M.C. Escher prints.

The game was named the best iPad game of 2014. It was also rated the Best Handheld/Mobile Game for 2015 in the Game Developers Choice Awards.

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Back To Bed is the product of Danish developers Bedtime Digital Games. Here their design team refers to the dream world and subconscious imagery of the Surrealists as well as old Disney cartoons where Goofy and Donald Duck sleepwalk unhurt through impossibly dangerous situations.

Back To Bed won the Student Showcase award at the Independent Games Festival in 2013.

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Samarost was created by Amanita Design. They are an independent game development studio in the Czech Republic. Samarost in Czech refers to a root or piece of wood that resembles a creature – the inspiration for many folk tales.

Samarost won the Webby Award in the Games category for 2007. It also won the best Original Sound category at the 2006 Flashforward Film Festival.

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Never Alone is a beautiful game with an unusual story about its development…

The Cook Inlet Tribal Council – a non-profit organization working with indigenous groups in Alaska – wanted to create a video game that would also promote the legacies of a local people. They settled on a traditional Iñupiaq story of a child searching for a way to stop a never-ending blizzard that is destroying the village and its way of life.

To tell this story the Tribal Council organized a design team and joined forces with E-Line Media, an established game publisher.

As players help the game’s young protagonist overcome successive challenges they unlock recorded videos about the history and culture of the Iñupiaq people. The game is both entertaining and educational.

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If you have another example of a smartphone game with beautiful graphics please let us know in our blog comments or by visiting our Facebook page.

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