Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section.
MONUMENT VALLEY (iOS)
Calling a mobile game “tactile” skirts tautology; they’re all predicated on the flick of a fingertip. Yet some just do it better, and Monument Valley is tactile as all get-out. As a princess scaling a castle of her own making, you slide, thunk, and click all manner of Escherian architectures into a usable path. Mix with pastel-toned art and gorgeous, bespoke sound design for a twinkling lullaby of a game, like Chopin made interactive.
Perfect for: A brain massage, people interested in Fez but less interested in learning a new alphabet
Playtime: Call it an hour, but no need to rush.
FTL: ADVANCED EDITION (iOS, PC, MAC, LINUX)
BY SUBSET GAMES
FTL: Advanced Edition isn’t just a gussied-up version of the 2012 original, which also made the Playlist. So how does a game get double Playlist love? It helps if you make the jump to mobile without sacrificing a thing. It helps more if you add in new ships, species, events, and features, essentially creating a whole new game. And if you make it free for people who already own it? Let’s go back to space.
Perfect for: Fans of the un-advanced edition, sci-fi roguelike lovers, anyone who thought Out There needed more guns
Playtime: A lot of hours, depending on how many hours you’ve already put in.
AGE OF WONDERS III (PC)
BY TRIUMPH GAMES
Civilization V sometimes get bogged down with the details of, you know, actually building a sustainable empire. In comes Age of Wonders III, a game where conquest is key and the world exists for you to march your fantasy warriors across. Light on diplomacy, light on management, heavy on fantasy creatures. Marshall your forces and train your hero unit: there’s a whole new world out there for you to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate upon. Vae victus.
Perfect for: Tabletop generals, fantasy 4Xers, people who spell magic with a “k”
Playtime: One more turn. Well – maybe one more after that.