At first, we didn’t understand why Crush! was called Crush! We figured it was a petty attempt to capitalize on the massive popularity of Candy Crush Saga, or that “crush” was just one of those words that sounded cool, you know, like “edge,” or “katana.” But after this diamond-hard puzzler kept handing our my collective asses on a platter, we figured it out. Oh, the weight!
Perfect for very short waits, the one and only time you won’t curse your iPhone’s accelerometer, those who start Tetris at line 99.
Time to play: To quote iTunes, if you survive for 2 minutes, you’re doing really well.
Mighty Switch Force 2 (Nintendo 3DS)
In the original, you’re a space cop who shoots her pellet gun and manipulates the ground beneath her feet. Now grab a hose and cool off that raging inferno burning down your planet. WayForward‘s silky sprite work and Jake Kaufman‘s always-rad tunes keep the intensity high. Oh, and you save USBs (Ugly Secret Babies).
Perfect for the E3 comedown, 16-bit Capcom aficionados, Backdraft 2‘s screenwriter.
Time to play: 3-4 hours.
Color Zen (iOS, Android)
If Crush! breaks your will, let Color Zen bring the peace and serenity. You won’t find any Match-Three mechanics here. Instead, playing is more like painting with watercolor; hues blend, expand, and contract as you slide shapes to and fro, a burbling electronica keeping time. A puzzler without the high blood pressure.
Perfect for touch-screen Picassos, TSA agents on their day off, Robert M. Pirsig.
Time to play: 120 levels, 1 soothing minute at a time.
Kill Screen #7: The Great Outdoors
by Kill Screen
Yup, we’re cheating and adding this one two weeks in a row, but hey it’s our playlist! More importantly, it’s still the perfect time of year to read our brand new Great Outdoors issue. Gamer chimpanzees, Kazakh eagle contests, an interview with the composer from The Last of Us, and a digital exploration of Thoreau’s beloved Walden. Digital and print copies available for all.
Perfect for sneaking onto Fort Tilden beach, your carry-on luggage, getting a small taste of summer from the break room at your office.
Time to read: One solid domestic flight.