It’s closing in on one year since the Playdate was released, a unique handheld made by a small team of incredibly talented developers and product makers.
Since then a wide number of games have been developed from a wide number of gamers, hobbyists and newcomers.
While it’s still hard to get hard of a Playdate due to their long shipping times, they have recently announced a big update, one that features “Catalog”, a way to buy new games on an online store through the Playdate itself.
Currently, the fastest way to get hold of a Playdate is via eBay.
So, with the every growing library of games, i wanted to share with you my personal best playdate games so far!
If you’re wondering if you should pick up a Playdate, then read our full review, as there’s certainly pros and cons to this handheld that need to be taken into consideration before purchase.
The video above will also show off some of the games featured in this article, so give it a watch and subscribe to our channel while you are there!
Now, let’s crank it up with our best Playdate games… see what I did there?
Table of Contents
if you are a fan of the old classic Pong games then 360 will be right up your street. It’s a easy to understand game that quickly turns into a challenging and fast response crank spinning nightmare that I can’t help but come back to.
It’s your job to remove “blocks” using a ball that destroys them and bounces off the into any random direction.
When the ball bounces back it’s your job to direct your board using the crank to bounce it back at the blocks. The goal is to eliminate all blocks.
There’s a wide number of levels, or rather “planets” that you explore the more levels you complete, and the subtle detailing behind the levels makes it feel out of this world.
it’s a great pick up and play game that requires very little tutorials, but pushes your boundaries the more levels you complete. It has an awesome soundtrack too.
10. Carve Jr
It’s a new game that costs $8 on the Catalog store, and it’s one of the best $8 I have ever spent on a game.
In Carve Jr it’s your job to increase your points by snowboarding down a course, doing mid-air tricks, rail slides and more, all while trying to dodge trees, other Skiers on the track and rocks.
The crank directs you, and it allows you to spin in mid air, the arrow buttons will act as a jump to get even more air to increase your points.
The maps and courses are superb, and its one of those games that shows of the graphical potential of the game.
The developers Chuhai Labs have done an incredible job making this game a reality, and they’ve also used a great soundtrack too, it reminds me of SSX even more.
9. Executive Golf DX
Have you ever felt like pulling out your golf clubs while you in the office and using the terrain as your next course?
No, us neither, but you can do just that thanks to the Playdate. There’s a game called Executive Golf DX, which is one of the more relaxing games, and has little “movement” when playing, in terms of using the crank.
This game gets you to hit the golf ball through 2D platforms, but the levels are different areas of the office, so times you’ll have to hit it over office chairs, the next ricocheting it off a fan.
It’s a peaceful game, with calming music and enough challenges to keep you entertained for hours.
If you’re into golf like I am, then this is one to download.
8. Reel Steal
Reel Steal is a new free game that arrived on catalog and it’s another game that features calming music yet challenging puzzles to solve.
The aim of this game is to steal art from the bottom of a very, very tall building, using the crank mechanic to lower yourself down on a line with a hook, as if you were fishing.
Between the top and the bottom of the puzzle you will come across challenges that require you to stay away from drones, not get stuck to magnets and quickly fall through lasers.
If you get hit too much, or are seen for too long by the drones you will fail the puzzle.
It reminds me of the popular scene in Mission Impossible where Tom Cruise is strapped to a line and must retrieve the precious goods, that’s basically this game.
Spellcorked is an incredibly cozy, crafting game with incredible illustrations that pushes the Playdate to its limit.
This game feels as if you are reading a book, it’s low stress, easy to be engulfed in and is packed with memorable moments and characters.
You control a recently-graduated young witch trying to thrive in a digital age. With a bit of help and a lot of love, you fulfil potion orders for people you have never meet, and try to get the best reviews you can through crafting mechanics.
You learn ways of the potion maker, you discover recipes in books and explore the magic that the game has to offer.
It’s a very chilled game, and one that you can come back to when you want to dive deep into a play session.
6. Hyper Meteor
Asteroids is by far one of the best retro games of our time, and Hyper Meteor is trying to replicate that using its unique play style.
You control a space ship, and you need to rack up as many points as possible by destroying meteors that make its way onto your screen.
As the game continues asteroids get faster, they get bigger and more of them start appearing. you need to control your spaceships direction using the crank and smashing into the white parts of the meteor.
This will explode the meteor into smaller pieces for to then destroy and increase points. There are also power-ups allowing you to destroy everything on screen and more, but i don’t want to spoil it for you.
If you’re an old school retro gamer, then this is the game to go for, it’s awesome!
5. Time Travel Adventure
Time Travel Adventure is one of the more popular games on the Playdate. It was launched with the Playdate and is the perfect introduction to experience the crank in a new way.
This game makes you control what can be only described as a tin man, or a scarecrow, and it’s your goal to get him to the end of the game by dodging birds, jumping over bulls, sliding under gates and more.
The crank is used to speed up and slow down time, somethings in the game don’t slow down, some speed up, so its your goal to dodge things by getting your tin man into correct areas, or jumping over things and slowing down time while the object passes underneath you.
The deeper you get into the game the more complicated the puzzles get, and it requires lots of trial and error before understanding the levels intricacies.
It’s a great game that require patience and a concentrated mind, after every game I feel a little bit smarter, or one would hope.
Skew is a new game released for the Playdate made by Oiffy and developed by Frédérick Raynal.
Skew is the “the world’s 1st real-time 3D endless spinner”. This game makes you control an adorable robot called CoBot that floats its way through randomly generated levels with a goal of getting as deep into the game as possible to score more points.
Using the crank (or A/B buttons) alongside the tilt functionality you control and direct CoBot past obstacles to survive as long as possible, with only 3 lives per each game.
As you continue through the game more obstacles appear, the game gets faster and generally more difficult.
It’s a fun, yet addictive game that keeps you indulged and is easy enough to understand for newcomers to pick up and play, I love it.
SKEW is a Playdate spin-off of THE LAST WORKER, the upcoming narrative adventure for VR, consoles and PC; written and directed by Jörg Tittel
3. Battleship Godios
Battleship Godios is a space game that requires you to shoot your weapon to destroy other space ships, monsters and bad guys.
Instead of having lots of ammunition this game is unique because it requires you to retrieve your bullets by hitting in to them when they ricochet backwards.
You get a few lives and can use the crank to rewind back to a specific time instead of a checkpoint, this gives you a much needed advantage as you may want to rewind a second, or 10 seconds, the choice is yours.
It requires lots of fail attempts to figure out certain ways to defeat enemies, so it keeps the mind active constantly and requires minimal crank motion.
Just remember to catch your bullets!
2. Whitewater Wipeout
Whitewater Wipeout is one of the original games for the Playdate and is certainly one of the best Playdate games that introduces you to the crank.
This game takes inspiration from California Games, one of the best ATARI Lynx games. The principle is simple, rack up as many points as possible by doing as many spins in the air as you can physically can.
You can do this by using the crank to change direction, and using the speed of the wave to increase your jump height, the more speed you get the higher you jump and the more spins you will be able to make.
Keep going until you can get a high score, it’s that simple.
The simplicity of the game makes it easy for me to pick up and play if I am limited on time, and its a great introductory game for those that have never touched a handheld.
1. Flipper Lifter
Flipper Lifter is my favourite game on the console, thanks to its adorable nature and nerve racking gameplay that compounds in difficulty as time passes.
The aim of the game is simple, you must take penguins to their requested level using the crank to control where the lift opens, and where it closes.
As time passed, more and more (very demanding) Penguins require your assistance, and more and more levels will appear, increasing stress levels imminently.
When new levels unlock you need to carefully consider the time it takes between the top and bottom level, as Penguins don’t wait around and you’ll lose points if they are late!
You can add multiple penguins into one lift, should you want to kill two birds with… maybe that’s not the quote to use, but you get my drift!
It’s fun, easy to understand, features a homely feel and has awesome music to go with it, it’s a well designed game that uses the crank perfectly.
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A 29 year old fella that’s had a Gameboy addiction ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and created a YouTube channel with 240,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.