click to enlarge Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter

Killing time in the summer can be a nuisance. Whether at the doctor's office or by the pool, sometimes it seems like there just isn't anything that you can do to fight boredom. So here are a couple of fresh, inventive phone games to help you beat that drag here as summer winds down.

Rotatic is a soothing puzzler where you try to align many separate pieces of a puzzle so that when they are brought together it forms an image. Just keep tinkering until you get the desired image. While all the games on my phone feel really fast-paced, this is a breath of fresh air. However, I'm growing a little tired of trying to unlock new levels. Available free on Apple (with in-app purchases to unlock new levels early). Grade: B

Color Fill 3D is a zen game that is pretty simple: Avoid the obstacles and color in the empty space. If you want to take a breath, just tap against a wall and you will stop. This particular game is the No. 1 freebie on the Apple app store as of this writing, but while a lot of recently released free games are mostly cookie-cutter cash grabs, this one shines because it's completely free (with ads). Out now on Apple and Android (no in-app purchases). Grade: B-

Total Party Kill is an intuitive puzzler featuring a wizard, a bowman and a knight. The caveat is that sacrifices must be made to get to the door that ends the puzzle. The game feels like one-player chess — each move matters and one mistake could force a restart. Keep an eye out for counterintuitive tricks, as they are what makes every level feel just different enough to be fun. Available for free on Apple and Android ($4 for ad-free). Grade: A

Hyper Light Drifter is a phone version of an award-winning console game. Its rich storytelling and stunning visuals will draw you in, and its strategy-driven gameplay and intuitive controls will keep you playing. The game reminds me entirely of the design style of indie platformer Fez — if Fez were set in a dark and scary dystopia, and instead of an adorable little marshmallow wearing a fez the main character was a shady, masked drifter. This game is $5, but well worth it. Available on Apple only. Grade: A+

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