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The 10 Best Amazon Alexa Games
When you think about Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, you may think about listening to music, setting kitchen timers or controlling your smart home, but the Alexa also offers a novel way to play games. Without a screen, these games rely on sound and voice responses to play. There are no controllers required, but some games use Echo Buttons ($19.99 for 2 pack) for multiplayer games, letting you test your reflexes as to who can hit their button fastest.
Most Alexa games are free, but some offer premium content for a cost (which you'll see noted on the skill page as "In-Skill Purchases"). It's not always clear as to what is a purchase, so sometimes you'll stumble on to an option that asks for money — many apps have extra content or plays that can be unlocked for a small fee, which may be discounted or free for Prime members. If you don't want to spend (or don't want the kids to spend), turn off voice purchasing for your Echo.
Before you start loading games on your Alexa-compatible devices, be aware that not all of them are appropriate for children. Amazon has a rating system, but it's a little vague: skills appropriate for all ages don't list a rating, but most will be Guidance Suggested (which could range from a PG to a PG-13 rating depending on the app) or Mature (which are only appropriate for older audiences). Many games also have Dynamic Content, meaning they can include new, updated content over time which may or may not follow the original rating. In general, review any apps before you let your child play with them.
But now that you understand how Alexa games work, it's time to get to the games themselves. Here are our ten favorite titles.
Put yourself in the middle of the story with Earplay
Think of Earplay as an audio-based choose your own adventure book. The app will read stories and let you make choices at key moments. Each story is fully voiced by actors rather than read by Alexa's toneless voice, which makes them more immersive than some other Alexa apps.
There are only a few stories so far, including the mature spy thriller Codename Cygnus, but new stories are coming soon, like the family-friendly Pugmire which puts players in a world run by dogs. Making story selection it a bit more confusing, some of Earplay's stories are in standalone apps, like the Jurassic Park adventure Jurassic World Revealed. Our advice is to download the app and try Codename Cygnus to see if you like it — and if so sign up on the Earplay website to get email updates when there are new stories. However, check a story's content before letting the kids play, because not all of them are appropriate.
Right now, Earplay's stories are free, but new ones may come at an extra cost.
Go on a puzzling adventure in Hunt the Yeti
Hunting Yeti isn't exactly easy, especially in the Hunt the Yeti game. In this game, you're a hunter in a dark cave which is full of hazards like pits, monsters and (of course) the yeti itself.
Alexa will describe each section of the cave, warning you if there are sounds of potential dangers. You never know which direction these hazards are in, just that they're adjacent to the space you're in — essentially, it's a logic puzzle that requires you to move from safe space to safe space to work out what is where. Once you've determined where the yeti is, you win the game by throwing your spear at it.
If you're determined to win, we recommend having a pencil and paper handy. The cave is a 5 x 5 square, and it will really help to note what you think is in each place.
Stump Alexa with the classic guessing game Twenty Questions
Sometimes the classics really are the best. Twenty Questions is a simple guessing game, but it can be incredibly entertaining. The rules are simple: you think of something (music, animal, vegetable, mineral, concept, or unknown) and Alexa will ask you yes or no questions and guess what it is. If Alexa hasn't figured it out after 20 questions, you win.
It can be tough to stump Amazon's voice assistant, so you'll have to get creative to win. However, you have to be careful not to get too creative, because Alexa may ask questions you don't know the answer to. Of course, that can make it a learning game for the kids (and for you) if you pick an unfamiliar item and then research it to answer Alexa.
Star in your own game show with Jeopardy
No trivia game is as well known as Jeopardy, so it's no surprise that it's one of the best games Alexa has to offer — as long as you enjoy trivia. The game plays just like it does on TV: Alexa gives you an answer, and you have to come up with the question that matches. Every answer has to be phrased in the form of a question if you want to win!
Some trivia games will get stale over time, but Jeopardy adds new clues daily so you're never bored. Every day, there's a new game of six clues to play, or you can play through any games you've missed. These daily games are all free, but you can also get six more clues every day for a $1.99 monthly subscription. However, these bonus questions are completely free for Prime members, so Jeopardy buffs can enjoy a round of 12 answers every day.
Test your cinema skills with Movie Challenge
This straightforward quiz game is anything but easy. Movie Challenge plays memorable audio clips and asks you what movie they're from — and it takes a real film buff to guess them all. There are hundreds of quotes and more are added regularly to keep the game fresh. And to keep the game appropriate for all audiences, you can choose to guess from all movies or stick to kids movies, making it a fun quiz game for the whole family.
While the quiz itself is challenging, at least half the fun comes from getting to laugh, cry or otherwise enjoy your favorite movie moments. Think of it like family movie night, just with really short movies.
Guess the song with Beat the Intro
There are a lot of music quiz skills, but our favorite is Beat the Intro. Instead of relying on Alexa to narrate, Beat the Intro is hosted by music expert Moozzo, who adds commentary and trivia to give the app a lot of flair. (However, depending on how you like Moozzo's personality, this may be good or bad.)
But it's still a quiz game at heart: it will play a song clip and challenge you to guess the song name and the artist. You'll earn points for guessing either the song or the artist, but you'll earn more points for guessing both, with bonus points for faster guesses. In addition to a single-player quiz, you can also compete against your friends in team mode, with or without Echo Buttons. There's a new three-question daily challenge every day, so there's always something new.
Some challenges are free — you can play the daily challenge, as well as greatest hits and today's hits packs at no charge. However, there are thousands of songs available for a $3 monthly subscription ($1.50 for Prime members), with a free 14-day trial.
Rule a kingdom with Yes Sire
Think you have what it takes to survive as nobility in the Middle Ages? Yes Sire puts you on the throne and lets you make snap decisions on how to run your kingdom just with yes or no answers.
It sounds easy, but there's a surprising amount of depth to the game. Each round, you'll be presented with a situation. Do you want to invade a neighboring kingdom? Do you want to punish a thief? There are tons of possible scenarios, and each game is random. Every choice you make will cause you to win or lose wealth and influence. Balance is key. If you gain too much wealth or influence, the jealous king is likely to behead you — but if you fall too low in either, the king may do the same to be rid of your lackluster talents.
One thing we don't like about this game is how much it pushes in-skill purchases. It's quite easy to lose the game, and whenever you do it will cheerfully offer to let you continue — for $1, or a little less if you're a Prime member. However, you can start a new game immediately after you've lost the last, and work to keep your new kingdom in balance through a series of challenging scenarios.
Be warned that this game is listed as mature, and isn't appropriate for young children. While the game may sound innocuous enough, some of the scenarios are violent or otherwise inappropriate. However, it's a lot of fun for adults or teens.
Mix the perfect smoothie with Rush Order
This game, designed specifically for Echo Buttons, is all about how fast you can click. In Rush Order, you're concocting smoothies by hitting your Echo Button when it lights up in the appropriate color. The button will cycle through colors, and you need to hit the color corresponding to your recipe's ingredients in the right order — like red for strawberries or green for limes. It's essentially a color memory game, just with a delicious fruit-flavored theme.
You can play on your own or compete with friends — everyone needs their own Echo Button to play, though.
Learn logic skills with Hungry Birds
Who's to say learning can't be fun? Hungry Birds is a logic puzzle that teaches kids to think like coders, helping them get an early start on programming skills. You play a bird that you have to guide to its nest by telling it which direction to go. It sounds easy, but you can't just pick the most direct path to the nest — your bird needs to keep eating to have the energy to move, so you need to pick the perfect path.
The game is designed to be played with some graph paper (or a printed game template) handy so you can map out your route until you get it right. And because it requires kids to listen and make their own maps, it can help improve focus and listening skills, too.
Spend some time as your favorite animal in Animal Workout
This game is designed for kids, but there's no reason parents can't join in the fun, too. Animal Workout is a game that's all about getting off the couch and burn off some energy. The game will describe an animal and then your child will pretend to be that animal while Alexa plays music and encourages them to keep going. It cycles through animals quickly enough to prevent boredom from setting in, and new animals are added to the app regularly for more variety.
It's a perfect game for keeping the kids engaged — no screen time required.
[Image credit: Amazon]