As some of you may know already, skills are voice-powered abilities that enhance and personalize Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, and subsequently all your Alexa-enabled devices. Essentially, you are (sort of) adding voice apps with various features so Alexa can do more.
If you’ve been following our blog, you already know we enjoy sifting through various smart speaker-related things to bring interesting stuff to the spotlight. This post will be no exception, so if you’re not sure how to get started or are just looking for something new to add to your favorite smart assistant, we’ve got you covered.
How to add a skill
First things first – a quick guide on how you can enable Alexa skill. There are three ways to do that:
- search for and enable skills in the Alexa app (Skills > select the category, then skill you want to use > Enable Skill)
- search for and enable skills from the Alexa Skills store on Amazon’s website;
- say “Enable (skill name)” if you already know the exact name of the skill you want.
Skills typically have different activations and functions so make sure to open the skill’s detail page for examples of what you can say and to learn more about its functionality. Skill availability varies by country so there’s a chance some skills may be off-limits.
Now that we’ve sorted that out, here’s our selection of must-try Alexa game skills (in no particular order):
1. The Vortex
With voice technology slowly becoming mainstream, the number of interactive games skyrocketed to take advantage of the voice-first movement. One such game is The Vortex, a narrative game that puts you in the center of attention. You are in charge of a team of robots and together, you must gain control of a derelict spaceship and uncover a few mysteries along the way, including what is the Vortex.
The game has a well-written and detailed storyline with lots of funny characters and lots of possibilities that add to the overall immersion factor. It moves at a slow pace so it feels like an actual game at times and doesn’t require much time. If you have an Alexa device with a display, try it out for the full experience.
“In space, no one can hear you scream” was the tagline for the iconic Alien movie. The Offworld Colony Simulator doesn’t provide the same level of scares but does retain much of the creepy atmosphere. This is a turn-based exploration game where the end goal is to escape from as many sectors as possible (because you eventually succumb) in a locked down Weyland-Yutani Space Colony
For the best experience, the game should be played on a device with a display (i.e. Echo Show) as it has plenty of visual elements but don’t worry – you can easily switch to a non-display device as well. As a bonus, there are character sheets available to track your progress, which arguably adds more fun to the game.
If you’re not a fan of the space mystery genre, there are plenty of interactive games that will provide an equally fun experience. We suggest two games based on the same concept: the escape room. The trend has dramatically grown in the last couple of years, and it was only a matter of time when it would successfully translate to voice.
In Escape the Room and its sequel Escape the Airplane, you find yourself trapped in those two respective surroundings and need to find a way out. Games revolve around three basic actions and some more contextual commands you pick up along the way. It’s an innovative approach to the escape room concept and fun for a family or a small group of friends.
Bit of a niche skill, Westworld: The Maze is a game based on the popular TV show, and as such, designed with Westworld fans in mind. If you’re one of that bunch, you’ll love the immersion as the game brings the show right to your living room. If not, that absolutely shouldn’t stop you or anyone else from enjoying it.
The production quality is top notch, which perhaps is best reflected on the fact that the game was nominated for this year’s Webby Awards People’s Choice for best user experience. HBO promises there are more than 2 hours of unique gameplay, and considering there are 60 possible paths to choose from to the center of the maze, that sounds about right. Do note that Westworld: The Maze is one of the more difficult Alexa games so there’s bound to be some touch-and-go moments, and is not suitable for children under the age of 13.
One of the Alexa skills classics and among the first breakthrough skills that helped put Alexa on the map, Jeopardy! is still a great choice for some game-filled leisure if you want a more trivia-based game. It’s simply fun playing whether you’re in a group or by yourself and can quickly become a part of daily routine.
There is a wide range of categories that includes the inevitable pop culture, sports, travel, history, and many more so you get different questions with every game. The bottom line is: if you love the show, you’ll love the game. Prime members get extra clues so if you have Amazon’s subscription, that’s another reason to go for Jeopardy!
6. Song Quiz
Song Quiz is one of those endlessly fun trivia games that have that evergreen feel. Part of that lies in the fact that new music is added pretty frequently, so the game is worth revisiting every once in a while, even if you are a heavy user. The concept is simple – listen to a snippet from a song and try to guess the title and the artist.
There are different formats available as you can challenge other local users live, go head to head with the online population where your answers are saved and compared when someone else plays against you, or just go solo and test your knowledge. You can choose from virtually every decade (60s through today), although you can’t choose genres – at least not yet. All in all, Song Quiz is definitely among the most addicting Alexa games there are.
As the name would have you think, this rather simple but highly addictive game is a great choice for family and friendly gatherings. The point of the game is to pick one out of two situations and see if the rest of the players will agree with you. Questions can be really silly so you are guaranteed to have a laugh or two, although do note that some questions might be are not quite family-friendly for very young kids (e.g. choosing to be attacked by a zombie or by a shark – that’s bound to leave an impression on a five-year-old).
The game is also available in multiplayer mode and can be played by yourself. For those who want more, premium content adds new editions/categories of questions, and these are constantly updated. Around a hundred regular questions are also added every month so you don’t get bored. Think of ‘Would You Rather for Family’ as a fun way to learn things about your loved ones.
Bonus tip: ask Alexa for a recommendation
Another neat thing Alexa does is recommend skills. If you want a specific recommendation such as games, simply say “Alexa, recommend some game skills” and the assistant will come up with a few popular game skills.
That’s it for now. We’ll be adding new games every month so be sure to check back with us! Have fun!