I’m always on the hunt for the perfect mobile game. This is a tall order as only one or two games fit the bill for me each year. The best mobile games should be something I can either sit with for hours or just play for a few minutes. They need to work offline so I can play them no matter where I am. And on top of that, I prefer them to have a tactile component that uses touch controls in a satisfying way.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve found the perfect puzzle game for this year – and it’s an Apple Arcade exclusive.

Stitch. is now live on Apple Arcade! Happy sewing!

Stitch (stylized as stitch.) is an embroidery puzzle game that combines Picross and Stitches. This is the latest game from Lykke Studios, a developer who has already made some of the best Apple Arcade games, such as Toning and Lumen. Like those titles, Stitch works because it’s focused on an elegant puzzle premise that’s easy to communicate to players thanks to intuitive controls. It’s also one of the most relaxing games this year — something that’s already had me spending hours with it.

Sewing puzzles

Stitch hooked me right from his simple tutorial. Opening the game gives me an empty embroidery hoop. The camera focuses on one part of it and a small grid appears with colored numbers on it. The idea is that I need to fill this grid correctly by creating the correct stitches that go through the correct number of squares. So if there’s a brown two in a box, I’ll have to do a quick stitch with two squares that goes through that box. If I see four, I can either create a two by two square or a line of four squares. Of course, everything has to fit correctly to properly solve the lattice and move on to the next piece of the hoop.

Like puzzle game, its closest parallel is Picross. Like this format, I have to create a picture by filling in the grid squares correctly, but it’s even more streamlined than this game, especially when it comes to controls. Instead of using a joystick to navigate a grid, you just tap and drag to make a stitch. Deleting it is as easy as a double tap. It’s a perfect control scheme for the idea, making it a perfect mobile experience.

The puzzles start off easy enough. Some beginner hoops have me sewing frogs and penguins using some simple instructions. But like any good puzzle game, the challenge grows from there. More complex puzzles lead me to embroider a full landscape, which requires me to fill in more complex puzzle boxes around the grid. A helpful hint system helps make sure I’m never completely stuck, but I’ve already run into a few grids that made me double work to figure out the right pattern.

Even when the going gets tough, Stitch never lets up. Naturally, the whole game looks like it’s made of soft and colorful yarn. Light piano music completes the experience, giving it a cozy winter feel — like sitting by a fireplace in a rocking chair. If I get frustrated with a puzzle or just need to put my phone down, I can quit and pick up right where I left off on any hoop.

A completed embroidery hoop in Stitch shows a boat on a lake.

Stitch also doesn’t want to eat up your time or money, which is a must for me with a mobile game. Since it’s on Apple Arcade, it doesn’t include any form of microtransactions that might otherwise get in the way of genuine gameplay. Instead, it just includes some light progression hooks that reward me for playing. I gain experience while I sew, which increases my level. Getting to Silver Tier II unlocks some weekly performance hoops, giving me more to do after completing its 77 main puzzles. There’s even a free stitching mode that allows players to go back to any hoop and recreate it however they wish, adding a nice creative touch to the experience.

I’ve only just started playing with Stitch, but I firmly believe it’s the perfect look for a mobile game. It’s something that makes smart use of touch controls and can be played in very short sessions when players have a minute to spare. I very much intend to make it my go-to commute game going forward as it allows me to kill 30 minutes with a hypnotic puzzle game that won’t result in pricked fingers.

Stitch is available to download now as part of Apple Arcade.

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