Puzzle phenomenon "Tetris" just turned 30, and gamers everywhere are still playing some variation of Alexey Pajitnov's beloved block breaker. The puzzle genre has come a long way since the tiles of "Tetris" arranged their way into everyone's lives, as there are now quick-fix mobile addictions like "Threes" and "TwoDots" as well as genre-bending puzzlers like "Puzzle Quest 2" and "Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo." In celebration of "Tetris" and its vast legacy, here are 10 puzzle games you should play now.
TwoDots (Free; iOS)
Minimalist matching game "Dots" became one of last year's biggest mobile addictions, and its aptly-titled sequel "TwoDots" is twice as big a time-sucker. Taking a cue from "Candy Crush Saga," "TwoDots" infuses its short-burst gameplay with visual variety and a progression system, which tasks you with increasingly challenging puzzles as you move up the ladder. Forming squares is the key to trumping the game's more perplexing portions, and you'll likely see the shapes in your dreams by the time you finally put your phone down.
Pushmo ($6.99; Nintendo 3DS)
Nintendo's "Pushmo" is all about pushing and pulling a series of playground blocks (appropriately called Pushmo) within a 3D environment in order to rescue the cutesy characters trapped inside. The Pushmo pieces become more differentiated in shape and size as you progress through the game, leaving you with a series of challenging, yet tremendously satisfying head-scratchers. This adventure-puzzler takes full advantage of the 3D capabilities of Nintendo's system, as you'll feel like each Pushmo is popping out of the screen while you move it about in-game.
Lumines ($9.99; PC, PSP, PS2, Xbox 360)
The sense-stimulating "Lumines" stands out from other puzzlers, as its simple game mechanics are intricately linked to each stage's accompanying music. Your goal is to form squares of a single color, but those squares won't be cleared from the game board until the game's tempo indicator passes over the board. This creates a truly unique flow in which listening to the soundtrack is just as important as placing your pieces. "Lumines" got its start on Sony's now-dormant PSP console, but there are digital versions available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.
Threes ($2.99; iOS, Android)
Match 1 and 2 to make 3. Match 3 and 3 to make 6. Match 6 and 6 to … you get the point by now. The easy-to-pick-up gameplay found in number-matcher "Threes" is incredibly hard to put down, as you'll constantly perform miniature tasks of micro-math in order to create the biggest numbers possible. All of this infectious gameplay is coated in a charming aesthetic, as each multiple of three has its own uniquely adorable face at the bottom of its corresponding tile.
Puzzle Quest 2 ($9.99; PC, DS, PS2, Xbox 360, iOS)
"Puzzle Quest" showcased what could happen if you spilled a little "Bejeweled" into a classic role-playing game, and "Puzzle Quest 2" refined the formula. You'll find yourself exploring rich fantasy realms like in a standard RPG, but when it comes time to fight, you'll utilize classic match-three gameplay in order to unleash devastating spells and attacks on your foes. With plenty of quests, lots of customization options and a multiplayer mode, you'll lose hours and hours slaying your enemies, one colorful match at a time.
Monument Valley ($3.99; iOS, Android)
Plenty of puzzlers task you with rearranging your environment to let a protagonist pass through, and the concept reached a new artistic peak with "Monument Valley." You'll manipulate a wide array of beautifully minimal 3D structures, complete with spinning staircases, floating platforms and plenty of other obstacles built to fool your eyes. With a soothing score and unforgettable visual style, "Monument Valley" offers as much of a treat for your eyes and ears as it does for your brain.
The Room Two ($2.99; iOS)
Not all great puzzle games involve lining up colorful blocks. Fireproof Games' "The Room Two" graces the genre with a unique 3D adventure, one that has you solving a set of tactile puzzles using your iPad's touch screen. "The Room Two" is the rare puzzle game with a narrative, as each puzzle you complete within the game's spooky Victorian environments is littered with notes and clues that outline its story. Whether you have a knack for 3D puzzles or want to test the graphical limits of your iPad, "The Room Two" is a must-download.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix ($9.99; Xbox 360, PS3)
As its wonky name suggests, "Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix" gut punches the "Street Fighter" franchise with a healthy dose of puzzle action. Starring series favorites like Ryu and Chun-Li, this competitive puzzler is all about matching different types of gems and creating obstacles for your opponent to wade through. The real fun, however, comes from watching you and your opponent's onscreen avatars beat each other up in accordance with how each player performs in the puzzles. Trouncing your friend in a puzzle game is fun, but an accompanying digital uppercut makes it much more satisfying.
Peggle 2 ($11.99; Xbox One, 360)
The pachinko-inspired "Peggle" is one of PopCap's most irresistible puzzlers, as this game's one-button peg-clearing gameplay will have you chasing big combos through the wee hours of the night. "Peggle 2" expands on this simple concept, sporting even more vibrant backdrops and lovable characters that join series mascot Bjorn the Unicorn. Few "Peggle 2" moments are more gratifying than watching a well-timed shot bounce from peg to peg in swift succession, leading to big points and the irresistible urge to play just one more stage.
Tetris DS ($54; Nintendo DS)
It's hard to pick a definitive version of the game that put puzzlers on the map, but "Tetris DS" is certainly a highlight. This title makes the most out of its Nintendo license and the DS' dual screens, as you'll watch iconic characters like Mario and Link progress through classic stages on one display while you break bricks on the other. Though Nintendo no longer supports online multiplayer for its DS titles, you can still enjoy the game's robust competitive offerings while playing with up to 10 opponents locally. This beloved version of "Tetris" is a bit pricey due to its scarcity, but we still recommend hunting down a copy.
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