Pass the Time With These Top Puzzlers
Deus Ex Go (Android, iOS: $1.99)
Deus Ex Go (Android, iOS) is the latest in Square Enix’s Go series of puzzle game tie-ins to its triple A game releases. You step into the augmented shoes of cybernetic agent Adam Jensen, infiltrating and hacking your way past puzzles and hazards that range from armed guards to gun turrets and electronic defenses. Your ultimate goal: unlock a technothriller mystery unfolding in the cyberpunk world of Deus Ex. In addition to a 50-mission campaign, the game also comes with special events like time-limited puzzles, an Infinite Mode, and a level editor for creating and sharing your own puzzle levels.
The Room 3 (Android, iOS: $4.99)
The Room 3 (Android, iOS) builds on the success of its previous installments, providing gamers with a series of challenging puzzles and satisfyingly tactile controls. Players must unravel a series of increasingly complex puzzles as they seek to unearth the secrets of The Null and the mysterious Craftsman. The game’s hallmark is its use of touch screen controls, with swipes, taps, and gestures intuitively manipulating puzzle elements, giving the game a very natural, immersive feel. New additions to the series include a 'hub' area called Grey Holm with a series of ongoing puzzles, as well as a branching ending that depends on how well you solve the game's mysteries.
Mini Metro (Android, iOS: $4.99)
Carve out your own underground railway empire with Mini Metro (Android, iOS), a sleek mobile puzzle that has you managing your own underground rail lines. Players start out with a limited number of lines and trains and must connect stations together to efficiently move passengers. Keep them waiting for too long, and it’s game over. As your network grows, you gain access to more resources, such as new lines, extra trains, improved stations, and bridge tunnels to cross rivers. The game comes with a variety of maps recreating major cities, with more maps unlocked as you progress.
Warlock's Tower (Android, iOS: $1.99)
Brave the life-draining halls, traps and hazards in order to deliver the mail in Warlock's Tower (Android, iOS), a retro-styled puzzle game that works with a really simple rule to build fiendishly complex puzzles: One move equals one life. Players carefully plan their moves, charting a course between life gems and counting the steps to the exit. What starts out simple quickly grows in complexity as levels add new challenges, from zombies that inch forward with every third move, to conveyor belts, teleporters, and even levels where you control two characters.
Road Not Taken (Android, iOS: $4.99)
Inspired by the Robert Frost poem of the same name, Spry Fox's Road Not Taken (Android, iOS) is a turn-based puzzle roguelike that has a Jawa-like robed wizard working to save the town's lost children by wandering the frozen forests to reunite them with their parents. Using your magic staff, you can pick up objects, animals, and children, but carrying them drains your life force, so it's more effective to pick things up, and then toss them to where you need them. The game's environmental puzzles include a crafting element, as you pick up and combine objects to create new items that you use to overcome obstacles. Players must survive 15 years (levels) of procedurally-generated puzzle mazes, so no two games are ever the same.
Oh...Sir!: Insult Simulator (Android, iOS: $1.99)
Anyone can hurl expletives, but it takes true skill to throw a well honed insult. In Oh...Sir!: Insult Simulator (Android, iOS), players take turns drafting from a limited selection of words to create the nastiest barbs they can come up with. The cartoon style and situations draw heavily from the surreal British humor of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and players can trade insults against the AI, engage in pass-and-play word wars or go head to head against other players online.
Concrete Jungle (Android, iOS: $4.99)
Concrete Jungle (Android, iOS) combines tile-laying and deckbuilding mechanics to simulate the challenges of urban planning. Players must balance housing, economy, and expenditures to develop their city. Houses and apartments score points, while factories and economic buildings can affect the score of adjacent tiles. As your economy grows, you can unlock advanced cards with powerful abilities, but as you use more expensive tiles, the minimum score requirement for each row of buildings increases. The game comes with a fully-voiced single player mode, custom games, and even a competitive mode where opposing planners try to score points while interfering with the other player's plans.
Does Not Commute (Android, iOS: Free)
Does Not Commute (Android, iOS) is a clever little action puzzle game about reckless drivers and time travel. Levels start out simple, with players having to drive cars from point A to B, but with each car added, you are challenged to carefully avoid every previous car you've played, quickly amping up complexity while rewarding quick reflexes and careful planning. Each escalating traffic jam also comes with little snippets of each driver's personal life, to create a strange, ever-unfolding story to accompany your roadside mayhem.
Prune (iOS and Android: $3.99)
Prune (Android, iOS) is a relaxing, minimalist puzzle game that draws heavily from the Japanese art of bonsai. Players need to carefully cultivate a growing plant, deftly pruning stray branches and taking advantage of the environment and obstacles. If everything works out well your plant gets enough light, then you're rewarded with an elegant bonsai tree with fresh blossoms swaying in the wind. The game's stark, minimalist aesthetic is joy to behold, and the game has a screen capture function built in, allowing you to save particularly elegant or strange blooms to your camera roll.
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build (Android, iOS: $4.99)
A Good Snowman is Hard to Build (Android, iOS) is a charming puzzle game that casts you in the role of a monster in a hedge maze building snowmen to keep him company. The challenge is in the blend of Sokoban-like push puzzles, with a "Tower of Hanoi"-like system, as each snowman is built with three snowballs of decreasing size. Cute graphics and a calming aesthetic make for a nice, relaxing, family-safe puzzle game.
King Rabbit (iOS: Free)
For something that adds a bit more action to a Sokoban-like, check out RareSloth's King Rabbit, sequel to Furdemption. As the titular King Rabbit, it's up to you to rescue your fellow rabbits from their cages while evading deadly traps, solving puzzles, and avoiding your enemies. Like Furdemption before it, King Rabbit takes the intricate push puzzle levels of Sokoban-likes and adds a timing element to traps, hazards and other puzzle elements. The game features a campaign of more than 100 levels, with additional level packs, hints, and slow-time powerups available as in-app purchases.
Cut The Rope: Magic (Android, Free; iOS, $0.99)
The hungry little monster Om Nom returns to your touchscreen with the latest iteration of the mobile physics puzzle game, Cut The Rope: Magic (Android, iOS). Transported to a fantasy realm, Om Nom must outwit a candy-hungry wizard by solving a variety of puzzles across more than 120 levels to get at the candy. Cut The Rope: Magic adds a new gameplay element: transformations. Om Nom can shapeshift into a variety of alternate forms, each with their own special traits to help navigate each level's puzzles.
Pixel Puzzle (iOS: Free)
Pixel Puzzle is a neat Picross/nonogram-style logic puzzle that challenges players to fill in a blank grid of tiles using only a series of numerical clues to form an image. The game's puzzles don't depend on any guesswork at all, relying only on pure logic, with a detailed tutorial on the rules of this classic puzzle style. Pixel Puzzle takes advantage of multi-touch controls to let players easily shade in or exclude multiple tiles, with a hint system to help players out. The app includes 14 puzzles for free, with multiple puzzle packs available as in-app purchases.
Touchtone (iOS: Free)
Not only does Touchstone deliver fiendish puzzle thrills, but also a thought-provoking story. As volunteers in a government surveillance program, players must solve a series of reflection puzzles in order to tap into the private communications of suspect individuals. Touchstone provides both solid gameplay and a darkly satirical look at the modern surveillance state.
You Must Build A Boat (Android, iOS: $2.99)
Sequel to Luca Redwood’s 10000000, You Must Build A Boat (Android, iOS) takes the original game’s masterful blend of match 3 and dungeon crawling RPG and refines it even further. As in the original game, players must match 3 icons to break through obstacles, such as swords for monsters and keys for chests and locked doors. You Must Build A Boat adds numerous features, such as optional quests, dungeon modifiers, traps, and a variety of modifiers and upgrades. The game introduces new mechanics at a controlled pace, never throwing you into the deep end, and as the game isn’t free to play, it doesn’t limit you with timers or wheedle for in-app purchases.
Framed (iOS: $4.99)
Framed is a noir puzzle game with a unique gameplay mechanic inspired by comic book panels. As you watch the motion comic tale of your protagonist, players can rearrange each page's comic panels in a way that allows the player character to successfully make his way through each page's various puzzles. It's a simple, elegant idea that makes for easy gameplay, and combines well with the comic book art and soundtrack for neat effect.
Threes (Android, iOS: $1.99)
Threes (Android, iOS) is a delightfully addictive match-two puzzle game that's all about getting the highest score. Starting with a 4x4 grid of numbered tiles, players slide around 1s and 2s, matching them into 3s, and then combining matching numbers together. However every time you slide a tile in a certain direction, all tiles make the same movement. What starts out simple turns into a challenging puzzle, as you balance short term number matching with long-term planning, all while trying to adjust to new tiles added every turn. Simple, but challenging and addictive, it's no wonder that the same formula has been copied by numerous games.
Two Dots (Android, iOS: Free)
Sequel to the mobile puzzle hit Dots, Two Dots (Android, iOS) takes the elegant gameplay foundation of the original game and adds new features to mix things up with anchor tiles, fires and more. This sequel brings a more narrative feel, with cartoon-illustrated maps in which players guide their two dot-people through the game's varied challenge levels. The now-free game features in-app purchases for things like bombs and extra moves, as well as an energy system of lives, which has been a turn-off to some gamers. Check out our detailed review of Two Dots for more.
Monument Valley (Android, iOS: $3.99)
A game that draws inspiration from optical illusions and M.C. Escher prints, Monument Valley (Android, iOS) is a stylish puzzle game in which players guide the princess Ida through a series of surreal monuments and structures. Gameplay consists of players using touch controls to rotate the screen or manipulate the environment in order to guide Ida through a safe path, with gamers frequently having to navigate seemingly impossible optical illusions.
Enyo (Android, iOS: Free)
Descend into the depths of the labyrinth as Enyo (Android, iOS), the Greek war goddess in this rogue-like turn-based tactical puzzle by Tiny Touchtales. Armed only with your shield and grappling hook, you must defeat all of the monsters in each randomly generated level by cleverly knocking them into terrain hazards, such as pools of lava, spikes, and thrown bombs, all while staying out of reach of each monster’s attacks. Procedurally-generated levels of increasing difficulty mean no two games are alike, and higher difficulty levels provide an increased challenge for those looking for something more stimulating.