As summer moves in, why not prepare to while away a sunny day in the park with a puzzle or two? With this in mind, we've been keeping an eye out for the best ways to keep our brains occupied under the sun. Let's dive into our list of the best puzzle games for Android.
A strange, soothing blend of sudoku and painting by numbers, CrossMe presents a grid with numbers running down the side. Your task is to fill the square in correspondence with the numbers to create pixelated images of animals and objects. Once you've figured out the best way to approach the puzzles, the difficulty curve is very welcoming. A great way to spend some downtime
Use lasers, prisms and mirrors to split, reflect and guide beams of light towards various colored orbs. The game starts simple enough, but it quickly achieves teeth-grinding complexity.
There are 120 levels to work through, each of which you can solve in any number of ways, offering plenty of replay appeal, assuming you manage to make it through them all once. Refraction offers an often frustrating test of logic.
The Room 2
This puzzle game is atmospheric rather than action-packed; it's slow-burning but incredibly rewarding, and ideal if Candy Crush isn't your thing. Observation is key here, because you have to explore different rooms and objects to try to piece together riddles and clues.
The Room 2 was built for mobile platforms, so it is perfectly suited to this system. It runs smoothly, the graphics are amazing, and it is consistently clever and engaging. Pick it up from the Play Store for US$2.99, and don't forget to read our The Room 2 review too.
Monument Valley would earn a place on this list for its sound and visual design alone – it feels like interacting with magic. You control the hooded princess Ida, whom you must guide through Escher-like scenes, relying on the use of isometric perspective and manipulation of the architecture to achieve this.
It’s awfully clever and awfully pretty, and its puzzles never becoming frustrating. It's relatively short, but there is a subtle story running through it, which combines with the other elements to elevate Monument Valley above your typical 'tap-here-build-this-wait-five-minutes-and-repeat' Android game. You can pick this one up for US$3.99.
Limbo is as unsettling as puzzlers come. It puts you in command of a slightly elastic young boy who has a penchant for dying in awful ways. Your task is to guide him through the netherworld, which apparently consists of increasingly difficult puzzles, as he searches for his sister.
The visual and auditory aesthetic is stunning, if disturbing, and the puzzles become more complicated as you go along. The game never gets too difficult though – it is more of an experience than a challenge. Best played late at night, with the lights out.
Cut the Rope 2
Cut the Rope 2 is a playful puzzler in the vein of Angry Birds. It sees you, yes, cutting ropes with the swipe of a finger in order to deliver sweet treats to a lazy, insatiable frog-like creature called Om Nom.
It starts off easy enough but quickly picks up the pace, introducing new challenges and mini-games to spice things up. Simple and addictive, Cut the Rope 2 is a formidable time-waster.
Join the struggle of two dots, which are on a quest of some sort for some reason or another. The aim of the game is simple: connect same-colored dots in order to progress through the ever-growing number of levels (at the time of writing, there are a staggering 510 of them).
This is the highly addictive sequel to the successful Dots. Little has changed and for good reason: the formula works.
Ultimately overshadowed by its free-to-play clone, 2048, Threes! can be frustratingly difficult at times, but you will always come back to it. The rules are simple: add ones to twos, and from there combine like numbers to double them up.
The visual aesthetic is charming in its simplicity and the blocks are surprisingly talkative little critters, offering plenty of character. A superior experience to 2048 in every way.
Beguiling, soothing and quietly innovative, Strata sees you weaving ribbons across grids in order have the correct colors lay across the correct squares.
Every ribbon you thread is accompanied by a sustained piano note and strings. It's strangely meditative and yet often very challenging: a compelling blend.
I can’t speak highly enough of Little Inferno. It’s part puzzle game, part social commentary, and partly just a game that wants you to stop and think about why you spend so much time tapping on your screen anyway. You play as a young boy in a snowy town who has the joy of owning a Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace, a device which encourages other children to burn their toys (among other items) just to watch the beautiful flames.
Little Inferno is dripping with metaphors and symbolism (come on, the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace is a shiny, sparkling box that asks you to interact with it and give up on normal social interaction… sound familiar?) and is accompanied by a wonderful story. If you want a deep game that makes you think, give it a try. A bargain at US$2.99.
If I had the choice between playing this game or saying its name, I’d play it. Not just because rymdkapsel is difficult to say. Because this game is quite brilliant.
rymdkapsel is a beautifully abstract puzzle-game-slash-management-sim set in space. It's based around constructing a space station and sustaining a population while attempting to complete objectives. You order your little minions go to work aboard your space station, upgrading it with extractors, reactors and a weapons bay for defense, among other necessary space station stuff.
It’s a (mostly) meditative game with a serene soundtrack, which quickly becomes frantic when your minions are hard at work and an air strike comes along to destroy them. These enemy air strikes occur more frequently as the game progresses, ramping up the difficulty. It’s minimalist and clever and isn’t filled with in-app purchases and free-to-play tropes. It’s sublime and costs just US$3.99 from the Play Store.
Bubble Witch 2 Saga
Love it or hate it, King has a knack for creating addictive games with mass appeal. Bubble Witch 2 Saga is another sure-to-be-popular arcade style puzzler, despite its terrible name.
Using a similar formula to classic 'puzzle bobble' style games, the player must try to remove the colored bubbles that hang at the top of each screen by shooting them with bubbles of the same color. It's easy to play and accompanied by typically dreamy music and bright colors. It offers an inoffensive and pleasant experience, and it's free!
Puzzle meets platform game in Jakyl Kiwanuka. It has a unique art style, and its gameplay is reminiscent of the memorable and universally-adored Lemmings. Kiwanuka gets a lot of things right.
You control a guide leading a group of travelers to freedom across dangerous terrain. You press the guide's staff and drag it outwards to create a bolt of lightning which your travelers follow. It begins simply with walking them to the end of each stage, but as the gameplay progresses you discover more ways in which the staff, and your people, can be utilized to traverse canyons and avoid the fatal fluorescent pink mountains.
The trippy Eastern music is awesome, particularly when you complete a stage, and it has a sense of originality that many others games don't. A bit more contextualization on who the tribe are and why this wizard has an lightning staff might have been nice, but the level design is inventive, the art direction is rad, and I think it's a great overall package. The game costs US$1.99.
What puzzle games have you been playing recently? Tell us about them in the comments below!