As winter sets in most of us will be spending a lot more time huddled up indoors with our gadgets and gizmos. With this in mind, we've got our eyes out for the best ways to keep ourselves entertained until the warm weather returns. Let's dive into our list of the best puzzle games for Android.
This atmospheric puzzle game isn't exactly action packed, but it is a slow-burning and incredibly rewarding game if Candy Crush isn't exactly your thing. Observation is key here, as you explore different rooms and objects in first person to try and piece together different riddles and clues. The Room 2 was built from the ground up 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 2.99 USD, and don't forget to read our The Room 2 review too.
Monument Valley would earn a place for 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 hard to visualize without playing it, but just imagine something like an interactive never-ending staircase painting that you direct a little figure through. Something like that.
It’s awfully clever and awfully pretty, with puzzles which never becoming frustrating. Despite its relatively short length, there is also a subtle story running through it, which combines with the other elements to elevate Monument Valley above your typical “tap-here-build-this-wait-5-minutes-and-repeat” Android game. You can pick this one up for US$3.99.
As unsettling as puzzlers come, Limbo 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 simply stunning, if disturbing, and the puzzles become more complex without causing too much frustration. It is more of an experience than a challenge.
In much the same vein as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope 2 is a playful puzzler that sees you, yes, cutting ropes with the swipe of a finger in order to deliver sweet treats to a lazy and insatiable frog-like creature called Om Nom.
It starts off easy enough and 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 that are on a quest for some reason or another. The aim of the game is simple: connect like-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.
I can’t speak highly enough of Little Inferno. It’s part puzzle game, part social commentary - it’s 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 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 maddeningly 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 2.99 USD.
Super Hexagon is a perfect pick-up-and-play time killer: most games won't last more than a few seconds in the beginning. You guide a small triangle through a maze by rotating the screen to the beat of some thumping chiptune beats. It’s an incredibly difficult game, but it's always fair, requiring great reflexes, speed and accuracy. Yours for only 2.99 USD from the Play Store. Just one more try… just one more try...
If I had the choice between saying this game, or playing this game, I’d play it. Not because rymdkapsel is a necessarily unfriendly word. It’s fine. rymdkapsel. rymdkapsel. rymdkapsel. It's just that this game is quite, 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 at 3.99 USD from the Play Store.
Love them or hate them, King have a knack for creating addictive games with mass appeal. Bubble Witch 2 Saga, despite its terrible title, is a another sure-to-be-popular arcade style puzzler. Using a similar formula to classic 'puzzle bobble' style games, the player must try to remove the colored “bubbles” which hang at the top of each screen by shooting them with bubbles of the same color. It's extremely easy to play, and accompanied by typically dreamy music and bright colors, offers an inoffensive and pleasant experience. And it's free!
Puzzle meets platformer in Jakyl Kiwanuka. Unique art style, and gameplay reminiscent of the memorable, and near universally adored, Lemmings, Kiwanuka gets a lot of things right.
You control a guide leading a group of travellers 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 utilised to traverse canyons and avoid the fatal flouriscent pink mountains.
The Trippy Eastern music is awesome, particularly when you complete a stage, and it has a sense of originality that most others games on this list (and the Play Store) don't. A bit more contextualization on who the tribe are and why this wizard has an lightning staff may 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 1.99 USD.