What are the best brain-busting puzzle games for Android?
The touchscreen controls of a smartphone offer a unique opportunity for puzzle games, and arguably they're best suited for our pocket devices because they can be easy to pick up and play when you have a few free moments. we've collected
- The Room series
- Bridge Constructor Portal
- Twenty48 Solitaire
- Two Dots
- Monument Valley
- Brain It On!
- Hitman GO
- Lara Croft GO
- Deus Ex GO
The Room is a widely celebrated puzzle franchise for Android, with three entries offering hours upon hours of challenging puzzle fun. These games are very reminiscent of point-and-click classic adventure series such as Myst and Siberia, and each offer hours and hours of entertainment with some of the best visuals you'll find in an Android game.
The latest game in the series is The Room: Old Sins. The story focuses on a creepy dollhouse found in the attic of the home of a brilliant engineer. Using a mysterious eyepiece, you must inspect and find all the secrets hidden in the dollhouse to unravel the mysterious circumstances behind the disappearance of the engineer and his wife.
Controls are as simple as swiping around the screen and double tapping to focus in on an object or puzzle. As you progress through the game, you'll find objects that will help you find your way out. As you go, more and more of the story is revealed through notebooks left around.
Each game is pretty long and involved, so expect to spend many hours glued to your device as you solve puzzle after puzzle. These are paid games, but if you love a good puzzle challenge they're each well worth the price of admission!
Download: The Room Old Sins ($4.99)
Download: The Room ($0.99)
Download: The Room 2 ($1.99)
Download: The Room 3 ($3.99)
Dissembler is a colorful and relaxing puzzle game that's deceptively simple to play featuring fantastic puzzles. Essentially a tile-swapping match-three game, each level requires you to flip the tiles to match up colors and it starts out nice and easy as the game lays out the basic principles before gradually presenting you with more complex puzzles — check out the trailer above to see what I mean.
With over 120 puzzles to play with no time limits, move limits, or in-app purchases or ads to deal with this just might be your next puzzle obsession!
Download: Dissembler ($2.99)
Bridge Constructor Portal
Bridge Constructor is a great physics-based puzzle game in its own right, but the new spin-off in the Portal universe takes the concept and adds in all the wacky elements from Aperture Laboratories.
Through 60 test chambers, your goal is to get the test vehicles to the end of the course any way you can using portals, propulsion and repulsion gels while avoiding deadly lasers, pits of acid, and sentient turrets. It's an outstanding cross-over title that provides a challenge that will delight fans of Bridge Constructor and Portal alike.
Download: Bridge Constructor Portal ($4.99)
Threes! is a fun and surprisingly cute number-based puzzle game where your goal is to swipe around the grid and match like numbers. But you've got to be strategic because if you fill up the board and run out of moves it's game over!
For a truly unfettered experience, you'll want to buy the full game for no ads or distractions while you play. If you'd prefer to save your money, the free version is also a great option, but once you burn through the set amount of plays you're given to start with, you'll need to watch ads to get more plays.
And believe us, once you get hooked on this game, you won't want to have to wait for ads all the time.
Download: Threes! ($2.99)
We're recommending Twenty48 Solitaire game because it's an excellent mash-up between a great puzzle game and everyone's favorite single-player card game solitaire. If you can't tell from the title, the game borrows the game mechanics from 2048 — another excellent puzzle game worth checking out it — but instead of slide matching number blocks into each other and double them up until you reach 2048, you're playing cards on four discard piles.
That means you need to be very strategic about card placement. There's a discard pile that you can use twice before you need to clear them out by watching a video ad. It's varied enough to stand out from the original 2048 game while adding in the satisfying card tricks that you love from Solitaire games — setting up a row with the right sequence to create a waterfall of cleared cards is so satisfying.
The only thing holding this game back are the ads which are pretty much everywhere. They include banner ads while you play, video ads every time you level up or end a game, and ads for getting extra undos and refreshing your discard pile. The good news is that you can remove the ads with a $4 in-app purchase in the settings, and it might be worth the cost if you fall in love with the game and want fewer distractions.
Download: Twenty48 Solitaire (Free w/Ads, IAP to remove ads)
Like all the best puzzle games, Two Dots is simple to learn, difficult to master and highly addictive.
This is the sequel to the wildly popular Dots game, where the main object remains the same: connect as many dots of the same color as you can. The sequel brings new skills to the table, along with 900+ levels to work through.
Once you've gone through the first 10 levels, which act as a tutorial, Two Dots offers a linear adventure of sorts in Treasure Hunt, and a different mode called Expedition once you've reached level 35.
The game has absolutely no ads, and a really unique and clean visual style that you'll love. There are in-app purchases available for shuffles which might help you get through a particularly tricky level but you're better than that, right?
Download: Two Dots (Free w/ IAPs)
Monument Valley 1 & 2
Monument Valley is an award-winning puzzle game that features outstanding art and sound design. You play as Ida, a princess who must find her way through fantastical structures which you must manipulate and change to complete the path and help her reach her goal.
The controls are simple as you tap to move the princess while discovering the different ways you can move the structures around. It's an intuitive experience that forces you to look at things from a different perspective. If you've never experienced the majestic wonder and mind-bending puzzles of Monument Valley, you should definitely check it out. You get the original game as well as a new chapter called Ida's Dream with the purchase, while Forgotten Shores features eight new chapters of gameplay which are available via an in-app purchase.
The sequel, Monument Valley 2, is also out and a worthwhile game to check out as well!
Download: Monument Valley ($3.99 w/IAPs)
Download: Monument Valley 2 ($4.99)
MC Esher would be damn proud of hocus, a mind-bending perspective-based puzzle game that is easy to play, challenging to master and lets you create and play other user-created puzzles.
There are over 100 official puzzles built into this game, which require you to swipe to move a cube around the shape. When you hit an intersection between two paths, you're able to completely change direction along a different path. Your goal is to get the cube to the red finish marker as fast and efficiently as you can.
This indie developed game features no ads and a relaxing and subtle soundtrack to enjoy. Once you've burned through all the main puzzles you can check out the best of the user created lot or try making one yourself.
Download: hocus. (Free)
Brain It On
Brain It On is an addictive physics-based puzzle game that requires you to think outside the box to solve each level.
Using your finger or stylus, you must draw lines, shapes, weighted objects, or whatever else you think will solve each screen. Things get progressively creative and difficult as you progress through the over 200 levels, but you'll eventually need to go back and revisit old levels to get three stars to unlock new ones (stars are earned by finishing the level under time within the limit of shapes number of shapes).
It's a really fun game with multiple solutions available for each level, and is fun to play collaboratively as a group.
Download: Brain It On (Free w/ IAPs)
GO puzzle games
Developed by SQUARE ENIX, this is an amazing series of puzzle games that takes the characters and theme from an established gaming franchise and throws them into a brand new puzzle-based adventure. So far, three franchises have been given the GO treatment — Hitman, Lara Croft and Deus Ex — with each garnering positive reviews from players and critics alike. You don't necessarily have to be fans of these franchises to enjoy their GO entries, though fans will likely enjoy the reimagined way of playing their favorite games.
These are highly stylized turn-based puzzlers that will provide hours of challenging fun — and best of all they're all currently on sale, so you can get all three for the price of an extra large coffee. Let's take a look at the individual games:
This was the first franchise to be converted into the GO puzzle format, and it still holds up. You play as Agent 47 and must work your way through heavily-guarded compounds using all the same techniques found in the full Hitman games you've played on PC or console: disguises, distractions, sniper rifles and of course 47's iconic Silverballer pistols. There are multiple ways to beat each level, whether you want to be silent and sneaky, or forceful and deadly. You pick what kind of Hitman to be, as you work towards assassinating your main targets.
Download: Hitman GO ($0.99)
Lara Croft GO
The Tomb Raider is back in this challenging entry that adds new wrinkles to the turn-based puzzles introduced with Hitman Go. Lara Croft is athletic and adventurous, and her GO game reflects that with puzzles that have her dodging boobytraps and deadly enemies as you work your way through 100 levels split into six chapters. It's an award-winning game that lures you in with its outstanding visuals and keeps you playing with its increasingly challenging puzzles.
Download: Lara Croft GO ($0.99)
Deus Ex GO
Deus Ex is the latest franchise to get the GO treatment, and this might be the best one yet. With visuals that reflect the cyberpunk stylings of Deus Ex, and new hacking gameplay elements, you play as Adam Jensen who's working to unravel a complicated mystery as you sneak your way through a well-guarded fortress. This one probably features the most fleshed-out storyline of the three, and also features time-limited puzzles along with a level editor, so you can design, share and play levels from the game's community.
Download: Deus Ex GO ($0.99)
What are your favorite puzzle games?
These are our picks for the best, but which do you play? Let us know in the comments below!
Updated January 2019: Added Twenty48 Solitaire and hocus. to our list!