Best of 2011!
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7 Little WordsFrom the creator of Moxie comes another simple word game you won't be able to stop playing. 7 Little Words is sort of a simplified version of a crossword puzzle. Seven short clues are at the top of the screen alongside a number showing you how many letters the answer has. Look at the letter chunks at the bottom of the screen and see if you can assemble something of an answer. In-app purchases extend the life of the download by massive strides, allowing you to nab packs of 50 puzzles for practically nothing. A fantastic casual word game that's great to play with friends, too!

Arthur and Charles Present Create and PlayCreate & Play (starring Arthur the boy and Charles the Bugapilla) features three rudimentary puzzle/memory games you can play, but the soul of the experience is the face creator. Tap on a square face and choose from a number of features to create just about anything you like. A likeness of your mom wearing a monocle? No problem! A blue pirate with pineapple skin? Easy! Then, head back to the games and use your creations to play match-3 puzzles or memory. It's a very basic concept, but boy is it fun, especially for kids!

Bag It!Ever thought bagging groceries was tough? It totally is, what with all those breakable, squishable, temperamental items you've got to squeeze in there. Bag It! capitalizes on that weekly struggle with a creative (and great-looking) physics puzzle game that challenges you to fit items into a grocery bag in the most efficient way possible. Move things like orange juice, eggs, melons and milk from the belt at the top, then delicately place them in the bag below. Rotate items to squeeze everything in you can, and look for combos like putting breakfast foods together, but be careful not to flatten any delicate objects. Unlockable levels and game modes give you plenty of incentive to keep playing, but when a mobile game looks this good and plays this well, you don't need many excuses to keep at it! Bag It! HD for iPad is also available.

Box KnightSokoban variants are nothing new to us awesome gamer folk, but Box Knight aims to bring a great visual presentation and smooth gameplay to a rather sparsely-represented puzzle genre on the iTunes App Store. Swipe the screen to move the knight around the isometric levels. Push crates around the maze to place them on switches to open the doors. Work fast and work efficiently to get a better score, and marvel at the panels that drop and raise themselves again after a few moments. A simple puzzle game, for sure, but entertaining and good looking all the same.

Burger JointFrom the makers of Galaxy Express comes a falling blocks puzzle featuring monkeys, plates, and delicious foodstuffs! Make burgers by tapping the plate-holding primates at the bottom of the screen, maneuvering dishes to catch falling ingredients in the most awesomest order possible. You can match like ingredients with each other, sure, but assembling a proper burger, from bun to meat to bun, earns you serious bonus points. It's sort of like the Yoshi puzzle game from the early 90s, only more simian in style, and more complex. A good 50+ achievements await you, and the game gets rough once you start climbing the levels, so don't let its straightforward design lull you into a lazy, serene gaming trance.

Burn the RopeIt may not be You Have to Burn the Rope, but this little puzzle game is still a lot of fun. A length of rope is piled on the screen, arranged in a unique shape. Touch part of it to start the burning! Flames only burn up, so you have to rotate your iPhone in order to keep things moving along. Soon, colored flames and colored ropes enter the equation, adding a real puzzle experience to the firey mix.

Chalk BallA great physics bouncing game with a lot of attitude and style. It's your job to keep the ball bouncing using lines you draw with your finger. Chalk isn't exactly permanent, though, so you've got to stay on your toes (fingertips?) to make sure your chalk ball stays afloat. Refill your chalk meter and grab other power-ups that float by in the great chalky orb clouds, but be careful to avoid the not-so-power-filled power-ups, as they can make your life rather miserable. The game's sense of humor is great, and the main story mode is actually interesting, unlike most other bouncing/jumping games on the market. The free Chalk Ball Lite is also available.

ConnectrodeEnjoy puzzle games that take some time to really get into? Then meet your new addiction! Your goal is to connect little connectrodes by placing the chips that appear at the top of the screen. One at a time you fill the grid, making sure you don't block off areas as you go. The more connectrodes you include in a match, the higher your score. Building large chains of connectrodes is extremely tough to do and takes a lot of practice, strategizing, and more practice. But it pays off! A simple game that's easy to get into but difficult to master, sort of like the iOS puzzle game from Jason Rohrer, Primrose.

Continuity 2: The ContinuationThose of us adept at folding space-time (with or without the use of spice) are very familiar with the concept of moving chunks of the universe around so we can easily step from one area to another. For everyone else, there's Continuity 2: The Continuation, a sequel to the familiar Flash puzzle game Continuity. Combining a little bit of 2D platforming and a lot of sliding puzzle logic, Continuity 2 is a unique and challenging experience made better by the battery of almost 50 new levels packed into the iPhone's tiny little screen. It's all the space-time folding you could ever want, without the blue-in-blue eyes to show for it!

CurrentIf you're a fan of puzzle games, then we're a fan of you! This futuristically-styled puzzle game works a lot like the classic Puzzle Bobble with a few extra things thrown in for good measure. You are the pilot of a small ship trying to save the ARC from the dangerous Hexog. To keep the current flowing, you must draw in and fling pieces to create matches on the hexagonal grid. Sounds simple, of course, but once the enemy AI kicks in, you're in for an amazing puzzle experience. A free version of Current is also available.

Do Do Egg!From Ponos, the same team behind Mr.AahH! and Mr.Ninja, comes a puzzle game that's just a little different than the others. Instead of swapping, matching, setting or tapping things to clear the board, your job is to break eggs by drawing lines through them. You can only break like-colored eggs, of course, but to do so, there has to be at least two eggs between them in the line. Once you get the hang of it, this opens the door to some massively creative chain reactions. It's got that spark of creative uniqueness that Bejeweled Twist and Yosumin! have, only this one's on iOS! There are several modes of play, but unfortunately they're only unlockable through achieving impressive high scores or in-app purchases, which is quite a bummer.

Geared 2It's about time! Back in 2009, a puzzle game called Geared was released for iPhone. Now, its sequel appears and shows up the original in almost every way, introducing loads of new puzzles, an improved visual style, tinkered gameplay, and... a hamster! Geared 2! is all about dropping gears from a menu bar onto the screen. One gear is already turning, another is not. Connect the two sides and you're ready to move on. Very difficult at times, as the gears are free-floating and not confined to a grid, but highly satisfying once you get it right!

Gesundheit!It's been nearly four years since Matt Hammill unleashed the original downloadable game Gesundheit! on the world, and boy have we missed it! Playing like a cross between Theseus and the Minotaur and a stealth game, you play a little piglet dude who is trying to rescue his friends from some monsters. This piglet is sick, and as he discovers, the monsters love his snot. Fling some boogers to draw the monsters around the screen, using them to open gates by stepping on switches and the like. Move them into the traps to win the level! This has got to be simultaneously the most well-illustrated and most disgusting games we have ever played. And it's great! Gesundheit! HD for iPad is also available.

Horror Vacui 2Created by Shaun Inman, author of one of our most beloved retro-styled iOS games, The Last Rocket, Horror Vacui 2 is a one-trick strategy game where you and a friend (or the computer AI) take turns placing cards on a 5x5 grid. One player has water cards, while the other has earth cards, each of which may be hot, cold, or normal. Pieces transfer their temperature to neighboring tiles, so cold eliminates cold, normalizes hot, and cools normal, and the same goes for hot cards affecting neighboring tiles. The goal is to have the most normal pieces when the grid is filled up. It sounds obtuse in writing, but the game is surprisingly simple in practice, and a great diversion for you and a friend to enjoy!

MatchHackDungeon hacking RPG, meet a casual game of memory. This quietly awesome game plays like a progressive game of memory where you turn over tiles in the dungeon surrounding you and your foe. Flip one over, note the item there, flip another and hope it matches. If it does, you damage the enemy. If it doesn't, they turn back over and you take some damage. See how simple that is? The more you win the deeper in the dungeon you go, and items like potions help you survive while treasures you hang on to gives you impetus to keep playing level after level.

MicroPuzzleLogic gates are usually reserved for the highly geek-minded, but with games like SpaceChem, KOHCTPYKTOP: Engineer of the People, and Manufactoria around, that is rapidly changing. MicroPuzzle is a game built around the rules of digital circuits. You are given a number of wires whose input must be matched to the expected output. You have a limited number of circuit transformers to place on the grid, so you have to put them in the right place and in the right order to get everything sorted out. Loads of puzzles to complete, and ample tutorial stages help acclimate you to the knowledge-rich puzzle environment!

Minesweeper of WizardAre you ready for this? It's minesweeper. With a fantasy setting! An evil Dark Lord cursed the land, cutting livable spaces down to near nothing. A wizard appeared with the ability to separate land from the sea, and she set out on a journey to restore the world to its former state. You are that wizard, naturally, and you're playing a game of minesweeper to save the world. So, you know, don't screw it up! Simple, yeah, and the gameplay is pretty standard for a logic puzzle of this nature, but the pixel art is fantastic, and the setting really brings things to life. Also, friendly PROTIP: turn the music off!

Princess NurikoA logic puzzle of a slightly different kind, Princess Nuriko is an Android re-imagining of the pencil and paper game nurikabe. Your goal is to fill in the "islands" surrounding each number and mark off non-filled spaces. Instead of just blocking off sections of the grid, however, you're partitioning farmland for the people of your kingdom, which is an interesting sort of story to tack on to the logic puzzle solving. Plot or no, the game plays smoothly and looks great. The 3D mode is nice to look at and shows you forests and farmlands as they grow from your completed puzzle. More levels would have been a good thing, but the few dozen that are here will provide a satisfying amount of challenge. A free Princess Nuriko Demo is also available.

Pumpkins vs. MonsterA very nice, very unusual sort of puzzle game that feels like a mix of Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes and Plants vs. Zombies. Undead sort of monsters slowly crawl down from the top of the screen. Shielded by a small fence in the middle, you must slide and align pumpkins in groups of three or more to create a projectile. Make a match, flip the group upwards, and watch them crash into the baddies! You occasionally find bonus pumpkins as well as coins, earning a few when you create combos, and cash can be spent in the shop between levels to buy a few items that help you in a tight spot. The game looks great, plays smoothly, and despite suffering from a small lack in variety when compared to the games it emulates, is loads of casual mobile fun.

Push Morty PushThe block pushing sokoban puzzle genre shall live forever, and games like Push Morty Push ensure that the experience never gets old. Tap on the screen to send Morty to any unoccupied square. To move blocks around, tap them then tap where you want them to go. The goal is to shove all the blocks to their proper locations in the warehouse, thus opening new areas to explore. It's a simple set-up that's executed extraordinarily well. The controls are spot-on, and the game never tried to trick you with lame gimmicks, providing solid sokoban action from beginning to end. The Push Morty Push FREE is also available.

Quiz Game LandThink you know your video game trivia? Time to put that to the test. Quiz Game Land is a retro video game-styled trivia and board game where you march across a series of landscapes and battle creatures by answering questions correctly. You'll be tested in knowledge both new and old, covering just about every aspect of gaming you can think of, so you'd better hope your information vault is wide. Audio and video questions are part of the package, too, as are multiple modes of play as well as mini-games. With three levels of difficulty, even gaming veterans will be stumped once or twice. The free Quiz Game Land Lite is also available.

Re-FindA find the difference game that's not about counting wrinkles on a crow's foot? Hooray! Re-Find is a stylish, modern art-looking sort of game that challenges you to find different colors between the two screens. Tap the mis-matched parts on each side, being careful to keep like-colored zones free from your touch. Once you've selected the differences, the level ends and you're scored based on a number of factors. Each stage gets more and more complex, with tinier areas to differentiate and colors that run together, tricking your eye into complacency. But you're a stalwart gamer, we know that, so get in there and start finding some differences!

The HeistDescribed by its creators as "MacHeist to go", The Heist is a brand new iPhone release that packs four types of puzzles together in a thrill-filled world where you play a spy trying to crack open a safe. From the fake phone calls, the heavily-secured steel door in front of you, and the real prize waiting for you at the end, The Heist is a challenging collection of puzzles that pulls you in with flawless execution.

Windosill (iPad)The chugging little car is back! Windosill, a 2009 release from Vector Park, creator of Acrobots, Levers, and Feed the Head, has wormed its way to the iPad, bringing with it all the dream-like levels of the original browser game. Windosill remains one of the most charming experiences any casual player could hope to stumble upon, and it's a perfect fit for the iPad and a great mobile game as well!

Wizard HexA board game with a very simple philosophy: expand, stack, attack. The game takes place on a hexagonal playing field with six elemental tokens lining the perimeter. Players take turns placing two coins per turn, the goal being to occupy as much of the board as you can. Adjacent elements can't attack each other, and you can stack coins to create stronger units that can withstand multiple hits. It's a simple sort of idea, but the game is loads of fun in practice (especially with friends!), and the audio/visual design is top notch.

Word GeekLike spatial puzzles but also love words? This simplified sort of crossword puzzle lays out a matrix of five letter words, each crossing over a few others in key areas. You are given no clues, you just have to guess which word fits. After typing in a word, you're told if a letter is correct and in the right position, or correct but in the wrong spot. Work your way across the grid using trial and error, digging up some fairly obscure words from the recesses of your vocabulary. A great game for any word nerd, and loads of fun to play with a friend. Just one nitpick: why is the in-game keyboard in alphabetical order?! Word Geek Free is also available.

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