Puzzle/role playing hybrid games are all the rage, especially after Puzzle Quest came along and made the new genre a household obsession. Aurora Feint is all about Bejeweled-style matching and clearing blocks, though the twist is you can only move them horizontally. Tilt the iPhone to the side, however, and the blocks tumble and shift, allowing new moves and a whole other level of combos to be created. As you clear blocks you level-up and earn "essences" which can be turned into RPG-style tools.
This simple puzzle game has all the makings of a classic. Blending your traditional Tetris-style block matching with games like sudoku or Blocksum, drop numbered discs to the bottom of the grid by tapping the screen. If a disc's number matches the number of orbs in a row and/or column, that disc vanishes. Setting up chain reactions is simple and very rewarding, and three game modes ensures every casual gamer will find something for him/herself.
A puzzle game of a different sort, Eliss treads into new territory and makes great use of the multi-touch feature on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Combine and split the colored "planets" that appear to maintain order in the increasingly chaotic universe. When a squeesar appears, fit the appropriate sized/colored planet into it to make it vanish. It's that simple, but it's also that addictive. You will have to work quickly and efficiently so that no planets of dissimilar colors collide, thereby reducing your health. Great production values and addictive gameplay move this game into must-have territory.
The spectacular physics puzzle game Enigmo finally has a sequel, and this one really goes all-out to one-up its predecessor. Fully 3D with a rotatable, scalable, pannable view, your goal is to move water droplets (or other materials such as lasers) from its dispenser to the target. Using a variety of contraptions (including a few new ones like the teleporter and gravity inverter), place objects on the screen, rotate and adjust as necessary, and refine your Rube Goldberg-esque machination on-the-fly.
If it has gears, I'll play it, and fortunately for Geared, it happens to be a great little puzzle game to boot. Drag and drop five sizes of gears onto the screen and arrange them so they connect the moving yellow gear and rotate all blue gears. It isn't as easy as it sounds (it never is!), and some of the later levels will have you scratching your head and nudging gears over pixel by pixel.
A unique and original strategy game using 4-color, 4-sided dice (work with me here, it's a bit difficult to describe). Roll the dice and place them into the grid to create various combinations of sets of 4 to score points. Make a row of single-colored dice, for example, to score a few points, but earn even more if you can line up numbers and colors alike. Once you place the dice they are locked in and cannot be moved, only cleared by making the most difficult (and highest scoring) combinations: four of a kind or a run of 4 in all the same color or one of each color. Jokers are awarded periodically based on score, which can help make those difficult combos and help you clear the board for more dice. A brilliant and addictive casual game. Give this one a couple of plays before you dismiss it, as it is not the easiest game to grasp at first.
Journey up the Nile to uncover ancient temples in a manner you never considered before: by rolling dice! Shake the iPod Touch/iPhone to roll a set of five poker dice on the screen. You have 3 rolls to beat the computer-controlled opponent to earn coins, which is all good casual fun by itself. But what makes this game so addictive are its 12 beautiful Egyptian temples, 20 achievements, and 54 gorgeous sets of dice to unlock. One of our favorite apps to this day, MotionX Poker Quest has two flavors available: free and the full version. If you still can't get enough, try the original game that started it all (and which is just as good, but very similar), MotionX Poker.
A new puzzle game from developer Jason Rohrer, the mind behind Gravitation and Passage. Two colored, connected squares appear at the bottom of the screen. Tap the grid above to place the first square, then tap any open space in the same column or row to place the second square. The goal is to surround one color with squares of another color. The idea is simple, but like any good puzzle game, mastering its intricacies are an entirely different matter. Fortunately for us mere mortals the high score board features playbacks of the most talented Primrose players, allowing you to watch their strategies and make them your own. It's a surprisingly deep and varied puzzle game that's well-worth your time!
An uncommonly artistic game on the iTunes App Store, Ruben & Lullaby plays out like a visual novel, only without the text! Ruben and Lullaby are a young couple having their first fight. The future of their relationship is quite literally in your hands. Rub the screen to calm each character down, shake the iPod Touch/iPhone to make them angry. You can even direct where their eyes look, all of which has an affect on the other character's emotions, facial expressions, and the argument as a whole. It's a stunning use of emotion in a game, and the dynamic soundtrack and multiple endings are worth experiencing several times over.
A witch doctor created a voodoo doll to protect his daughter from pain. Now, both evil and good spirits are trying to undo the magic with puzzles that keep the doll separated from the girl. Guide the voodoo doll to the goal of each stage by carefully removing sets of blocks. Superb visuals and a large variety of puzzles make for an excellent game. And for some reason, I can't help but stare at the candle melting animation at the end of each level.
A nice new take on a favorite casual game, Textropolis gives you the name of a city, breaks the letters apart, and asks you to spell new words with them, much like Boggle. As you guess more words you earn stars that allow you to "travel" to new cities, unlocking challenges as you play. A fun feature is the ability to get hints by shaking the iPod Touch/iPhone, plus you can send e-mail postcards from the city you're "visiting".
A brilliantly simple puzzle game that's a truly unique experience. Unify plays like a game of color-based Tetris that takes place on two sides of the screen at once. Use your left thumb to slide and rotate blocks on the left side, the right thumb for the right side. Bring blocks together at the center of the screen and make them vanish by nudging four like-colored squares together. Set up chain reactions for bonus points, and try to survive all 40 levels of intense brain integration. You won't believe how captivating this simple concept turns out to be!
What if Advance Wars and StarCraft got together and baked a cake? And what if that cake weren't a cake, but a game? UniWar would probably be the result, as this turn-based strategy game plays like a combination of both popular mainstream titles. Buy, build and control your army of units as you fight your opponent for control of the precious bases. Many units have special abilities that betray their low attack/defense scores, so sometimes muscling your way to the end isn't always the best road to victory.
One of the freshest and most unique puzzle games I have seen yet on the iTunes App Store, this little title is somewhat incompletely described as a "jump and turn action puzzle game". You play a tiny bug trying to make it across pools of goop. By stepping into rectangular contraptions and pressing against their walls, you can rotate them to move towards the exit. Spikey things drop from the sky and like to roll around in your boxes, and sometimes you have to move back and forth to position yourself where you need to go. Text descriptions won't do it justice, but if you own an iPod Touch or iPhone, you owe it to yourself to give this game a try.
From the same studio that brought us SPiN, Zen Bound is a relaxing yet thought provoking 3D game where your only goal is to have a good time, not get a high score. Use your fingers to rotate, twist and spin the block of wood in any direction, wrapping the rope around as much of the surface area as you can. Each shape has a few tough nooks and crannies to get to, but fortunately you only have to cover a percentage of the sculpture to move on to the next piece. Excellent use of the touch screen, and you can even change the rope's origin by tilting the iPhone!