Best of 2013 Nominations...
As single player teamwork-based puzzle games go, cute is more often than not the way to go. Maybe it's a game about pandas, maybe a droplet of water and a bit of fire, or maybe some geometric shapes who are forced to get along via circumstance but eventually form a touching sort of friendship. All cute! Well, this puzzle platform game from Tobias Bilgeri isn't afraid to call it like it is. Titled About Love, Hate and the other ones, this game has you spreading both love and hate as you order around little critters to help your characters make it to the goal. Be a bully, be the nice guy, you've got to do it all in order to win!
As a crafty little puzzle game by Two Lives Left, Cargo-Bot's premise is simple: program a robotic crane to rearrange crates so they look like the arrangement at the top of the screen. The method by which you do so is similar to our old favorite Light-Bot 2.0: drag and drop instructions on and off the four command bars on the left until you've got something good, then hit the play button at the bottom to see how she runs. The clever and brainteasing puzzles, adorably minimalistic soundtrack, and clear yet non-distracting graphics are more than worth the price of admission alone (it'd have to be, the app is free), but what really
makes Cargo-Bot special is that it's the first game ever to hit the App Store that bears the distinction of having been created entirely on an iPad using Codea.
Cryptica, a sliding block puzzle game from Pixibots, is like being stuck in the trap-filled tomb of some pharaoh whose devious riddles were designed to keep you busy until the end of time. And, well, that's pretty much what it is, although according to the official backstory you're hunting for lost relics by solving puzzles in crypts. Either way, there's a lot of amazing challenge to be found in this game of symbol matching and stone sliding!
Dreamy, addictive, easily playable and challenging at the same time, Dawn of Play's gorgeous little iOS arcade puzzler is the sort of thing that can take up all your free time. In two modes of "reverse Tetris" style gameplay, dismantle grids of blocks with the shapes at hand, either as fast as you can to stay ahead of the fall in arcade mode, or carefully and with planning in the deceptively more relaxing puzzle mode.
Grooh is happygrr! Grooh is also the star of the lovely puzzle adventure Grooh, a tile-based isometric puzzle game that's all about destroying the very floor you walk on. Not only does it provide an ample number of challenging levels to complete, it looks and sounds like a cheery cartoon show, which will make you even more inclined to play it through to the end!
HUEBRIX, a logic-based puzzle game by Yellow Monkey, wants your brain. Not in a zombie-eating kind of way, but in a cool, challenging way. Similar to games like PathPix and Link-a-Pix (or a number of other Conceptis releases), HUEBRIX challenges you to fill out a grid of squares by dragging "color snakes" around the board. All of this happens on a timer, so you've got to be smart, you've got to be fast, and it wouldn't hurt to have a positronic brain, either.
The best mobile games are the ones that make us feel smart, are easy to play in short bursts of time, and look better than a Renaissance painting. IQ Mission from Yummy Factory is one such game, taking the very recognizable set-up of a brain training game and turning it into a spy-based series of missions around the world. On a quest for pieces of a map, you'll travel from Rapa Nui to London to Monte Carlo, solving a series of themed logic games with difficulty levels ranging from "no duh" to "...HELP!!!".
In this mobile puzzle game by 10Tons, Peablins are afraid to go into the dark, monster-filled forest alone but if they're holding hands with a friend, then all is good. Help them make their way through180 stages by arranging each on the grid according to their quirky preferences. While the touch controls are easy to master, the puzzles can sometimes leave you stumped. Joining Hands is the perfect diversion wherever you find yourself empty-handed and in need of some fun.
Do you enjoy hunting for tiny items? Picking out hidden objects? Finding small things contained in much larger things? Fresh from Klick Tock, creator of ZONR, Little Things Forever is an updated and expanded follow-up to the original Little Things, offering up thousands of tiny items to find as you hunt your way across puzzles unlocking new shapes to pick apart. It's a great improvement over the original game, but it's also precisely what we like about casual mobile releases: quick fun, lasting appeal, and endless content.
An interesting combination of 2D and 3D, Rinth Island takes classic sokoban block-pushing, switch-throwing fun, throws in some tropical twists, and shakes it up to make an iOS game that's as refreshing as a hurricane (the cocktail, that is). With 60 adventure levels, 3 more modes for each level, and an in-game level editor and user-created levels, it's a lot of puzzle for the price.
Surprise! Bust-a-Move (or Puzzle Bobble, if you will) is creative and fresh and fun again! Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team's Supermagical takes the familiar matching-based marble popping puzzle formula, quite literally turns it on its side, then adds a smattering of level-based progression, item upgrades, shops, mini-games, and even a hidden object diversion. The result is a colorful and charismatic game that feels like a brand new experience, no matter how familiar the gameplay might be.
The kingdom is under attack!... not that Questy cares, of course. At least... not until his funds run out and he can't keep himself in the fat and complacent lifestyle he's become accustomed to. In this gorgeous upgrade of Sean Gailey's quirky, colourful fantasy puzzler, place loot bags and other helpful items to guide Our Hero Questy away from hazards and through mazes to ultimately defeat the evil wizard Boneyard.
You know, if a suspicious book expressly tells you not
to open it, one might take that as a warning sign. Unfortunately, you didn't, and now you've gone and freed the insufferably smug entity known as Mannequin... but he's giving you a chance to seal him up again. All you have to do is solve a puzzle... or hundred. How hard can it be? A supremely stylish little mobile game great for puzzle fans that heaps on the charm.
This iPad-only puzzle is a mystery wrapped in a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. And jump scares. Claiming to be a faithful digital recreation of an actual, physical puzzle box with an unsettling history, the game is a series of mechanized puzzles where figuring out the goals and controls for each one is part of the challenge. And it's definitely a big challenge at that. Unlock more of the Box's history as you proceed, and play somewhere nice and dark with the sound turned up.
The Room is a thoroughly intriguing, point-and-click style 3D puzzle adventure centered around a single box that is built on immense imagination. The sheer wealth of puzzles contained within will hold you engaged for hours. Beautiful visuals and clever puzzles invite continued exploration and discovery. Besides the large amount of entertainment it contains, The Room has the happy side effect of making you feel fortunate to possess the means to play it.
Bushes and huts, grass and trees, churches and gravestones, and bears. Dangerous, dangerous bears. Triple Town from Spry Fox is the kind of mobile game you'll love to carry around with you at all times, firing it up for a few quick rounds and putting it away when you're satisfied with your progress. It combines city building with a good ole match-3 puzzle game in a manner you're probably not used to seeing, allowing you to work with individual elements to build a great empire, one match at a time.