Game

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Puzzle games have always been a huge hit for mobile, designed as they are to (usually) focus on critical thinking and short play sessions rather than quick reflexes and realistic graphics.

Over the years, the App Store has been home to some absolutely fantastic puzzlers, from gripping mystery rooms to befuddling brainteasers. There’s something for everyone in the wide world of the puzzler, but these days the genre is so oversaturated it can be easy to miss the best releases.

So we’ve looked back over some of our favorites, plucking out five of the very best puzzle games that we’ve reviewed over the last few years. Although all could be fairly categorized as puzzlers, no two are alike and these fantastic titles prove just how creative and varied the genre is on mobile.

Here, in no particular order, are ten of the best. Enjoy!

The Room: Old Sins

$4.99/£4.49

Like its trilogy of predecessors, The Room: Old Sins is that special kind of mobile puzzler that simply wouldn’t work half as well on a non-touchscreen device. It presents you with a series of intricate 3D clockwork contraptions, each of which must be interacted with to access hidden compartments, slide-out trays, and other mysteries sequestered away in their antique forms.

Getting these dusty trinkets to give up their secrets is most of the fun, and The Room: Old Sins retains the franchise’s status as the most tactile puzzler around. The sensation of physically interacting with metal sliders, rotating wheels, hinged flaps, and clicky switches is palpable. Newcomers are free to start here without prior knowledge of the series, and may well find that they’ve discovered their new favorite game.

Our rating: 4.5 stars. Read the full review for more.

The Room: Old Sins

Tick Tock: A Tale For Two

$2.99/£2.49

This is a unique two-player take on the genre, in which you and a friend work through a series of puzzles together in an attempt to solve a wider mystery. You’ll each be playing on your own device, connected with your teammate only by your own voices. Each player will need to describe their own unique set of clues, as nearly everything works in tandem and teamwork is essential.

This is a unique two-player take on the genre, in which you and a friend work through a series of puzzles together in an attempt to solve a wider mystery. You’ll each be playing on your own device, connected with your teammate only by your own voices. Each player will need to describe their own unique set of clues, as nearly everything works in tandem and teamwork is essential.

Our rating: 4.5 stars. Read the full review for more.

Tick Tock

Baba is You

$6.99/£5.99

Describing Baba Is You as a block-pushing puzzler is a bit like calling Picasso’s Guernica a big painting. Both are accurate descriptions, sure, but they also woefully undersell a remarkable piece of art. Arvi Teikari, aka Hempuli, has here produced one of the cleverest, most original, and just plain best puzzle games of recent times. And while it’s not an iOS original, it works very well on iPhone and iPad.

Each element on the screen is represented by a word block: Rock, Wall, Flag, Baba and so on. This is then attached, via a separate Is or And block, to a basic descriptor: You, Hot, Win, Stop, etc. Those written rules make up a part of each level, and the rules are physical objects that can be moved. Mixing and matching these bundles of words fundamentally rewrites the reality of that level. Objects can be made immaterial, water can be walked across, lava can be nullified. At its trippiest, even the very identity of your avatar is up for grabs.

Our rating: 4.5 stars. Read the full review for more.

Baba is You

Linelight

$1.99/£1.79

In Linelight, developer Brett Taylor has achieved the Holy Grail of iOS puzzle games. He’s created an engrossingly rich, varied and original experience with virtually no barrier to entry. At its core, Linelight is about guiding a tiny sliver of pixels along a continuous line using a virtual joystick. But as so often with these things, it’s the journey that counts.

That twisting path leads through a series of junctions, splits, moving platforms and various other mechanisms. Along the way there are switches to trigger, keys to collect, and an assortment of patrolling enemies to evade. The range of spatial and timing-based conundrums that utilize these modest components is really quite something, with each encounter evolving in natural yet frequently unexpected ways.

Our rating: 5 stars. Read the full review here.

Linelight

The Witness

$9.99/£8.99

The Witness isn’t like any mobile puzzler you’ve played before. It’s smarter, prettier, and more ambitious than virtually anything else in the genre. Ostensibly a series of abstract line-drawing puzzles, what truly sets the game apart is the open environment that contains them all. The setting is a mysterious island, and it’s one that you’re free to explore at your own pace in first-person view.

Its diagram-like puzzles, which lie on little panels embedded in the environment, start basic but rapidly ramp up in difficulty. At their simplest, you’ll need to draw a line from one point to another. Pretty soon, however, you’ll encounter mazy diagrams that require you to hoover up dots, mirrored puzzles that tie a second line to yours, blocks that require corralling and separating with your line, and much more. Perhaps the most satisfying puzzles are those that directly reflect or incorporate the beautiful environment they’re set in. It would be wrong to spoil any of these, but remember what we said about the importance of perspective and always be mindful of your surroundings.

Our rating: 5 stars. Read the full review here.

The Witness

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