Finding the best mobile puzzle game is like finding a needle in a haystack. Which, funnily enough, is probably the premise of one or two mobile puzzle games. For those of us who would rather give our brains a workout than switch it off entirely for our mobile gaming sessions, there are a lot of mobile puzzle games to choose from. The problem is, so many look identical.
So, to help you avoid an extra game of ‘spot the difference’ in the App Store, we’ve compiled a list of the best mobile puzzle games on the market, as indicated by their vast playerbases. From mellow mergers to more frantic fan-favourites, these titles should cover all sub-genre bases for puzzle fans.
Merge Dragons! (iOS, Android)
As far as puzzles go, they don’t get much easier than working out what the main activity is in Merge Dragons! This whimsical puzzle game sees players merge three identical dragons, among other objects, to create more powerful versions as they progress through stages. It’s basically like Pokémon, if they evolved by working together instead of beating each other up.
Through the power of merging, players can breathe life back into a once green world rendered progressively more barren by the villainous Zomblins. It is a fun-for-all-the-family title that will evoke a smile as you mull over the most efficient route towards saving the trees. If only we could merge our way to a similar result in the real world.
Wordscapes (iOS, Android)
Boasting a playerbase of over 14 million, Peoplefun’s wordy puzzler is a hit with logophiles. Described as a mix between Boggle and a crossword, it’s a surefire way of giving your vocabulary a workout whilst enjoying the ever-welcome dopamine hits that come with the chimes of a new high score. Not to mention the picturesque backdrops that are noticeably absent from those drab newspapers.
By spelling out all possible words from a collection of letters, players must work their way through a whopping 10,000 levels. Only once you’ve smashed that target, 14,000 more ‘master levels’ await. Who knew there were that many words? Either way, Wordscapes is a wordsmith’s wonderland.
Two Dots (iOS, Android)
Originally created as a test project to examine user interaction with the iOS interface, Dots, with its simple connect-the-dots gameplay loop, became something of a sensation among users. So much so that developers Playdots (subliminal marketing at its finest) spawned its more fleshed-out sequel, Two Dots.
Now with a set of objectives, levels, and weekly Treasure Hunt events, Playdots have created a soothing puzzle game that has gone down a storm with fans. As of right now Two Dots maintains a total of 3,375 levels and counting, thanks to its regular updates.
As if to prove the ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ adage, Two Dots has even received two People’s Voice award wins at the Webbys. Which may well make it the most commended game on this list.
June’s Journey (iOS, Android)
June’s Journey is a hidden-objects puzzle game whose fanbase places special emphasis on its relaxing qualities. It even bills itself as a perfect title to incorporate into your mindfulness routine, which earns it bonus points.
The point-and-click (or tap-and-tap) mechanics see players apply problem-solving skills to guide protagonist June through many a pickle. For example, upon encountering an old man bleeding on the floor, players must first find a hammer that will break a glass box containing a first-aid kit. Then they must find the scissors to cut the bandages. Should you pick this game up, you can have that solution for free.
Not only that, but players can also spend some time decorating their own island-based manor and garden. You know, just in case you thought that stumbling upon a bleeding old man didn’t sound very therapeutic. Either way, this is the perfect title for those with a keen eye for both detail and decor.
Solitaire Grand Harvest (iOS, Android)
If the worldwide success of farming simulator Farmville taught us anything, it’s that farming is charming. Solitaire Grand Harvest from Playtika has decided to run with the farming hype and pair it with a classic game of tripeaks solitaire. If you haven’t heard of tripeaks solitaire…well, we won’t bore you with the complete rundown of the rules. But for an infinitely more fun lesson, pick up Grand Harvest instead.
It won’t take greenhorns long to find themselves hooked by the classic tripeak gameplay, only to then be reeled in by the added farm-based activities. An exceptional round will earn exceptional prizes, including boosts, coins and rewards. Each game is relatively fast-paced, so if you find yourself with five minutes to spare, then pull out those cards and get farming.
Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle (iOS & Android)
Strap in for this one because, much like the anime it’s based on, Dokkan Battle is a wild ride. A stark departure from the toned-down puzzles that comprise much of this list, BANDAI NAMCO’s wildly successful foray into one of the most widely-beloved anime series is a superpowered fusion of fighting, board, card collection, and puzzle game mechanics. And it doesn’t so much as scratch your itch for a Dragon Ball Z fix as it does ‘Kamehameha’ it into oblivion.
While its subject matter is anything but subtle, Dokkan Battle certainly makes up for it in its fighting mechanics. It utilises a system suspiciously similar to the “match-three” games that dominate the puzzle genre (in case you hadn’t noticed), but you’d be forgiven for missing that fact in the midst of pummeling your enemies with 10,000 punches followed by an energy beam for good measure. If you’re a DBZ fan with a penchant for puzzles, then this is the game for you.
Angry Birds 2 (iOS & Android)
This physics-based mobile puzzle game was such a worldwide phenomenon that it spawned its own movie, so we’d wager it needs no introduction. So influential was the original game that Rovio rebranded it to Angry Birds Classic, as if it was the Rolls-Royce of mobile games. But then again, perhaps it is.
Despite what its name would have you believe, Angry Birds 2 is in fact the twelfth instalment in the physics puzzler franchise. But one feature that makes this title more puzzly than its predecessors is a move to more tactical gameplay. With the introduction of spells and the ability to select the best bird of the job, the process of slingshotting a bird into some wooden structures became a little more complicated. Now you can use your head while the birds use theirs.
Candy Crush Saga (iOS & Android)
There isn’t much that can stand up against the sheer, sticky might of Candy Crush Saga. The worldwide phenomenon is to mobile puzzle games what Flappy Bird was to mobile side-scrollers. Only we’re pretty sure that, unlike the modest mind behind Flappy Bird, developers King fully intended for their game to become the gargantuan success it currently is. The clue is in their name.
Though many a would-be usurper has attempted to steal the match-three genre crown, Candy Crush still sits comfortably atop the throne. The premise, which sees players attempt to match three or more candies in a row to clear them from the board and score points, can be seen replicated in some of the most lucrative puzzle games on the market. Only, try as they might, no game can seem to reach the heady heights of the original.
Just don’t tell Tetris.
So there you have eight of the most popular and best mobile puzzle games available. Genre fans may have noticed some time ago that what’s tried-and-tested can often spawn some cut-price copycats. But you can rest assured that these are the titans of the field, so don your thinking caps and get tapping.