The greatest brain-bending games we've played all year.
2012 has been a banner year for puzzle games on smartphones and tablets, and given how suited touchscreens are to the genre, it's been no surprise to see so many indie developers deliver both fresh takes on existing gameplay and entirely original concepts altogether. It wasn't easy picking our 10 favorites, so you can rest assured that each and every one of these games represents fantastic value for the money.
An intriguing puzzle game from one of the co-creators of Valve's Portal series, Pixld looks great, sounds great and plays like a dream. A color-flipping game, you'll need to always think one-step ahead as you flip the tiles with finger-taps to create solid blocks of colors, which then evaporate from the screen. A generous selection of game modes will keep you busy for hours to come.
9. 100 Floors
100 Floors tapped into one of 2012's most successful genres, the room-escape puzzle game. The concept is simple, as you move from floor to floor via a stubbornly stuck elevator door that's only opened by solving each lobby's teasing puzzle. The game makes wonderful use of your mobile touchscreen and accelerometer to weave an endlessly creative selection of levels into this very clever effort.
Officially the world's most annoying game title to Google, 10000000 is nevertheless a fantastic puzzle game that deserves a home on every mobile phone. The challenge is simple but endlessly compelling: as your runner races along the top of the screen, you need to furiously create match-threes that help him negotiate monsters, doors and locked chests. A bizarre blend of endless-running, match-three and RPG upgrades, you'll be playing this one long into 2013.
7. Girls Like Robots
Adult Swim consistently delivers quirky but highly original and addictive games, and Girls Like Robots is one of the publisher's best titles of 2012. There's a generous selection of levels to work through as you struggle to place tiles together on a series of boards and keep everyone happy. The catch? Girl tiles might like robot tiles, but every character in the game has their own dislikes. Keeping everyone happy in this eternal balancing act will become an obsession.
6. The Room
Another fine example of the room-escape genre is the simply titled puzzle game, The Room. Reminiscent of the beguiling mystery of the classic PC game, Myst, you'll have to tease away at a series of steampunk puzzles to slowly unweave the enigma of The Room. Notes, clues and puzzles abound as you pick apart this adventure that makes fantastic use of touchscreen technology. Don't miss out one of the most atmospheric games of 2012.
5. Guide The Light
One of the last great puzzle games of 2012, AppyNation's Guide The Light isn't a game for the faint-hearted, as it packs in a seriously tough challenge right from the start. Your task is to guide beams of light around a series of underground caverns using beam-splitters, mirrors and special prismatic blocks. If you fancy yourself a hardened puzzle gamer, Guide The Light will give your brain a workout like no other title in this year's gaming round up.
4. Puzzle Craft
The first time we got our hands on Puzzle Craft, we have to admit we let out a slight groan at its empire-expanding gameplay. How wrong we were. All of those expansions and upgrades are earned by participating in some of the best match-three gameplay we've had our hands on all year. Reap a bountiful harvest to feed your miners, who'll get minerals to expand your town, which will then tempt new workers to join your village in an endless chain of interconnected puzzle mechanics. Bliss.
3. Dream Of Pixels
If Slydris represented an evolution of classic Tetris gameplay, Dream of Pixels turned it upside down. Presented with a fluffy cloud of screen estate, your challenge is to strategically place the famous Tetrominos onto the screen in order to clear away the cloudscape. The pressure's on though, as the screen scrolls downwards, and if a piece falls beneath the bottom it's game over. There are plenty of game modes to suit the casual and hardcore, including a fantastic, limited-move puzzle mode.
2. Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds is big. Really, really big. But as big as Rovio's flagship franchise is, we never would have guessed at the start of 2012 that we'd see mobile gaming's biggest franchise join forces with one of the most successful movie series of all time. The end result was puzzle gaming perfection, with Rovio digging deep into Star Wars lore to create some very memorable levels packed with all of your favorite heroes and villains.
It takes one hell of a game to pick up a five star rating on Modojo, and after just a short time with Slydris, we knew this would be one such title. Blending the gameplay of Tetris with the aesthetics of Lumines, you'll need to carefully position the falling blocks to complete solid lines of colors and stay one step ahead of the approaching top line. There's a great selection of gameplay modes, each one of which would make a fine standalone game in its own right.