Top Ten Portable Puzzle Games
There are many great handheld puzzle games out there, but these ten are absolute must-owns.
10. Echochrome (SCEA/PlayStation Portable downloadable)
This perplexing, mind-bending puzzle game requires you to move figures around impressively designed playfields by changing the perspective. If you see a gap between two blocks, bridge the gap by moving a block into place to take it out of view. Transport holes and warp gates also lend a hand in getting your friends from point A to point B. There are hundreds of puzzles to complete throughout the game, and with the promise of new downloadable ones on the way, Echochrome is an ideal pickup for PSP.
9. Meteos (Nintendo/Nintendo DS)
Q Entertainment, the studio responsible for the hit Lumines games on the PSP also made Meteos, a wonderfully addictive puzzle game for the Nintendo DS. In the game, you must align falling blocks in stacks of three or more to remove them from an ever-shifting playfield. Once they align, you can launch them from the screen using rockets. The game is lots of fun, especially with friends in multiplayer. It was later followed by a Disney version of Meteos, which turned out to be a big hit with kids.
8. Magnetica (Nintendo/Nintendo DS)
The Mitchell Corporation is not a well-known game publisher, but it created the somewhat popular Ballistic games on PlayStation and Game Boy. Nintendo hired the development team to work on a new high-tech version of the game with Magnetica. In it, you control a cannon that fires multi-colored spheres at other spheres moving towards an exit point on an assembly line. Once multiple colored spheres are put together, they disappear from the line, with other colors still left over. The round ends once all the spheres are gone, or once they hit the exit point. With its innovative touch-screen controls and fun design, Magnetica is definitely an attractive game.
7. Bust-a-Move (DS, Game Gear)
There are plenty of handheld versions of Taito's popular Bubble Bobble-esque puzzle game, but the Sega version is probably one of the best thanks to its easy-to-see playfield and perfectly executed gameplay. You select from a number of anime-style characters, which then man a cannon that fires bubbles onto a moving playfield. There are several multi-colored bubbles already in this area, and only by connecting three or more can you pop them. Get them all in time and you move to the next round. However, if they reach a "breaking point" (a line at the bottom of the screen), it's game over for you.
6. Tetris (Game Boy)
What better way to salute the old school, green-screened Game Boy than with its pack in, a fun translation of the classic Alexei Pajitnov game Tetris? Sure, it may only be one player and there are only a certain amount of tunes and shapes available, but the sheer addiction comes with the timeless gameplay. Tetris on the Game Boy is incredibly easy to get into, fun to play and extremely hard to put down. It's also a game perfectly suited for the system, as you can see the screen without the need of a lighting accessory or a magnifier (unlike other games for it).
5. Planet Puzzle League (Nintendo/Nintendo DS)
Previously released as straight-up Puzzle League (in conjunction with Dr. Mario) and Pokemon Puzzle League, Planet Puzzle League is the best translation of the game yet. That's because it doesn't rely on fancy gimmicks or huge franchises to sell it; it's all about the in-game action. You swap around multi-colored pieces on a moving platform, which slowly inches upward. Once three (or more) are put in a row, they disappear, leaving you to work on the next one. With its crazy modes, snazzy techno design and superb multiplayer action, this Planet is certainly worth inhabiting.
4. Tetris DS (Nintendo/Nintendo DS)
Sure, we just saluted the original Tetris a couple of entries ago, but the new one deserves some love as well. Nintendo took the Alexei Pajitnov game we love so much and modified it with so many personal touches from its own gaming universe, such as cameos by Mario and bounty hunter Samus Aran. Tetris DS features six various modes with particular twists on the classic gameplay, including the ability to catch and rotate pieces with the touch stylus. Furthermore, it fully supports multiplayer action, so you can stack blocks along with your friends.
3. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (GBA, PSP)
There is something incredibly cool about being able to drop gems and counter gems in a limited area, causing a ruckus with your opponent on his or her screen across from you, while at the same time watching your super-deformed character taunt them. That's what makes Super Puzzle Fighter II work so well, the two-player interaction and the constant battles you can have with another player. PSP fans don't have to worry about being left out, however. You can pick up Capcom Puzzle World for a bargain price and hook up with other players through local Wi-Fi. Either way, you've got a serious puzzle challenge to take on. SHORYUKEN!
2. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords (D3 Publisher/Nintendo DS, PSP)
Take the classic puzzle game Bejeweled (one that barely missed the list, by the way) and combine it with something completely out of whack, such as a role-playing game. That mash-up results in Puzzle Quest, an enthralling and time-consuming puzzle game with strategies galore. You level up spells, take on various enemies (including a dreaded catapult), complete quests, power-up your character, build a battle party and so much more. The multiplayer is great, too, as you can engage in battles with a friend and show him or her who's boss at aligning gems and removing them from the playfield. Just watch out for the skulls.
1. Lumines (Ubisoft/PSP)
Finally, we come to the granddaddy of them all, a music-blaring, piece-changing, block-creating experience that shouldn't be missed by any die-hard puzzle fanatic. Lumines is one of those games with the sort of timeless gameplay that can last forever and well into the sequel, Lumines II, obviously. You form blocks by setting up pieces of four on a playfield as a passing line eliminates them, making room for more. The twist here is the variety of backgrounds; music and stylish touches that make each round a refreshing experience. If you don't have this game already, something is wrong with you.