10 of the Best iOS Puzzle Games

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10 of the Best iOS Puzzle Games

The Best iPhone and iPad Puzzle Games
Jim Squires

Puzzle games have challenged human beings for centuries. To put it into perspective, that's a whole lot longer than the iPhone and iPad have been around. In fact, the first tablets that puzzles were played on were actual tablets. The kind made of stone that probably had a commandment or two etched into them.

But for modern puzzle gamers, few resources are quite as ready, willing, and able to challenge to the problem-solving side of our brain as our iOS devices. With literally thousands (if not tens, or even hundreds of thousands) of puzzle games to choose from on the App Store, it's sometimes hard to not feel paralyzed by choice.

Lucky for you, Lifewire.com is your ferryman through these troubled waters. While we don't claim to have listed the definitive 10 best iPhone puzzle games out there, we're happy to share up to ten of our favorites. If you're new to the iPhone, or maybe just looking for a gem you've missed, these are the 10 puzzle games you'll want to try next on your iPhone or iPad.

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1010!

1010! iPhone iPad puzzle game
GramGames

You'd be hard-pressed to find a single soul on planet Earth that hasn't heard of Tetris. It's the granddaddy of all video game puzzles and has enough intrigue around its inception to warrant an HBO miniseries. But even after all these years, it's rare to find a new game that plays with the idea of Tetris while making something totally unique.

1010! accomplishes this seemingly impossible feat.

A less panicked game that its loose inspiration, 1010! challenges players to position Tetris-style shapes in a 10x10 grid. If you manage to place shapes in a way that forms a complete line, that line will disappear and create more space, which you'll then use to try and make more lines.

Don't let 1010!'s slow pace and careful placement fool you: without practice, you can quickly find yourself drained of possible moves and rushing head first into a "game over."

1010! is available on the App Store.

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Monument Valley

Monument Valley iPhone iPad game

If you like your puzzle games dripping with style, substance, and a sense of discovery, Monument Valley has everything you're looking for. This Escher-inspired puzzler tells the story of Ida, a princess in a world of impossible geometry.

You explore and discover Ida's world as she does, guiding Ida through stairwells and doorways as you poke, prod, and move the environment to help her progress.

Monument Valley is truly a thing of beauty, telling a compelling narrative tale completely devoid of words, using only gameplay to reveal its story. Maybe that's why it's taken home such prestigious awards as the BAFTA Award for Mobile & Handheld Games, the Apple Design Award, and the IMGA Grand Prix prize.

Monument Valley is available on the App Store.

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Pair Solitaire

pair solitaire iphone ipad game
Vitaliy Zlotskiy

If it seems strange to see a card game included in a list of great puzzle games, that's only because you haven't played Pair Solitaire yet. The debut release from Vitaly Zlotskiy (who would later go on to release Domino Drop), Pair Solitaire asks players to do something seemingly simple: match pairs of cards.

The challenge comes from having to match pairs that are separated by just one card, and such matches only remove one of the cards in the pair. So if you have two hearts, you'll only remove the one you touch. If you have two kings, it's the same story. Your goal is to clear as many cards from a standard deck of 52 as you can before you run out of possible moves. 

Despite losing days of my life to Pair Solitaire, I've never quite managed to get to zero. Maybe you can do better.

Pair Solitaire is available on the App Store.

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Prune

Prune iPhone iPad puzzle game
Joel McDonald

Are you in search of an experience that somehow manages to balance tranquility with progressive difficulty? If so, Prune is the tree-trimming puzzler that will help you find your bliss.

Prune is a game about helping tree branches grow to find their way to sunlight so that they can flower as nature intended. But to do so means you'll need to neatly nip off new branches growing in the wrong direction, steering your tree around different obstacles so that it can finally see the sun.

Prune is both a puzzle game also be a bonsai tree. How very zen.

Prune is available on the App Store.

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The Room (series)

The Room iPhone iPad puzzle game
Fireproof Games.

Gamers who grew up on Myst are going to want to pay close attention to this one. Now on its second game (with a third in development at the time of this writing), The Room is a series that tasks players with exploring boxes that can only be opened by hunting for switches, levers, unseen mechanisms controlled by intricate puzzles.

With a variety of different solutions required to open each container, you'll be surprised at just how many secrets one box can contain. The Room is a true head-scratcher, requiring plenty of logic and "a-ha!" moments to complete.

As hard as it may be, though, you'll be desperate for more the moment you've unlocked its mysteries. I guess it's a good thing there's The Room Two.

The Room and The Room Two are available on the App Store.

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Rules!

Rules!
thecodingmonkeys

The name sort of gives it away, but Rules! is a game about following the rules. All the rules. In the order, you've received them, only reverse.

If it's starting to sound complicated, that's because it kind of is.

Rules! is a game that tests your memory and speed in a way no other app has before it. Each round asks you to clear away certain tiles using a specific rule, and then the following round asks you to do the same and introduces a new rule. You'll need to remember all of the rules in reverse order if you want to see your way to the end. The #1 rule? Don't break the rules.

Rules! is available on the App Store.

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Scribblenauts Remix

scribblenauts remix iphone ipad game
Warner Bros.

A game where the only limit is quite literally your imagination, Scribblenauts Remix asks gamers to dream up their own solutions to 50 puzzles comprised of the best levels from Scribblenauts and Super Scribblenauts. And that number of levels grows to more than 140 if you buy the World Pass upgrade as an in-app purchase.

Wondering what an imagination-based puzzle looks like? Imagine you need to get a star down from a tree. You could give your avatar an ax to chop the tree down, or a ladder to climb to the top. Personally, I'd have a giant purple fire-breathing raccoon burn that sucker down and drop the star well within my reach.

If you can think it, and you can type it, Scribblenauts can make it come true.

Scribblenauts Remix is available on the App Store.

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Threes!

Threes! iPhone iPad Puzzle Game
Sirvo LLC

If you're looking at Threes! and thinking "that game is ripping off 2048!" you've got the story backward. A beautifully simple game that's accessible to all skill levels, Threes! was so good that it inspired countless impersonators only weeks after release. And that's a shame because a game this good should be shouted from the rooftops.

Threes! tasks players with sliding all of the numbers on the board together in one of four directions. If two identical numbers get squished together as a result, they'll create the sum of those two numbers. The goal of Threes! is to keep squishing like numbers (and, in the case of "1" and "2," dissimilar numbers) until you run out of possible moves and tally an incredible score.

And then tweet that score, because if you can't rub your Threes! high score in your friends' faces, why do they even have faces?

Threes! is available on the App Store.

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Touchtone

TouchTone
Mikengreg

Challenging puzzle game or riveting social message? TouchTone proves that a game can be both.

On the puzzling side, TouchTone presents you with some wiggly lines that need to connect to like-colored nodes. To do this, you'll need to slide rows and columns containing objects that can split and redirect the lines in different directions.

But those lines? They're lines of communication. And as the latest citizen tasked with monitoring communication as part of your civic duty, you'll follow a tantalizing story as you try to determine whether or not what you're listening to is pertinent to protecting this great country. (SPOILER: everything is pertinent when it comes to protecting our freedoms).

TouchTone is available on the App Store.

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World of Goo

World of Goo
2D Boy

One of the App Store's earlier puzzle hits is still one of its best. World of Goo perfected the bridge-building style of physics-based games when it launched on the Wii and desktops in 2008, but it never felt more at home than when it came to the iPad in 2010 (and the iPhone shortly thereafter). 

Players drag adorable, anthropomorphic balls of goo to create structures that, while wobbly, will hopefully stand the test of time. These structures are needed to help rescue other goo that is stranded just out of reach. 

Unique, charming, and challenging, World of Goo feels like a physics simulation by way of Dr. Seuss. What could be more puzzling than that?

World of Goo is available on the App Store.