The best Android puzzlers to keep you occupied during these trying times
If you are looking for some mobile games to help you relax, start here.
If you’re anything like me, then you know that one of the best things about mobile gaming is its simplicity. Personally, I can barely cope with controls that are any more complex than moving. That means Call of Duty Mobile is out of the window for me, sadly (Warzone is a different matter, though). But don’t spend too long feeling sorry for me; there are plenty of alternatives available on the Google Play Store to sink my teeth into.
Due to their compact nature, smartphones are awesome for playing puzzle games. They tend to be something you can pick up and put down for a quick blast of gaming goodness. The lateral or/and logical thinking aspects of puzzle games mean they keep your brain juice topped up, too. With benefits like this, they’re great for when you’re self-isolating.
Here’s a bunch we reckon you Android users should be downloading:
You’ll probably know, by now, that I’m a bit of a nerd for the old retro games. Myst definitely falls into this category. Released in 1993 by Brøderbund (Prince of Persia fans should know this software company) the graphic puzzler quickly amassed a cult following. It’s remained in the public consciousness since, either as a memory of its original Apple Mac form or via one of the many sequels it spawned.
The good news is that you don’t need an old Macintosh to play, anymore. It is as simple as picking up your Android device, heading to the Google Play Store and grabbing realMyst from the virtual shelf in front of you. Cyan Worlds’ version of the game, realMyst, is incredibly faithful to the original, with many of the scenes still recognizable. However, where Myst was a 2D point and click adventure, realMyst allows you to explore Myst Island as a 3D realm.
This really opens the Myst game world up, giving you the opportunity to dart around the island and explore its nooks and crannies. This advanced navigation system offers more than the original did, with many gamers preferring this mode of play. The game retails at $6.99, with the sequel also available for only $3.99. Wallets out!
Total Party Kill
Forget saving your entire squad. Pffft, teamwork sucks anyway. If you’re going to win, you want the spoils all to yourself, don’t you? You selfish bastard. If you are a mean gamer, then Total Party Kill is the one for you. Developed by Adventure Islands, this puzzler is free to play, so get procrastinating!
Taking command of three gloriously pixelated sprites, the aim of the game is to escape a dungeon. Not in your cohort, though. You use the unique skills that the Archer, Mage, or Knight hold, to figure out how to get just one character to the exit. If this means killing your team-mates, then so be it. The archer, for example, can pin characters to the wall with his arrows, turning them into a makeshift platform. This lets you jump to otherwise unreachable parts of the game screen. You reach the exit by being a cunning assassin in this neat little game.
The 8-bit graphics are brilliant and are really reminiscent of the likes of Bubble Bobble and platform-puzzle games of the same era. This is a fantastic puzzler with a competitive element and well worth the hard drive space on your smart device.
Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle
Blue Wizard Digital comes skidding on a puddle of warm blood, splashing crimson straight onto your smartphone screens. Friday the 13th: Horror Puzzle is a gory, gruesome isometric game in which you control the iconic steen slasher, Jason Voorhees.
The aim of the game is simple, on the face of it. You slide your murderous little character around the screen, attempting to collide with unsuspecting campers dotted around the landscape. This, as you may imagine, results in some form of bloodbath taking place, with the aim to brutally kill anyone stupid enough to cross Jason’s path. The challenge comes in the form of obstacles that impede your progress, as well as a move limit. This means you really have to think about the game if you want to rack up a respectable kill score.
There is plenty of humor in the game to balance out the cartoonish-yet-gratuitous violence, so you’ll often find yourself chuckling at the demise of totally innocent strangers. Psycho.
This isn’t necessarily the kind of game you might traditionally think of as a puzzler. Orbit, from HIGHKEY games, is a physics puzzle game with a rather beautiful difference. You don’t control a little humanoid roaming around the screen. Or a vehicle. Or a frog attempting to avoid the most unrealistic build-up of fast-moving traffic ever. Nope. You control planets. That’s right, Galactus, it’s your time to shine.
The concept is really nice; essentially, you are in command of a planet (or a selection of planets). On the screen, you are faced with black holes and the aim is to fire your planets into orbit around the black holes. Furthermore, you must ensure that the planets remain in a stable orbit for the level to be completed. However, when numerous black holes and planets are brought into play, the results can be both wild and strangely beautiful.
Because each planet leaves an orbiting trail behind it, the results of flinging your celestial bodies around black holes can be quite artistic in nature. With each one a different color, you can get some pretty impressive results from your spiraling planets.
The aesthetically pleasing Prune, from Joel McDonald, is our final recommendation. Quite simply, it is one of the most bloody gorgeous games you can play on Android. Additionally, it adds emotion to a genre that is otherwise more logical. The idea is to cultivate a blossom tree that is concealed from the sun’s rays by various obstacles. These obstacles can range from an eclipsing sky-shape to an outcrop in the terrain.
Once you have planted your seed, strategic pruning will allow it to grow out into a beam of sunlight. This then produces flowers on the tree, which are essentially the game’s points system. Get enough flowers to grow and you’ll set off a melodic chime sequence. These are stars igniting in the sky at the top of the game screen, which is a lovely sight to behold. The beams of sunlight vary in intensity too, and so produce different colored flowers. Prune is such a delightful and charming title.
The in-game music is incredibly relaxing, as is the game itself, and you will find yourself blissing-out over your little creations. There is also the option to photograph your trees to share with friends and other players of the game, which is a nice touch.
The entire game is free, with no ads, in-app purchases, or any other clutter that often comes bundled with mobile titles. This means it has a nice, uninterrupted zen-like quality too it. A lovely, meditative puzzler.
Hopefully, there is something in this little lot to keep you going for at least a few hours. Especially useful during downtime if you’re working from home during self-isolation. If you’re after something with a bit more meat than a mobile title, check out what xCloud games you can entertain yourself with, instead.
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