Apple handed out 12 Apple Design Awards last week as part of its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), and 3 of those winning apps were puzzle games: Lara Croft Go, Linum, and Dividr. Design matters in a mobile game, but style's not the only thing you're looking for: You want fun, the right amount of challenge, and a storyline that won't let you go. So we tested a pack of games to pick our top puzzlers. (Spoiler alert: Only one of Apple's winners made our list.)
You don't have to be a Tomb Raider fan to enjoy this Apple Design Award winner. It's easy to master the swiping gestures for Lara Croft Go, as you connect tiles while avoiding obstacles, traps, and beasts. The gameplay gets more complex with each of the 40 levels, and the cool outfits and precious gems you collect along the way are a bonus.
An enigmatic figure called The Craftsman sets puzzle challenges for you in The Room Three, latest in the popular The Room series. The environment is unsettling, the soundtrack is haunting, and the gameplay is so engrossing that you'll be thinking about it even after you check out.
How can a bonsai tree begin to grow, much less blossom, in a hostile world bereft of light? That's where you come in. Swipe up to grow your tree in the light, and keep swiping across branches to help it sprout flowers. Once you grow a certain number, you'll progress to the next level. Maybe it's the easy swiping, the meditative music, or the accomplishment of cultivating a thriving tree, but Prune is a joy to play for hours on end.
Rearrange comic tiles in Framed and watch the plot come to life in stunning detail. Are you a crook, or have you been framed? As in any good noir, things are not always as they seem. But one thing's certain: Put the tiles in the wrong order and you risk sudden death.
The silent princess, Ida, needs help uncovering the many mysteries of Monument Valley. It's up to you to guide her through unique monuments by tapping your screen in the direction that she should head. As you pave her way by piecing together walkways, she'll uncover secrets. You, on the other hand, will spend hours lost in one of the most beautiful puzzlers we've ever seen.