Spot patterns, see the world from a new perspective and defy the laws of physics in these puzzle games.
Jigsaw puzzles with thousands of tiny pieces and Rubik's cubes are fun, but mobile gaming has kicked puzzles up a notch, and Apple Arcade has some great ones. The puzzle games on Apple's $5-a-month gaming service have something for everyone and creatively push the boundaries of puzzle gaming. Dig in and build something in the vast expanse of infinity, see the world from a different perspective, and mend broken treasures and broken hearts.
In its catalog of over 200 games, Apple Arcade has more than two dozen titles in the puzzle category so far (and new games are added weekly). Here are 10 of my favorites.
Possessions is a soothing, minimalist puzzle game with a surprisingly in-depth story. The trick to solving each puzzle is perspective and spatial awareness -- you must view the room from different angles. A lamp might look like it's floating, but if you tilt the room a certain way, it will suddenly appear to be on an end table. Every level is a bit more challenging as you have to "arrange" more objects -- flowers need help getting into vases and cords must be plugged into the wall. You'll also learn each character's story by watching the cut scenes and paying attention to which objects are in each room.
Patterned is like a jigsaw puzzle combined with a coloring book -- simultaneously soothing and challenging. Each puzzle begins as a sketch, and you drag colored pieces onto the screen to layer over the sketch. The game was more difficult than I thought it would be, with intricate patterns like this hot air balloon image. If you don't get the puzzle piece in the right spot, it turns red and you can try again. The more colored pieces you place, the easier the puzzle becomes. You'll start to notice the pattern emerging with the more pieces you add. The patterns are created by artists from around the world.
Where Cards Fall is a coming-of-age puzzle game that uses cards to convey what it's like to grow up. You navigate the world by building and collapsing card houses. Some cards become doors that let you glimpse various memories -- happy, painful and everything in between. Getting to the doors becomes more challenging as the levels progress -- "pinch" the screen to collapse cards and spread your fingers on a deck to build a house.
In Assemble with Care, you play as Maria, an antiques restorer, who arrives in the town of Bellariva during her world travels. While abroad, Maria makes a living by fixing things. The game unfolds like a storybook until Maria meets someone who needs something fixed. The game lets you rotate objects, change batteries, press buttons, rotate screwdrivers and more. In addition to fixing physical objects, Maria learns about the people of Bellariva's problems and realizes their trinkets aren't the only things in need of mending.
The Enchanted World is about a young fairy whose world is wrecked by dark forces. You'll help her on a journey to repair and heal what's been damaged. With guidance from a red songbird along the way, you'll get help from a web-spinning spider, quirky robots, a hungry frog and others. Through sliding block-style gameplay, you'll redirect rivers, mend tree roots, rearrange gears on a factory floor and save your world from the darkness.
Level up in Tint by mixing watercolors to match colored origami paper creations in your own garden studio. Each "page" of your sketchbook gets a little more challenging, but doesn't lose its soothing theme. There's no rush, no timers and no one to beat. Each chapter brings something different -- sounds of rain, the warm glow of sun, the chirping of birds and more. There's also a mode for colorblind and vision-impaired people.
Simon's Cat: Story Time is a match-three game that lets you unlock chapters of a story. The game provides a fun narrative and soothing tasks of cleaning up and designing a garden (without breaking a sweat or getting dirty) alongside casual, easy-to-pick-up Candy Crush-style gameplay. In Story Time, a building site project threatens to shatter the tranquility of Simon and Cat's neighborhood. Simon, Cat and their friends -- some human, some four-legged -- begin restoring a wasteland of historic parks nearby to protect the community.
Grindstone sees you strategically slash your way through the bowels of Grindstone Mountain, which has become infested with pest-like creatures called Creeps. Each of the 150 levels becomes more challenging than the last with more diabolical Creeps and boss fights. Similar to Simon's Cat -- just with a lot more cartoon gore -- in Grindstone, you'll navigate and clear levels by creating chains of matching Creeps your burly character slashes through. The longer you stay in a level, the more volatile the Creeps become. Be on the lookout for loot to cash in and weapons upgrade blueprints to use when you replenish your health at the Howling Wolf Inn.
In Lumen, when you open a mysterious box in an old attic, the recorded voice of Olivia MacLumen, a great inventor who lived in Scotland over 100 years ago, beckons you on an adventure. She tells you that all the stories about her inventions are saved on film frames in the box, and you must restore them by using light. Players will learn how to bounce light beams off lenses and mirrors to solve each puzzle and uncover Olivia's story.
In Down in Bermuda, you play as a pilot named Milton who crashed on a seemingly deserted island in the Bermuda Triangle. Thirty years later, you're still trying to get home. Travel around interconnected islands and solve various interactive puzzles to collect special orbs while avoiding less-than-friendly sea monsters. With the help of a wise turtle, a kind robot and others you'll learn the secrets and magic of the islands.