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10 Apple Arcade puzzle games that will make you smarter while you play

Spot patterns, see the world from a new perspective and defy the laws of physics in these games.


This story is part of CNET's coverage of Apple Arcade, including exclusive first looks we got at some of the service's high-profile new games.

Puzzle games once meant solving an old Rubik's cube or an actual piece-by-piece jigsaw puzzle that sat precariously on the coffee table until a pet or child wrecked it. While those are still fun, mobile gaming has kicked puzzles up a notch -- and Apple's gaming subscription service Apple Arcade has some really great ones. 

The puzzle games on Apple Arcade, which costs $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99) a month, have something for everyone. Dig in and build something in the vast expanse of infinity, see the world from a different perspective, mend broken treasures and broken hearts. 

Check out these 10 Apple Arcade games for puzzle lovers, available to play now on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV. Games are slowly rolling out for Mac as well. 


Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

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 looks like it's 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 in the cut scenes, and by which objects are in each room. 


Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

In Patterned, 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. Of course, 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. Choose a tutorial or go straight to a game. The patterns are created by artists around the world. It's a soothing game that's challenging at the same time. 

Where Cards Fall

Where Cards Fall
Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Where Cards Fall is a narrative-driven coming-of-age puzzle game that uses cards to convey what it's like to be a teenager. You navigate the world by building and collapsing card houses. Some cards become doors that let you glimpse various memories. 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. 

The cards, which players can build or collapse, were a huge inspiration in the game's creation. CNET got an exclusive preview of the game in the video below:

Now playing: Watch this: Apple Arcade exclusive preview: Where Cards Fall

Assemble with Care

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

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's tactile nature 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 looks for ways to fix those as well.

Dear Reader

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

This game is an English student's dream -- it turns classic works of literature like Pride and Prejudice, Heart of Darkness and Grimm's Fairy Tales into word puzzles. Start with filling in the blanks, putting lines in the right order, unscrambling anagrams and other brain teasers. The tasks aren't impossible, even if you haven't read the original books. Who knows, Dear Reader might even make classic literature feel more accessible.

Manifold Garden

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Manifold Garden lets you solve puzzles in a space where the laws of physics don't exist. Cultivate geometric gardens in infinity itself, venture into the expanse, look at things from a new perspective, and master the rules of the universe. Fans of Minecraft might like this game. 

The Enchanted World

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

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. Redirect rivers, mend tree roots and save your world from the darkness.

CNET got an exclusive preview of the game in the video below:

Now playing: Watch this: Apple Arcade exclusive preview: The Enchanted World


Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Spek is a perspective puzzle game where you guide a dot through a minimalist world and collect fragments of a broken dimension. It's a puzzle, but it requires a little bit of strategy. If you twist the puzzle a certain way, it might break into three shapes, and tapping might reverse the dot. Each level gets a little harder, with obstacles to adapt the shape to or the potential for orbiting. But it's not too daunting in the beginning and the minimalist puzzles are set to soothing music. 


Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

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 users.

Down in Bermuda

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

You play as a pilot named Milton who crashed on a seemingly deserted island in the Bermuda Triangle 30 years ago. To get home, you must solve puzzles, collect special orbs and crack codes 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.