A sense of mystery can be a strong force that connects you to a place. Kairo relies heavily on mysteriousness, and a thick layer of atmosphere too, to draw you deep into its minimalistic realm. For such an empty place, the blocky architecture and dark corridors hold a lot of intrigue. Who built them? What happened to the people here? Why am I here? These and other questions pop up as you explore and solve abstract puzzles during your colorful trek through this desolate landscape. It's a journey that's strangely compelling, despite a distinct lack of excitement.
For pyromaniacs on the mend (or rise), Little Inferno might seem like a dream come true, as the oddball iPad app allows players to burn more than 100 distinct digital items within a virtual fireplace free of soot and real-world ramifications. For everyone else, the simple and repetitive act of buying items and using your finger to set them ablaze might initially seem pointless, but a mysterious back story, ample style, and a dollop of humor keep this compelling curio interesting long enough for it to show what's beyond the somewhat banal interactions.
Back when it was first released on the Nintendo DS in 2009, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes' highly engrossing mix of match-three puzzle gameplay and RPG combat made it the surprise sleeper hit climbing its way onto year-end best games lists. While the low-resolution original was spectacular on its own, the fact that Clash of Heroes on iOS is a port of the updated HD console version is even better news for puzzle nerds.
A dark, moody atmosphere and a mysterious safe filled with complex puzzle-box curiosities lie at the heart of The Room, an enthralling puzzler that balances intrigue with challenge. Much like a set of Russian nesting dolls, cracking the outer shell of the massive iron box awaiting in the center of this grim abode only leads you deeper down the rabbit hole of mechanical conundrums to solve. Locked in single room and left with a peculiar note hinting at the powerful artifact tucked away within the huge safe, your task is to unravel the winding puzzle-filled path to this ancient device.
Cut the Rope remains one of the most popular and best-loved App Store titles more than two years after its release, with ZeptoLab's sensational physics-based puzzler racking up more than 100 million downloads across platforms in the process. Expectations are unsurprisingly high for the studio's first totally new release since, but much as Pudding Monsters employs a similar aesthetic and trial-and-error approach to gameplay, these gelatinous blobs deliver their own solidly enticing experience.
It's staggering to think that Hundreds began life on anything other than a capacitive interface, but this multitouch magnum opus has unexpected origins as a mouse-based web game. Granted, the ball-expanding puzzler has been revised and refined significantly since that inauspicious debut, resulting in an experience that is perfectly centered around the touch of a finger. Brought to the App Store by a dream team of indie designers, including those behind favorites like Canabalt and Gasketball, Hundreds is one of the smartest and most satisfying touch-based games I've ever played, particularly on an iPad.
Playing to the powerful pull of both puzzle solving and card playing, Chip Chain mashes up match-three puzzles with poker aesthetics in an inventive way that's highly addictive, yet accessible to folks who have no clue what a royal flush is. While the gameplay itself has very little to do with the actual game of poker, it scratches a different kind of itch that carves out common ground between card sharks and casual players alike.
The latest game to offer yet another take on the popular Angry Birds-style bombardment genre, Super Dragon is a goofy game of hurling fireballs and avoiding falling debris in order to regain your missing chompers. This funky physics puzzler stars a superstar dragon named Smokey, who is hellbent on recovering his lost teeth -- but getting them back is trickier and occasionally more aggravating than you might expect, thanks to the unpredictable laws of gravity.
What's more important than education at a university? If you ask Adult Swim, the answer seems to be balancing out the proximal science of love for all who attend. In a bizarre case of opposites attracting, girls adore robots, cooing when placed next to them in this strange little game of seating arrangements. Robots reciprocate up to a point, though they remain indifferent to nerds. For their part, nerds are happy sitting next to either robots or girls, though girls are irritated by their presence. How do you keep everyone happy? That's the basic gist of Girls Like Robots, a nicely brainy tile-puzzler that's one of Adult Swim's most personable titles yet.
Think you have what it takes to best Super Hexagon? If you have strong reflexes and an iron will, you probably do. The real question is whether or not you possess the patience to subject yourself to the maddening hazing needed to achieve mastery of its abstract geometrics. That's another matter entirely. Like any good arcade puzzler, Super Hexagon’s overlying simplicity masks a deceptively devious core. In the purest mechanical sense, all you’re doing is rotating a small triangle to avoid an endless scroll of glowing obstacles that fixate on the screen’s center. A collision of any kind means instant death. Simple, right?