If you’re like a lot of games, you appreciate a good brain-teasing puzzle game. The prospect of shelling out money for a mobile game isn’t always appealing, though. Take heart! We’ve discovered that there are plenty of fun, challenging, and engrossing puzzle games available on the iPhone at no cost whatsoever. While many of the titles listed here feature in-app purchase, we’ve confirmed that payment is definitely not required to enjoy the games.
1. Block X 3
This minimalist game asks you to slide tiles across a playing field in order to align them all without any stragglers. The challenge? You only have a fixed number of moves to reach your goal. The 300 puzzles included in the app ramp up the difficulty steadily, adding tiles in multiple colors and tiles with special attributes to make each puzzle more challenging. By the time you work your way to the later levels, you’ll be sweating every decision.
2. Chip Chain
This casino-style matching game is an attractive, highly-polished app. By lining up casino chips that have the same value, you can consolidate them into more valuable chips. Play alternates between you and a virtual dealer, with a new chip added to the board with each turn. Bonus cards are available to dramatically alter the state of the playing field, and special game modes come up on different days. (Unlocking all game modes for on-demand play requires an in-app purchase.) This is a fast-paced puzzle game that demands just a bit of strategic thinking.
3. Flow Free
In Flow Free, all you have to do is connect two dots without crossing any of the lines laid out on the play field. What could be simpler? As the game grows more challenging, though, you’ll start to sweat your route-planning choices and weighing each decision carefully. While the graphics are fairly rudimentary, the action is engrossing. 1200 levels are available free of charge, and if Flow Free snares your attention you can by another 1440 puzzles for $3.99. Seasoned puzzle gamers looking for an intuitive, addictive challenge will find exactly what they’re looking for in Flow Free.
This visual version of a crossword combines linguistic and artistic talents. You’ll have to find the crossword puzzles embedded in a given picture. Inputting one word correctly opens up a new letter and pushes you towards eventually revealing the entire puzzle. This free game is available on all iOS devices. The rules are easy to learn but challenging to master. With a database of hundreds of pictures and words, PixWords presents constant novelty across more than 350 levels. This game is a great tool for testing and improving your vocabulary. PixWords has impressive cross-language support. Fully functional versions are available in 21 different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Swedish, Korean, and Italian.
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This fast-paced casual game challenges you to bring dots into color-matched lines as fast as you can. You have only so much time — and only so many moves — to make as many matches as possible. Building continuous loops will earn you bonuses. As the game progresses, you can convert your already-gathered dots into power-ups that will help you tackle more puzzles. Dots also has a local multiplayer mode that allows head-to-head action with your friends. With smart design choices, simple controls, and tons of fun, Dots makes a great way to kill a little down time.
6. Puzzle Craft
As you might guess based on the title, this game combines classic puzzle action with an RPG-style crafting system. You also get the village management gameplay of a real-time strategy game. Crafting tools and gathering resources from your village give you power-ups to use in the puzzle games. The puzzles themselves are basic tile-matching games. Melding simple puzzle games to more strategic game styles from other genres gives Puzzle Craft some real long-term appeal.
7. Tetris Blitz
This latest take on the world’s leading puzzle game offers you some imaginative surprises. As with any Tetris game, the heart of the challenge is assembling regular rows out of irregular building blocks in order to score points. Tetris Blitz adds a fresh challenge by allowing you to move your blocks around in more complex ways. You can set targets and send blocks to them automatically. The total play time is limited to two minutes, so maximizing your score needs to be your primary goal. Fortunately, you can use a range of interesting new power-ups to help boost your score and make an impressive showing on the online leader boards.
This novel look at crossword-style puzzle games is really intriguing. You use a limited selection of letter tiles to fill blanks in a puzzle’s layout. The challenge comes from the fact that using every tile you’re given is required. At higher levels you’re also challenged to hit coin objectives and score multipliers, although reaching them while still using up all of your letters is tough. Puzzle game fans with a literary bent will definitely enjoy this Scrabble-like twist on the classic crossword.
This memory game shows you a simple pattern laid out on a nine-cell grid. All you have to do is reproduce the pattern quickly. Your score multiplies fast if you can build up a continuous run of perfect recreations. Of course, at higher levels things aren’t so simple; individual squares of the grid start rotating, adding another task to your pattern reproduction goals. Trid comes with a nice slection of different game modes — time attack, sudden death, and mirror mode. This fun little game is not only free to download but also free of in-app purchases. It’s great to see a simple, fun game like this offered up to the world with nothing expected in return!
10. Triple Town
This popular match-3 game drops the player into a closed grid and challenges you to merge tiles that share common features together. The hierarchy of tile features is charming: you’ll merge shrubs into bushes, bushes into trees, trees into house, and so forth. This system creates a constantly-changing board, but caution and skill are required to make sure that you always preserve a few viable moves. At higher levels you’ll also have to contend with fractious bears who want to squat on the spaces you need to make matches. This stylish, kid-friendly puzzler offers you a great deal of replayability.