The 15 Best Android Puzzle Games for Teasing Your Brain

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 3 Apr 2017

Brain pleasers

The Play Store is loaded with mindless distractions to fill your down moments, but you don’t have to play something dumb or monotonous. Playing an on-the-go puzzler can still put your mind to good use. Luckily, Android has plenty of great options available.
These hand-picked 15 of my absolute favorite puzzle games out right now range from inventive spins on the match-three formula to strategic navigation games, challenging physics tests, and mystery-filled boxes. And don’t forget the snowman rolling simulator, subway system builder, and bonsai tree snipping game. It’s a broad mix of options; you’re sure to find something uniquely designed to tease your brain.

Mini Metro

Subway transit maps often look like a mess of squiggly lines, but there must be some method to the madness, right? You’ll find out quickly in Mini Metro. This game looks like those normal maps and puts you in charge of creating your own working, ever-expanding transit system.
It starts off simply enough with just a couple of stations, each represented by a shape, which you’ll connect with train lines. As ridership increases and new stations pop up with anxious passengers, you’ll need to figure out how to link it all together without stations becoming overcrowded. You’ll earn extra lines, train cars, and bridges the longer you can hold out. The game’s 15 maps are based on real-life city layouts.

Mini Metro ($5)


Math is magical in Threes!, a fantastic number puzzler focused on constant addition. You’ll need to merge number tiles to prevent the board from filling, as a new tile appears after each move. The 1 and 2 tiles add together to make 3, then all the other tiles, multiples of 3. Naturally, you can only blend with the same number to create even more significant numbers. That’s the goal; continually building a more substantial score with a larger number tiles to maximize your score. Since each swipe can move or merge every tile on the board. You’ll need to carefully consider every action to keep your game going. It’s a brainy, methodical, endlessly replayable gem, one of the most engaging puzzlers available on Android.

Threes! ($3)


Suppose you’ve ever made shadow puppets, contorting fingers and limbs to depict images on a wall. In that case, you might get a kick out of Shadowmatic. The premise is much the same. Only here, you’ll rotate and rearrange odd-looking objects until they show something familiar on the wall. Move the janky shape around enough that you might see a rabbit, or a teapot, for example.
It’s a concept that works wonderfully on a touch device. Giving you the feeling of manipulating natural objects in front of a flashlight. Of course, it gets much more challenging as multiple objects are provided. Adding an extra layer of difficulty in discerning the solution. The free download offers a taste, with a $3 in-game purchase providing 100+ total puzzles, additional objectives, and more.

Shadowmatic (Free)

You Must Build A Boat

Puzzle Quest pioneered the match three-in-a-row concept, but You Must Build a Boat, the follow-up to the equally excellent 10000000, trumps it on Android by taking a much more frantic tone. As your pixelated adventurer sprints through the dungeon along the top of the screen. You’ll need to match the appropriate icons to help him succeed.

When he encounters a monster, try to link up three or more blue swords, red or yellow, in rows. Run into a treasure chest? You’ll need to match keys to open it up to push ahead. Speed is essential, and the dungeons are randomized, so there’s a new challenge each time. And the quest keeps building, as each run helps you upgrade your gear. Expand your boat with rooms and crew members. And become faster and more robust. It’s addictive!

You Must Build a Boat ($3)

Lara Croft GO

Square Enix previously had hits with Hitman Go on this list, which is still worth a look alongside the newer Deus Ex Go. Still, the best of Square Enix’s mobile bunch is Lara Croft Go. Based on the iconic heroine of the Tomb Raider series. This perfect mobile puzzler turns her action-packed quests into a turn-based navigational game in which you’ll overcome environmental hazards.

Moving one space at a time on board game picturesque terrain. You’ll surprise-attack enemies, flip switches, evade obstacles, and solve brain-teasers that block your path. Lara Croft Go includes more than 100 puzzles, with more promised. She does an impressive job of translating the Tomb Raider allure into an intelligent, take-anywhere challenge.

Lara Croft Go ($5)

Pocket Bonsai

Pocket Bonsai is a challenging game to classify. Bonsai tree simulator? Oddly relaxing arcade game? Tactical gardening action? Pocket Bonsai may not fit as neatly within the puzzle genre as others on this list. But that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most original. And uniquely captivating games you can play on Android.
Each stage begins with you pulling up a tree from the soil, then watching as it grows into the light. Then quickly trimming excess branches to maximize its ascent. The 48 levels provide hazards, from extra shade to wind and other obstacles. You’ll need to experiment with placement snip selection to overcome each challenge. It’s a true one-of-a-kind.

Pocket Bonsai ($4)

The Room

Touch devices offer a sense of tactile interaction that a gamepad or mouse cannot. And that’s put to good use in The Room, a much-loved mobile original. In this first-person adventure, you’re tasked with solving a selection of 3D puzzle boxes. Each loaded with locks, codes, hidden doors, dials, and other brain-taxing mechanisms.

And it’s never just one solution. And the challenge is finding which approach unlocks the next opportunity, and so on all. At the same time, you rotate the box, focus on clues, and seek out curious details to explore. It’s also very haunting and atmospheric, with great graphics and cleverly designed boxes. And if you dig the original, add The Room Two and The Room Three to further expand upon the premise.

The Room ($1)


Letter tiles meet adorable, super-powered bears in the weird, wonderful Alphabear, a word puzzler with some strategic twists. As you build your words from the letters that appear on the board. The bears grow to fill in the blanks. The bigger the bears at the end of the game, the more points you earn. Easy, right?
But there are other considerations. Tiles not used quickly enough turn to stone, which blocks your bears’ paths, the bears themselves each offer unique bonuses. That can make or break your high-score run, so choose wisely. With daily missions and dozens of bears to unlock, it’s a surprisingly addictive entry. Not to mention a new feeling game in a well-worn genre.

Alphabear (Free)


We’ve all seen games inspired by comic book characters. But what about a game that plays with the structure of a comic book? That’s what Framed offers, as this noir-soaked tale of a man and woman on the run. Challenges you to solve the logic puzzle on each new page. Your job is to rearrange the panels to get the fugitive safely ahead of the following run-in.
Each panel shows a different event; they influence each other. So you must figure out how each panel’s happenings can ultimately lead the hero to safety. You’ll drag and drop the panels around the screen. Watch the action play out, then make modifications based on the results. It’s a compact but very inventive touch experience.

Framed ($3)

Monument Valley

Surreal gorgeous, Monument Valley is one of Android’s most memorable, mesmerizing games. As Princess Ida, you’ll attempt to navigate the curious terrain, which often isn’t grounded in reality. Monument Valley plays with perspective to create mind-boggling locales, which you’ll manipulate by turning dials, rotating staircases, and more.

Each level is a new treat one might find you working your way to the top of a tower with no obvious path ahead. At the same time, another is a puzzle box that exposes surprising new areas as it unfolds. While relatively short, a couple hours, tops, Monument Valley is lovely. It even has an affecting little story parceled out along the way. The Forgotten Shores ($2) expansion is well worth the money.

Monument Valley ($4)


What makes Blek so utterly refreshing is that it’s a genuine touchscreen original and does away with traditional structure. There are missions, perhaps even an ideal way to solve each stage. Still, the design of this inventive puzzler allows for so much freedom and creativity.
Essentially, the goal in each stage is to clear the colored dots. In a single attempt by drawing a doodle or squiggle. Once your finger leaves the screen, the drawing repeats your input as an endless animation. Bounding around until it leaves view or hits a black dot. If you get all the colored dots in one go, you win! If not, you keep doodling until you sort out a viable solution. It feels so distinct from every other puzzler on this list. Not to mention everything else on the Play Store except the clones.

Blek ($3)

A Good Snowman

It might be most seasonally appropriate for winter. Still, A Good Snowman is Hard to Build is a great puzzle pick for any time of the year. This clever little game challenges you to build an array of snowmen across a large garden. Each matching the traditional three-ball design from large up to minor. Accomplishing that, however, is not always an easy task.
You’ll need to roll the balls around each area to get them into formation. But moving a ball over fresh snow only makes it more significant. If you have the wrong-sized balls, you can’t finish the snowman. Figuring out the order of when to roll the balls and where to roll them is the real challenge. A Good Snowman is Hard to Build packs plenty of warm personality to offset any frustration.

A Good Snowman is Hard to Build ($5)

World Of Goo

World of Goo was first built for an i Remote or mouse pointer, but it feels perfectly suited for touch. This physics-driven puzzler finds you building structures from living balls of glop. You’ll drag one away from the existing tower or bridge, then release it to set it. Thus expanding the structure’s shape. The goal is to stretch all the way up to a suction tube. And save the rest of the goo balls.
It’s a simple task at first, but not for long. World of Goo’s inventive campaign delivers an array of twists. Like reusable balls and various obstacles, that shake up the gameplay. No two levels are the same. Better yet, the colorful graphics and haunting soundtrack pair perfectly. There’s even an odd little story that creeps into view. It’s a marvelous adventure.

World of Goo ($5)

Four Letters

Do you enjoy word games but don’t want to labor over every turn or move? Try Four Letters. It’s all about speed; as the timer ticks away. You’ll have to sort out a word from the letters that appear on the screen. Each completed word extends your timer; if you’re particularly quick with an entry, you’ll earn extra points. The bonus multiplies if you get on a run of speedy inputs.
Four Letters might seem like a breeze, given the focus on short words. You may knock through a couple dozen terms in a stretch without issues. But it’ll pull out tricky letter combos to throw you off, providing tense moments of frantic tapping. It’s a nice break from the average word puzzler; even with the quick pace, it’ll tease your brain.

Four Letters (Free)

Two Dots

Credit to Two Dots for showing how a simple premise, a free-to-play one. Can be expanded into something genuinely challenging and engaging. Like the original Dots, this puzzler is all about connecting circles: you can draw a line between nearby ones of the same color that clears them from the board. You’ll need to remove a certain number of each listed color in each stage.

It doesn’t take long for the concept to evolve. Lines become boxes, then you have bombs, fire, and anchors in play, all while maintaining that accessible approach. Two Dots has loads of content, more than 1,000 stages as of this writing. And gorgeous design outside the minimal game boards. It’s a great freebie option. And the sequel, Dots & Co., delivers even more fun.

Two Dots (Free)