Etation around the caves, which in turn opens up new areas. You have to evade carnivorous plants and acid pits, and occasionally you’ll need to kill off a plant to make room for another. But this is a game about creation rather than destruction. It’s thoughtful and at times intense, not to mention incredibly pretty: your character a tiny spec against dramatic sweeps of red rock and vast open skies. Alec MeerAs your little pixel-dude wanders through a retro dungeon, he’ll encounter assorted obstacles – monsters of varying challenge, locked chests and traps – and you have to arrange matching blocks in the bottom half of the screen to defeat them. Matching three (or more) swords or staves damages the enemies; keys unlock the chests; shields increase your defensive powers; and so on. You need to keep matching blocks – any blocks – to keep the board moving and open up new opportunities, but you must also keep an eye on the state of play in the mini-RPG at the top of the screen, and factor this into the matches you make. If you fail to provide a demanded match for long enough, you’ll be forced off the lefthand side of the screen and your session will end.10000000 offers this (devastatingly addictive) setup and not a whole lot more – you can level up some of your gear and skills, but to a degree that pales in comparison with the boat-building action that the sequel’s title promises.

Your vessel begins as barely a dinghy but has grown to a sprawling galleon by the end of the game, complete with hordes of recruited monsters, each providing a small stat boost, and shopkeepers waiting patiently to upgrade your character. And since both games are currently the same price, it would make sense, until and unless the original hits a sale price, to plump for the later game. But both are wonderful.


David PriceThere’s a sweet (or a few pieces of a sweet, or even a pair of sweets) dangling or floating somewhere in each level of these hugely popular physics-based puzzlers, and you have to feed it to a monster called Om Nom. And if you can grab the three stars while you’re at it, that’d be great. Early levels begin with simple ropes and bubbles, and all you need to do is slice the rope with your finger or tap to pop the bubbles. But things get far more complicated later: some ropes only appear when the sweet is near them, and you have to deal with hazards like spikes or hungry spiders.

The Cut The Rope games have a neat concept and cute artwork, but the games’ massive success is down to their level design, which is superb. Physics effects are intuitive, from basic but perfectly executed gravity and floating objects to bungee-action ropes, and the difficulty curve is expertly judged.


After the bestselling original game (above), Cut The Rope: Time Travel adds historical settings and a second Om Nom (in period costume) on each level. Cut The Rope 2 (below) chucks in helper creatures with special abilities such as helicopter wings or stick-out tongues, and medals for completing levels in specified ways. Maze-based puzzle adventure Ending is seemingly effortless proof that great game mechanics can achieve far more than even the most striking graphics ever could. Rendered all in stark, monochrome symbols and lacking even a soundtrack, this is absolute minimalism – which frees you up to focus entirely on the challenge at hand: steering an @ symbol through a series of arenas filled with roaming glyphs that will kill you instantly on touch. This devious puzzler will either make you feel very smart or very stupid. Alec MeerThe basic aim is to wipe out your enemies before heading to an exit. The tiny snag is that each enemy behaves differently – some guarding the space in front of them, and others unhelpfully moving about of their own accord.

Getting into position to off them with your spear can be tough. Even early levels offer a challenge for anyone wanting to crack the minimum moves count. But before long, just getting to the exit is enough, when you’re confronted by optical illusions, multi-cube constructions that shift in weird ways, and boss battles where your enemy takes control of the cubes. The entire thing’s dressed up in a gorgeous minimal visual aesthetic that echoes mobile hit Monument Valley. But although Euclidean Lands perhaps wears its inspirations on its sleeve, it still feels fresh and essential, ensuring the game’s place among the very best puzzlers on the platform.


Craig GrannellWe’ve seen loads of games based on comic books, but Framed tries a different approach: it builds mechanics from the placement of the panels themselves, which is incredibly clever. This noir-soaked tale sees you alternately guiding a shadowy man and woman away from police and an unknown pursuer.

You’ll never directly control the characters; all you’ll do is reposition or manipulate the colourful panels that appear on the screen, in the hopes of creating a safe path from top to bottom. It’s sort of mesmerising to see it in action, because it’s incredibly simple – so much so that there isn’t a spoken or written word throughout, even in the tutorial moments – but also supremely effective as a puzzle mechanic.


Short but super sweet, Framed really is a premium experience deserving of your money. Beyond being a seriously smart concept, the noir art style is swell, the animation is dazzling, and the jazz score is just the cherry on top. David PriceThe concept of Hundreds – so simple, yet open to so many permutations – is this: you make the total number reach 100. This is done by tapping on bubbles, which grows the number inside. If one of the bubbles collides with anything else while you’re touching it, it’s game over. This grows from the intuitive simplicity of a couple of bubbles bouncing lazily around to fiendish contraptions, swarms of ‘enemy’ bubbles and, oh, all sorts. You’ll succeed often, you’ll fail often, you’ll try again every single time, but what you’ll never do is predict what the next level will be like. Starkly beautiful, oozing cleverness without being smug about it and continually surprising, Hundreds was one of the best games of 2013, and remains well worth your time. Alec MeerEach level of this iPhone and iPad puzzle game presents a grid of triangles, diamonds and squares, along with a few octagonal junction boxes. By tracing your finger across the screen you must draw a line connecting all of the yellow triangles, another connecting all the red squares, and so on. You can use each connecting line only once and touch each shape only once. The experience of Lyne is almost transcendentally calming – partly the result of the timeless, thoughtful mechanics, partly the restful colour scheme, visual design and typography, but mostly the result of the new-age, panpipe-sprinkled soundtrack.

Monument Valley is an elegant puzzle game where you guide a young princess, Ida, through a maze of ruined monuments. You manipulate the landscape to let Ida get from place to place, using optical illusions to your advantage.



Because in Monument Valley, when walkways appear to line up, Ida can walk along them – even when you know that they really don’t. Some reviewers have got the hump with Monument Valley as it takes a relatively short time to complete and it’s not difficult – but neither of those matter. It’s like a film, not a TV show, and while you’re there you’re completely engrossed.

Each level is an artwork in itself, and the beauty of the puzzles is such that you’re always delighted when everything clicks into place. Monument Valley is the antithesis of high-velocity, low-reward freemium games like Candy Crush. It’s an experience to be savoured – and a must-have. Neil BennettThis game of precise, beautiful gardening combines tricky puzzles with the aesthetics of Japanese bonsai. Each level starts with a tree trunk sprouting from the ground.


From there, you need to slice branches and guide the sapling’s growth towards the light: the higher up you go, the brighter the light becomes. The goal of each level is to have your constantly growing tree bloom, and to bloom, it needs to reach sunlight.

The lighting and soundtrack – minimalist, tranquil music is augmented by a series of clever, context-appropriate sound effects – combine to create a haunting experience. But Prune isn’t just atmosphere.


It’s simple to play, but hard to master: to navigate the dangers and obstacles, you’re going to need some precise finger-shear action. Blending the old-fashioned narrative technique of a locked box concealing a secret with modern touchscreen technology and beautiful graphics, Fireproof’s Room games are a quiet (if gently sinister) delight.

The Room 1 (above) is a thoughtful, attractive puzzle game entirely set on and within one intricate safe, whose surfaces are adorned by strange mechanisms and logic puzzles behind which smaller, more challenging boxes lurk. Great for ‘Eureka’ moments, and the tactile nature of the whole affair works terrifically well on the iPad format: spinning the screen to rotate the boxes, sliding to remove letters from envelopes or carefully rotating delicate mechanisms. The Room 2 takes the first game’s formula and broadens its scope, spreading its puzzles across various boxes (and other locked constructions) in multiple rooms. The understated richness of The Room’s visuals are replaced with something more flamboyant, as the player is dragged from jungle temple to Victorian drawing room, and the first game’s hint of scariness is amplified to provide

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