Puzzle and match games
The best puzzle or match game for Android is... Lara Croft GO (₹386)
We can imagine the meeting room when someone piped up with: “Hey, why don’t we turn Tomb Raider into a turn-based puzzle game?” But any doubt must have instantly evaporated on playing Lara Croft GO.
The game is gorgeous — rivalling Monument Valley in terms of breathtaking beauty — but, more importantly, it’s smart. Each step of the quest is a tiny puzzle, where you figure out a path, flick switches, grab swag, and try to avoid being mauled by giant scuttling spiders.
The mechanics might be new, but Lara Croft GO nonetheless feels like those early Tomb Raider efforts — full of wonder and tension, with a sense of isolation in being somewhere no-one else has seen for aeons.
A match game with a penchant for abstract minimalism, Dissembler does away with gems, instead having you swap flat tiles. As ever, the aim is to match three or more, whereupon the tiles vanish. Only no new tiles take their place, and your ultimate aim is to transform the pattern before you into a blank canvas.
Rather than an arty Bejeweled, then, Dissembler is more a marriage of match mechanics and tricky puzzling, where you must figure out the precise sequence of moves that will lead you to victory. Pitch-perfect controls and infinite undos give you a fighting chance, but this Android puzzler will nonetheless be punching your brain in the face for weeks.
With gaming having long ago hurled itself into the world of 3D, it’s amusing to tackle a puzzle adventure bordering on 1D. Linelight is a world of linear pathways and coloured sparks, moving to the beat of a minimal soundtrack. Your aim is simply to progress – but that’s easier said than done.
Every step of your journey is peppered with barriers – switches to flick, bridges to cross, and rivals darting about. The last of those are to be avoided, but also manipulated into helping you, by timing it so they trigger switches that enable you to progress elsewhere.
It’s to Linelight’s credit that its stark, simple premise manages to be so intriguing. The puzzles are smart, new mechanics are regularly introduced, and despite you staring at a world of tiny lines, it all feels oddly human.
LAYTON’S MYSTERY JOURNEY (₹1,250)
A criticism often levelled at mobile is it doesn’t get proper games – even proper mobile games. But Layton’s Mystery Journey is a full-fledged Layton adventure of the type you may have enjoyed on a Nintendo DS. Here, you play budding detective Katrielle, who cracks crimes by zipping about London and solving puzzles.
From an interface perspective, the game’s sometimes odd – clunky, even – very much recalling the series’s DS roots. And because the game’s broken up into mobile-friendly short crimes, there’s no massive pay-off at the end. But what you do get is many hours of charming dialogue, a slew of frequently tricksy puzzles, and a game that radiates quality.
FRAMED 2 (₹330)
The original Framed was a tactile joy on Android, with you manipulating animated comic book panels, in order to change the outcome of a nefarious plot involving several sneaky spies.
Framed 2 is actually a prequel in terms of storyline, but the mechanics have moved on. Here, there’s far more emphasis on reusing panels, timing, and play. Puzzles can often be solved in various ways – but even failing is fun as you watch your sprinting spy come a cropper at the hands of the fuzz.