Puzzle and match game

Best free puzzle or match game for Android: Threes! Free

In Threes!, you move cards around a four-by-four board, merging pairs, which then double in value. The snag? Every time you slide your finger, all cards on the board move in that direction, assuming they’re not blocked. The other snag: after every move, a new card shows up in a random empty spot on the board edge you dragged from.

Threes! therefore becomes a delicate balancing act: you must think several moves ahead, because your game’s done when no more moves are available.

Cloned like crazy shortly after release, Threes! nonetheless shone compared to the countless cheap rip-offs, through its breezy personality and tighter rules.

This free version is identical to the paid release, bar having to watch video ads to get extra goes. And, yes, you can queue up a load if you’re going to be offline for a while.

Download Threes! Free

Imago

This one initially comes across like a Threes! rip-off, given that you’re sliding tiles around a board. But the mechanics are unique enough to make for a very different — yet equally compelling — experience.

The aim here is to merge tiles of the same size and colour to form large blocks (four by four or, later, eight by four). These then ‘explode’ back into individual squares, each retaining the score of its parent. Savvy planning and chain reactions can quickly see your score leap into the many millions.

There’s some weird IAP lurking (such as the game begging you to pay for extra moves once you run out), but ignore that and Imago’s one of the finest puzzlers around.

Download Imago

Perchang

Perchang is a great game for making you feel like a colossal idiot. In theory, it’s brain-numbingly simple – all you need to do is get some marbles into a hole. This is done by prodding red and/or blue buttons to activate bits of machinery (ramps, fans, magnets, and the like) dotted about the place, which can help get the metal folks home.

The reality is somewhat different. Although early levels lead you gently by the hand, the single-screen challenges soon use said hand to give you a slap. The contraptions you face become alarmingly complex, requiring some deft timing and juggling for you to not end up losing your marbles (figuratively and literally).

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Sage Solitaire

This effort from the developer behind the excellent SpellTower rethinks solitaire for portrait mobile devices. Out goes tedious filing by suit. In comes a fast-paced match effort heavily influenced by poker.

Extra depth is found in varying heights of card piles, a rule stating you must use cards from at least two rows in every hand, a multiplier suit for double points, and two trashes that replenish after successful turns.

For free, you get the entire standard game. The single IAP unlocks further modes, stats tracking, wallpapers and card backs.

Download Sage Solitaire

Moveless Chess

It turns out wizards are massive cheats at chess. Rather than thinking several moves ahead, they use their magical powers to change pieces already on the board. Checkmatio! Or something.

Only, in Moveless Chess, this comes back to bite you, when it turns out your magical energies are severely limited, but your opponent will merrily carry on playing. And in some kind of universal karma, you’re restricted from moving pieces in the usual manner, too. Serves you right.

What we have here, then, is essentially 64 puzzles with a distinctly chess-y flavour, providing a wizard spin on an old favourite. And, no, we won’t apologise for that pun.

Download Moveless Chess

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