Try Participate Learning — Better teaching through digital resources.

Fun and foxing puzzle games for Android

by Kristen Nicole

Do you sit around pondering the unsolvable? Do you find yourself whittling away hours of your day trying to work out a game level? Then you must love puzzle games. Luckily, Android’s got plenty to choose from, so even if you complete an entire genre of puzzle games, there’s always more to work through. Best of all, your brain gets a work out while it’s being entertained.

Blasts & chain reactions

Bonsai Blast is up there with Zuma’s Revenge, Bejeweled and all the others. Shoot your color marbles at the chain, matching three or more, eliminating the chain before it gets too long. Impressive chain reactions earn big bonuses, for special powers and extra points. Choose from two game modes, with nearly 100 levels included in the full $1.99 version.

Alchemy has been a top app in the Android Market for over a year, with a cauldron of ingredients that make new items. Starting with the basic elements, you must run experiments that combine fire, water, earth and air. Free to download, this game is hard to quit until you’ve figured every combo there is. See how many items you can unlock.

Bubble Blast 2 is all about chain reactions, where you must strategically burst the board bubbles in order to minimize the board. With different color combos and turn restrictions, this free game can get tricky in a hurry. There’s two game modes to try out, with the puzzle mode featuring 1,900 levels. Climb global leaderboards (via Scoreloop) and get seasonal fixes with special editions for the holidays.

Related: These physics games have the perfect formula

Construction & physics

X Construction Lite will put your brain to good use, with the premise of building a bridge for the train to cross the valley. You’re limited in materials, but not in “undos.” See how well your physics hold up when it’s time to send the train across your bridge. The full version costs just under $1.50 and is ad-free, with complete level access.

Slice It! is one of my favorite time-killers. I can speed through a few levels when I’m itching to play a game, or pore over a single level in frustration. If geometry was a strong suit in high school, this brain teaser will light your fire, with dozens of levels for slicing different shapes into smaller figures of specified ratios. I’m just thankful for the hint button. This Android game is free.

Link It Lite is a mix between a classic board game and a digital maze, where you must link the pearls on each level, always returning to your starting point. Some pearls can be rotated, others can only send your links in one direction. It’s a game of intense strategy and patience, as each level increases in skill. The freshly released ad-free version costs $2.99.

Related: These Android quiz games have all the right answers

Blocks & boards

Mahjong by Magma Mobile is a board game classic, that is one heck of a puzzler. With a digital, animated version, this game is far easier to play on your Android than real life. A solitaire matching game, you must link pairs of identical tiles until the board is clear. Depending on the patterned arrangement of the tiles, however, your strategy will depend on patience, skill and a very good memory. This game is free.

Sudoku Free is another classic reborn in the digital era, with a board that requires no eraser. There are a number of features to mimic pencil and paper gameplay, but plenty of new age perks, like undo and redo. Choose from four difficulty levels and stretch your basic math skills in this numbers solver.

Unblock Me is a simple game with a handful of blocks on the board, which you must arrange in order to clear a path for the single red block. With over 1,000 level combos, you’ll never tire of this Android game, which counts down your moves, time and skill level. This game is free.

Simon Tatham’s Puzzles is an inclusive collection of puzzle games, with classics like Minesweeper and Sudoku to favorites like Twiddle and Rectangles. The single-player games are all open-source, and can be saved between your phone and PC. The interface is basic, but the puzzles are anything but. This Android app is free.

Download the free Appolicious Android app