Building with brains

See what wonders you can build with limited materials and a gaping chasm. For each level of the X Construction game, you must build a bridge strong enough for a train to pass over the valley. This Android game has a free edition, but grab the full version for less than $1.50 to enjoy free build mode, transcending the dozen levels that come with the game.

Space Physics is another brain boiler, building colorful workarounds for every obstacle you encounter. With this free-form game, your finger becomes a construction tool, drawing out the objects you need to create levers, bikes, windmills or whatever else comes to mind. Grab the full version at $1.99 for more levels.

If real estate in the real world is too stressful, try your hand at Build-a-Lot. Starting with an empty lot, it’s your job to break ground, build a house to completion and make money. Flip the house or rent it out, generating enough cash to buy more materials, better tools and skilled labor, making bigger and better houses as you grow. This game of constructive economics is free with in-app purchases.

Building civilizations

Pocket Empires is a game where you can build with others, developing a civilization with its own markets, armies and rulers. Battle and barter your way to domination, using strategy to allocate resources and protect your kingdom. This multiplayer war game is free to download.

Build an entire life story with EA Mobile’s Sims 3. The digital dollhouse lets you construct and decorate your home, develop their characters and help them live their lives to the fullest. The mobile version of Sims 3 revolves around short stories and achievements, which you can share online. This Android game is $6.99,

Build your own game

Mahjongg Builder lets you create your own puzzle designs, which generate new challenges for the tile solitaire game. This free Android game features an in-app layout editor, so you can test designs, increase gameplay difficulty and break away from the norm.

Build up a business in Game Dev Story, starting with a video game. Manage the office, hire the best and promote your game to fans. Your company will grow depending on your staff, their specialties and skills. Earn more profits and put it back into the business. Like Diner Dash for nerds, this Android game costs about $2.50.