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Smartphones can be annoying: they ring at inconvenient times, get your phone insured for their own protection and threaten to soak up every minute of available time. But phone games can be quiet saviours, offering a great way to save time while waiting for appointments, on public transport or simply waiting to pick someone up from school, work or play. With little free time, it can be a struggle to choose a new game to play if you are looking for a change from that favourite stand-by, Solitaire, but here are a few suggestions for challenging but fun problem solving games for your phone.
This game seems deceptively simple, and it is laughably easy to play. The game opens with a four-by-four grid with the number two placed somewhere at random in the box. The player swipes to move the two in any direction – this causes another two to pop up, again at random. Swiping in such a way that the numbers merge causes the twos to become fours; fours become eights and so on. The premise of the game is to keep swiping and merging the numbers until you reach the holy grail of the game, the number 2048, before you run out of space. Playing mindlessly quickly sees the game fail, while forethought and planning mean that some large numbers can be reached with many empty squares still available – and it quickly becomes addictive. This game is available for Android and iOS and is free to download.
The Room (and the Room 2)
The Room is an absorbing, challenging and sometimes immensely frustrating problem solving game! You begin in a room which contains a locked safe and the minimal instructions tell you to explore your surroundings and see what you can find out that will help you to open the safe. Tapping on the various areas of the room zoom into that area so you can look more closely, and by turning the image with a finger swipe or drag you can see into every nook and cranny. Puzzles and challenges are hidden throughout, some easy to see and solve, others seemingly impossible! The Room does not patronise players, offering little in the way of hints (although full walk-throughs can be found online for those who are stuck and want a little guidance), relying instead, on the player finding depths of ingenuity to work their way honestly through The Room. Available on iOS and Android.
Roll the Ball: Slide Puzzle
This game involves moving a ball from one side of the screen to the other and onwards through other areas to the target destination. Your way is blocked, however by a series of blocks, bricks and other obstacles. The player must work out how to clear a path for the ball, moving the ball and the obstacles in such a way that the ball progresses in the right direction – a simple premise, but an addictively challenging game, great for all ages. Available on iOS and Android.
An oldie, but a goodie. The popularity of 100 Doors can be seen by the huge number of follow-on and spin-off games based on the series. The game takes you through various levels, with each level needing to be completed before you can access the next. The unique point about 100 Doors is that is uses all the available smartphone features, including shake and tilt. This means that there are a wide variety of ways to solve each level, meaning that the game will keep you guessing to the very end. Available on iOS and Android.
Infinity Loop (also called Loop)
This game is both relaxing and challenging, giving the player plenty of time to work through each level, but offering enough of a test to stimulate the little grey cells. A range of shapes on the screen must be turned and twisted (with a tap) until they fit together in the right configuration. The twist is that the player does not know exactly what that configuration is until they have discovered it the hard way! Available on iOS and Android.