- Two Dots
For people who, like myself, dislike endless puzzles and need some closure and concrete goals, Two Dots is for you. Based on a simple level system that requires the completion of several comprehensive targets to advance, the game marries engaging challenges that requires the right balance of strategy and luck with stylish minimalism and just a hint of whimsy. The levels are grouped into well-designed themes, the gameplay being slightly different according to each such as lava dots featuring in the volcano theme. Kudos to the hardworking game developers who churn out new levels and themes regularly, winning Two Dots a permanent place on your phones.
- Alto’s Adventures
While maybe less diverse than Two Dots without the latter’s defined different levels, you level up instead, unlocking different characters with different athletic abilities. A quick reaction game of focus and physics, the randomised landscapes are beautiful, with full day to night cycles, complete with the setting and rising sun. Though a slightly ridiculous game of catching renegade llamas, working out the physics of momentum as a snowboarder can get extremely tricky, especially with dangerous rocks in the way. Or maybe it’s actually very easy and my ineptitude reaches far beyond the Physics I did at school.
Again, another satisfying level-based puzzle. A mind-boggling test of your spatial recognition, Strata is sometimes frustrating, but has the added bonus of having multiple challenging levels (and more if you’re willing to pay for additional puzzle packs). The colours of the pretty interwoven strands that you’re supposed to untangle are well chosen as are the patterns for the different level solutions. The clean, sleek menu animations are also a plus as there is often a tendency to be over-cluttered when it comes to puzzles of Strata’s calibre. All your crafty inclinations are made possible with Strata, although you may want to actually learn how to basket weave as skills are non-transferable.
Aesthetically, I much prefer the monochrome minimalism and gadget-y feel to Hook than Strata’s en point colour coordination, but Hook’s levels are sadly limited. Despite offering interesting and quirky puzzles that increase in difficulty as you advance in levels, the 50 level game will hardly be satisfying for any casual gamer that is willing to patiently sit down for half an hour or so with the app. It also doesn’t help that it’s not exactly the kind of thing that offers very much replayability.
- Monument Valley
By far the most visually spectacular game, Monument Valley goes the distance with its cool, beautiful and zen 3D architecture that you have to navigate. Aside from the thin, slightly enigmatic storyline (which we will forgive because it is only an app), the 3D puzzles are truly engrossing, playing with different perspectives rather cleverly. Complex, nuanced and varied, Monument Valley is worth every pence at the app store, in spite of the limited levels that are disappointingly lacking. Still, levels are complicated enough to get much more game time out of the app than Hook and when you see the degree of artistry that goes into one level, you will be much more sympathetic to the (probably hipster) game developers. Unabashedly aware of its own beauty, the game even has a button to make it more convenient to take stills of the brilliant geometric design. A tad bit narcissistic to be so self-aware of its design prowess, perhaps, but reasonably unapologetic about it.