Ahead of fall 2016’s glut of video game releases, sample our pick of 2016’s top video games from the puzzle genre, with the ambling cuteness of “Mekorama” and “Samorost 3,” tile-based brain-teasers “Zenge” and “twofold inc.” and the approachable computer programming of “Quadrilateral Cowboy.”
Guide a tiny, hapless robot around 50 diverse, premade levels and an innumerable amount of user-created puzzles. Those custom levels can be shared via a clever revival of the QR code, disseminated via social networks or simple from phone to phone. Free on iOS and Android, with a voluntary “pay what you want” option ranging from $0.99 to $31.99.
With its heists and cybercrime hacks taking place in a peculiar retro-future vision of the 1980s, “QuadCow” sounds more like an action game, but an accessible introduction to elementary computer coding, by which key gadgets are controlled, keeps this firmly within puzzle territory. Budding designers can even get under the hood, making their own levels and missions to share with the rest of the playing community. Currently on Windows, with Mac and Linux versions due September.
Building upon the series’ reputation for cute puzzling within an intricately detailed, fairytale-fantasy setting, “Samorost 3” expands upon the size and scope of its predecessors, traversing environments both earthy and alien in their presentation, and providing oddly charming creatures to interact with. Released on Windows PCs, Mac, and Linux.
Shuffle and swipe colored tiles around a grid in order to remove them and complete each level’s specific scoring challenges: Drawing a line between two tiles of the same color makes for a four-point score; each time the line extends by one tile, its total score doubles. $3.99 on iOS and Android.
Slide and flip puzzle pieces together, without blocking each piece’s critical path, to reveal a picture and, along with it, a little more of the pictorial story that is threaded throughout. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows PC, Mac, and Linux.