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Five Fun and Free Puzzle Games to Sharpen Your Brain

Studies show that people who play just 25 minutes of puzzle games a day are maintaining or improving their brain health. Download these five fun and free puzzle games to your smartphone or tablet for a daily workout of your IQ.

Not only are games an entertaining way to pass the time—for the entire family to play alone or together —but the popular “puzzle” category on your favourite app store can also help keep your brain active. Studies have shown these digital diversions can help improve memory and sharpen problem-solving skills.

If you’re looking for something new to download and play, the following five suggestions are available for both iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android phones and tablets, and all are “freemium” games, which means there is no cost to start playing these fun and free puzzle games but there are optional in-app purchases.

Picture Cross Color

If you’ve never played a “picross” game before (also referred to as “nonograms”), these logic puzzles are a blast.

In SuperSonic Software’s Picture Cross Color, you’re presented with a blank grid, but along the margins are clues as to which blocks are a certain colour. Through deduction and process of elimination, you’ll figure out how many blocks need to be painted.

If correct, you’ll solve the puzzle and be rewarded with a picture. Complete several pictures to unlock a much bigger canvas, with an animated scene.

The “world tour” mode features popular destinations to virtually visit from around the globe.

June’s Journey

If you like “hidden object” games, where you’re tasked to find well-hidden items in a crowded scene, Wooga’s June’s Journey is loaded with hundreds of these puzzles.

The multi-chapter mystery set in the roaring 1920s in locations like New York and Paris, as you follow June Parker on her dangerous quest to unveil a family secret. Along with sleuthing, the game also offers attractive graphics, memorable characters, the ability to customize your very own luxury mansion and garden island and access to other players through an optional social media feature.

Like a TV show, this game offers a new chapter to solve every week.

Really Bad Chess

Fans of classic games should tap through Zach Gage’s Really Bad Chess, a fresh take on the beloved centuries-old game of wits.

What makes this version unique is randomized pieces, such as eight knights, four bishops and three pawns. And yes, your opponent will have something completely different, too.

Designed for beginners and pros alike, this new twist on an old game lets you play against the game’s artificial intelligence (AI) or your friends online. It also includes daily and weekly challenges.


As the name suggests, “merge” games challenge you to drag similar items into one another in order to create something new, such as three twigs that turn into a branch, three branches turn into a log, three logs turn into small cabin, and so on.

Easy to pick up but difficult to put down, Big Fish Games’s EverMerge takes this popular concept and adds some classic fairy-tale characters into the mix; it also includes great graphics and plenty of humour.

Almost everything in this world can be merged as you expand the world of EverMerge, plus the game makers include castle building for even more depth, as well as engaging side-missions, weekly challenges and special events.

Puzzle Page

If you like games like crossword puzzles, word searches, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, Codeword and the above-mentioned picture cross colour, this freebie has it all in one place.

As the name suggests, Puzzle Page is not unlike a page of games in a newspaper, with a variety of puzzles to play that day. And, you get a fresh batch the following day. Plus, at any time, you can go back to the in-game calendar and play a previous day’s collection. You can even filter by puzzle type.

Along with several number, word and picture games, like these fun and free puzzle games, there are daily challenges, unlockable “achievement” trophies and rewards.

For more from tech expert Marc Saltzman, check out or follow him at

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