Monument Valley ($4)
A puzzle that plays with the interaction of 2D and 3D spaces, Monument Valley challenges you to rotate and change perspectives across a number of beautiful stages. You play as Ida, a silent princess, guiding her through hidden pathways and optical illusions in a pastel-hued world.
Draw a shape and watch it continue forever, as you attempt to collect the melange of colored circles while avoiding the game-ending black holes. It’s a simple premise for a puzzle game, but the complexity lies within the the sheer number of solutions there are to each of the title’s 60 puzzles.
Peggle Classic HD ($1)
A delightfully colorful and exciting version of plinko, the iPad port of Peggle brings the ball-bouncing fun with you wherever you can take your tablet. It’s simplistic, requiring you to clear the orange bubbles on every stage, but the special abilities grant even more precision and gameplay options.
Being a turn-based single player title comprised of board game-esque levels, the beauty of Ending lies within its minimalist design. The goal of the game is to carefully guide a “@” symbol through a host of enemy-laden mazes, ones that become progressively harder as you go on. It also features a rogue mode, but the thoughtful design of the main game alone is more than enough.
The zen-esque KAMI boasts original and creative puzzle gameplay, prompting you to unfurl colored paper until you fill the screen in as few moves as possible. However, the real draw are the gorgeous visuals and a Japanese-inspired interface that looks and responds like real craft paper.
Adventure Xpress (Free)
There are a few games on the iOS App Store that blend RPG and puzzle elements, but nobody does tongue-in-cheek like Adult Swim. Adventure Xpress is as fun as it is weird, putting you on nearly 300 stages where you must rely on your ability to match multiple runes in order to create lengthy combos.
World of Goo ($3)
In World of Goo, you’ll build massive structures of goo that reach from the start of the map to the pipe at the end. It’s unique and offbeat, though lacking in the story department, with each stage sporting its own ambiance and tight controls to accompany the sleek gameplay.
Pocket Planes (Free)
Building an airline isn’t as simple as it seems — it involves setting routes and deciding when and what to fly. Pocket Planes lets you make all the decisions, though. You manage your own fleet, unlock additional aircraft, and swap parts among friends as you traverse the globe.
This digital trading card game pulls its characters from the massively popular Warcraft series, challenging players to build a deck and battle other players or complete dangerous dungeons. It’s incredibly strategic, yet accessible, with an impeccable sense of balance and detail.
FTL: Faster Than Light ($10)
FTL is a complex game, and sadly, your crew will suffocate. You manage all facets from your spaceship, from the crew to power distribution, fighting enemies and exploring a randomly-generated world. It offers endless replay value, stellar combat, and a lot of unpredictability.
Article originally published on 01/01/2015. Emily Schiola contributed to this article. Updated on 03/18/2015: Added Botanicula, Dark Meadow, Castle of Illusion, and four other titles.