The creativity that naturally comes with puzzle games lends itself incredibly well to mobile platforms, but high-quality experiences can be hard to find in such a crowded genre. By some miracle, I recently stumbled upon Scalak and I haven't had this much fun with a pure puzzler since I Love Hue.
Not only is Scalak going to shortly find itself on our list of best puzzle games, but it also deserves to rank among the best Android games. Period. So kick back, relax, and take a few minutes out of your day to learn about a hidden gem that you simply must play.
A 3D logic game, Scalak initially presents the player with flat squares that are missing a few chunks. The goal in each of the early levels is to place all of the missing pieces back in their rightful spots on their planes or dimensional shapes by rotating the surfaces on which they need to go, very much like a 3D jigsaw puzzle.
The pieces themselves cannot be moved, only the "board", so the trick is to figure out how to rotate your playing field so that each piece can go where it needs to while also aligning with other connecting pieces.
An added layer of intrigue comes from the fact that you can't see all parts of the puzzle all of the time. Sometimes hidden sections need to be revealed by thoroughly exploring your available space. And make no mistake, you can, in fact, fail a puzzle. There are some circumstances wherein you may place a piece in the wrong spot, which then cannot be moved, thereby locking yourself out of the solution.
Thankfully, each level has a simple reset button and you can just try and try again as many times as you need to. Scalak wants you in a peaceful, zen-like state of mind while you play, so there are no timers or penalties to be found here.
What starts out as a simple task of placing circles and triangles onto flat walls evolves into increasingly complex and interesting formats. You graduate to a cube, to multiple cubes stacked into towers, to planes with electric node connectors, to pipes, and so on and so forth until you've eventually completed them all.
It's a very simple game, but it expertly executes its core concept. The icing on the cake is the vibrant color schemes, relaxing, ethereal background music, and wonderfully tactile sound effects that accompany each piece clicking into place and each rotation of your puzzle. It almost feels like tiny cogs and springs being connected in an old grandfather clock.
There's nearly nothing bad that you can say about Scalak, as its nearly perfect 4.8 rating in the Google Play Store implies, except that it ends. There are 90 levels to master in this exceptional 3D puzzle game and I would happily pay more for DLC if there were any to be had.
This premium game is made all the better by its lack of ads or in-app purchases. Scalak is free for Play Pass subscribers or just $0.99 for non-subscribers. If games like Railways are your jam, you're going to love this one.
I'm intentionally playing it as slowly as I can to extend the experience for as long as possible. For a mere dollar, this antistress minimalist masterpiece is one of the best puzzlers you can find on the Play Store and I cannot recommend it enough.
A lifelong gamer, Mogan has had a controller in hand since the PlayStation 1 ruled the world and Neopets seemed eternal. She loves to play new and old games alike, especially if it's something weird and charming. Puzzlers, JRPGs, adventure, and rhythm games are her favorites.
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