Linux Gaming News

Puzzles to expand kids’ minds

Kids games on Linux and Android.

These puzzles encourage kids to think outside of the box. They all reward experimentation; and demonstrate that the seemingly impossible is possible if you come at it from a different perspective. One even shows kids that they can make order out of chaos. Availability varies, but the list includes some for Apple devices, Android devices and computers.

Blueprint 3D HD

FDG Entertainment, best for ages 7-up, $.99, for iPad. (Non high-def version, Blueprint 3D, is available for iPhone/iPod Touch for the same price)

Rating: 4 stars (out of 4)

In the crowded market of puzzle apps, Blueprint 3D HD shines for its uniqueness. Each puzzle in this brilliant collection of over 300 levels presents you with a mass of seemingly unconnected dots and lines, set in different planes in this 3D space. By rotating the jumbled mass, you start to observe that some of the lines seem to connect and that the dots can be turned in just the right way so that they line up. Before you know it, you “see” order in the chaos . When you align all of the planes to hit the “sweet spot,” the random squiggles might magically line up to be the Eiffel Tower or the Statute of Liberty. Solving a puzzle always creates an “aha!” moment.

These picture-creating puzzles are grouped by themes covering Architecture, High Tech, Medieval, Electronics, Space, Military, Transport, Christmas and our favorite: Animals. By bringing order out of chaos, kids feel a great sense of accomplishment for each puzzle completed. Expect a lot of fist bumping after kids “see” the solution.

Auditorium: The Online Experience

Cipher Prime Studios, best for ages 8-up, $9.99, for PC, Mac, and Linux.

Rating: 4 stars

Winner of several indie game awards, this puzzle combines light and music in a magical way. Each puzzle starts with the flow of light particles coming into a black screen. You are provided with moveable tools that help you direct the flow to sound containers. When the light particles hit the sound containers, music begins. Filling the containers solves the puzzle and produces a symphony of sound that is wondrous to experience.


The puzzles get progressively harder with the addition of more complex tools to manipulate the “flow,” sound containers that will only accept “flow” that has gone through color changes and the introduction of obstacles. Experimentation is the key to solving these puzzles that reward both your eyes and ears. You can try a free demo before buying.



Note: There is a short free iPhone version, published by Electronic Arts, which just doesn’t do this puzzle game justice. Part of its appeal is the combination of visual and auditory rewards, which don’t have the same impact on the small screen of the iPhone. When you expand the iPhone version on an iPad, the experience gets fuzzy. Plus, you must pay to unlock further iPhone content. The computer game version is the way to go — it’s worth the $10. There is also a version for the PS3 and PSP which we have not played.

Joining Hands

10tons Ltd, best for ages 7-up, $2.99, for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Win, Mac, and Google Play

Rating: 4 stars


This delightful set of puzzles involves placing adorable little creatures on honeycomb-like grids so that they are all holding hands. Known as Peablins, some of these round creatures have just one hand while others have two or three. On every level, it’s your job to arrange the creatures and their friends so that no one is left with an open hand. The Peablins believe that they are safe from the Bogeyman if they are all connected.

You join the Peablins on their journey through Whispering Woods to find their long lost cousins. This journey is broken into 10 episodes where they discover new things and meet distant relatives (all who need hand-holding).


Other than the introductory reference to the Bogeyman, this game is enemy-free and without any time pressures, so kids are free to experiment. The challenge comes from having to place creatures around obstacles, landing some on stars you need to collect, while also interfacing with new relatives that have their own hand and/or tentacle-holding requirements.

Success requires planning. Many kids will learn by trial and error. They will be convinced that the puzzle is unsolvable, but then realize that if they move certain creatures around in a different order, a path to victory will appear. Since the creatures become riotously happy when you line them up correctly, kids are motivated to keep trying. With a simple premise of leaving no hand untouched, this game gradually increases in difficulty while never losing its undeniable charm.

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