One of the most important functions of app games, particularly for students, is that they waste time. With all of the challenges we face over the course of a given day, it’s handy to have a few mindless games on hand to relax with.

But even for those who favour this sort of gaming, there comes a time when a bigger challenge is appreciated. We all like a game that can challenge us, and fortunately there are a number of app games designed for just that purpose. Puzzles, brain teasers, game show imitations, and even mathematical games can force you to give some real thought to your gaming, which can be surprisingly rewarding.

If a game that actually tests your brain sounds appealing, these selections will be of interest.

  1. WordBrain

Word games abound in app stores, and you can find anything from a crossword puzzle to a standard Scrabble adaptation, if that’s what you want. But WordBrain is unique. It’s a word search that takes place in an increasingly large and crowded grid, challenging you to improve your skills as you go along. It really will get you thinking, and a reviewer at AppTicker even mentioned it as a “quick game between the work” for tutoring students. In other words, it’s a nice way to keep the brain limber.



  1. Unroll Me

If you’re more interested in a visual puzzle, Unroll Me is the app for you. The goal is to slide pieces of an apparatus around in a way that connects a groove and allows a small white ball to roll along toward an end point. It can be frustrating, but it’s genuinely challenging and surprisingly immersive given its oddly material nature.



  1. The Guides

This is a very hard game to describe, and perhaps an even more difficult one to play. AppUnwrapper posted a trailer for the experience that can give you an idea, but it basically centers on a series of loosely related puzzles of entirely different natures. There are codes, visual tricks, jumbles of numbers, scrambled images and more, and your job is to piece each puzzle together individually. It’s one of the most challenging app games out there.



  1. Deal Or No Deal

Game show trivia games are a dime a dozen, but the Deal Or No Deal app is unique in that it challenges you to make decisions based on probability, rather than simply answer random trivia questions. It’s pretty much an exact replica of the game show, and while it’s somewhat repetitive, it’s always tempting to up your prize. If you want a little bit more of a challenge in a similar format, Betfair’s arcade section includes a Deal Or No Deal game. It’s a similar take on the game, but it has real-money stakes (given the casino environment) and could mean some extra cash if luck is on your side.



  1. Blueprint 3D

Imagine a grid with a bunch of random lines and shapes on it, and you’ve pretty much got your starting point for Blueprint 3D. This is a game that scrambles an image on a 3D plane and challenges you to rotate and manipulate the image until you can figure out the original image. It’s a nice visual challenge, made even better by the fact that you can take photos and have them scrambled to create your own levels.

Any of these can be a nice change of pace in a gaming market built largely around time wasters. Get through all of them and you may even be a little bit smarter for it.