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9 Creative Puzzle Video Games That Make You Smarter

9 Creative Puzzle Video Games That Make You Smarter

Puzzles have been around for a long time. Built to test people’s problem solving skills in areas of logic, sequence solving and word completion, puzzles help measure people’s IQ and intelligence. But puzzles are more than just brain games for fun – a recent study showed that people who played puzzle games for an hour or two a day improved their brain’s executive functions.

A brain with good executive functions allows people to make better decisions, improve their logic and cognitive ability. These skills are extremely important if you want to always be able to think on your feet. Ready to feed your brain? Here are some of the best creative puzzle games you might want to try on your free time:

1. Doodle God

Doodle God Puzzle Game

    Given four main elements — fire, water, earth and wind, can you build the world?  Doodle God from the award winning Doodle Series is a unique puzzle game that lets players create and discover an expansive collection of elements through different material combinations. Players can see their world grow as they start from creating simple organisms such as bacteria, plankton and worms to a world filled with people, tools and even armies!

    Doodle God can be downloaded on doodlegod.com.

    2. Fire Boy and Water Girl

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    Fire Boy and Water Girl Puzzle Game

      Image: coolmathgames.com

      Explore temples and ruins with the cutest duo Fire Boy and Water Girl in this awesome teamwork puzzle game. The game’s objective is simple – players need to collect diamonds and reach the “exit” door to get to the next level. Fireboy and Watergirl will encounter a lot of hazards and obstacles on their way – and they need each other to get into different points on every level. The game has more than 50 challenging levels and will require a lot of strategy planning. If you love multiplayer games with teamwork involved – this is the game for you!

      Fireboy and Water Girl is available on Google Play and can be played in various free online game sites.

      3. Scribblenauts

      Scribblenauts Puzzle Game

        Image: theworldissquare.com

        “Write anything, solve everything!” Scribblenauts is a one of a kind puzzle game that enables players to summon objects, people or animals through scribbling or simply writing the word in order to solve various puzzles and game quests. The game’s main character goes by the name of Maxwell – a boy who has a magical notebook which can materialize anything he writes into existence. He can conjure different kinds of objects, people or animals in all colors and sizes. Scribblenauts is a great game for people who enjoy flexing their creative muscles and using their imagination to solve puzzles.

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        Scribblenauts is available for download on its website Scribblenauts.com, steam and Google Play.

        4. Finger Physics

        Finger Physics

          Give your brain a good workout by playing Finger Physics.  This physics-based puzzle quest comes with 27 levels and uses the laws of physics to incorporate obstacles and puzzles in the game. Players are challenged to think logically about how objects will move in reaction to stimuli just like in the real world. The objective is to accomplish tasks that are presented in each level. It could be in the form of knocking obstacles, stacking different shaped blocks, and dropping an egg safely into a basket. Challenges get harder as you progress to higher levels of the game.  While simple in its graphics – the game is very well-designed and addicting.

          Finger Physics is available on Google Play, iTunes and Shockwave.com.

          5. Age of Wonder Puzzle Game

          Age of Wonder

            Set in ancient Egypt, Age of Wonder is a short puzzle game where you play as an old philosopher dressed in rags while throwing scrolls at weeping townspeople to “educate them.”  The objective of the game is to make sure everyone is given scrolls on each level provided that you solve different kinds of obstacles on the way. The game requires strategy and planning as you have to use the rocks and scrolls to break walls, statues, or switch levers. You’d be forced to restart the game if you use up all your rocks and scrolls.

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            Age of Wonders is available on Miniclip.com.

            6. Axon

            Axon

              Axon is a fun logic puzzle game that simulates the actual neural development in the brain. The game’s objective is to grow your “neurons” as long as possible by making connections to other cells. The player must be quick in clicking protein targets inside his space before the circle shrinks. There are also other obstacles in the form of rival neurons which may compete for protein targets. Power proteins help you throughout the game – they can increase your circle of influence, boost your axons upwardly, or delay the contraction of influence by freezing its rivals.

              Axon is available on Welcome Collection.

              7. Simple Motions

              Simple Motions

                Developed by Roman Konyukhov – Simple motions is a strategic puzzle game where the player is to direct a ball to a red flag with the objective of keeping it straying off the path. The players must also collect the needed amount of stars to pass the level.  The user must edit his placements to maximize points – and to leave a trail when you reposition triggers. Triggers have different effects and duration. Using them in correct order and position will help you solve the puzzle.

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                Simple Motion can be played on Physicsgame.com

                8. The Equator

                The Equator

                  The Equator is a challenging math puzzle game whose main objective is to test your wits and knowledge in making simple mathematic equations. While finding correct mathematical equations, the player also has to prevent all the tiles from stacking up. Using three adjacent numbers you have to find a group that makes a correct sum, multiplication, subtraction or division. You also get a bonus when you finish an equation in 5 seconds.

                  The Equator is available on Freeworldgroup.com

                  9. The Book of Treasures

                  Book of Treasures

                    For fans of word games – book of treasures is a wonderful online puzzle game with a compelling story arc to define the adventure. The story revolves around a character named Jessica West who is a librarian at an ancient library which is rumored to house a lost Egyptian manuscript. The game can be played in three modes where you can opt to find the lost manuscript, complete as many levels, or play with no time limit.

                    The Book of Treasures is available on Game.com.

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                    Armela Escalona

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                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                    1. The Inner Critic

                    This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                    He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                    Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                    2. The Worrier

                    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                    He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                    Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                    He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                    He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                    He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                    His motivation can be:

                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                    How can you control these squatters?

                    How to Master Your Mind

                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                    For the Inner Critic

                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                    • He riles up the Worrier.
                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                    • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                    • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                    • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                    Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                    For the Worrier

                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                    • Muscles tense

                    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                    For example:

                    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                    • Muscles tension

                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                    Breathe in through your nose:

                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                    Breathe out through your nose:

                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                    For the Sleep Depriver

                    (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                    • Shut down your thinking.
                    • Calm your feelings.
                    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                    Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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