We all need to take some ‘me time’ every now and then to make sure we’re getting enough rest in our busy lives. However, resting doesn’t necessarily mean we have to switch off our brains entirely as there are plenty of fun and interesting ways to engage our minds during downtime.

One effective way to combine leisure and mental exercise is to get stuck into a good brain teaser or puzzle game.

With that said, we’ve pulled together a list of 11 of our favourite free puzzle games and apps across PC, Android, and iOS. We’d love to know in the comments below which ones you’ve tried – and whether you’d recommend any others.

1. Wordle

WordleHaving taken the world by storm since its release in October 2021, Wordle has become a part of millions of people’s daily routines.

If you haven’t heard of this smart yet simplistic daily word game, or you’re just not sure how to play, why not have a go? You might find yourself becoming part of the phenomenon.

Each day, a new Wordle puzzle is released. The aim is to guess the five-letter word in six tries. Correct letters in the correct place will be revealed in green with each guess.

Meanwhile, letters that form part of the word but aren’t in the right place will turn yellow, and letters that aren’t in the word at all will turn grey.

The game’s simplicity and accessibility are surely to thank for its overwhelming popularity.

To have a go at Wordle, you can visit the website on your PC or smartphone.

2. 2048

2048 gameAnother wonderfully simple online puzzle game is 2048.

In 2048, you move numbered tiles around a 4×4 grid. Tiles with the same number combine with one another and add up when moved into the same space.

The aim of the game is to combine tiles until you’re left with one that totals 2048, without running out of space as more tiles are continually added to the grid.

You can play 2048 on the website, or download the free app on Google Play or Apple App Stores using the buttons below.

3. Words With Friends 2

Words With Friends 2Similar to Scrabble, Words With Friends 2 is an online multiplayer word game where you compete to score the most points.

You do this by constructing the longest and most complex words on a crossword-style game board using the word tiles you’re dealt.

Popular since its release in 2009, Words With Friends has become the go-to competitive word puzzle game to play online. It’s a great way to stay connected with friends and family who live far away.

To play Words With Friends 2, you can visit their website, or download the free app on Google Play or Apple App Stores.

4. Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles

While the tactile feeling of clicking pieces into place is part of what makes completing a jigsaw puzzle so satisfying, there’s still plenty of joy and health benefits to be had from solving jigsaw puzzles online – especially if you’re on the go.

Jigsaw Explorer offers lots of fun puzzles to solve online every day. It has different difficulty levels and even ‘mystery’ puzzles, which only reveal a portion of the full image before you begin the jigsaw puzzle.

If you want to solve jigsaw puzzles on your smartphone or tablet, Magic Jigsaw Puzzles also offers a simple and clean jigsaw-solving experience. Though additional puzzle packs can be purchased, the app offers thousands of puzzles for free and adds new ones every month.

5. Chess.com

Chess.com

As the bespoke URL name suggests, Chess.com is the internet’s hub for all things chess.

Its simple and refined interface allows players to compete online against opponents around the world. To make each game as interesting and sporting as possible, players are matched by their skill level.

Chess.com also offers a variety of ‘training bots’ to play against. These bots have different difficulty levels and play styles. For example, there are more defensive bots, bots with unique tactics, and bots that adapt in real-time to keep you on your toes when you’re doing well and cut you some slack when you’re not. You can even play against simulations of real-world chess masters if you fancy a challenge!

The website hosts a number of different chess puzzles – where the aim is to solve your way out of different situations. There are various modes to try here, including player-VS-player puzzle battles, puzzle rush (where you have three or five minutes to solve as many puzzles as you can), and even practise drills.

Other things to get involved with on Chess.com include community features, live-streamed games, tournaments, and even four-player chess.

To get started, visit the Chess.com website, or download the free app on Google Play or Apple App Stores.

6. Peak

PeakIf you’re looking for a fun way to train your brain, Peak could be the mobile app for you.

Peak is a brain training app that provides short bursts of cognitive exercise. Each game or activity centres around improving focus, memory, problem-solving, and mental agility.

The motivational coach tool also tracks your progress and challenges you with new games to help you reach your goals. It was created in collaboration with scientists studying how video games affect our brains.

Peak is free to play, but does offer a paid subscription for extra features. If you want to try Peak today, use the buttons below.

7. Classic newspaper puzzles

Classic newspaper puzzles

With the rise of online news media, for many of us, physical newspapers are no longer a regular part of daily life. So it’s likely that a lot of former newspaper puzzlers will be missing out.

But, just because you haven’t held a newspaper in a while, doesn’t mean you can’t keep puzzling. All of the classic newspaper brain teasers are available online, in an even more convenient form.

If you’re a fan of crosswords and sudoku, The Guardian’s famous crosswordscryptic crosswords, and sudoku puzzles are all available to play on their website for free.

8. hocus.

hocus.hocus. is an optical illusion puzzle game based on the mind-bending illustrations of M.C. Escher.

The goal is to move your red shape to the red finish tile, which may look simple enough – until you realise that traversing these shapes may not be as easy as you think…

hocus. is available to download for free on Google Play or for £1.99 via Apple App Stores. It’s also available on PC via the video game storefront Steam for £0.79.

9. Brain It On!

Brain It On!

Brain It On! is a physics-based puzzle game with the aim of completing various challenges by drawing your own shapes to interact with the objects on-screen.

The shape and weight of your drawing will be crucial to your success, and there are multiple possible solutions for each level – so this game is sure to challenge your thinking.

You can download Brain It On! for free from Google Play or Apple App Stores.

10. Chess Light

Chess Light

More of a game inspired by chess than an actual chess app, Chess Light is a clever game with the aim to solve a variety of puzzles on small, differently-shaped chess boards.

The goal is to land your chess piece on every space on the board to light them up – which can be quite the challenge.

Chess Light is similar to many of the other chess puzzles you can find on Chess.com, though it requires a different kind of creative thinking.

11. Turn It On! Free

Turn It On! FreeTurn It On! Free is the ideal game for anybody who loves fiddling with technological bits and bobs.

In this game you’re tasked with activating various black boxes of increasing complexity and mystery.

You’ll start off with a small switchboard with only a few possible switch configurations to try, but you’ll eventually be faced with rows and rows of switches, buttons, and lights!

Turn It On! Free is available to download for free on the Google Play Store.

Final thoughts…

We hope that our list has helped you find a new favourite puzzle challenge – or at least a few hours of stimulating fun.

If you’re looking for more interesting and engaging ways to spend your free time, you might like to check out the hobbies and activities or learning sections of our website. Or, if you’re interested in solving puzzles and meeting new people, why not try the coffee and crossword club over on Rest Less Events?

Have you played and enjoyed any of the entries on our list? Or do you have your own recommendation that we haven’t included? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.