Cardinal Chains

Cardinal Chains is a minimalist puzzle game centering on the concept of non-decreasing sequences.

Each puzzle begins with a monochrome grid of numbers, plus a few colored cells marked with an X. Starting at these cells, you must link up numbers in non-decreasing order until the whole grid is filled with color.

  • 500 unique, carefully handcrafted puzzles, each with a single solution
  • Varied difficulty and puzzle types to keep things lively
  • Minimalist, elegant design with a clean interface and smooth animations
  • Looks great on all screen types and resolutions
  • No timers, limit of tries or other annoyances of any kind - just pure gameplay


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Cardinal Chains - v1.0.4b7 Windows 12 MB
Cardinal Chains - v1.0.4b7 macOS 17 MB
Cardinal Chains - v1.0.4b7 Linux 32 MB

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Download demo

Cardinal Chains Demo - v1.1.4b8 Windows 12 MB
Cardinal Chains Demo - v1.1.4b8 macOS 17 MB
Cardinal Chains Demo - v1.1.4b8 Linux 32 MB

Development log


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I can't believe I've never saw this, you need to post it on reddit, send it to games reviews websites ....

well, im stuck at level 70 (for now!!!) but i just wanted to say that this is amazing, so smart, so simple and nice :)))

Very nice puzzle game, love how simple yet hard it is. 

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Really pleased with the game. Simple, but hard. Maybe just try adding some music. You can download some from my itch account. I have free music there. Otherwise the game is perfect...

Haha, finally I played 10 more levels before quitting

Levels get more interesting, and the 43rd was amazing !

Very interesting core mechanic, really simple, perfect little mobile game :)

On level design, I understand the care for being the most accessible possible by providing a succession of reaaaaaaly easy levels, but I felt like it was too much, and it can lead some players to be bored soon

First it was time to understand the mechanics, in level 3 I got it, a little more understanding about the use of numbers came only in level 12 (13rd is a good one too for this) but most of the levels inbetween are too similar and don't add anything more to the understanding of the game

So the challenge I met was only at level 24 ! And there I said to myself ("Oh, this game looks interesting")
level 32 was a good one too !

I stop playing the demo for tonight, but I'm curious of playing the full game soon !

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This is a neat game. Is there any chance the PC version will get more control options? I find it awkward and non-ergonomic to hold down the mouse button while trying to move precisely. If I could just click the mouse once, or use my keyboard, that would be amazing.

Your idea is interesting, but during my testing most people found it more intuitive to hold down the button. So I think  I'll keep it as it is for now, but may change things if more folks ask for it. Have fun and stay safe!


I really enjoyed the demo on Kongregate so getting the full version was a no-brainer. Looking forward to playing all 500 (!) levels. Thanks for a neat and challenging puzzle game, hope you keep making more games like this. Merry Christmas! :)

Ho ho ho, thanks a lot for the support! Hope you have a great time. Have a very happy 2020!   ;)

Thanks, I wish you a great 2020 as well!

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Sure, you're very welcome to offer the web version of Cardinal Chains on your website. It would be perfect if you could leave a link to the mobile versions, but it's not strictly necessary. If you need anything else, you may contact me at


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Although I already own the PC version, I wanted to pick it up for Android too but the link to the  Google Play store is dead (at least in Australia). 

Did the Android version get removed for some reason? 

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Sorry about that! Please try again now, it should be fixed. Thanks a lot and have fun!

Super duper awesome game Daniel!! Just one small question, I was at level 183 when I had to reinstall my windows. I saved a copy of the game folder but I still have to start from level 1. Is there a way to get back to the level 183?

Saves are stored to a different folder, so just keeping a copy of the game's installation folder is no use. Luckily I can generate save files pretty easily, so just send me an email to and I'll reply with a savegame at level 183!

great game! Puzzles got really challenging, id love to see this come to mobile.
Graphically it is a bit uninteresting.


It is on mobile! Check the links above. Have fun!

I loved the game! But the whole time I was wanting to be able to make marks like in other puzzle games. Like how in Sudoku you can mark a box with the numbers that can go in the square. You should let the user mark what colors they think can go in a box. Or mark what tiles they think are or aren't connected. Otherwise, cool game!

Hey! I just bought this game for windows because I loved the demo. However I have a small problem. The game does not seem to have any option to turn off fullscreen on the desktop version (unlike in the browser version). This makes it a bit difficult to use because I rely on my main monitor for a lot of other stuff and moving all of that is a bit of a hassle. Is this something that could be fixed. Thank you. <3

Also sorry for using the comments as some kind of bug-report forum lol

Hi! This is already implemented in the game, it's just hidden away. Depending on your OS there are different ways to achieve this:

  • On Windows, press ALT + ENTER to toggle between fullscreen and windowed modes
  • On macOS, press CMD + F to toggle between fullscreen and windowed modes
  • On Linux, pass the argument "-show-screen-selector" to the command line in order to show the configuration dialog

Thanks and have a good time!

I bought the game on android the other day and I've been having a lot of fun solving the puzzles in it. I've had one issue though - the automatic rotation is very quick to turn and ignores my device rotation lock setting, so I can't play it in bed because it turns on its side. Would this problem be simple enough to fix? Thanks again for the great game :)

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Yes, in fact a fix is coming up within a couple of hours! Thanks for the support and have fun.

(BTW, I don't know if you noticed this but the puzzle is the same even if you turn the phone on its side, it's just the numbers that rotate. But yeah, it can easily get annoying if you move your phone a lot.)

Thanks so much, it works amazingly now :)

Hi, just found about this game from Nerdcubed from his recommends video. And I have to say, this game is fantastic and annoying, I love it. After finishing the Demo levels I just had to get more. So I decided to purchase it and also give just that bit extra. Because I felt like this game was worth it :) Great job making this and I hope you will add even more levels at some point, even though I am not done with them :"D

Thanks a lot, have fun!

Extremely fun, I managed to complete the Demo puzzle 100 had me stumped for a good 5 mins but whenever i try to buy the full game is says the is an error in the request

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Hello! Glad you're enjoying the game.

As for the error, it definitely should not be happening. So far it has been working fine for me and lots of other people. It could either be a problem on your end or with itself, as I have no control whatsoever over the purchasing process. Try to see if it happens with others games (don't worry, you won't actually purchase them unless you go through several confirmation dialogs). If it works fine, come back to this page, hit CTRL+F5 for a full refresh, then try to buy again. If it still doesn't work, you could also try a different browser.

Please let me know how it goes!

It seems time fixed it as it finally let me purchase it with no problems. Thx for the help.


You handcrafted all 500 puzzles? How long did that take you!?!

Seriously, though, great game. presentation is clean and beautiful, sound design is so nice and relaxing. This is wonderful!!


Thanks a lot!!

That's right, the puzzles were all handcrafted. The only automatic part of the process is a tool I made to compute the solutions, so I can just make/edit a puzzle and immediately check how many solutions it has. All puzzles have exactly one solution, except for two specific puzzles which were intentionally designed to have multiple solutions (puzzles 145 and 383).

All in all it took me about 6 weeks to make all puzzles. Making a puzzle can take anything from 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size, number of holes, etc. On average, it takes about 25 minutes per puzzle. They were also tested multiple times (in different days) to verify that the difficulty conforms to my intentions and that the tricky spots remain tricky long after I forget the puzzle.