Puzzle games are the best ways to tease your brains and raise your intelligence. Some puzzles force you to think outside the box, while others simply hide in plain sight. Those eureka moments of finally figuring out the complexity in a simple manner are what make puzzle games worth playing.
May that be a physics-based or twisted mechanics puzzle; everything is possible when you are set in the world of creativity with tools to help you progress through levels. There may be some other elements, such as platform and story, to add flavors to your journey, but the main meat and potatoes of these games are always the tricky puzzles.
Best Puzzle Games
There are physics-based puzzles, exploration, hidden objects, tile matching, and even programming types. Pick the one that you most definitely enjoy playing, or you can play them all.
The game has you step into a land full of puzzles and hidden mysteries to discover. You first open doors and hidden places by connecting dots on monitors presented in every place. These are grid-based panels that get complex over time.
Later the game uses environment-based puzzles interconnecting with a grid base and exploring your surroundings. The game lets you have an experience you get from exploring the island, solving puzzles to unlock secrets.
The game has little to no storyline or goals to reach. Instead, the game sparks the player’s curiosity to explore more new and meaningful puzzles. It’s up to player interpretation and all the things they do on the island that paves the story in itself.
Baba is You
If you want to give yourself a headache by overthinking but also want to feel super genius to solve challenging puzzles, then Baba is You is the game you should play. A logical puzzle most programmers use in their daily life.
Baba is You is a Sokoban-type puzzle game where you have to push each word to completely change the physics of the game. Words are given in blocks you can push, like when the pool is lava. You can push the block “pool” and “lava.” Now you change the attribute of “pool” by replacing “Lava” with “water,” and now you can dive into the pool. That’s how the game works.
It took me many iterations after iteration to solve something that was simple to imagine but really difficult to execute. Maybe I am not much of a genius, but I sure progressed through some levels.
A beautiful world of machines that has the visual aesthetic of steampunk with its own touch of aesthetic. Along with its rustic world lies a puzzle game crafted just for the world of Machinarium.
This was the first game that made me feel like achieving something to contribute further to story progression, and helping those charming little machines made me feel like I was adding pieces together, making a whole puzzle an amazing experience.
Every time failure in solving a puzzle brings you closer to success. Puzzles are designed in such a way that you never get stuck in one place. It keeps you moving throughout the story introducing you to new puzzles. After the end credits rolled, I was craving more.
The Room Series
The room is beautiful with its own dark and Grimm setting that makes players feel like someone is watching. The objective of the Room is to solve intricate puzzles that are mostly in the form of boxes.
You are in a first-person view of an unknown character who goes around rooms of a mysterious house by searching for hidden objects that will unlock the next Room. Most of these items are locked tightly in a contraption, and you have to use your brain to unlock them.
By turning dials, pulling strings, or pressing buttons, you slowly unravel another piece of the puzzle hidden beneath the larger ones. The 3D aspect of puzzles and their extremely detailed graphics is what hooked me into playing The Room.
And the temptation to understand the premise of the game makes The Room much more intriguing. I always felt like something lurking around the corner that wanted to tell me the reason behind all this mystery hidden in a box.
It’s a minimalist puzzle game that makes use of 3d optical illusion to trick brains into reaching things that are otherwise impossible in real life.
The game starts out pretty simple, introducing us to the gameplay mechanics and how physics works in the world of Monument Valley. Once you get the idea of puzzle solving, the game throws some complex contraptions that level up the things we just learned.
With its clever work of optical illusions and beautiful minimalist visuals, Monument Valley marks the touch of the best puzzle game just right. I just wish it was a bit longer.
Cube Escape Series
There is something dark in the colorful wallpaper of normal-looking rooms. It’s unsettling to get something odd while searching for simple things.
Cube Escape game is the 2D point and clicks room escape game set in a surrealistic environment that circles around the death of Laura Vanderboom, and you, as a detective, have to find out what is the cause of her death.
Cube Escape is a twisted mystery puzzle game with supernatural elements. I was not ready for the story to turn so creepy as I was playing with the intention of just solving puzzles, but the storyline with its surreal-looking anthropomorphic people made me curious about the settings of the place I am in.
Portal One And Two
Portal Games re-invented the puzzle platform game with its portal gun. The portal gun became so revolutionary that people began to replicate such mechanics in their own games and movies.
You play in a first-person perspective, shooting portal-gun to solve complex puzzles in the series of test chambers. You mostly use a weighted companion cube to solve puzzles. You are also guided by the AI called GLaDOS(Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) to give you details about the test chambers.
Using both portal gun and physics within the game, Portal has many clever puzzles to solve. If you want to try something new and dwell in the world of smart puzzles, then Portal is the game for you.
The Talos Principle
This is a type of game that questions the consciousness of artificial intelligence on a philosophical level as you take the role of a silent android guided by an unknown voice. You are placed into a peaceful environment with no purpose at the beginning.
By solving puzzles and collecting sigil, you progress through levels and learn what the game is trying to tell you. The philosophy, the music, the story, and of course, the puzzles are intertwined with each other flawlessly, which makes the game more thoughtful with each time spent.
The Talos Principle has skillfully crafted the concept of reality and the existence of ideas from machines. It’s a must-play game if you are into deep thinking.
Gorogoa takes a creative turn on grid frame-based drag and drops puzzles. The puzzle here is to seamlessly connect images together into a larger picture. Rearranging panels to interact with people and objects inside the image creates a beautiful experience.
You zoom in and out of the images to explore the hidden clues inside. Its handcrafted surrealistic setting keeps you hooked on the storyline along with its unique puzzles. It’s the type of game that makes you change your perspective of a typical puzzle, and it lets your mind think outside the box.
The Last Campfire
The last campfire takes you on the journey of Ember, whose mission is to share the spark of light with people who dwell in the emptiness of their life. The game dwells in the realm of human emotion and finding purpose, but to do so, your character has to go through challenging puzzles that obstruct your pathway.
A top-down 3d game with a peaceful setting. The last campfire strikes a balance between smart puzzles and a story of spreading a spark of joy to people in need.
Lara Croft Go
It’s a turn-based strategy puzzle game where you have to go through each obstacle to clear a path against enemies and traps. The environment is also set against your character, and you have to change to your advantage.
You control Lara Croft from the famous franchise Tomb Radar in the specific set path of lines and dots. However, your enemies also move on the same pattern making movement more challenging. It’s like the upgraded version of chess with the addition of many environmental-based puzzles and enemies.
It Takes Two
One of the best games that mix action platforms and puzzles beautifully to make memorable moments together. As the name suggests, it requires two people to play and solve puzzles.
One-half of the puzzle is your partner, while the same can be applied to your partner, just like a hammer and nails. One person has the ability to hammer and swing in any direction while your partner nails down the platform solving the tricky contraption together.
You can either play split screen or online, and this game is an unforgettable experience with various different unique stages and many items to bend the physics within the game.
It’s a sci-fi puzzle game where you solve puzzles by cloning yourself to do various tasks. However, cloning your characters can also come as an obstacle for levels ahead as clones cannot be controlled individually. This creates tricky machines and a puzzle in itself.
You are left stranded on a spaceship, and your primary goal is to escape before the explosion by completing unique design stages that keeps you on your toes at all time.
The game is a beautiful transition from a 2D game into a 3D world. You play as Gomez, a 2D character living in a charming, colorful world. Soon he gets the power to turn his 2d world revolve into 3D space. This opens waves of possibilities turning a simple platform into a really smart puzzle.
Fez compels players to imagine the 3d platform because they present one side of the game at a time, and only after combining all the possible outcomes can one complete the puzzle.
Games are evolving, and so is the classic Tetris game. The Tetris effect is a hypnotic game with particle effects and an awesome soundtrack that makes playing the Tetris effect an awesome experience.
Although the game is mostly focused on VR players, you can also play Tetris on your console or pc. The core gameplay is the same, with lots of new content such as exploding bricks, transforming characters, and the introduction of huge bricks. They all keep the Tetris effect, a fresh game of puzzle to solve.
Return of The Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn leans more towards mystery as you have to figure out the mysterious death of all the characters as you explore different parts of the ship. Later I realized the mystery is laid out flat when you use your time clock to return back to the event of the death, making Obra Din a puzzling game to figure out their names.
Set in a monochromatic world where you have to find hidden pieces of the puzzle by returning to the past and knowing the dead person’s identity. It’s not easy as there are sixty poor souls you have to identify along with their profession on the deck.
It’s a rather unique and difficult puzzle game with no guidelines except the past dialogue spoken by unfortunate souls.
It’s a beautiful first-person puzzle with a minimal polygonal environment. You explore the vast lands of snowy tundra, desert ruins, or lush jungle, where you can find lots of intricate puzzles waiting to be solved.
There are lots of interactive things like levers to pull and buttons to push that change the platform, completely unlocking new paths. Some puzzles are tediously mind-numbing, while others require pieces to collect.
Nevertheless, the Faraway game provides the features of every traditional puzzle game and places them flawlessly in a simple exploring puzzle game.
It’s amazing to know how a simple game with repeated patterns can be so addictive. The game’s purpose is to move and place one element into the required products. This might sound simple, but the necessary steps and contraption to transport elements to the product efficiently make the game the best puzzle game of all time.
You place mechanical arms in a hexagonal grid where the arm can grab, rotate, push and pull the elements to help transport them in the right direction.
The game might look simple and boring, but don’t let its looks deceive you because under those simple visuals lies a complex puzzle that is equally satisfying to look at once you solve them.
You control a small hole that expands as you start consuming everything that comes your way. It starts simply with a cute story about anthropomorphic animals in a small town. With its simple concept and quirky character, Donut Country sets a unique charm in the puzzle genre.
The game is no more than two hours long, but the impact it does is everlasting.
The game gets interesting when the hole you are controlling has to do some complex puzzle while consuming and creating stuff from inside the hole. The satisfaction of gulping down one object another until you become so huge that you can eat the entire building is a pleasant sight to see.
The game may look like a platformer but it really is a time-based puzzle game. What set Braid apart from any other puzzle game is its time reverse machines infinitely. You can use rewind at any time all the way to its beginning.
Within its six unique worlds, you will find challenges and bosses that will test your skill of interpreting the situation as you try to solve puzzles by perfectly landing time jumps and reversing time to your advantage.
Use your power to rescue a princess who has been abducted by an evil monster in a totally bizarre world of Braid.