Puzzle video games are able to challenge players in ways they never imagined they could be challenged. This is done by creating unique mechanics that players can use to solve puzzles or simple mechanics that are placed intricately throughout a game. Some puzzle games are mysterious in every way, even their story, while that others offer a much simpler story while maintaining the difficulty of the puzzles they present.
All of these games approach the puzzle game genre in completely different ways. These games manage to challenge players enough to make them want to push through any obstacle thrown at them.
Braid has platforming mechanics that at first glance seem very similar to other two-dimensional (2D) platformers, but what it does with those mechanics is very different. It takes the mechanics and adds the ability for players to go back in time at any point in the game, which creates some interesting puzzle-solving moments. Each of the new chapters introduced by the game also adds new mechanics to the game that work based on time.
The story is also told in an interesting way as its entirety is told backwards. The player never really knows what is going on until the end of the game when much of the mystery is revealed.
Fez tells the story of the main character named Gomez trying to fix the world after a hexahedron rips through his 2D plane of existence and reveals a 3D plane. The mechanics are unlike anything most gamers will have ever seen, as the game allows players to rotate the 2D plane of existence they find themselves on.
Using plane changes and being able to figure out how to transcribe the various Tetris codes placed in the game will allow players to progress through levels and experience the delightful story.
8 Portal 2
Portal 2 takes all the elements provided by Portal and adds new mechanics to change things up without hampering the original concept of the game. The various lab rooms where players must use portals to make their way to the exit are still involved, while figuring out how to remove the turrets and not die.
The game adds different mechanics by introducing freezes that can alter a player’s bounce height, speed, or where they can place portals. The story also remains a hilarious period of adventure worth playing through.
seven The witness
The Witness takes maze puzzles and makes them a player’s primary means of exploring the map. The game never holds the player’s hand but is not a frustrating challenge either. They have a lot of freedom in how they end up exploring the island. Everything about The Witness feels like a puzzle, even the way his complex story is presented.
The Witness strongly pushes players to be able to learn on their own as it will offer clues to other puzzles through puzzles that have already been solved.
6 The Talos Principle
The Talos Principle speaks deeply to what it means to be a human being. It’s an interesting take that’s further driven by the fact that the player is a robot. The puzzles in the game will allow players to use different objects including hexes, laser connectors and more to navigate certain maze-like areas. Players must solve the puzzles in order to unlock the Tetromino of each level in order to progress through the game’s story.
The game also features different forms of hazards like bombs and turrets making it a dangerous puzzle experience. It’s a game that rewards patience and those willing to read through dense material.
Limbo is a game that has no words but skillfully tells a story through its gameplay. Players should be able to navigate the gruesome world of Limbo while experiencing the various mechanics the game throws at the player. There are a lot of really tense moments where players have to learn by mistake.
Players will be dying to try and figure out what they need to do to progress to the next area. Puzzles will let players figure out how to navigate giant spiders and buzzsaws that will instantly and gruesomely kill the main character. Well worth the short playtime it offers.
Catherine deals with a lot of characters who don’t necessarily make the best choices in life. It’s a slice of life that deals with ethical questions about relationships, which makes some of its gameplay feel a lot like a really well-polished dating simulator. The game also features excellent puzzle mechanics involved in the main character, Vincent Brooks’ dream world.
Players must create platforms to reach the top of the towers while avoiding different traps located around the giant towers. Different blocks have different properties and there are some really cool bosses dotted throughout the game to add to its plot.
3 The Tetris effect
The Tetris Effect is the perfect refinement of Tetris as it brings back the iconic falling block puzzle that many people love. The game also adds a lot of artistic flair to itself as each of the different areas the game presents has unique boards with their own specific backdrops and block styles.
As players progress through the game, unique in-game events occur, such as the ability to create the bass of a song with each block falling. It’s a beautiful reimagining of the original.
2 It takes two
It Takes Two is loaded with puzzles that differ with each level and depending on the character a player chooses to play. There will be puzzles where players can play with sound and others where they can play with gravity. The variety in the different levels is staggering.
As players unlock more of the game, they also discover a story that deals heavily with the concept of reconnecting. The story and the respective puzzles are closely related to the personal growth of the protagonist.
1 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker takes a lot of notes from Super Mario and strips mobility out of it to make it more of a puzzle game than a platformer because the character isn’t even able to jump. Players try to collect different gems and stars by exploring the presented maps. Each of the levels has different obstacles that players must overcome to try to get around them and not end up dying.
The way the levels are designed is beautiful, as some players split into two toads and solve puzzles like this or run through areas where goo is rising that will kill the player if they’re not fast enough. It took a long time to create these wonderfully put together puzzles.
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