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Gaming 101: Puzzle Games

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Puzzle games.

Puzzle video games are a broad genre, as there is something puzzling, or something to solve in most games. The games we specify here focus on a puzzle or conundrum as the main interactive mechanic. They test many problem-solving skills, logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, spatial recognition, and word completion.

Some puzzle games will focus on a traditional, self-contained, puzzle board with pieces to move. Other video games take this in more conceptual directions, offering puzzles that involve Action, Platforming, Shooting or even Role-Play relationships with other characters.

In this way, the puzzle can be used to communicate frustration, difficulty or tension as well as offer a sense of control, understanding and ease in or Adventure games. Most Puzzle video games are, by their nature, Turn Based but they can also be integrated into more pressured and time-limited Action game experiences.

This list includes 46 games from the last 31 years, with 790 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first puzzle game.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to MA 15+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Creative, Narrative, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Simulation, Stealth, Strategy, Traversal and World Building
Total Likes: 790
 

 

Wilmot's Warehouse

Release Date: 29/08/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

This is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. These identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must decipher what...

Unpacking

Release Date: 02/11/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of either spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out...

Baba is You

Release Date: 13/03/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Baba is You requires some lateral thinking. Each level is controlled by rules written on the screen, such as ‘Lava is Hot’, ‘Wall is Stop’ and ‘Flag is Move’. By moving the words around with your pixilated character, you subvert the...

Untitled Goose Game

Release Date: 03/10/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

This is another silly and funny game but with a dastardly vibe. You play a mean goose who is intent on ruining the day of the inhabitants of a sleepy English village. By stealing items, squawking and otherwise making a nuisance of yourself you slowly...

Assemble With Care

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

From the makers of Monument Valley, this puzzle game is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family heirlooms to broken statues to...

A Little To The Left

Release Date: 01/08/2022

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

A Little To The Left is a puzzle game where you are tidying a house into meticulous order. Each puzzle presents everyday objects and some evidence of how they should be organised. The challenge is you have to deal with the mischievous cat who likes to...

Snipperclips

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

This is a game where you play a piece of paper that can be cut into different shapes. Through a series of puzzle levels, you adjust your shape by clipping and overlapping other players. Sometimes this is to match a shape, at others it is to catch a ball...

Empty

Release Date: 25/09/2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Empty is a minimalist puzzle game that teaches the value of simplicity in life. You rotate and interact with different vignettes to line up items with the same background colour. As you do this they disappear and the scene slowly empties.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Platforms: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

You play a shipping company agent assessing what happened on board a fictional East India Company ship where all the passengers have all mysteriously died. Exploring the ship, you can revisit the moment of death for each body in order to identify each...

Donut County

Release Date: 15/08/2018, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Donut County offers a simple style of play. You drag a hole around the screen; the more things you can make fall in, the bigger the hole gets. You start with bricks, road cones and bushes, but eventually you’re swallowing whole houses.

Wordle

Release Date: 20/12/2021

Platforms: Web

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Wordle is a daily puzzle game where you (and anyone else playing that day) try and guess the secret word. You get six guesses that must be real words. Each letter is then coloured to provide clues: green for right letter in the right place, yellow for...

Old Man's Journey

Release Date: 17/05/2017

Platforms: Android, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Old Man’s Journey is a game about memory and old age. You help a grandfather-figure traverse the countryside by raising and lowering the landscape. Along the way he visits places that evoke the story of his life: a wife, a child and a love of the sea.

Puzzle Quest (Series)

Release Date: 16/03/2007, updated in 2019

Platforms: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch, Wii, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Puzzle Quest 3 is the latest in a series of games that combine role-playing with tile-matching puzzles. Set in a fantasy world, you move around the map, encountering monsters and other enemies. When you go the battle are played out as tile puzzles where...

Ibb and Obb

Release Date: 01/08/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3 and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Ibb & Obb is a puzzle game where you run, jump, land on enemies and solve momentum puzzles. The novelty is that it's a game designed for co-operation. One player controls the green creature, Ibb, and the other controls the pink creature, Obb. The world...

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Release Date: 13/10/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

In this game you’re confronted with a bomb on the screen that has to be defused, requiring a series of modules to be disarmed. The bomb defuser player can see and operate the bomb but the other players, who have the defuse instructions, can’t. The...

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

Release Date: 01/12/2018

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

A Good Snowman (Is Hard To Build) is puzzle game about being a monster and making snowmen. On each level you must roll your snowballs to be the right size and then position them on each other to make a snowman.

Photographs - Puzzle Stories

Release Date: 03/04/2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

"Have you ever made a mistake, or hurt people you care about?" Asks the Photographs trailer. It's a puzzle game that aims much higher than to distract you while on the way to work.

All Of You

Release Date: 06/10/2020

Platforms: Mac and iOS

All of You is a platform game where you can pause time and control the levels rather than the character. By rearranging the timing, order and orientation of the world you play in you can help the mother hen get her chicks back.

Railbound

Release Date: 06/09/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Railbound is a track-bending puzzle game where you lay track, switch points and use tunnels to get the carriages to the engine in the right order. Although it's the puzzles that keep you playing, there's also a real joy in connecting tracks and seeing...

Please, Touch The Artwork

Release Date: 26/01/2022

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Please, Touch The Artwork is a puzzle game that tells a story with real abstract paintings. Unconventionally it asks, what would happen if we did touch the artwork in museums? The answer is revealed over three stories each focusing on a different...

The Past Within

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

The Past Within is a co-operative puzzle game where you solve a mystery by communicating with the past. You play the game with another person, either in the same room or elsewhere, by communicating what your different times and perspectives reveal.

Six Cats Under

Release Date: 10/07/2020

Platforms: PC and Web

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Six Cats Under is a cute point-and-click puzzle where you are a deceased cat-lady trying to rescue your herd of cats by directing them with your poltergeist powers. The challenge is that you can only move very small things, so have to get the cats...

Otteretto

Release Date: 28/01/2022

Platforms: Mac, PC and Web

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Otteretto is a puzzle game where you match blocks to make palindromes. Rather than the usual match-three format, instead you have to find patterns that mirror in the middle, like a palindrome but with colours/shapes rather than letters.

RocketPuzzle

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Rocket Puzzle is a tile-based puzzle set in space. You push and hold blocks so their attached rockets can fire them into the matching coloured space stations. It's a small but tricky game with a retro aesthetic.

The Last Cube

Release Date: 10/03/2022

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

The Last Cube is a puzzle platform game where you guide a cube through a series of 3D mazes to save the world from destruction. Because you have to get the right side of the cube on the right square to trigger abilities and progress, it creates a...

Altered

Release Date: 12/03/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Altered is a demanding-yet-meditative puzzle game where must get your character to the end of the level. It's unique because to get there, you change your physical characteristics (extending, elongating, splitting into two, or attaching yourself to...

Freshly Frosted

Release Date: 10/06/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Freshly Frosted is a donut topping puzzle. You must place topping machines and conveyor belts in the right order to create the right donuts. It takes the common conveyor puzzle challenge and adds not only a lovely theme but some intricate scenarios for...

Puddle Knights

Release Date: 07/10/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Puddle Knights is a puzzle game where you use your cape to protect nobles from stepping in mud. While it may not challenge the ruling elites, it does create an intriguing challenge with steadily increasing difficulty.

Sizeable

Release Date: 19/03/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Sizeable is a puzzle game about manipulated objects in a series of beautiful tiny dioramas. You rotate to explore and pick up, move and resize objects. To complete a level you need to find all the hidden monoliths. It's a casual puzzle game that uses...

Snakebird

Release Date: 04/05/2015

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Snakebird is a puzzle game about movement, shapes and gravity. You control multiple snakes on a quest for fruit. You move around the world by directing each one to collect fruit. It looks simple, but the novelty is that you soon have to create specific...

Splitter Critters

Release Date: 15/05/2018, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Splitter Critters is a puzzle game where you cut up the world to connect platforms and get to the exit. You split and rearrange each level so you can avoid deadly lasers and create floating swimming pools to guide alien critters back to their spaceship.

Dungeon and Puzzles

Release Date: 14/01/2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Dungeon and Puzzle is a puzzle adventure game where you move through rooms, using your limited number of turns to defeat the monsters, unlock doors and (hopefully) escape. In a novel twist on the format, the monsters don't attack, they merely block your...

Land Above Sea Below

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Land Above Sea Below is a calm landscape-building puzzle game where you raise an island out of the sea to keep the flora and fauna above water. You work to increase your island’s area and height by placing tiles one after one.

Lemmings (Series)

Release Date: 14/02/1991, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PSP and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Lemmings is a series of puzzle games where you guide small (suicidal) creatures to the end of the levels. Unusually, you don't control when or how a character jumps and navigates the areas, but instead, you assign them actions that change the level to...

Where is Cat?

Release Date: 15/09/2015, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Where is Cat? is a collection of three hide-and-seek style puzzle games where you find various items scattered throughout the pictures. Each place you look for items in is hand-drawn by children, and the items are often difficult to find without a close...

Zip Zap

Release Date: 26/09/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Zip Zap is a puzzle game with a simple premise. You move Erector/Meccano-style metal plates to get a ball in a white circle for at least a couple of seconds. It sounds simple. It is simple, although actually, it soon becomes head scratching to get the...

Chessformer

Release Date: 02/01/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Web

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Chessformer is a running and jumping game where you are trying to capture the king. The twist is that it's turn based and you move around obstacles using chess pieces that can only behave as they do in the game of chess.

HarmoKnight

Release Date: 28/03/2013

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

HarmoKnight (Rhythm Hunter: HarmoKnight in Japan) is a rhythm based running, jumping and whacking game. You play a boy named Tempo who is fighting enemies with a musical note staff. You are joined by an archer named Lyra, a buff warrior named Tyko, and...

MouseCraft

Release Date: 25/02/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

MouseCraft is a puzzle game where you guide mice to the cheese at the end of each level. Interestingly, you don't control the mice directly; instead, you place down blocks and items that can help them reach the end, in a way similar to [link to...

Bonza Word Puzzle

Release Date: 14/10/2015

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Bonza Word Puzzle combines crosswords and scrabble. You create words by placing crossword fragments on a grid. There's a clue for each challenge to get you started, but the real puzzle is slotting the fragments together so all the words make sense and...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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