Logic and reasoning has been humanity’s primary advantage during our evolution. Our ability to comprehend complex concepts has allowed the human race to vault past any competition through the power of technology. Technology has come so far, in fact, that you can now use it to train your brain without the risk of becoming extinct if you mess up. That technology comes in the form of simulated puzzle games that allow you to enter a new world with different laws and logics.
Puzzle games may not have always been the most popular, but they sure do have some of the most satisfying conclusions in games. This is not because they have an excellent storyline with a beautiful conclusion (although some do). It is mainly due to the fact that puzzle games tend to be extremely difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating to the player which is the goal of a puzzle game! Within this list, we amassed some of the more insufferable puzzle games available on Steam including:
Despite coming out over a decade ago, the Portal franchise (both 1 and 2) are staples in the puzzle genre. For those that have never played either of them, Portal’s puzzles typically revolve around the core mechanic of the game; the portal gun. This gun allows the player to place down a beginning and end portal and then leap through it to teleport from the entry to the exit portal (like pictured above). This allows for some really interesting puzzles as places that seem out of reach typically aren’t. Even further, items can be dragged through portals which allows for some creative box-themed puzzles.
If you came to this list looking for a puzzle game and have not played through either Portal game, it is the perfect place to start. The game is quite literally built around puzzles and it has some of the best ones out there. It also has an awesome storyline with some funny moments thrown in. It is simply a must play for fans of the puzzle genre!
HugoBDesigner writes of Portal 2 saying:
“Favorite game of all time. 10/10, perfect in every aspect. Puzzle design is impeccable, graphics are exceptionally good and have stood the test of time, soundtrack is a banger, story and dialogue are witty and intriguing, and it gives players infinite replayability with community-made maps and an incredibly easy to use in-game editor.”
Not every puzzle game has to be based around the puzzles alone, some are more story-driven games with puzzles mixed in like Little Nightmares II. At its core, Little Nightmares II is a story-driven horror game detailing the adventure of two small children in a world full of nightmares. That being said, there are plenty of confusing puzzles scattered throughout the in game world that must be completed to progress through the story.
Even further than the actual puzzles in the game, Little Nightmares II has a bunch of boss ‘fights’ that play out like a puzzle. You’ll have to use stealth, a well timed light, or some other feature to outplay the boss which often takes multiple attempts. As if the normal puzzles they included were not enough! This makes Little Nightmares II the perfect game for those who love story-driven games but would like to adventure out to the world of puzzle games; it’s the perfect hybrid!
Xeno writes of Little Nightmares II saying:
“Always a delight when the second game is just as good or even better than the first. 10/10. Love this dark adorable game.”
Escape Simulator has become increasingly popular over the last few months due to an influx of streamers playing the game. If you have ever been to an escape room (in real life) then you already know how the game operates! It has tons of different rooms to pick from with completely different sets of puzzles required to be completed to get out of the room. Even better, there is a cooperative mode which has multiple rooms linked together, requiring solid communication between the players to be able to escape.
Escape Simulator is perfect for those who are looking for a purely puzzle-based game. There is no storyline to follow, no characters to grow attached to, and no boss battles to overcome, simply a confusing room full of puzzles needing to be solved to survive. If you happen to get bored of the default levels included with the game, there is even a level editor that allows you to play community created levels. This opens the floor to an endless number of escape rooms as long as the community remains as vivacious as it currently is. For the puzzle fanatics out there, try Escape Simulator!
BatLady on Steam writes of Escape Simulator saying:
“Wonderful game, well thought out and well executed. If you like escape rooms, or puzzle-based games in general, I highly recommend this one.”
While this may seem like a meme, Poppy Playtime does in fact have some genuinely confusing puzzles within its playthrough. These are mainly due to the added ‘GrabPack’ which allows the player to shoot out two artificial hands attached to steel wires. This lets the player pull items towards them, connect electrical circuits, or simply press a button from really far away. This simple inclusion allowed the developers to implement some really unique puzzles that do not have an immediately obvious solution.
Also, the entire time you are trying to figure out these puzzles there is quite possibly the most terrifying toy I have ever seen named Poppy chasing you down. In a way, Poppy works as a built-in timer for the puzzles meaning you have to be able to think on the fly in order to survive Playtime Co. Simply because the game has a memeable antagonist should not take away from the quality of puzzles it has. If you are looking for a cheap puzzle game and are not scared of a big blue monster chasing you down, try out Poppy Playtime!
KLAF26 writes about Poppy Playtime saying:
“Game is very well made. I recommend this to those who love a horror game with puzzles mixed into it. Just so you know, if you're gonna charge 4.99$ for each chapter,make them longer. But overall,It's a good game, Got scared a couple times even when I was expecting it.”
If you came to this article looking for a challenging puzzle game, look no further. Antichamber is like no puzzle game you have played before as that is how it was intentionally designed. For example, some puzzles can not be solved until you walk past a certain point and then turn around to find out the part of the map you just came from has completely changed. It essentially takes all of the typical physics-based laws that govern our world and throws them out the window.
I think this is an awesome concept for a puzzle game as it pushes the envelope of possibility. The best part about video games as a whole is that it can take you away from the boringness of modern life into a realm of fantasy where anything is possible. Antichamber is the first puzzle game I have found that takes that concept and applies it to the puzzle genre! It’s hard to say anything else about Antichamber without spoiling the way that game is completed, so all I’ll say is that it is a must play for lovers of the puzzle genre!
Silverwolf writes of Antichamber saying:
“This is hands down one of the best puzzle games/non-euclidean. I remember the first time playing it my brain felt like it was melting after only a half hour of figuring out all the puzzles. The ONLY downside is this game doesn't have a sequel. Literally go play this game!”
By now, I hope that you have found a puzzle game that fits what you were looking for. There are so many styles of puzzle games out there, from story-driven horror to pure logical puzzles, that there is something for every style of gamer. Personally, I would recommend Antichamber for those looking for a mind-bending experience!
Heading image courtesy of lawod.com