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Best Puzzle Games

5: ‘The Witness’

The overall objective for each puzzle is the same -- on a board, you have to connect a beam of light to a hole. The first few puzzles are easy at first, but other variations might take more than a few minutes to solve. Some boards might have two beams that move together or a complex layout that is more akin to a maze. By solving these conundrums, you can activate nodes, mechanical systems, or even other areas of the brightly colored island.

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4: ‘Day of the Tentacle’

Time travel is a major theme in this game, which was also developed by LucasArts. You have to control three main characters who are in different time periods. The story takes place across these points in the timeline, and you'll have to travel across these periods in history and the future to solve puzzles. You might need to procure an item from the present to use on the same puzzle in the past or you can alter the way it’s displayed by traveling to the future as a way to progress through the story.

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3: ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’

Guybrush Threepwood wants to be a pirate, but he needs to complete a set of trials before earning the title. Along the way, he’ll have to complete a few puzzles to advance his lengthy quest. For instance, he will need to transport metal-melting grog in a series of mugs in order to free an imprisoned pirate, or follow a set of dance instructions to find the lost treasure of Melee Island. The 1990 game had some complicated puzzles for a simple point-and-click adventure game. Then again, the next game on the list used similar gameplay mechanics to create even more intricate challenges in a heavily-detailed world.

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2: ‘Myst’

Riven was already included in this list, but it’s only fair that its predecessor also gets praise as one of the most memorable puzzle games of all time. Cyan’s first title put you on the island of Myst, which contained books that allowed you to travel to different Ages, or worlds. Each of these locations featured many puzzles, which you can activate pressing buttons, pulling levers, or turning valves. Its detailed world, complex puzzles, and unique storytelling made it stand out from other games when it was released for the PC in 1994, and it still has an impact today as one of the industry’s definitive games.

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1: ‘Portal’ and ‘Portal 2'

Once again, the community decided to pick two choices for the number one spot. The Portal series offered unique puzzles due to the use of the Aperture Science Portal device. The first batch of puzzles were easy because you had to transport a cube or yourself from one end of the room to the other. Later puzzles had you  use the portals to time perfect jumps, redirect lasers, distribute gels of different colors, or even move  GLaDOS’ cores. Some of the challenges put your brain to the test, but once you see their solution, it’s a thrill to get all the pieces in place and use your portals to move on to the next area. Valve’s Portal games are fun, humorous, and challenging at the same time, so it’s no wonder you adore them.

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  • Bob_8_
    Rust is a great Puzzle Game -- Where is my House? It was here yesterday,.,.and why am I naked,.?
    Reply
  • rich_pope
    Tetris? KLAX?
    Reply
  • topheron
    Opus Magnum?
    Reply
  • Dugimodo
    Rescue Rover and the Incredible machine, old school.
    Reply
  • Kepalajamuran
    Syberia: too slow for today's taste.
    Antichamber: great stuff. I think i get brain cancer from playing this game.
    Scribblenauts: fantastic game. It makes me realize that I'm not a creative person.
    The Witness: gets bored because the lack of story.
    Talos principle: the philosophy theme is cringey.
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    Interesting lineup. How many are even still playable on today's hardware and the latest Windows?
    Reply
  • Martell1977
    I play "The 7th Guest" often. I bought it from GOG.com and was a great investment. There is still the microscope puzzle bug, but that is avoidable by having the library book solve it for you.
    Though not as popular, I'm surprised that it's sequel "The 11th Hour" didn't get at least a mention.
    T7G was unique and I wish a company like Blizzard would get the rights and remake it.
    Reply
  • WyomingKnott
    I recently played Grim Fandango with my daughter. My impression was that some of the solutions are so outre and make so little sense that one could play for weeks without finding them. Beyond my patience level.

    Some of the Leisure Suit Larry games also required a community effort, but we had a lot of fun trading solutions back and forth and most of them made sense. Well, there were those D cell batteries...
    Reply