Top 20 Best Puzzle Games of 2023
Struggling to find the best puzzle games for your library? We've rounded up the top 20, from classics like Portal and The Witness all the way through to modern titles like Teardown and Baba Is You.
I'm an expert gamer and have spent hours researching the top games this year. After playing through each title, I've assembled a list of my top picks to help you make an informed decision about which ones will give you the most brain-tingling challenges. From single player adventures with classic block puzzles to cooperative experiences of escape rooms and adventure mysteries, these are my favorite puzzle games from this past year that everyone should check out. Whether it's your first time playing a puzzle game or you’re just in search of some fresh new titles - here are twenty amazing experiences that kept me on my toes as I worked towards solving their brain-teasing riddles.
Teardown is a computer game developed by Swedish studio Tuxedo Labs for the Windows operating system and distributed since 2020. The game has been receiving positive reviews from users and critics alike, thanks to its unique mix of sandbox game elements with puzzles, raids, and action.
The levels in Teardown are composed almost entirely of moveable and destructible voxels. This allows for an immense amount of creativity and freedom when it comes to completing the mission objectives, which can range from simply gathering objects to raiding a compound or escaping from enemies. There’s also a time limit on each level, so you have to be quick-witted and creative if you want to achieve the best possible results.
Preparation time is unlimited, so you can take your time to come up with a plan - but be warned, some of the more challenging levels can be completed in as little as 60 seconds! If you find yourself stuck, there’s always the option to destroy everything in sight and see if that provides the solution you need.
2. Baba Is You
Prepare to get your brain juices flowing with the mind-bending puzzle game, Baba Is You! Developed by Arvi Teikari (AKA Hempuli), this indie gem started as a demo for Nordic Game Jam in 2017 and has since evolved into a full-blown game, available on PC, Nintendo Switch, and even mobile devices. With a focus on manipulating "rules," which are represented by movable tiles with words written on them, players take control of the lovable Baba to navigate and achieve a specific objective. But the fun doesn't stop there - the recent "Baba Make Level" update adds over 150 new and previously unused levels, along with a level editor and online sharing. Get ready to let your creativity run wild and challenge your problem-solving skills like never before.
As an expert in gaming, I must say that Baba Is You is a truly remarkable game. It has not only won numerous awards, including "Best Student Game" and "Excellence in Design" at the 2018 IGF Awards but has also been nominated for "Best Indie Game" at the 2019 Golden Joystick Awards and "Indie Game of the Year" at the Titanium Awards. The game has also been recognized for its outstanding game design, receiving the "Outstanding Achievement in Game Design" award at the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards. It's no surprise that it was also nominated for "Game Design" and "Original Property" at the 16th British Academy Games Awards, and for "Best Indie Game" at the Famitsu Dengeki Game Awards 2019, taking home the award for "Best Design". This is a must-play game for anyone who wants to experience a true masterpiece in the gaming world.
Yo, have you heard of Machinarium? It's this dope puzzle game that I recently got into. Created by Amanita Design, this point-and-click adventure was originally released in 2009 for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux. But get this, it's also available on a ton of other platforms like iPad, BlackBerry PlayBook, Android, PlayStation 3, and even PlayStation Vita.
You can check out a demo on Windows, Mac, and Linux if you're curious, or just jump right into the full game. Unfortunately, the Wii's WiiWare service canceled their plans for Machinarium due to a size limit, but don't worry, there are plenty of other platforms for you to get your fix. Trust me, this game will have you hooked for hours.
The intent of Machinarium is to challenge and stimulate the brain with a series of puzzles that are connected by an overworld comprised of a classic "point and click" narrative. This unique environment sets itself apart from similar video games as only objects within reach can be clicked on. Challenge yourself today and discover how far you can get in this stimulating game!
Machinarium stands out due to its lack of dialogue, spoken or written. Moreover, apart from a few initial tutorial prompts upon starting the game, it lacks any understandable language whatsoever. Instead of traditional conversation systems, this game relies on an array of animated thought bubbles to progress in-game plotlines - including Easter egg backstory scenes that can only be uncovered by spending time idle in certain levels.
Machinarium offers a two-tier hint system: players will get an increasingly obscure clue at every level. Additionally, the game provides an interactive walkthrough that breaks down each puzzle with sketches rather than words or audio. Although it explains what to do in order to advance, this guide won't provide any insight into how these puzzles fit into the overall flow of the game story.
4. One Hand Clapping
Move over Mario, there's a new platformer in town and it's making some noise - literally. One Hand Clapping is a puzzle game that lets you use your voice to solve challenges. Talk about a unique mechanic! Sing your way through the game as you build bridges, raise platforms, and do all sorts of other tasks. And don't worry, the game supports controllers for those who aren't ready to sing their hearts out. It's a cute and fun game that truly combines voice and fingers in a new and exciting way. Our only caveat? It may be a little steep for what you get, but hey, a game this innovative is worth the risk in our book.
Zenge is a peaceful puzzle game with simple visuals, but excellent mechanics. Look to finish each level and progress the story by solving puzzles of geometric shapes. The developers designed this activity as an opportunity for relaxation - no stars, tutorials, or energy counters required! Just open up the app, play until you're finished, and stop when desired- it might not be long yet it's still enjoyable.
6. The Witnes
Puzzle games are a great way to give our brains a workout, however, some of them have an added bonus that allows us to feel as if we're exploring and uncovering mysteries in new lands. Superrodan gave their personal testimony by saying "The Witness was incredible; it emitted such peace and joy within me while I unraveled its secrets. It's easily one of my most beloved titles."
Entering a stunningly beautiful open world, players are presented with limited instructions and an array of puzzles to progress through. The key to success is not immediately apparent, but the rewards for solving these challenges are far greater when you take the time to figure them out on your own. This type of gameplay allows each user the freedom to explore and discover at their own pace - creating a truly captivating experience.
7. The Swapper
The incorporation of modern technology has opened up a new world of puzzle games that can be enhanced through storytelling. User smurfslayer0 was so impressed with the story-based game, "The Swapper", they were compelled to proclaim it as one of their all-time favorite puzzle games.
Trapped on a distant scientific research station as a scavenger, you must use its cloning technology to unravel the perplexing puzzles and discover the core of this confounding mystery. The Swapper stands out among other indie games available for PlayStation due to its exciting plot coupled with daunting individual puzzles that contribute to an overall atmosphere of suspenseful difficulty.
Portal is one of the most acclaimed video games of all time, as it ingeniously combined a first-person perspective with classic puzzle platforming. To establish its place among other popular puzzlers, user JustarianCaesar noted that "It's one of those [games] that the vast majority of puzzle-focused gamers will always have in their library." No doubt about it - this game should be played by everyone who loves puzzles.
The immense popularity of Portal is undeniable, and its original shine has withstood the test of time. Its iconic Portal Gun mechanic remains unparalleled to this day and immerses players in a 3D world where they must think outside the box in order to solve puzzles. Additionally, its sequel was just as thrilling for fans who have been desperately awaiting another installment from the franchise ever since.
9. Trine 4
If you're a fan of platformers and puzzle games, then you've no doubt heard of the critically acclaimed Trine series. Not only is it's aesthetic breathtaking, but it also offers an unforgettable experience with riveting combat to be had alongside cleverly designed puzzles that are sure to keep players on their toes! It's consistently rated at the top of Steam charts for a reason - come find out why today.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince sets off on a thrilling mission to save a prince in distress. Along the way, our beloved heroes must combat the nefarious nightmares that have been unleashed by this fallen royal. What makes it even more remarkable is its 2.5D twist; players will be able to traverse through both captivating 2D and slightly elevated 3D realms.
10. World Of Goo
Puzzle gaming has been boosted to a whole new level with the introduction of improved video game physics, and titles like World of Goo have truly benefited from this advancement. Incredulous user nospr2 could barely contain their enthusiasm for the quality of this game: "Wow...World of Goo is undoubtedly one of my favorite games I've ever played!"
In this physics-based puzzler, goo stands as the essential component of each level. It's up to you to help its characters traverse massive chasms by constructing bridges with limited supplies of goo; a task that can become increasingly difficult and thrilling - unveiling new challenges every time you play.
Gorogoa's gameplay on PC is nearly as captivating even without the touchscreen capabilities. By dividing the screen into four sections and allowing you to zoom in, manipulate them, and layer one atop another, you're able to fashion pathways for a young boy traversing these frames. For example, he can travel from one frame and enter through a doorway created by layering it over him within another section – an extraordinary feature that completely immerses players in this imaginative world. At times, the puzzles become a jigsaw of sorts that demands you to change your perspective until you find the correct one to fit items together. You might be required to position fire underneath a steam cooker or balance shelves in such a way that they tip correctly.
Gorgeous 2D animations bring Gorogoa to life, and this exploration-based puzzle game doesn't need any instructions. You can experiment with the world of Gorogoa while brief pictograms may point you in the right direction - but mostly it's up to your creativity. It’s truly unique and beautiful compared to other games across all genres - a remarkable accomplishment for a puzzle game.
12. Hidden Through Time
Hidden Through Time is an exquisite hidden object game with beautiful art, playful animations, and engaging gameplay. You'll be rewarded as you decipher clues to track down all of the concealed items in each level – and every stage has lively animation that will keep your eyes glued to the screen for hours! If you're a fan of games like Hidden Folks but desire some vibrancy in your gaming experience then this title is perfect for you.
13. Human: Fall Flat
Human: Fall Flat stands out among other physics puzzle games due to its unique game mechanics. Here, you get to control a customizable human character with distinct and unpredictable movements that add an extra layer of difficulty until one gets accustomed to it.
After mastering the basics of walking and grabbing, you'll need to conquer puzzles that are anything but straightforward. With no clear direction on how to proceed, successfully tackling a door or wall provides an incredibly gratifying sense of accomplishment - especially when playing with friends in co-op mode.
The team at Tripledot Studios crafted an innovative new game: Woodoku. This exciting twist on the classic Sudoku puzzle involves 9x9 boards, wooden pieces of various shapes and sizes that must be placed to fill rows and columns - when a full line is achieved those areas are cleared so more pieces can take their place! It's easy to learn yet difficult to master; with each level offering a unique challenge as you progress through the game.
Play Woodoku wherever, whenever - no internet connection needed! With a 4.4/5 star rating out of 10 million+ downloads on the Google Play Store and hundreds of different levels to master, boredom will be the last thing on your mind when you engage in this engaging challenge. Fill up each 9x9 grid with pieces until there are no more spaces or until it doesn't fit - then move onto the next level for even more puzzling fun.
Linelight is an enthralling puzzle game that will keep you on your toes as you try to make it through each level. With over 200 puzzles spread across six diverse worlds, this game has something for everyone! Simple controls allow for easy movement along the lines and past any colored lights in your way; all while being immersed by its charming graphics and a captivating storyline. Do not let looks deceive though - there's more than meets the eye with Linelight.
You'll need to be strategic and creative with your moves, turning this experience from tranquil into an enthralling one. The best part? This captivating adventure won't break the bank - no hidden in-app purchases are required! With plenty of perplexing puzzles that will test your skills without any hindrances, it's sure to offer hours upon hours of entertainment.
16. Poly Bridge 2
Dry Cactus, the publisher, and developer of Poly Bridge 2 invites you to take up a challenge that tests your engineering prowess. Out on May 28th for Android, macOS, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems - this bridge simulator is not just about placing pieces in their proper spots; it's about making sure that each structure stands firm when put to the test! Fail to do so correctly? Watch helplessly as an assortment of cars and trucks fall off into the depths below. Are you prepared to take on a new challenge and use fresh materials? There are multiple approaches to achieving success, so why not give it a try and discover the possibilities?
A world of possibilities awaits in Antichamber, an innovative puzzle game that tests your skills as much as it enthralls you with its creative setting. You'll wander through a realm akin to a painting - things merge and separate, creating paths both familiar and unknown. Can you decipher what's real from the illusions? And don't forget about the gun at your disposal; with it comes great power to create or destroy obstacles! Experience this unique journey today - will you be able to overcome every challenge thrown your way?
After a bit of a wait, Shadowmatic is finally available on Android! In this incredibly eye-catching game, all you have to do is spin and tilt one or more 3D objects until the shadow reveals the desired shape; however, things can get complicated with multiple figures in the play. Thanks to its beautiful three-dimensional graphics, players will be able to take part in both lengthy and short gaming sessions without being overwhelmed by visuals. For an optimal experience though you'll need some powerful hardware.
Developed and published by Playdead in 2016, Inside is a puzzle-platform game that provides players with an immersive experience. It was initially released on June 29th for Xbox One Windows, followed shortly by PlayStation 4's July 7th launch date and August 23rd released for iOS. The macOS version saw the light of day four years later on June 2020 while Nintendo Switch gamers were granted access to this thrilling platformer a few months prior in 2018. Inside follows a similar aesthetic to the developer's previous title, Limbo, and tells the story of a young nameless protagonist navigating through a dystopian world. Throughout their journey, players must carefully solve puzzles that require precise timing and manipulation of objects in order to advance further. With its haunting atmosphere and challenging but rewarding playstyle, Inside is sure to captivate any gamer who takes on this dark adventure.
Superliminal is a unique and wild gaming experience that will challenge your perception of reality. By altering the size, shape, and placement of objects in the environment, you are tasked with navigating an unpredictable landscape while collecting items and overcoming obstacles. Not only can this game be extremely entertaining - it's also incredibly perplexing! With its vivid visuals, mind-bending challenges, and curiosity-piquing storyline - Superliminal demands to be revisited over again; players should always question what reality truly is within its world.