The world’s most accurate ranking of the 25 best puzzle games ever to reach a computer. Plucking the peak of PC puzzling, we break down what makes them so special, and put them in the correct order. Read on for more time travel, rearranged tiles, hidden objects and hexed cells than you could ever want.
Puzzle games are one of those rare genres where the PC can sometimes shine less brightly than elsewhere. When it comes to thinking of classics of the genre, you very quickly discover that you need to think about the Nintendo DS, some of the classic 80s consoles, and of course the modern homes of puzzle gaming, iOS and Android. So when you put together a PC list, you’re omitting names like Mr Driller, Meteos, Flow Free, Picross 3D, Slitherlink, all the Layton games, the handheld Mario Vs Donkey Kong series, Echochrome…
And yet, there’s still so much glory to be found. So put aside your prescription from Dr. Mario, and embrace some of the finest puzzling experiences you can find.
Of course, there’s the additional huge problem of defining what exactly is a puzzle game? Are we talking purist puzzling, or does it include arcade challenges like match-3, first-person narratives like Portal, or platforming-esque challenges like Lemmings? To answer that: yes, it does. It’s all those things. So in the list below, you’ll likely find entries that entirely suit your puzzling tastes, and others that you’ll think don’t belong – for the next reader, they’ll be the other way around. One thing that we’re not counting is adventure games, even though they obviously include puzzles.
Of course, there are a lot more than 25 great puzzle games on PC, so there will also be games that don’t appear that you’ll be convinced should be there – remember, this isn’t a slight on them, it’s a personal insult to you and your ridiculous tastes. No, no it isn’t. Just leave your suggestions and reasons why in the comments below.
We’ve broken it down into pages, to stop the bottom of the page getting crumpled on the floor. You can skip ahead here, but don’t, read them in order, allowing yourself to grow increasingly angry about the potential absence of your favourite.
Jigsaw image by James Petts.