What's Your Favorite Puzzle Game?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | Are you into the obvious, like Tetris, or something a bit more unexpected?

Article by USgamer Team, .

We've seen a few really solid re-releases of puzzle games in the past few weeks, from Lumines Remastered to Money Puzzle Exchanger. It got us thinking about puzzle games in general, and how new ones are relatively rare nowadays.

For this week's community question, we're asking a simple one: what's your favorite puzzle game, and why?

Mike Williams Reviews Editor

I'd have to say my favorite puzzle experience is probably Hitman. Sure, IO Interactive's titles plays out like a stealth game, with players using cover and disguises to get closer to their targets and assassinate them. In reality though, interacting with each level is like figuring out a giant puzzle. You have to uncover the pieces: which outfits to use, the patterns of guards and your targets, and where the instruments of murder are hidden in the level. But once you learn that, how you finish off your target is wonderfully freeform.

There's just so many ways to take out a target and IO Interactive intelligently added more contracts and allowed players to create still more. It's puzzle-solving and creative expression at the same time, which is why I love Hitman so much.

Matt Kim News Editor

I wish I had the patience to play more puzzle games because just looking at my backlog I can pick easily pick out games that I'm sure I would love. Titles like Ghost Trick, the myriad of Professor Layton games I haven't played yet, or more recently Lumines are puzzle games that I still haven't jumped in and tried yet.

Luckily for me my favorite puzzle game is also easily one of my favorite games of all time, and that's Portal 2. While the first Portal might be the purer puzzle experience, Portal 2 expands the puzzles and mechanics without feeling bloated. The ambitious narrative is also just icing on the... cake. Sorry.

Caty McCarthy Features Editor

On Switch lately, I've been playing a lot of Money Puzzle Exchanger and Lumines Remastered, two excellent puzzle games. My favorite puzzle game of all time though is neither of those. It's Puyo Puyo 2, the second installment in the blob-dropping series. The reason I adore Puyo Puyo 2 the most out of the series is a pretty shallow one: it has the best art style and the best music. I love Puyo Puyo games, and over the past couple years Puyo Puyo 2 is the only game that drives me to dust off my Nintendo 3DS. (Though nowadays, Puyo Puyo Tetris is a good enough substitute in a pinch.)

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  • Avatar for pdubb #1 pdubb 4 months ago
    Super Puzzle Fighter 2 hands down.

    Honorable mention to to the original Hexic on the Xbox 360 though.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #2 Kuni-Nino 4 months ago
    Tetris Attack. In high school I got my whole PC class into it by downloading the ROM. We spent the whole year playing tournaments instead of taking notes and generally talking trash to each other.

    I don’t care what anyone says. Tetris Attack is a masterpiece and desperately needs a rerelease.
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  • Avatar for orient #3 orient 4 months ago
    I said this in the Money Puzzle Exchanger article but Picross 3D (specifically Round 2 on 3DS) is the greatest puzzle game I've ever played. I prefer slower-paced puzzle games that reward methodical play over quick or escalating challenges, at least for single player. Trying to clear a board in Tetris or Puyo Puyo is really fun but can also be slightly more stressful than I actually want when I'm chilling out.

    VS puzzle games are a different ballgame. I've played so much Columns III: Revenge of Columns against my (now) wife on Wii VC.

    For single player puzzlers, if I can't listen to an audio book/podcast while playing then it's a no-go for me (sorry Lumines).
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  • Avatar for InsertTokenz #4 InsertTokenz 4 months ago
    Gotta go with Tetris Attack, but since @Kuni-Nino already mentioned it first, I'll give an extra shout out to Puzzle Quest. Such a great mash up game!Edited July 2018 by InsertTokenz
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #5 cldmstrsn 4 months ago
    For me its always been Super Puzzle Fighter. The sprites mixed with the fun color matching system has always been addicting.
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  • Avatar for Ventifer #6 Ventifer 4 months ago
    Crosscell and hexcell are both really good.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #7 Funny_Colour_Blue 4 months ago
    @Kuni-Nino +2 Tetris Attack

    I love Tetris Attack. I think I've played every version of the game I could get my hands on and I remember being "puzzled" when I learned it was renamed pokemon puzzle league for the gameboy color/N64 instalment in middleschool - There's just something accelerating about, using your opponents pieces against you, to make a more powerful attack in the sliver of time the game gives you, to pull it off.

    One day, I wanna be this good! (@0:40)

    USGAMER Tetris Attack Tournament when? ❤
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #8 Captain-Gonru 4 months ago
    I certainly played a ton of Tetris on my original Game Boy, and would put it up there among my favorites, but the one I go back to more frequently is Dr. Mario. The gameplay is perfect, but it's the music that's been lodged in my brain for twenty-some years now.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #9 nilcam 4 months ago
    Bust-A-Move 99! Back in the day, I had a killer rivalry with a couple of players at my local arcade. We faced off every Saturday night for months. It was brilliant.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #10 link6616 4 months ago
    Meteos on the DS!
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  • Avatar for usagi704 #11 usagi704 4 months ago
    Tetris. I also enjoy Cleopatra's Fortune from time to time. I would like to spend time actually getting competent at Lumines so I can say I enjoy it more than I currently do.
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  • Avatar for Macuelos #12 Macuelos 4 months ago
    I love Picross games big and small, 2D, 3D, what have you. The top left corner of my 3DS touch screen bears the marks of constant switching between the blocks and crosses used for drawing and leaving the others blank, back from when I used stylus mode. Now I use the buttons (thanks, 300 Mario's Super Picross puzzles with no stylus) and my handhelds thank me.

    I have... Something like 10, 11 Picross games on my 3DS alone, and then there's a bunch on PC and as flash games as well. Suffice to say that I really, really love Picross games.

    Steam also has some really nice puzzle games too, like Hexcells, WayOut(?) and Interlocked. I'm not sure on the names, but there's some really cool stuff there. However, there can be only one, and that one for me is Picross.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #13 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    Tetris, Portal, Portal 2, Catherine, Peggle, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, Monument Valley, Gunpoint are all on the immediate list.

    The winner is a toss-up between Tetris or Portal 2 for two completely different reasons that I'm sure no one needs me to explain.
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #14 chaoticBeat 4 months ago
    Puzzle Quest
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  • Avatar for SargeSmash #15 SargeSmash 4 months ago
    For traditional puzzlers, it has to be Picross. I don't usually get into most puzzle games, but I can dump some serious time into those.

    Really, though, I tend to prefer stuff like puzzle platformers and the like. One of my favorites is Donkey Kong '94 on Game Boy. Great, great stuff.
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  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #16 Godots17thCup 4 months ago
    I honestly think I could play Picross all day, everyday for the rest of my life and never, ever get sick of it. Picross DS was my favorite variant, with a very large selection of puzzles in the base game, and a near-infinite, in theory, number of additional puzzles thanks to both player-created puzzles and the free puzzle packs Nintendo used to send out through ye olde Nintendo WiFi Connection.
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  • Avatar for adamkamaumorrow29 #17 adamkamaumorrow29 4 months ago
    1. Lumines (Vita (
    2. Kirby's Star Stacker (Gameboy)
    3. Baku Baku Animal (Saturn)
    4. Drop 7 (mobile)

    Based on hardware most readily available at different periods of time, these have accounted for hundreds of hours if my life. All stand the test of time pretty well.
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  • Avatar for touchofkiel #18 touchofkiel 4 months ago
    I'd go with the first Lumines game - though I enjoyed the rest as well. Something about it just clicked with me, and while I wouldn't find myself listening to that music now (or... ever, really), something about the music and presentation in the original really just clicked with me.

    And it's not like there was much else to play on PSP at the time...

    Honorable mentions: Angry Birds (that's right), Devil Dice, and... does Bomberman count? I feel like it should.
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  • Avatar for ojinnvoltz #19 ojinnvoltz 4 months ago
    Does Solitaire count? I keep it pinned to my taskbar and play a game at least once a day.
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  • Avatar for docexe #20 docexe 4 months ago
    Tetris has always been my all time favorite, followed by Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble. Honorable mentions to Tetris Attack, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Catherine. I have also been playing Lumines Remastered recently and it has quickly become one of my favorites as well.
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  • Avatar for NotCarolKaye #21 NotCarolKaye 4 months ago
  • Avatar for moochan #22 moochan 4 months ago
    Is it boring of me to say just normal Tetris? It's just such a simple game but so addictive that it's always hard for me to stop after starting. Yes there's lot of different version with different rules but man I love just playing normal Tetris way too much.
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  • Avatar for Talraen #23 Talraen 4 months ago
    Picross. It's all about that Picross. Though in the action-oriented puzzle department, I love Lumines (because music!).
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  • Avatar for SomeKindaWizard #24 SomeKindaWizard 4 months ago
    Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
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  • Avatar for hdthroh #25 hdthroh 4 months ago
    I’ve never been much of a puzzle video gamer. Adventures of Lolo is the only game I can think of that I really enjoyed (other than Tetris).

    I have very found memories of playing puzzle boards (the wooden blocks with the pegs) and assembling picture puzzles with my grandparents.
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #26 SuperShinobi 4 months ago
    1. Baku Baku Animal
    2. Lumines
    3. The Witness
    4. Rampart
    5. Klax
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  • Avatar for MARl0 #27 MARl0 4 months ago
    Tetris Attack/Panel de Pon/Puzzle League. The only puzzle game that comes even close to that is Tetris.
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  • Avatar for themblan #28 themblan 4 months ago
    My favorite is Dr. Mario because it doesn’t get too fast or hard and I can play a single game for an hour.
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  • Avatar for riot-50 #29 riot-50 4 months ago
  • Avatar for Daikon #30 Daikon 4 months ago
    Puzzle Bobble 2X. Pure multi-player puzzle perfection by Taito (touchi za hearto!)
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  • Avatar for Daikon #31 Daikon 4 months ago
    @SomeKindaWizard Yes! Fantastic game!
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  • Avatar for Daikon #32 Daikon 4 months ago
    I also feel strangely compelled to add a personal top 10:

    1. Puzzle Bobble 2X
    2. Tetris
    3. Minesweeper
    4. Bejeweled 3
    5. Might & Magic - Clash of Heroes
    6. Gorogoa
    7. Portal
    8. Loopz
    9. Lemmings
    10. Monument Valley
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  • Avatar for Vanderdulpp #33 Vanderdulpp 4 months ago
    I grew up on Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, so I'm a Puyo Puyo fan by default. But I've been playing Donkey Kong '94 with coffee whenever I get a free morning and I just love how much personality and variety is crammed into that little grey cartridge. It's given me a new appreciation for the DK formula!

    Also shout-out to the CD-i version of Tetris, which, in spite of some shoddy controls, is weirdly endearing and has a bomb-ass soundtrack.
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  • Avatar for dard410 #34 dard410 4 months ago
    Talos Principle is my favorite. Very underrated game. It has some great puzzles, but also manages to integrate surprisingly deep philosophical commentary on humanity and gaming.
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  • Avatar for InsertTokenz #35 InsertTokenz 4 months ago
    I forgot to mention this one as well, but I would also consider Warioware a sort of puzzle game too, in the sense that the task of figuring out how to preform each micro-game within mere seconds can often be seen as a puzzle. Plus the high score chase that comes from playing through the whole assortment of micro-games I find has a "tetris-like" vibe to it.

    In fact, this might tie with Tetris Attack as my favorite puzzle game if the criteria fits.
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  • Avatar for SkywardShadow #36 SkywardShadow 4 months ago
    Ghost trick.
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #37 Vonlenska 4 months ago
    Puyo Puyo 2 for me as well. It's bright, colorful, cheerful, cute, fast-but-not-overwhelming and addictive. That's about all I need.

    I have a nostalgia soft spot for Tetris Attack, too. And I've never actually played it, but I've always been fascinated by Wario's Woods - the monster designs are so bizarre and great, but just instantly disappeared down a memory hole. I think one of them turned up in Link's Awakening later, but that just reinforces my point.

    Tetris Effect is one of my most anticipated games.
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  • Avatar for BulkSlash #38 BulkSlash 4 months ago
    My favourite has to be Tetris DS, it’s chock full of different modes and the backgrounds and UI are themed on NES games with sprites and music from Mario, Zelda, etc. My absolute favourite mode has to be VS CPU, the level 5 AI is really tough and I lose as often as I win making it very addictive trying to get a few wins ahead of the CPU. It’s still the definitive version of Tetris IMHO.
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  • Avatar for mobichan #39 mobichan 4 months ago
    Magical Drop 2 was my favorite until Puzzle Quest dethroned it for me. But it is still fun to boot up every now and then.
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  • Avatar for IPA #40 IPA 4 months ago
    Cyraid for Game Boy, a weird and wonderful puzzle platformer.
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  • Avatar for Minkukel #41 Minkukel 4 months ago
    Puyo Puyo Tetris, pretty much. Which is a little bit cheating, since it basically combines two already brilliant puzzlers into one, but still.

    Tetris Attack is a close second. Definitely the original (US/EU) SNES version, though. The later re-branded versions never really clicked with me even though they have the exact same gameplay.

    Also, for a non-twitch puzzler, Hexcells Infinite is probably the best.
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  • Avatar for AstroDemon #42 AstroDemon 4 months ago
    @dard410 I agree with the Talos Principle. It was beautiful and the controls were great.
    The puzzles were challenging with easter eggs strewn about. Wonderful game.

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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #43 donkeyintheforest 4 months ago
    dr mario probably
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  • Avatar for pertusaria #44 pertusaria 4 months ago
    Another vote for The Talos Principle here, along with Pullblox (I think it was Jaz who reviewed the Pullblox games here and put me onto them). An honourable mention to Lumo, as I don’t think it’s a pure puzzle game, but it’s also really good.
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  • Avatar for philiprobinson60 #45 philiprobinson60 4 months ago
    I’m glad to see Tetris Attack getting some love in the comments! For my money the best incarnation of that series is Pokémon Puzzle League on the 64. Finally beating Mewtwo on the hardest difficulty setting is still one of my greatest gaming achievements ever
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #46 LBD_Nytetrayn 4 months ago
    Tetris DS -- normal mode and Touch Mode in particular.

    Donkey Kong '94 as well, a true classic. I'm sad that Mario vs. Donkey Kong not only wasn't quite as good, but seems to have killed the concept dead entirely for Nintendo. I'd love to see an Ice Climber reboot in that style.
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  • Avatar for funktron #47 funktron 4 months ago
    Right now my puzzle game of choice is a free browser game called Loopy:

    It's all math, and it's glorious.
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  • Avatar for juheqigu #48 juheqigu A month ago
    It's not a genre I've invested much in but they're good distractions when needed. 2048 on this site is the only one out the three that I played as more than just an idle distraction.
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