games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Puzzle Games

December 13, 2016 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. I previously wrote about puzzle games nearly 4 years ago here and I figured it was time for a refresher. My only real requirement here was that I shouldn’t use games from the prior list but that still leaves dozens, if not hundreds, of other games to consider. So, this is just a list of the puzzle games that I personally enjoy the most, nothing more nothing less. Let’s begin:

#8: Trash Panic

Trash Panic is all about you trying to fill a bin full of garbage in the most efficient way possible. This usually involves you slamming objects onto the bottom of the garbage bin and hoping they smash into smaller pieces. Also fire. You can set many objects ablaze which creates ash piles which significantly shrink the amount of trash in the playfield. Honestly, the game would be higher on my list if the physics were a little better, and if they had made a sequel for it. Alas, they have not.

#7: The Room

I like The Room but playing it infuriates me beyond all measure. Things make logical sense once you actually uncover all the pieces, but getting to that point can be a real challenge. You really have to be observational in this game (and its sequels) in order to have a chance in hell of actually uncovering what you need to do next in any given situation. This involves you looking at every damn corner of an object, just to see if it’s darker on one end, or can somehow be manipulated. I just finished The Room Two on PC, and await The Room Three to eventually come over as well.

#6: Gunpoint

Gunpoint is rad, pure and simple. It is equal parts puzzle game and stealth game as you navigate the various rooms and avoid traps. Your skill set includes jumping high, being able to cling to ceilings and walls, and being able to re-wire different electrical objects in a room. Instead of a switch opening a door, you could rewire the switch to turn off a security camera, letting you bypass it. The only negative I have on the game is the weird gun you get, which is highly effective, but has limited ammo, which you can’t see.

#5: Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes

Might and Magic is a venerable gaming franchise that has been around for 30 years. However, the only game in the entire franchise that I’ve played was Clash of Heroes, and it is great. It’s kind of a weird fusion of Bejeweled and almost Puzzle Bobble, since you have to match three of the same units to activate them, at least vertically. On the horizontal front, if you group units together they form walls to prevent attacks by the enemy. The game has a nice visual style and pops off the screen, at least the console ports. It can get annoying to start from level 1 with each character, but it is still a very cool game to try out.

#4: The Talos Principle

It is legitimately nuts that Croteam, the people behind the Serious Sam franchise, are responsible for The Talos Principle. Serious Sam is a throwback FPS game, full of insane weapons and enemies that just run at you endlessly. The Talos Principle is about the furthest thing you could imagine, being a slow-moving and very intellectual puzzle game. Most puzzles involve you activating various switches with the gear you are provided and (usually) linking laser beams together into a particular point. It’s just a relaxing puzzle game that is enjoyable to figure out.

#3: Puzzle Quest

Going back to my old column, it is almost inconceivable I didn’t put Puzzle Quest on there. The original Puzzle Quest puts a nice spin on the Bejeweled formula by attaching RPG mechanics to it, letting you attack foes with skull gems, or gathering mana to utilize spells for the same purpose. It has a pretty nice and airy storyline and the game doesn’t get too bogged down in overwrought mechanics (unlike the second one). Puzzle Quest remains a relatively simple game but can become addictive if you aren’t careful.

#2: Adera

The last two games on this list will have readers going “What the hell is that?” so here we go. Adera is a hidden object puzzle game that is exclusive to Windows 8 and 10. You play as Jane Sinclair who is hunting her lost grandfather and finds him in an unexplored land. Puzzle-wise, it’s the standard HOG affair of using items to complete puzzles, scanning object scenes for specific items and so on. The reason it’s so high on my list is, it really got me into the HOG genre in the first place and I’ve played many a game since then that is due to Adera. Also, the game has a level of visual and audio polish that shouldn’t be ignored. They hired legitimate voice actors for the game, notably Ali Hillis as Jane, which makes playing through the story actually enjoyable.

#1: Puyo Puyo Tetris

I bought a PS4 for this specific game over a year ago, so that should tell you how much I love it. It combines one of my favorite franchises ever, Tetris, with Puyo Puyo, which is something I hadn’t really played before, but enjoy a little in the game. Puyo Puyo Tetris melds the two games together in some creative modes. One mode gives you very quick scenarios you have to complete (in under 5 seconds), and you have to keep running through them over and over to damage the other player. Another mode is akin to Battle Tetris, and adds various power ups to the playfield. Another mode involves the board constantly switching between Puyo Puyo and Tetris, which can be disorienting if you’re trying to make a big combo. The game also has a pretty lengthy campaign, if you just want to see everything it has to offer. The only downside of the game was a friend and I tried the online multiplayer and couldn’t figure out how to actually do it.

For comments, list which puzzles games you enjoy.

Next Issue
Top 8 Hidden Games of 2016

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison