Top Puzzle Games of All Time

Sit down next to anyone on a train or bus and you're likely to see them pull out a mobile phone and begin matching candies like a total boss. Candy Crush Saga has taken the world by storm, but the puzzle game has a long history of consuming all our free time.

Go back a few decades and you've got Tetris and Lemmings, both very different experiences, but equally capable of grabbing you for just one more go.

Puzzle games do seem to fit best on mobile platforms, first with Tetris and its clones (SEGA's Columns isn't as bad as Nintendo gamers would have you believe), then the likes of Zoo Keeper on Nintendo DS, Lumines on PSP and eventually the phenomenon that is Angry Birds.

There's just something about a mobile/handheld system than allows you to get engrossed in the puzzle solving experience, ignoring whatever else is going on around you. Sit down for a session on mobile hit The Room and you can be there all night.

There are exceptions to the mobile rule, with PC and console hit Portal providing many a brain scratcher, as did Braid and Fez.

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  • 30.

    Cut the Rope: Experiments

    It's impossible to discount the entertainment derived from Cut the Rope: Experiments' content. Cut the Rope was one of the App Store's more prominent success stories, and its skill-based puzzle challenges made it much more... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 29.


    A very satisfying puzzle game, one that manages to stay surprising throughout by keeping things incredibly tight. Q.U.B.E. understands that the best incentive to complete a puzzle is having the solution in sight, more so... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 28.


    PuzzleJuice is a triathlon of different games, all competing in unison and prodding various parts of your addled brain at the same time. The micro-team behind PuzzleJuice is under no illusions about just how hard its game... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 27.


    Quarrel is wrapped up in a darling Fisher Price aesthetic and presented with wit and style. When it launched on iPhone, it seemed like Quarrel had it all. A clever concept, sharp visuals and a chucklesome sense of British... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 26.

    Lumines Electronic Symphony

    While it's clear Q Entertainment perfected the game's formula on their very first try, this iteration of the neon-lit puzzler is so charming and elegantly formed you'd be a fool to say no. "Haemorrhoids?" I ask Andy, more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PS Vita

  • 25.

    Angry Birds Space

    I find it a shame, though understandable, that many people see iOS development as a race to the bottom. Angry Birds Space, however, effortlessly shows why Rovio is currently on top. Angry Birds, eh? It's like the Call of... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 24.

    The Splatters

    Just because the titular creatures aren't around to enjoy the fruits of their demise (for long, anyway) doesn't mean you shouldn't. In games, a protagonist's ability to win usually comes from staying alive to accomplish goals.... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 23.

    Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move

    Mario And Donkey Kong is simply a very good puzzle game. Mario And Donkey Kong: Minis On The Move is the most stressful game ever made*. I've always had a slight issue with any form of entertainment that introduces a time... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: 3DS

  • 22.

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

    As close as the series has come to the greatness of the original trilogy. The Ace Attorney games take place in a world where parrots are called to the stand, eight-year-old psychics help you see through dodgy testimonies... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: 3DS

  • 21.


    Puzzlers are not for everyone, but I strongly recommend you give Lumines a try. Quite simply it's not just the best puzzler on the PSP, but one of the best puzzlers of all time. Whenever a new videogames console is released... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PSP

  • 20.


    Meteos is a DS must-have and one of the great game experiences of recent times. Just don't expect to be able to look at Duplo bricks in the same way ever again. I've done it. I think I've finally been able to come up with... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: DS

  • 19.


    As far as PSP titles go, there is nothing that comes close to being so wonderfully suited to the platform, with every part of its design simply working how you'd want it to. I've liked a number of PSP games; I'd even say... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PSP

  • 18.

    Lumines Live!

    Rather than being a rip-off, Lumines Live! represents one of the most impressive games available for the Xbox Live Arcade service There were many controversial video game moments in 2006, but the award for the "Event that... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 17.

    Every Extend Extra

    Every Extend Extra is short, basic and ferociously hard, and these are just some of the reasons it is assured a place in the schmup hall of fame. Every Extend Extra marks the return of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the master behind... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PSP

  • 16.


    The simple ideas are often the best, and Portal is one of the best ideas for a game we've ever seen. It's fantastically realised and brilliantly executed. You wake up in a room without knowing why you're there - white walls,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

  • 15.

    Boom Blox

    EA has made a game that people of all ages and skill levels can play and enjoy. It proves that developers other than Nintendo can create brilliant games for the Wii. Boom Blox might well be the best motion controlled game... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Wii

  • 14.


    Braid is a game like nothing you've ever played before and something we can't recommend highly enough. We've never played a game like this before. Braid looks like just another platformer, albeit an extremely well presented... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 13.

    Portal: Still Alive

    The simple ideas are often the best, and Portal, quite simply, is one of the best ideas for a game we've ever seen. Finally, you can now download Portal to your Xbox 360. It seems ridiculous that 360 owners have had to wait... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 12.

    LocoRoco 2

    LocoRoco 2 is the most uplifting game available, not only on the title-shy PSP, but on any platform. The genius of Tsutomu Kouno's LocoRoco concept is that its gameplay hasn't been forced, like a square peg to a round hole,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PSP

  • 11.

    Zen Bound

    Zen Bound breathes ingenuity and individuality on a scale that hasn’t been seen on the iPhone. Check it out and you won’t be disappointed. The launch of a new action/adventure game is often heralded with phrases such as "truly... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 10.


    Peggle is pure, distilled fun in digital form. This is accessible, feel-good gaming at its very best. Simple to learn, hard to master. It's a well-worn cliché, but couldn't be more applicable in the case of Peggle. New to... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 9.


    he original, maddeningly-addictive gameplay remains intact, but there's also a generous selection of alternative modes and variations. By now even the most casual of gamers must be familiar with Tetris. This was the puzzler... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PSP

  • 8.

    Labyrinth 2

    This is a top-drawer iDevice game that feels perfectly at home on Apple's touch screen, tilt-enabled handhelds. At just £2.99 it's an absolute steal. It takes a lot to make me swear, but a devilish video game will usually... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 7.


    Limbo is a puzzle game that is littered with ideas and an artistic eye, but more importantly it understands the frustrations of repetition and makes failure enjoyable. With the influx of pretty independent games over the... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 6.

    Helsing's Fire

    Helsing's Fire has inventive levels and immediate charm, making it an instant iPhone classic you'd be a fool not to pick up post haste. Dracula's never been one to have a large amount of light in his dastardly castle, and... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 5.

    Pac-Man Championship Edition DX

    Namco Bandai has once again intelligently built upon - and suitably drop-kicked into 2010 - one of the most famous arcade games of all time. Wakka wakka wakka wakka wakka. WAKKA. Okay, I've got it out of my system: Pac-Man... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3

  • 4.


    Fez's ornate world, sumptuous audiovisual presentation, and cryptic machinations made me feel like an adrift archaeologist filled with wonder. By and large indie games don't get a lot of pre-release hype. Plenty become wildly... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 3.


    Good ideas, brilliantly executed, this is one of the year's best games. Gunpoint begins with two adjacent buildings, cross-sectioned and zoomed out, the whole scene visible. Smooth jazz is backed by ambient rainfall when,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 2.

    Monument Valley

    A monument to mobile excellence. Monument Valley is a significant accomplishment by ustwogames - simultaneously beautiful, challenging, soothing and poignant. As the delicate and silent protagonist, Princess Ida, you must... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 1.

    Portal 2

    I think you knew all along this was going to be great. Fantastic, even. All the same, I don't think you'll be prepared for it being this good. The following review is spoiler-free. Fear not: this review has been the subject... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC