Puzzle games on PC represent a genre that encompasses a vast array of projects with unique mechanics or visual styles. Unlike big-budget AAA projects, these titles are usually created by small teams that have more creative freedom than large studios. This is their charm: developers experiment, play around, and try many new and extraordinary ideas. We invite you to explore our selection of the best representatives. Let's go!

World of Goo

World of GooImage: goofans.com

  • Release Date: October 13, 2008
  • Developer: 2D BOY
  • Download: Steam

We'll start our compilation with a project that is quite difficult to describe but has left a significant mark both in the gaming industry and in the memories of many players. The overall goal is simple: users need to build uncomplicated, flexible, and movable structures from Goo balls that look... alive! The objective of each level is to guide these creatures into a special pipe. How to do this is up to each player. 

World of Goo received dozens of awards, deservedly so. The unobtrusive music, funny, absurd, somewhat deep storyline, and most importantly, the unique physics, often create incredible, humorous situations on screen. This title is recommended for everyone without exception.


COCOONImage: godizageek.com

  • Release Date: September 29, 2023
  • Developer: Geometric Interactive
  • Download: Steam

The visual style is simple, clear, yet precise, creating emphasis exactly where needed. The title takes players through various worlds inside special spheres, each hiding many secrets.

With each level, the puzzles become more and more complex, but the non-verbal storytelling is masterfully implemented — it is almost immediately clear what the title requires and what goal the player should achieve in each segment of the level. One thing is certain — each level is designed, thought out in great detail. 

The story is a somewhat surreal journey of a small creature, resembling an insect, through diverse worlds. The title offers no answers, only more questions. This project is recommended for fans of Playdead studio, specifically game designer Jeppe Carlsen, as well as anyone looking for an unusual, high-quality experience.

Papers, Please

Papers PleaseImage: x.com

  • Release Date: August 8, 2013
  • Developer: Lucas Pope
  • Download: Steam

At first glance, the project appears to be a customs officer simulator — the main gameplay involves checking documents and comparing them with samples, requiring great attention, quick reactions. 

But "Papers, Please" wouldn't have gained such popularity if it weren't for what lies behind the seemingly simple gameplay cycle. Every day, the player is presented with new tasks, goals, sometimes perplexing — for instance, letting a woman who forgot her passport through to her children. But what if she has bad intentions? 

Be a strict officer glorifying your state, or engage in underground opposition work? The ambiguity of choices, story development, and various situations keep players engaged, while the pixel art style perfectly matches the grim atmosphere of a customs office on the border of a totalitarian state.


BraidImage: nbc.com

  • Release Date: August 6, 2008 (Anniversary Edition — May 14, 2024)
  • Developer: Thekla, Inc.
  • Download: Steam

Braid was once the gold standard of platformers. Created by a single developer who wanted to defy modern trends, the entire game revolves around one idea. Almost all the puzzles in the levels require the player to manipulate time — this is the project's killer feature. The story is quite simple — the hero needs to save a princess. However, the beauty lies in the details that fill the levels.

The title doesn't just tell what happened — the player needs to solve puzzles + piece together the full picture from metaphors, allusions, references. In May 2024, a special edition was released with updated visuals, effects, and developer commentary. The beautiful, deep, stunning Braid is recommended for all users.

Patrick's Parabox

Patricks ParaboxImage: nintendo.com

  • Release Date: March 29, 2022
  • Developer: Patrick Traynor
  • Download: Steam

In our list, you'll find titles that, at first glance, make you wonder how it's possible and what is going on?! Patrick's Parabox amazes from the very first seconds: each level here resembles a 15-puzzle game field, but the world's boundaries are much wider than the user can imagine! The concept involves the infinite shrinking or expanding of both the field, the character. The developer explains it as a game within a box, inside another box, and so on. 

The puzzles might seem simple at first glance, but the deeper you go, the more you’ll need to think, as everything on the screen tests not only logic but also spatial thinking. The project became a bright star in the indie scene and received numerous awards in 2020. 

The project, with its maximally minimalist style, focuses intensely on testing players' skills. It's recommended for anyone who missed this wonderful, original project.

Baba Is You

Baba Is YouImage: amazon.com

  • Release Date: March 13, 2019
  • Developer: Hempuli Oy
  • Download: Steam

The next title on our list resembles the previous one: minimalism, a top-down view, block movement on the field, and an original, unconventional idea. The rules here constantly change. By connecting various blocks, you can create entirely new laws for the virtual world: turn lava into water, turn off doors, or make Baba a key. 

In short, solving the puzzles requires unconventional thinking and the ability to see connections in seemingly unrelated things. However, the project is not highly difficult and is suitable for all puzzle lovers.

The Talos Principle

The Talos PrincipleImage: rbkgames.com

  • Release Date: December 11, 2014
  • Developer: Croteam
  • Download: Steam

The announcement of this title surprised many players — unexpectedly, the developers of the Serious Sam series presented a puzzle game in the style of Portal. However, the similarity ends there, as The Talos Principle appears more mature, serious than its inspiration, addressing various existential questions. 

It can easily be called a philosophical title. The main character is an android who finds themselves on an island with ancient Greek architecture, hostile turrets, and numerous gadgets: plates, force fields, portals. As you progress, collect special pieces, new areas such as ancient Egypt + the Middle Ages will open up. But these are just the settings. 

What about the puzzles? There are many. A lot! The project introduces several mechanics and skillfully juggles them, creating a balanced progression. Once the player gets the hang of it, the game starts to pose real challenges for the mind, ingenuity. The project is filled with philosophical reflections, multiple endings, making it perfect for those who enjoy contemplating the nature of existence and their consciousness.

The Witness

The WitnessImage: Ensigame

  • Release Date: January 26, 2016
  • Developer: Thekla, Inc.
  • Download: Steam

The Witness features beautiful, soft, pleasant graphics, with gameplay involving exploring an island and solving various puzzles, of which there are over 500. The essence of these puzzles is mostly the same — draw a line from one point to another. This can be on an electronic panel or tiles on the floor. Some might find this boring, but the game designer skillfully used the environment, objects, and even sounds, making the puzzles surprising in their inventiveness, originality, complexity. 

There are no hints or explanations on how to solve each puzzle. In the gaming community, this title is considered one of the most challenging, so it will appeal to those who want to test their mind, logic, spatial thinking.


MachinariumImage: x.com

  • Release Date: October 16, 2009
  • Developer: Amanita Design
  • Download: Steam

This project is a point-and-click adventure set in an unusual, non-traditional steampunk world. Players, in the role of the amusing, clumsy Josef, need to rescue his girlfriend from the clutches of a sinister gang. One of the main features is the visual style. The hand-drawn characters look alive, authentic, while the environment, background feel cozy. Another distinctive feature of the project is the absence of dialogues between characters. 

They communicate with animated sketches above their heads. This makes the gameplay feel interactive, immersing players in the world and the main character's problems. Josef also has their unique ability — they can stretch, shrink, interact with objects only when standing next to them. 

The puzzles in this mysterious world are challenging and will make even experienced users sit, think, but they are well-designed, logical, and their solutions are intuitive. Machinarium is a wonderful game, recognized by many players as a gem of the gaming industry. It is recommended for everyone.


ViewfinderImage: Instagram

  • Release Date: July 18, 2023
  • Developer: Sad Owl Studios
  • Download: Steam

The gameplay of Viewfinder revolves around one impressive mechanic that can evoke childlike wonder, amazement. The essence is that to solve puzzles, players need to "develop" photos into the environment. If a photo shows a room, it will appear, and the character can enter it. If it's another setting, such as bridges, floors, or walls, using the photo will make it instantly materialize in the level. 

This killer feature gradually becomes more complex, with various tools appearing, including a camera that can take photos and "develop" them into the level. The puzzles make you think, but they are not overly difficult, requiring only an understanding of the game's key mechanics. For those who want to test their skills, there are optional but challenging tasks on each level.


SuperliminalImage: youtube.com/@thedough_nut2547

  • Release Date: November 5, 2020
  • Developer: Pillow Castle
  • Download: Steam

The next project on our list also plays with the perception of the virtual world, often causing surprise and bewilderment. In Superliminal, the size of objects depends on perspective: the further the player moves an object away, the smaller it becomes: the closer, the larger. This might not sound very impressive, but when the game lets you enlarge a small toy into a two-story house, it feels like a truly unique experience! 

The title consists of such spatial puzzles, which don't take much time to solve but will make you think. This project will appeal to fans of unusual, unconventional puzzles involving the environment, perception.


AntichamberImage: theartblog.org

  • Release Date: January 31, 2013
  • Developer: Alexander Bruce
  • Download: Steam

The previous two titles might seem impossibly easy compared to this one. In this world of strict geometric shapes, the concept of reality is completely broken. To escape, you need to think as unconventionally as possible. The levels are full of optical illusions, various paradoxes. The project seems unfriendly from the start — there's simply no main menu! Instead, there's an interactive room that serves as a hub. 

The puzzles don't follow a difficult progression: some can be solved in 2–3 minutes, others might take half an hour, and some seem impossible. Antichamber won't appeal to everyone due to its difficulty, extremely simplified visual style. But if you love mental challenges, this title will provide an excellent platform to test skills.


PeggleImage: Ensigame

  • Release Date: February 27, 2007
  • Developer: PopCap Games, Inc.
  • Download: Steam

Let's lighten the mood with the simple, colorful, and unintrusive Peggle! The project reinterprets the formula of Arkanoid — a subgenre of games where you use a ball to destroy blocks. PopCap brought this concept to near perfection: pleasant graphics, music, many original levels, various bonuses. 

There's no real storyline — the player aims to become the best, score the highest points. Thankfully, the ball fired by the player is subject to physics. With a well-calculated shot, it can knock down most of the balls. A light, relaxing, engaging game that provides hours of pleasant pastime.


UnravelImage: theguardian.com

  • Release Date: February 9, 2016
  • Developer: Coldwood Interactive
  • Download: Steam

A wonderful, cute platformer about a small knitted creature named Yarny. This project is relatively simple compared to some entries on our list: the puzzles here revolve around one key mechanic. The main character uses the yarn they are made of as a lasso to climb ledges, swing over gaps, lower levers with objects, or use it as a trampoline. 

The luxurious visuals, touching storyline make the game a delightful entertainment for several evenings. Unravel will appeal to anyone not looking for complex challenges.


EXAPUNKSImage: alternativeto.net

  • Release Date: October 22, 2018
  • Developer: Zachtronics
  • Download: Steam

EXAPUNKS immediately captivates with its original setting, storyline. The action takes place in an alternate universe. The main character is infected with a special virus that gradually turns their body into electronic chips, dooming them to death. In this unenviable position, the hero is offered a deal — hack devices in exchange for treatment. This is the core concept. 

To feel like a real hacker, the player will have to write code! Of course, it's far from reality: you don't need to understand programming languages to progress, but the tasks are quite challenging, require strong engagement. Fans of cyberpunk, synthwave, and programming should definitely check it out.

Portal Series

PortalImage: wordpress.com

  • Release Date: October 10, 2007, and April 19, 2011
  • Developer: Valve
  • Download: Steam

Certainly, 9 out of 10 players are familiar with this series. We couldn't help but mention these legendary titles. The concept of the portal gun originated from an experiment by DigiPen University students, overseen by Valve. The essence of the title is simple and doesn't distract from the gameplay: a girl named Chell must complete special tests in the laboratories of Aperture Science. 

On each level, called chambers, she must solve various puzzles using the portal gun. It can create portals on nearly any flat surface, and objects moved through them retain their momentum. Nearly all puzzles are based on this mechanic. Both parts introduce new mechanics as you progress, creating a complex and varied gameplay experience that can captivate you for many hours.


INSIDEImage: nintendo.com

  • Release Date: July 7, 2016
  • Developer: Playdead
  • Download: Steam

The developers from this grimly named studio have already made a name for themselves as masters of storytelling without words. INSIDE is the spiritual successor to Limbo, taking the best from its predecessor: a mysterious setting, a narrative without a single line of dialogue, and various ways of interacting with the world. 

The puzzles here aren't very difficult, are intuitive, and largely use the game's physics engine. This makes the gameplay more kinetic, as everything in the mystical, dystopian world is subject to gravity. 

The protagonist can grab, push, pull objects. INSIDE might seem melancholic, largely incomprehensible, and offering no answers. Nevertheless, it will appeal to all fans of the genre and those who enjoy stories that need to be unraveled like puzzles.

Trine Series

TrineImage: screenrant.com

  • Release Date: July 2, 2009 — August 31, 2023
  • Developer: Frozenbyte
  • Download: Steam 

Trine was a revelation in the platformer genre. You can choose from three heroes: an archer, a warrior, a wizard, each with unique abilities. The archer uses a grappling hook, the wizard creates heavy cubes, spheres, and the warrior raises his shield to reflect sunlight or water. Using these + other skills, the characters must solve puzzles and overcome obstacles they encounter. 

Each game in the series features a lighthearted story, a fun, fantastical adventure atmosphere. However, Trine has one significant drawback — each new game introduces few innovations. Nonetheless, you can start with any part of the series. It's perfect for friendly gatherings or solo play.

The Bridge

The BridgeImage: vooks.net

  • Release Date: February 22, 2013
  • Developer: Ty Taylor and Mario Castañeda, The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
  • Download: Steam

Visually simple but gameplay-wise deep and complex, The Bridge can surprise. Levels often look like "inside-out spaces" where you need to find the exit. Much of the project's styling, level architecture resemble M.C. Escher's "Relativity" stairs and other equally impressive paintings depicting impossible constructions. The Bridge invites players to forget the laws of physics, walk through fantastical worlds, though many will find the journey challenging. 

The puzzles are difficult, and their solutions are not obvious. This project is recommended for all lovers of spatial paradoxes.


SpaceChemImage: pinterest.com

  • Release Date: March 2, 2011
  • Developer: Zachtronics
  • Download: Steam

Developers from Zachtronics are known for their challenging titles. They are not easy to get into due to a high entry barrier, requiring careful and meticulous study. However, they offer unparalleled freedom to the player. 

SpaceChem is a game about an engineer in a space corporation who programs reactors to synthesize various microelements. The main task is to develop complex schemes to ensure smooth production. There are many levels, but the best part is that the title does not provide a single solution. 

Players are given almost complete creative freedom to find the perfect way to complete the levels. This project will not appeal to all users, but lovers of intricate, complex puzzles will get a lot of enjoyment.

We hope our selection of the best puzzle games was enjoyed by our readers. What are your favorites in the genre? Be sure to share answers in the comments!

Main image by DALL-E