Best Video Games About Problem Solving | TheReviewGeek Recommends

There are a lot of video games out there and in this age of mobile and home-based gaming, the choices have never been greater.

So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable games through the years.

For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best video games, our attention this time turns to games with a focus on problem-solving. From thought-provoking adventures to lighthearted action-puzzle games, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!

Professor Layton

While many puzzle games aim for a simple formula like Tetris and Puyo Puyo, others lean toward telling a constructive narrative. The Professor Layton franchise does that with its take on the point-and-click adventure genre through its well-written story beats, characters, and glorious setting.

Professor Layton follows the adventures of Professor Hershel Layton and his partner Luke as they help solve many mysteries regarding missing family heirlooms, murder, and time travel. It’s safe to say that these two are always on their toes regarding case requests. Considering Professor Layton’s excellent detective skills, they have nothing to fear.

Phoenix Wright of the Ace Attorney franchise inspired the idea and concept behind Professor Layton’s gameplay and character. The gameplay utilizes the Nintendo DS’s touch screen to a tea, as players must interact with Professor Layton’s setting, characters, and puzzles.

Some puzzles players encounter are logic, math problems, and maze-based. However, the game offers a memo pad that allows players to work out issues that may be too bothersome to complete in one’s head. Puzzles grant players points that help them progress through the story.

The Professor Layton franchise is remarkable for people looking for a brain-teasing challenge and a good time.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a visual novel adventure game held in high regard by many fans. While some may not agree that it fully replicates the life of a real-life lawyer, the trials, interrogation, and puzzle components are what makes this franchise a grand one.

There have been many games in the Ace Attorney franchise, some with new protagonists. However, the protagonist many people attach this franchise to is Phoenix Wright. Starting as novice defense attorneys, players must help Phoenix thoroughly investigate surroundings for clues. Then they find themselves in the courtroom where it’s their job to either defend or go against the person being held accountable for the crime.

This is where the game’s incredible puzzle-solving mechanics come into play. Essentially, players interrogate witnesses and their attorneys for fallacies and contradictions by picking apart their claims in court. They also have to answer specific questions the judge may have about one of the five particular cases.

The gameplay is simple but requires the player to think carefully before making their argument. Thankfully, the game includes ways to scroll through previous statements to help them identify the fallacy in their opponents’ claims. The characters also have great enthusiasm in their reactions to trials, especially the convicted individual in the said case.

If you’re looking for a visual novel experience that’ll make you use your max brainpower, be sure to purchase any of the Ace Attorney games.


Despite creating violent-oriented franchises like Left 4 Dead and Half-Life, Valve aren’t afraid to tackle new territory. Portal and its sequel Portal 2 have a limited campaign which bothered most at first. However, others have looked past its short story duration and uncovered a game filled with originality, distinct gameplay, and a dark plot.

The Portal franchise follows Chell, who must create portals to solve an AI named GLaDOS’s many puzzles. Mastering the game’s physics is important as players must create portals in a specific way to progress through the game. Momentum, preservation, and redirection are the three elements players must know before diving into this game.

Chell’s vulnerability is at an all-time high, making matters difficult. If she lands on a surface from a high enough distance, she’ll receive damage upon impact. The game also includes various machinery to amp up the challenge via turrets, bouncing energy balls and toxic substances. Players don’t have access to a visible health bar either.

Lastly, the game features well-written characters, and slowly drip feeds hints toward its inevitable conclusion as the player progresses. Valve made GLaDOS’ personality shine in the game, even though it’s a robot that taunts players constantly. It surprisingly never gets stale as the jokes only get funnier.

If you’re looking for a puzzle game with enthusiasm, originality, and mystery, Portal is the one for you.

Baba Is You

While some puzzle games have precise and easy-to-follow gameplay, there are rarely any that allow you to bend the rules. Baba is You is an indie puzzle game that wants its players to break the rules of puzzle-solving.

Baba Is You entails players controlling the animal-like being, Baba, who must solve several word puzzles to reach specified checkpoints. Each level presents players with word blocks they can interact with and manipulate to their heart’s content. While some will leave players with fewer roadblocks in their path, others may give them an experience they hadn’t expected.

Some of these experiences include transforming Baba and her world’s organisms into different objects. You can also change your end goal into something completely different. The game spans 200 uniquely designed levels that encourage players to devise critical ways to manipulate the game’s roadblocks to their liking.

While the title doesn’t offer the most jaw-dropping graphics, it does deliver outstanding puzzles designed to help boost your critical thinking skills.

Famicom Detective Club

The old Famicom Detective Club games have been resurrected on Nintendo Switch as a mystery visual novel. While it didn’t sell as well as Nintendo’s blockbuster franchises, it offers worthwhile cases and interactivity.

The Famicom Detective Club games play like every ordinary visual, but the fascinating aspect of the game is that it used to be a Super Nintendo exclusive in Japan. A component that makes the Famicom Detective Club remakes better than the original is the astonishing voice acting, clever overarching mysteries, and beautiful character sprites and CGs.

Only the first two entries were remade and finally brought to the west. Both games center around a young detective protagonist who must solve two cases involving death. The Missing Heir delves into Kiku Ayashiro’s death, a woman who had inherited her family’s plot. The second game, The Girl Who Stands Behind, discusses the demise of a high school student named Yoko Kojima.

While the gameplay isn’t as interactive as Ace Attorney and others that came out after it, the remakes helped revitalize the world for a newer audience. Unlike most visual novels, the Famicom Detective Club remake contains cinematic cutscenes and superb voice acting. There’s also a subtle yet unique dungeon crawling minigame near the end that helps it stand out from others, including Ace Attorney.

Despite Famicom Detective Club being a niche gem, it’s a puzzle-solving adventur1e game that players shouldn’t skip out on.

Among Us

Among Us

Unfortunately, some indie games don’t reach mainstream levels of success. When they do, the reception is either overwhelmingly positive or negative, with many praising it or declaring the game is overhyped. While it spawned millions of “suspicious memes,” Among Us delivers in its addictive gameplay and player interactivity.

While it doesn’t have a deep narrative to accompany its world, Among Us’s simply-designed characters and world serve their purpose well. How players participate and interact with Among Us is where its fun aspect kicks into overdrive since the game requires you to think and manipulate your way to victory.

Among Us allows the player to control one of many crewmates who must complete simple tasks while onboard a ship. However, one or two players take on the role of imposters, deadly hybrid beasts that aim to annihilate every crewmate onboard without being ratted out.

To call out these phonies, players must signal a meeting, where all the players unite to discuss discovered dead bodies or to declare who they believe is an imposter. Often, people make statements that are difficult to confirm or deny, which is where the puzzle-solving comes into play.

While it may not sound like it, the game will make players stress over wrong decisions, further encouraging them to keep their eyes peeled. If you’re a fan of the old murder mystery tropes often depicted in a train-ride setting, then Among Us has you covered.

Human Fall Flat

Portal was a platform puzzle game with a dark storyline and intriguing mechanics, but many may prefer something more lighthearted. Human Fall Flat is a puzzle platformer indie game whose goal is to make your whole friend group or family giggle and smile.

Players can take control of this world’s interpretation of humans and must solve quirky and fun-filled puzzles. While the puzzles start simple, the difficulty rises as you progress further into the game. These difficult puzzles will require some brainpower despite appearing heartwarming and cute.

Players manipulate their human arms to carry and place crates in specific locations to solve these puzzles. Other puzzles include pressing switches or needing to walk backward while onboard a fast-moving vehicle. Therefore, it’s best to expect many failures along the way, but at least you’ll end up with a good chuckle out of it.

As for the characters themselves, players can customize them to their heart’s content. You can make your character look like a dog or one of those driving test dummies. The game also allows you to build puzzles yourself to play alongside friends on a comfortable couch and online co-op play.

While the game doesn’t have a highly sophisticated narrative, the gameplay and wacky shenanigans you’ll end up in make Human Fall Flat a worthwhile purchase.

Catherine: Full Body

The multiple branch trope often finds a home in many story-centric video games like visual novels. These branching paths help players immerse themselves in the world and its characters. While it isn’t a visual novel, Catherine: Full Body contains 13 different endings in a game where problem-solving is your goal.

Catherine: Full Body is a re-release of the original PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Catherine game. Players take on the role of Vincent, a doubtful protagonist who must overcome his romantic struggles. This concerns two females named Catherine, yet one starts with a K. To do so, players must help Vincent settle his quarrels by completing the game’s dating sim and action-platforming elements.

There’s no definitive answer to the dating sim components since it’s up to the player’s decision regarding Vincent’s choices. The players’ choices in the game will lock them into specific endings, including Vincent’s reactions to said scenarios. This allows the game’s storyline to thrive with different outcomes, thus giving players a reason to revisit the title to witness Vincent’s other chosen fates.

As for its action-platforming components, which play out like Tetris to a degree. These puzzles occur in Vincent’s nightmares he’ll endure after each day. Players must help Vincent swiftly climb a tall tower whose goal is to have him crumble. These towers start slow but get inherently fast in time, and several hazards come into play only to make matters worse.

While the game sounds like a breeze, it’ll have your brain wearing with its incredibly fast puzzles and difficult life-oriented choices.


Puzzle-platformers can come in many shapes, but Braid aimed to change things with its time manipulation game mechanic. A premise similar to Super Mario Bros. Braid requires players to rescue a princess while traversing many worlds, each with its puzzles.

Braid allows players to enact different actions regarding time manipulation, involving rewinding events to move immovable objects and discovering parallel realities. Every time players complete a puzzle, they’ll receive something new and intriguing about Braid’s world.

Braid’s other fascinating aspect is that players cannot die or technically lose. As a result, Braid’s puzzles challenged gamers to use every ounce of their wit to progress. Some worlds will have players searching for puzzle pieces while others require them to manipulate time or create entrances to different realities.

Moreover, the game delivers a unique experience with its fresh gameplay and mechanics that could ultimately improve a gamer’s thinking capabilities. Therefore, Braid wishes to encourage and increase anyone’s thinking capabilities under the presentation of a time manipulating puzzle game.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Although it took many years for the mushroom-headed toddler to get a game series, the wait was well worth it. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is an action platformer that started as a minigame for the Wii U’s Super Mario 3D World game. It later received an enhanced port via the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS.

This game’s story contains three chapters. The first chapter has players controlling Toad to save Toadette from Wingo, a villainous bird. The next chapter goes in the opposite direction while the endgame features a boss fight with Wingo and later Draggadon, a royal dragon. While the story is a bit convoluted, the gameplay and puzzles are imaginative and fun.

You guide Toad or Toadette through various distinct platform puzzles. Some feature conveyor belts, stairs, and the Mario Bros. franchise’s iconic enemies. Players have no access to jumping and will lose if Toad or Toadette receive damage at any point.

Fear not, as Toad regains health by finding mushrooms. Also, he can defend himself with his trusty Super Pickax and turnip pulling abilities from Super Mario Bros. 2. As for level design, each puzzle feels uniquely designed for each world. The extra content in the Nintendo Switch and 3DS versions also make it more worth the money.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a great game to kickstart younger fans’ dive into the puzzle genre of video games.

So, there we have it, our pick for the best games through the years about problem-solving!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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