Puzzle games come in many shapes and forms. While some are pretty easy to solve, others have the potential to make you give up and vow never to try them again. So if you’re looking to challenge yourself with some of the toughest puzzle games, you could try beating these top five games of 2021.
Let’s get started.
Unheard is a hidden gem that drops you in on deep conversations about politics, crime, etc. Your goal? It’s to listen in and solve the truth about mysterious crime cases. With a minimalist setup, you’ll take some time getting used to the graphics of the game. But the storyline is interesting enough to keep you engaged within minutes of playing the game.
Set during pre-independence India, the storyline explores six youth and how the culture at the time shaped relations among them. Characters drop in and out of the conversations. They also evolve to share different opinions, increasing the difficulty of distinguishing between them.
It’s a great puzzle game to test out your detective skills. Especially when all you have are audiotapes. Feel free to constantly pause and speed up between scenes as you try to identify witnesses, match voices with the correct characters, and distinguish between fake and real screams. You can also use headphones which are great for listening in more clearly.
Ultimately, there are no shortcuts. You’ll need to pay attention and possibly, take notes to help you identify voices from the crowd, pick the next spy, and help solve the crime cases.
4. The Turing Test
The Turing Test is a first-person game set on Europa, Jupiter's moon. Taking the role of Ava Turing, a space Engineer, on behalf of the International Space Agency (ISA), the game charges you with a mission to find out what led to the disappearance of a crew stationed on the moon. On arrival, you meet Tom, the station's Artificial Intelligence, who informs you that they have lost communication with the ground team. To help find the team, you’ll need to solve a series of AI turing tests.
It’s an excellent game for a first-time puzzler, with challenging build-ups as you progress to higher game levels. It also does well to incorporate a compelling storyline that keeps you motivated while you solve longer puzzles. This makes up for a pretty good balance between gameplay and storylines, a gaming aspect that other games have tried to achieve to no success. Additionally, the soundtrack is pretty cool, adding a nice touch to the lore setting of the game.
SpaceChem is another challenging puzzle game by Zachtronics Industries. It is a design-based game that requires you to design circuits that are pathways for molecules. It further develops molecules and creates commands for chemical reactions between them. As you move along the circuit, you’ll create chemical products and have them delivered across the planet. You'll also work with multiple reactors to match the delivery scale, creating a complex production map.
By no means do you have to be a chemistry nerd to play SpaceChem. The game provides you with instructions on how to create new molecules. Each level gives you the base elements, and as you progress, the puzzle becomes more complex. You may feel like you’re too deep with no end in sight. The good news is, by the time your mind is exploding, you will have had a fair share of reactor engineering fun. And with all the science and logic manipulation, the game has an attractive 2-dimensional graphics appeal, a brilliant soundtrack, and a compelling storyline to boost.
Fez is a unique indie puzzle where players take on the role of Gomez. He’s a 2D player-character who starts off living in a 2D world. However, he soon receives a fez that reveals a mysterious third dimension which gives him the ability to rotate his environment however he’d like. The rotation and movements within the game are pretty innovative, and if, for instance, Gomez wants to climb higher, the game brings forth a ladder.
Fez does not explain much. Rather it asks you to find 32 cubes. The good thing with the game is that you can always bounce back if you get stuck. One thing to note is you’ll often find a challenge that takes more than an hour to navigate. But with a lot of head-scratching comes Aha! moments that bring back the joy of playing tough puzzle games.
Discworld takes first place as one of the hardest point-and-click puzzles. It's a solid adventure game that follows Rincewind, a wizard, on a mission to stop a dangerous dragon. To do so, he must build a dragon detector and kill the terrible lizard before another hero does; otherwise, he will lose his position as the heroic wizard of the city.
The game is split into four open-ended acts, where each act progressively increases in difficulty. In the first act, you need to collect four objects to make the dragon detector. The tricky part is you cannot collect some objects before others, and you will need to manipulate some of the objects for the best results.
Another tricky aspect of the game is that you are presented with two inventories to manage—one for you and another for your luggage which follows you everywhere. The problem is Rincewind can only carry a few items, and you cannot determine when you will need an item from the luggage to complete a puzzle. Also, your dragon detector needs dragon breath for it to work. So it’s up to your fast reflexes and quick thinking to save the day.
That's it for now. Do you agree with our listing of the five toughest puzzle games of 2021? Would you like to share your toughest puzzle games with us? Feel free to leave us a comment below or on our socials here.
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