What Is The Best Puzzle Game/Series Ever?

Way before the Nintendo popularized “casual gaming” on the DS and Wii, we had a number of incredible puzzle games to work our brains and provide us with an addicting sense of challenge, competition and accomplishment.Β  Of course, many games in the puzzle genre are heavily inspired by Tetris, but the best have added enough new concepts and strategies to make them worthwhile.

Being a lover of the genre, it’s hard for me to really narrow down a list of my absolute favorites, but if I had to choose only 5, I would probably go with the original Tetris, Meteos, Magical Drop, Super Puzzle Fighter, and Baku Baku.

Now it’s your turn to vote for your favorite puzzle games and/or franchises.Β  You can pick up to five selections for your vote.Β  Thanks to the forum for their nominations!

What Are Your Top 5 Puzzle Games?

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59 Comments

  1. Andrew Kuehler says:

    Great list, however somehow you forgot Panel de Pon/ Tetris Attack/ Planet Puzzle League.

  2. SaurianOverlord says:

    Tetris, of course, is king. Of the rest of the list, Lolo is probably the one that hooked (and irritated) me the most. I was happy as hell when I discovered emulators and save states; Lolo was one of the first games I ever emulated!

    I have to admit, there are a lot on this list I haven’t heard of. Another of my votes went to Bust-A-Move, though I played a lot more of the clone Snood. Peggle is the best “new” puzzle game I’ve seen in a long time. My final selection was Pipe Dream; I recall spending many late nights with that game on a Windows 3.11 box as a kid. Good times. πŸ™‚

  3. nonesuch says:

    Wow, that’s a fantastically comprehensive list…never thought I’d see something like that.

    I guess I should hang around the forums, I’d like to have nominated Lode Runner. It’s action-y for the first few levels, but you’ll recognize its pure puzzle-y goodness in the later levels when you die over and over and over if you don’t have your entire run planned out ahead of time.

    And somebody gets mad props for remembering The Incredible Machine…haven’t thought about that game in years, but does it ever bring back memories! Frustrating ones!

  4. Dig says:

    I see no one has voted for Zoop. I am not surprised.

  5. neomerge says:

    Zoop > *

    Most amazing puzzle game ever.

  6. racketboy says:

    Andrew — those are on there. Don’t know how you could have missed that long combo name πŸ™‚

  7. Ack says:

    Sweet, four out of five selections in the top five!

  8. Kataztrophy says:

    SMH at the percentages. Original in this case is not the best, but whatever.

  9. racketboy says:

    Are you referring to Tetris?
    I still love playing the Gameboy version….

  10. No Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine!?

  11. racketboy says:

    Mean Bean Machine is a Puyo Puyo game πŸ™‚

  12. Mozgus says:

    Had to vote for Yoshi. Spent a lot of time on that as a kid.

  13. AngrySquirrel says:

    Interesting poll, says a lot about the traffic at this site.

    An obscure, yet fun game I’m surprised not to see is puzzloop/magnetica. Not that I’d vote for it though, LOL. It might make my top 10 though. Such a great genre, my heart broke when I had to leave off TSS and Dr Mario.

    Puzzle fans should get octomania for wii. It has online play! It’s fun! Plus I can’t find anybody to play.

  14. d says:

    Hey where’s Klax? Just kidding!
    I expect a follow up with a list of all Tetris games ever made.
    Perhaps a list with the rarest tetris games and a list with the best tetris games. Just check out tetrisconcept.com and their wiki for details!

  15. fastbilly1 says:

    Go Baku Baku, what there are seven of us crazy fans here.

  16. LittLeLives says:

    Panel de Pon has to be my favorite puzzle game. Hands down. No other puzzle game excites me as much.

  17. Name (Required) says:

    Guru Logic Champ on the GBA, where?

    besides that, tetris/attack and puyo pop for me.

  18. Richard says:

    Where is Worms????
    That the best of all.

  19. dotbatman says:

    I would’ve loved to have seen Pnickies on this list. It’s one of the most infectious puzzle games ever… in fact, I can’t think of another game where my score was so important to me.

  20. bonefish says:

    Glad to see Meteos getting some respect!

  21. Covarr says:

    Panel de Pon and Tetris are the two best games on the list, hands down. Also worth noting is that Bust a Move/Puzzle Bobble isn’t as good as the clone, Snood.

  22. latenitevacancy says:

    dude, if you dont like tetris than i dont know what to think or say about you. and zoop was okay, it was just hard as fuck. i apologize for the vulgarity but no other word does the difficulty in that game justice

  23. AngrySquirrel says:

    bust a move>>>>the lousy ripoff that is snood

    I don’t like resorting to such a cliche, but it blows my mind that anyone who has played the two games would say that snood is better in any way. It is slower, and more importantly totally lacks the vs elements that make bust a move so fun. That it is so much more popular in the US than the game it ripped off speaks to the ignorance of the average American gamer.

    Tetris still is really good. My favorite version is the New Tetris on n64. 4 player split screen still hasn’t been topped, plus the cube-building is actually a major improvement to the classic formula. That said, I have high hopes for the wiiware version coming out soon.

  24. racketboy says:

    Honestly, I’m surprised Columns is doing so well in the ranking. I never really saw the appeal in the series — seemed kinda weak, IMO.

  25. BulletMagnet says:

    If I’d been around for the nominating process I would have suggested Landmaker and Ghostlop (my favorites after Magical Drop 3), but the selection’s pretty nice as it is. πŸ™‚ Not to mention that about a half-dozen people aside from me have ever played either of those, heh heh.

  26. Jack says:

    Great list! All of my favourites are there!

  27. William says:

    I’d pick Portal as being the “best puzzle game ever,” and Tetris Attack would have been my next choice. However, neither of these games made the list, so I’ll vote some other time.

  28. racketboy says:

    Well if you included every game that had puzzle elements, like Portal, the list would be huge.

    But Tetris Attack is “Panel De Pon/Tetris Attack/Pokemon Puzzle League”

  29. Zire says:

    I for one am a fan of a lot of the above but Wario’s Woods is definitely a game to try. It was available for SNES and NES. It is the last NES game that was made (I think).

  30. Hatta says:

    Covarr: snood isn’t even worth mentioning next to the puzzle bobble series. total ripoff.

    Racket: You’ve got a lot of sega fans here. Columns was one of the best tetris/puyo puyo style games for the genesis. Or at least one of the most popular.

    I was just thinking, anyone else remember blockout? 3d tetris with an overhead view on just about any PC platform from the early 90s. It’s really pretty cool, check it out.

  31. jackspicer says:

    Super Puzzle Fighter, is just pure fun when you play with a friend…

  32. jopamine says:

    I’m really glad chu chu’s on there. i’m still waiting on it to be released on wiiware. and I wish columns III was online instead of just VC. I wouldn’t mind sending Poisons to all those players.

  33. Very nice list, haven’t even played all of them but I did notice the lack of a few gems like Mole Mania, Solomons Key 1-2 and some other obscure ones like Kwirk, Factory Panic or Magical Puzzle Pupils. Also Donkey Kong ’94 if you consider that a puzzle game.

    Picked these:
    Super Puzzle Fighter
    Puyo Puyo
    Chu Chu Rocket
    Lolo (2 and 3 are a bit better though)
    Kuru Kuru Kururin

  34. Spades says:

    No KulaWorld?!!

  35. Menacer says:

    Guru Logi Champ is missing.
    Best puzzler evar.

  36. Just one for Gunpey!!

    Dunno why, but even though I agree that probably all four of the games I voted for were “better”, Gunpey is the one I play the most, and feel the most fondly towards. And if it had been at ALL hard, I really loved the mechanic in Pokemon Trozoei.

  37. HonorTruth says:

    Adventures of Lolo
    Intelligent Cube

    Screw Tetris! I always hated that game, oh yeah and Doctor Mario! Bleh!!

  38. HonorTruth says:

    I am dissapointted I do no see

    No One can Stop Mr. Domino

    the BEST puzzle game imo

  39. AngrySquirrel says:

    does Gussun Oyoyo = gunpey? If so, that should be made clear in the poll.

    I still wouldn’t have voted for it though, LOL. 5 picks is pretty rough.

    Tetris-OG of the genre, very fun in the New Tetris iteration especially

    Panel de Pon – the best competitive puzzler around

    Puzzle Fighter – the 2nd best competitive puzzler-I don’t like the diamond gimmickery and is a bit unbalanced in favor of speed vs. strategy, but it’s still fast-paced and great

    puyo puyo – the father of all competitive puzzlers. puyo puyo fever is amazing

    bust a move – unique and very fun in versus mode; I’m torn between ’99’s 4 player splitscreen versus and BAM 4’s combo mechanics as to which entry in the series is best.

  40. Good call on Kula World. I also heard good things about a game called Devil Dice.

  41. Kikimaru says:

    Where’s Slitherlink?

  42. Sixx says:

    Cleopatra Fortune last? Guess not enough people have played this little treasure. Tetris is the obvious no. 1..

  43. crux says:

    I’m surprised to see Chu Chu Rocket so high on the list (hopefully recognized because of the awesome puzzle mode) and pleasantly pleased to see Twinkle Star Sprites with votes at all (though I can’t say I really think of it as a puzzle game). Not sure why Picross isn’t in the top-ten yet Lemmings is is in the top-five, however.

    Portal really is essentially a puzzle game. Sure, it requires more motor skills to point and shoot than to move blocks in Tetris, but it’s why we point and shoot that’s important. In every case but the final stage itself, it’s in order to figure out how to get from one place to the next (and in the final stage itself we have to figure out things as well).

    In fact, if we are to let Lemmings on the list (which is, in fact, a game where the object is to get the Lemmings from one place to the next), I don’t see how Portal doesn’t belong as well. That would indeed blossom into many more selections as well, so it probably would have been best not to include Lemmings (and games of its ilk) either.

  44. AngrySquirrel says:

    I’m kinda shocked that Lemmings made the top 5 here. Between not seeing why the games are popular and the fact that it’s been years since a Lemmings game has been released, it’s really hard to understand it’s placement. Must be a lot of PC gamers here.

    Chu chu is also a surprise. Although I do think it’s a really good game, it’s only had 2 releases, none of which came in the past five years. It must be the sega fan factor that has columns so vastly overrated.

    crux: “Portal really is essentially a puzzle game. Sure, it requires more motor skills to point and shoot than to move blocks in Tetris”

    I disagree, particularly when talking about a relatively slow-paced shooter like Portal. I’d argue manipulating Tetris blocks at high speed at the top of the screen takes more motor skills than what you’ll see in most FPS.

    Lastly, I wanted to plug Octomania again. The more I play this game, the more I appreciate its novelty and depth. Guys, if you like the games in this poll, you’ll really like Octomania. If you can get over the saccharine-sweet characters and so-bad-its-good voice acting, that is.

  45. Tashay says:

    I think that it’s ok.

  46. mike says:

    the polling system is a great idea

  47. Tonna says:

    It’s cool to see all the old school games on here. Awesome site btw πŸ˜€ Great job!

  48. William says:

    If a game is defined by its most prominent gameplay feature, then Portal would be a puzzler. You did actually play the game, right? All you do in the game is solve puzzles. Sure, there’s some action in the game, but the same could be said of Adventures of LoLo. Every action in Portal is directed toward one purpose: solving puzzles. Even the final confrontation with the boss is cleverly disquised as a puzzle; your wits are required for every task. Apparently, you and I didn’t play the same game.

  49. racketboy says:

    That’s a big “if”, William.
    Again, if we took that logic, this list would be huge.
    Heck, Punch Out is a puzzle game if you take that logic…

  50. William says:

    Since when does boxing not involve strategy? Strategy existed in boxing long before Punch Out had anything to do with it. Virtually all sports incorporate some level of strategy, but they still fall under the sports genre.

    The only way to progress through Portal is through puzzle-solving, so not only is puzzle-solving the prominent feature of Portal, it’s also the only feature. So if it isn’t a puzzler, what else can it be?

    You may be tempted to say that it’s part of the action/adventure genre due to its plot and exploration elements, but Tetris Attack and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine featured a plot. Also, Portal is a totally linear game; it’s especially obvious when comparing it to something like Zelda. In Zelda, there a times where you have to figure out where to go because you’re in a vast world, but Portal is a streamlined sequence of obstacles. Portal is nothing more than an action/puzzler like LoLo. I think people hesitate to classify it that way because it’s 3-D and in a first-person perspective, but again, if it’s not a puzzler, what is it?

  51. racketboy says:

    1) Again, list would be huge
    2) Should have nominated it πŸ˜‰
    http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=8074

  52. William says:

    You’re right, I should have nominated it.

  53. geozeldadude says:

    is it just me or is this not showing the old poll? i’m curious what the results of this poll is b/c i think i missed them when they came out.

  54. transient says:

    wow, this list is so awful.
    where is tetris attack/paneldepon/pokemon puzzle league
    where is wario’s woods
    where is tetris battle gaiden or the original tetris for that matter?!?

    YOU SIR FAIL!

  55. gtmtnbiker says:

    I agree with an earlier poster’s recommendation for Lode Runner. That was a great puzzle/action game.

    Another puzzle game that I enjoyed was “Chip’s Challenge”. It was part of the Microsoft Windows 95 Entertainment pack I believe. Google it to find fan sites and places where you can download the game since it hasn’t been published for awhile.

  56. Nuno says:

    Does anyone here is above 16 years old?
    Maybe because of that no one mentioned “The incredible machine” series. If not the best puzzle series, for sure should be in the top 5.

  57. pawelini says:

    Try Plants vs Zombies πŸ˜‰ (defense style) but a-we-some πŸ˜‰

  58. mollygray says:

    That was a great puzzle/action game.It’s cool to see all the old school games on here. Awesome site…keep it up…

    bubble shooter

  59. magallanes says:

    Plant vs Zombies is not a pluzzle game.

    My favorite is Magical Drop, specially the PSX version (is a rare game)