All modern video games are fundamentally considered puzzle games. In fact, missions in highly anticipated titles such as Final Fantasy XVI and beloved sequels like Forbidden Horizon West have puzzle aspects that add depth and dimension to their gameplay. However, those who want to tickle their brains without having to worry about combat or other game systems should look to pure puzzle games instead.

Related: 10 best puzzle games on the Nintendo Switch

Portal 2, Baba it’s youand braid are some of the best puzzle games that have been well received by critics and gamers. With the myriad of puzzle games available to gamers today, it’s no surprise to see that some games have won a ton of mainstream fans but received low scores from critics.

ten Evolution of Tetris

An image of two players playing Tetris Evolution

Tetris is arguably the most popular puzzle game in the world. But contrary to the beloved review Tetris effectthe 2007 variant Evolution of Tetris was not a big hit with critics. Released on the Xbox 360, reviewers complained about how the analog stick and 360 d-pads failed to provide precision for this particular puzzle game.

Despite the above reason, Evolution of Tetris was always highly rated by puzzle game fans. This twist on the iconic puzzle game franchise has given players access to multiple customization options and all-new game modes. Additionally, new ways to drop blocks have made Evolution of Tetris a more exciting game compared to its predecessors.

9 I Heart Geeks!

A split image of I Heart Geeks and an in-game puzzle

I Heart Geeks! is a puzzle game that gets the job done. In this 2011 game from developer SevenOne Media, players assume the role of a geek who helps other students help their bullies complete their school assignments. Players love the game for its straightforward approach to puzzles and minimal dialogue.

However, some reviewers dislike the game’s lack of narrative and story. I Heart Geeks! also suffers from troublesome tool placement issues to boot. The game’s interactive missions, engaging puzzles, and fun boss battles weren’t enough to win over the game’s critics at the time of its release.


8 paper plane fighter

The Paper Airplane Chase game title card

Although a small handheld game console, the DSi is known for delivering some of the most visually appealing games, such as Super Mario 64DS and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days. But for some reason Nintendo decided to release paper plane fighter for the DSi in 2009, which critics said suffered from clunky and incredibly simplistic graphics and mechanics.

In the game, players have to maneuver a paper plane on a winding track. Critics hated how visually perplexing paper plane fighter was, especially at a time when the iPhone was growing as a mobile gaming device with its impressive array of games. Nevertheless, DSi gamers still bought paper plane fighter and used it as a quick fix to quench their thirst for puzzles.

7 Harvest Moon Puzzle

A split image of the Harvest Moon cover

Life simulation games, such as The Sims and Stardew Valley, have gained a loyal following for their relaxed and escapist gameplay. harvest moonanother popular life simulation game, has gained a loyal following since its release in 1998. When the developer of harvest moon ventured into puzzle game territory with Harvest Moon Puzzlemany gamers were still supporting the puzzle-centric franchise spin-off.

To the chagrin of the developers, Harvest Moon Puzzle didn’t make a big splash with game reviewers. The game has been criticized for being too easy, having poor design choices, and suffering from short play sessions.

6 island of happiness

An image of the Bliss Island splash screen

To his fans, island of happiness is a fun collection of mini-games where they can play as Zwoophs, a furry blue creature that blows gusts of air. But for its detractors, island of happiness is an awful game that makes no attempt to create lovable characters and suffers from boring mechanics and uninspiring challenges.

Related: 20 Best .IO Games That Are Worth Your Time

To add, some reviewers also think Bliss Island is reminiscent of free flash games. That’s not to say that flash games are incapable of being memorable and entertaining, but comparing a full price game to something players can play for free on their browser is unfortunate.

5 smart bomb

An image of Smart Bomb gameplay

Timed puzzle games are meant to instill excitement, thrill, and fear in the minds of those who play them. Unfortunately, many critics believe that smart bomb only manages to be an absolute waste of time. The game is known for having extremely slow load times and sluggish puzzles, making it one of the worst games to play for the impatient.

But many players really enjoyed smart bomb to be able to truly recreate the tension associated with being in the same room as a ticking time bomb. The game’s techno music and new graphics have also made it a must-have puzzle game for PlayStation Portable gamers.

4 Napoleon Dynamite: the game

An image of Napoleon Dynamite dancing in the game

The 2004 movie Napoleon Dynamite has deservedly earned a cult following thanks to its impeccable dialogue, offbeat humor and heartfelt tone. Capitalizing on the film’s popularity, game developer 7 Studios released Napoleon Dynamite: the game in 2007.

The puzzle game is adored by fans of the film as it allowed them to play several flash-based applications which are littered with visuals and graphical elements from the beloved source material. Game reviewers criticized the game as a low-quality licensed game, worse than flash games that users can play for free online.

3 Puzzle Arcade

An image of the player doing a Lara Croft puzzle in games

Making puzzles is a relaxing activity that many people do in their spare time. That said, this activity is primarily at home as it requires a lot of floor space and can be time consuming. This is why having Puzzle Arcade on Xbox 360 was a great relief for puzzle enthusiasts, as it allowed them to complete a puzzle without having to worry about floor space or losing an important piece of the puzzle.

Related: The 10 Best Xbox 360 Games You Totally Forgot About

Unfortunately, critics think that Puzzle Arcade does not offer the same satisfaction as a physical puzzle. Additionally, reviewers also say the game is a bad money grab because there are myriad free puzzles one can play on their computer, as long as they are connected to the internet.

2 Mr. Driller Online

An image of the characters from Mr Driller Online running together

Older Bandai Namco titles such as .To hack and Klonoa are some of the best-received games from the leading game studio. Unfortunately, 2008 Mr. Driller Online is not one.

The Xbox 360 puzzle game has some of the worst reviews online. Some say the game isn’t worth its price at the time of release due to its poor selection of game modes and flawed online gameplay. Meanwhile, other reviewers took offense to its simplistic mechanics. Regardless, Mr. Driller Online was still able to win the hearts of Xbox 360 gamers with its sweet, sickly graphics and airy puzzles.

1 Super Rub-A-Dub

A player trying to solve a puzzle in Super Rub A Dub

In Super Rub-A-Dub, players are faced with puzzle challenges that involve small and huge rubber duckies. Essentially, the game asks players to solve puzzles and keep the rubber ducks away from the evil sharks. With over 60 stages, puzzle fans love it Super Rub-A-Dub for providing them with many puzzles with HD graphics and colorful scenes.

On the other hand, reviewers called the game boring and monotonous. Additionally, critics have called Super Rub-A-Dub as a worthy demo game that has poor design choices and barely any gameplay. It goes without saying that the critics who have reviewed Super Rub-A-Dub think players are better off spending their money on other puzzle games.

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