Anurag loves playing video games. His guides and listicles revolve around popular iOS, Android, PC, and console games.
From Tetris to Candy Crush Saga, puzzle games have come a long way. These include some really innovative physics-based games. According to a study conducted by Nanyang Technological University, playing physics-based brain twisters may improve your decision-making skills1. A good chunk of these games can be played on your mobile phone or a tablet PC.
If you are looking for some variety, then you should try a few puzzlers on your PlayStation 4 console. Graphically and concept-wise, these games are far superior to mobile puzzlers. Scroll down a little to get a list of some of the best puzzle games released on the PS4 platform.
Contrast is a 2D/3D physics puzzler that puts too much emphasis on shadow play. Set in 1920s Paris, the game revolves around the adventures of little Didi and her guardian angel. Players will need to step into the shadow of her imaginary friend and solve complex puzzles to help Didi reunite her father and mother.
In this game, players will need to switch between 3D and 2D worlds frequently. Solving puzzles will require them to place objects in the 3D world in such a way so that they can take advantage of their shadows in the 2D world. There are some visually-enticing levels, including the amazing shadow puppet show and the hot air balloon scene. However, some puzzles are too easy to solve. I expected more challenges and complex puzzles in this unique puzzle game.
On PlayStation 4, the visuals are breathtakingly beautiful. However, slow frame-rate issues can really hamper gameplay. Overall, Contrast is a beautiful and innovative puzzle/platform.
2. Escape Plan
If you like solving complex puzzles, particularly those that involve tricky traps and devious contraptions, then you shouldn’t miss Escape Plan. You will need to assist Lil and Laarg escape from the clutches of the evil Bakuki. These two quirky characters reminds me of Laurel and Hardy – One is huge and heavy and the other tiny and thin. You must take advantage of both these characters’ peculiarities to solve challenging brain twisters throughout 70-odd rooms.
Puzzles are not easy to solve, so expect to get squished between two machines or fall into a cleverly designed trap at least once. Thankfully, death is not permanent and you probably won’t have to repeat the mistake twice because you will know exactly what went wrong while solving a puzzle. There are multiple ways to solve a puzzle, and the DualShock 4 will make it easier for you to solve it. However, getting 3-stars for each level can only be possible if solved on a trial-and-error basis.
The game has black-and-white graphics and looks like a comic strip. There are plenty of gags and humorous moments that will keep you entertained while solving intricate physics-based brain teasers. Escape Plan is a perfect game to keep you busy on a boring Sunday afternoon.
Is it a 3D game? No wait. Is it a 2D platform game? Well, it’s a brilliantly designed puzzler with levels in three-dimensional space, but a player can only view them from a 2D perspective. The 3D world of Fez comes alive when the player views it from 4 different angles. Switching to a different perspective will make it easier to solve puzzles, jump from one platform to another and make use of objects to finish levels. What seems impossible in a two-dimensional perspective can be an easy feat if you just switch to another viewing angle.
The game has plenty of secrets, portals, platforms and rooms. The protagonist Gomez, tries to find out how his peaceful 2D world has turned into a three-dimensional mess and only you can help him solve this mystery. An angel tells him that the only way to stop it is to collect cubes. To do this, Gomez needs to collect keys, use them to crack puzzles and jump from one platform to another.
Fez is not a pure platform game. There are those run-and-jump moments, but most of the time you will be jogging your grey cells than jumping from one ledge to another. There’s more exploration and puzzle-solving than platforming. Some puzzles are extremely challenging, forcing you to switch between multiple perspectives several times.
This gem of a puzzler tests your patience with its well-crafted puzzles. It has amazing visuals and reminds me of a child’s pop-up book. It’s a magical land and a perfect playground for those who are crazy to solve hard-to-beat brain teasers.
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4. Road Not Taken
Road Not Taken is a chess-like game with adorable visuals pulled straight from a fairy tale book. A forest ranger is out on a mission to rescue kids lost in the woods and only you can help him get them back to their parents.
The forest is full of strange creatures, cannibals, witches, giant spiders and magical plants, and the only way to avoid them is to make use of variety of objects scattered around a chessboard. There’s also a bit of crafting—simple combinations that can help boost your character’s health, create fire, summon a ghost and destroy blocked pathways. Wrong combinations can spell doom, so be careful not to mix items just for fun.
Road Not Taken is a 2D game and the visuals are as good as any two-dimensional game released on the PlayStation 4 platform. However, there are frame-rate issues and occasional slowdowns, which is disappointing considering the fact that this isn’t a graphic-intensive game. Overall, it’s a great puzzle game and there are plenty of combos to discover, which makes the overall adventure quite engaging and immersive.
Mousecraft is a fun puzzle game featuring a crazy feline scientist called Schrodinger and a few experimental mice. Our mad scientist’s weird experiments involve mice and cheese and to unite them, he has created a contraption. While the purpose of his experiment is shrouded in mystery, the goal is to safely escort innocent-looking rodents to their favorite treat.
You will need to help Schrodinger get his experiments right by placing Tetris blocks to make way for our cute nibblers. This is crucial because there will be obstacles like fire, water, TNT crates and robot rats blocking their way. Other obstacles like brick bombs will prevent you from placing tetrominoes.
Mousecraft has an excellent maze-like concept. There are over 50 tricky levels, and every level has its own unique design. As the player progresses through advanced levels, placing tetrominoes to create a safe pathway won’t be so easy. However, there are multiple ways to solve each level, also a hint option in case you can’t find a way or are getting bombarded by those brick bombs.
This puzzle game looks amazing on the PS4 platform. Visuals come to life on Sony’s new console. The cloud sync feature lets you play a saved game on your portable PS Vita. The game functions equally well on the portable platform. There’s also a level editor that allows players to create new puzzles play them later. Mousecraft is a must-have game, especially for those who are looking for a simple, yet challenging Brain teaser.
6. Tiny Brains
Tiny Brains is an adorable puzzler featuring four cute experimental animals who want to escape from the clutches of a crazy scientist. Thanks to the eccentric scientist’s weird experiments, all four endearing critters have developed telekinetic powers. You will need to utilize their special powers to help them escape the lab.
Puzzles are easy to solve. The goal is to guide a mouse, a hamster, a rabbit and a bat from point A to the exit point. However knowing how to use each animal’s special power is crucial to reach your goal. Levels will require you to create blocks, swap objects, and use a critter’s telekinetic power to push them to get to the exit point safely. Besides the usual “reach point B from point A” challenges, there are battle arena challenges that let you fight enemies using all 4 critters’ superpowers.
The best way to enjoy Tiny Brains is to play it with your friends. The four Co-op multiplayer mode lets you and your buddies solve puzzles quickly. Playing the game in solo mode won’t be easy to control 4 animals all at once. The multiplayer mode eases things up as each player will be assigned one animal, making it a perfect co-op game.
Tiny Brains is a perfect family entertainer. Parents can play this game with their kids, making co-op play a much more memorable experience.
7. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Valiant Hearts is not your typical war game. It’s a puzzle adventure game that describes the impact of war on human lives through a series of heart-wrenching scenes based on WWI events. The game revolves around the adventures of four characters: An American soldier, a medic, a farm boy and his father. The fifth character is an adorable dog who can be of immense help in solving inventory-based and logical puzzles.
Valiant Hearts puzzles are easy to solve. Most of them allow players to pick items and use them in solving puzzles and searching objects for a particular character. Clues will be given to ease things up, so that you don’t have to solve them on a trial and error basis. Not all scenes require you to jog your grey cells. In some levels, you will need to sneak in to an enemy camp, dodge bullets and complete tasks.
Graphically, Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a stunner. The comic book style visuals are gorgeous. Visually, it is probably one of the best puzzle games on PlayStation 4. Developers have made sure there aren’t any historical inaccuracies in each scene and this can be clearly seen from the background visuals as well as character artwork. You should add this game to your collection if you are fond of adventure puzzle games.
8. King Oddball
King Oddball is a physics-based puzzle game. It lets you play the role of a destroyer. But what sets it apart from other physics-based games is its weird gameplay and concept. Under the king’s command, you will need to control a head (yes, a head) to destroy anything you see coming towards it. You will need to use its long tongue to throw boulders at objects and vehicles.
The real challenge lies in controlling its head, which swings back and forth like a pendulum. Many times, the disembodied head swings too fast and it can be very difficult to hurl boulders at your enemies. Several obstacles like exploding cubes and girders will prevent you from destroying objects. Knowing how your weapons attack targets is the key to getting accurate hits. There are backup weapons to help you in your mission and several perks, including extra ammo, if you manage to destroy all enemies in one single blow.
King Oddball is addictive, but it can be boring after a few hours of play because there’s no variety in it. Yes, there are certain challenges that will keep you busy, but after sometime you may want to switch to another game.
- "NTU study shows puzzle games can improve mental flexibility": http://media.ntu.edu.sg/NewsReleases/Pages/newsdetail.aspx?news=00a80688-3a2b-41ee-a81f-af0d50c80f2e
Screenshots, courtesy of their respective game developers and the official PlayStation 4 website
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 28, 2018:
This is a good selection! I might give “Road Not Taken” a try. It looks like it’s right up my alley.