Video games that make you scratch your head over a problem are nothing new these days. We had jigsaw puzzles a few decades ago and now we digital versions of these games. But they’re so much more than mere digital jigsaw puzzles. When you play the games from this list, you will have a world filled with puzzles or sometimes the world is a puzzle in itself! These mind games offer cleverly formulated puzzles in their gameplay in addition to role-playing, adventure, and/or action elements mixed into them to give players a wonderful time. But we are not here to discuss these ”other” elements, sure they make the gameplay more fun but the highlight of games is their magnificent and clever puzzles. We have compiled a list of some of the best mind games for PC, get ready for some mentally challenging puzzles.
1. Portal 2
Portal 2 is a game brimming with puzzles to solve and a world to explore. It features distinguished first-person physics-based puzzle gameplay. It’s not just about solving puzzles endless though, GLaDOS the evil robot operator is back. You again play as Chell in the Aperture Science facility. The puzzles are admirably well made. Sometimes you will figure out the whole set in a few seconds while some other time you will be tinkering with the pieces for a long time before it finally strikes you. Apart from the fantastic single-player experience, multiplayer mode is just as amazing. You and your partner will work together to beat more complex puzzles.
While Minecraft is not technically a mind game, the game is practically limitless. Your imagination would be your only limit in the world of Minecraft. And with all the abundance of things that can be done, it is a giant open-world mind game, where things need to be put to the right use in order to become better. All the grinding for materials can get a bit boring alone, why not invite a friend over? You can farm materials together much faster. When you have everything you need you can build anything you want. From a skyscraper to a fort, just like a puzzle connect the right pieces together.
Who hasn’t played or at the very least know about Tetris? The game was a mega-hit when it was released. Of course, we are not talking about the Gameboy version of the game, rather it has been re-released with many different mods to spice up the gameplay. The game’s replayability is extremely high, and the proof for it is the number of players who still play it even after 20 years of its release. Without a doubt, Tetris and all its sequels and spin-offs are some of the best mind games for tile-matching video game lovers.
4. World of Goo
The name accurately describes the experience of the gameplay. You will connect balls of goo to build a jiggly architecture like buildings, bridges, etc to reach the exit at the far end of each stage. The slimy gameplay is extremely enjoyable thanks to the vibrant setting, background music, slimy sounds of the goo balls, etc. The puzzles in the game are brilliant and will make you work for clearing the levels. This is because of the realistic physics of the balls and the clever stage design. There is a large variety of goo balls with different characteristics, some are flammable, elastic, etc. While others are not so. You must use them all to beat the complex puzzle stages.
5. The Room
The Room is the best mind game for fans of Escape Room. The game locks you in a room with a locked safe, and your objective is to unlock that safe. To do that you will need to discover and decipher a number of clues cleverly hidden in the room. The developers have done a fantastic job of creating a creepy atmosphere in the room with the art style and music. In a way, you need to solve various small puzzles in order to solve (or rather open) the main puzzle/safe. And all this feels so real! The top-notch graphics are primarily responsible for realism.
Playdead’s Inside is yet another creative title in the mind game genre. The game is absolutely spectacular. Actually, if you want to experience it in its full glory, it’s best to just start playing without knowing much about it. Inside is a brilliant, beautiful yet hauntingly scary puzzle game. There are no official instructions but nothing teaches you better than playing the same level for the 6th time. The puzzle designs are quite good and will have you thinking hard to solve them. They’re just some moments that you will never see them coming. The gameplay is roughly 3 hours long but it gives you one hell of an experience.
The puzzle in Antichamber is as good as in the Portal series but the game gets beat at the storytelling. Few minutes into the game and you will be already scratching your head over its intricate puzzles. The game is designed to keep you on the edge of your seat, this is majorly done by keeping the players in a first-person mode. Expect everything outside your field of vision to be changed or tampered with. The developers are kind enough to leave decent clues for each major puzzle to keep you going, but it takes effort to understand each puzzle’s logic.
8. Opus Magnum
Opus Magnus is one of the best mind games that will keep you thinking about it. The game is set in a universe where the world runs on Alchemy. Your goal is to build these Alchemy machines that can turn lead to gold and other such miracles. Building these machines is the puzzle but even after solving a puzzle, how can you do the same thing quicker and with cheaper items is the thing that comes later. Like many good puzzle games, there is no single answer or way to solve a puzzle. It gets more challenging when you want to tick off all the three criteria for each level. So you will be editing your quite often but you can save your machines so that you don’t lose your progress.
9. The Talos Principle
The Talos Principal is deeply centered towards making the gamer think. The puzzles that reward you with stars are majestic beasts. In the beginning though you might feel that the gameplay is easy but just you wait. The large intricate puzzles will make you work to solve them. The game is lettered with many “Aha!” moments that puzzle game fans love. These puzzles are enriched by the mysterious surroundings and background music. There is a lot of Philosophical references as suggested by the title but they don’t particularly relate to the puzzles. You could say the mystery and the clever puzzles alone uphold the game among some of the best puzzle games for PC.
10. The Witness
The world of The Witness is filled with life and brilliant puzzles! The game is set on an island in which you can roam around in the first-person mode. But you interact with the puzzles via the panels found in the game. You will solve more than 700 mazes by tracing lines from the origin to the exit. This simple structure increasingly gets competitive and more rewarding by the addition of new mechanisms and rules. Solving the right order of puzzles will have an effect on the island. These occurrences on the island are the way of storytelling in the game(not specifying here to avoid spoilers). Trekking across the island is fun on its own as well.
11. The Turing Test
The Turing Test is a first-person mind game where you will go through a run-down space research facility with apparently no purpose. If this is your first modern puzzle game, you will have a pretty great time but for veteran puzzle players the game may be a bit devoid of flavor. There is nothing wrong with the puzzles and their elements, but there isn’t anything particularly novel in them at the same time. Despite that the game is still a great puzzle game to enjoy, also you will never see that twist coming.
12. Bridge Constructor Portal
Bridge Constructor Portal is a unique mind game inspired by the epic puzzle game series called Portal. The puzzle levels are basically about constructing Bridges, from a single lane one to a bunch of intersecting lanes, such that the traffic is not interrupted by colliding accidents. Many levels have portals included in the game which makes the gameplay more challenging. The endgame puzzles actually look terrifying because of their complexity. You will come across many challenging brain-twisters on your journey accord its 60 levels.
13. Baba is You
Baba is You is one of the best-detailed mind games. It has elements of a spatial word game added to the simple block-pushing mechanism we know from many puzzle games. In each level, there are going to be blocks with words written on them. When these words are put together to make a statement, whatever that sentence implies will be real. It is one of those games that are better understood when you play them, instead of talking or reading about them. But soon enough you’ll get to know the insane amount of possibilities to win each level. By combining word blocks from different rooms you increase your options to win.
14. The Return of Obra Dinn
The Return of Obra Dinn is easily one of the best mind games, period. The game is sure to have you hooked in minutes and when you are done playing it a few times you would be waiting for more. The Return of Obra Dinn lets you solve mysteries through actual investigation. You play as an insurance evaluator who is assigned to evaluate a ship called Obra Dinn which has reappeared after 4 years (went missing). The gameplay is a blissful mix of adventure, puzzle, and supernatural elements. You inspect the ship and its dead crew (60 people in total) by looking into each of their memories and collecting all the little pieces of information to get to the bottom of things.
15. Human: Fall Flat
Human: Fall Flat is one of the best hilarious and unique mind games for PC. The puzzles are set up so that first you have to figure out how to beat the puzzle, then acting on your plan comes next. Yes, that’s quite obvious but there’s a catch. Because to do so you have to battle the tricky controls. It’s a ton of fun to play but at times if you don’t get lucky at all, you will be annoyed. You could call the physics brutal or idiotic but it is actually the overly simple (stupid) controls that get you killed. But you just respawn right where you died so it’s played off as a joke. The puzzles are quite well made and are creative enough to make you scratch your head sometimes.
16. Lara Croft Go
The spin-off version of the best-selling PC and console Tomb Raider game series won’t give you the same blockbuster action experience, but it does have few tricks up its sleeve. Granted there are awesome puzzles worth of the ”Lara Croft“ title but what’s more, is the variety of enemies that act as obstacles and threats. Sometimes you need to work around them while solving intricate puzzles. To understand the genius of the game, assume that all the mechanics (enemies, levers, buttons, etc.) are a pile of lego pieces, the developers then created an immense amount of combinations to make various things out of those pieces(i.e. elite puzzle levels).
17. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Despite the grim title, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is one of the best mind games for PC that will make give you an adrenaline rush, a good laugh a whole lot of genuine fun with friends. The way each “session” works is, one player plays the game on PC or VR and a friend will have a script/document containing the 23-page guide to defuse the bomb(available online). The catch is, the person with the guide is not allowed to look at the bomb. So the person with the guide tells the player what to do to defuse the bomb. Anyone can imagine just how crazy and fun this would be on a game night with friends.
Unheard’s gameplay is exceptionally revolutionary. In Unheard you will play as a detective who needs to solved cases by listening to audio recorded during the crime. So, it goes without saying that you will need headphones to experience the game in its full glory. Unheard has 5 cases you can solve using this method. The first one is pretty easy but the complexity amps up as the cases go by. You are given the basic infrastructure where the crime took place, the position of the speakers, and of course the audio files of each room (there are multiple rooms in some cases). What you need to find varies from case to case but it is generally something like discovering an admission of guilt or their identity, identifying items and tracking them, etc.
Infinifactory is one of the most refined puzzlers. The basic premise of the game revolves around using blocks-shaped factory parts to assemble big, complex machinery. You are building these not on Earth though but on various different planets (even asteroids sometimes) to please your enslaver Alien lords. You move around the factory in a spacesuit and jet pack to move or rotate blocks. More limitations and different kinds of blocks are added later to make these puzzles more challenging. Infinifactory is by no standards easy, you will need to work hard to set up giant machinery. This creates satisfying moments when these machines work properly.
20. Back to Bed
Back to Bed is a decent mind game. You will travel through a weird landscape that is filled with optical illusions. The premise is rather comical, your friend Bob sleepwalks every night through the nightmarish landscapes filled with obstacles and traps. You must guide him to his bed without getting him killed or him waking up. Back to Bed isn’t revolutionary because the game does not offer much of a challenge to the players. It is not easy but there are no clever twists in the puzzles that make the game memorable.