You know what I love about puzzle games? This is going to seem incredibly obvious, but think about it for a second.
Right there, that was it. Thinking. Puzzle games make you think. They reward you for insight and often roundabout manners of thought. They aren’t simply “here, memorize the order of these platforms and the exact timing of this jump.” Platforming and other kinds of games are great fun, but the majority of your thought in those games relies on reflexes and hand-eye coordination. In a puzzle game you’re constantly thinking, even if you aren’t on high alert.
If you get the wrong answer, you’re penalized for it, but the game encourages you to try again and keep thinking. It doesn’t stop there and make you do the whole thing over or just give up. A puzzle game offers you a problem to which you must find a solution to carry on, and when you get it right, it pretty much tells you “good job! You just thought your way through a problem that was presented to you, and now you get to reap the benefits of thinking on your own.”
Even better is the fact that most of them offer you hints just in case something’s just too hard for you. If you’re not of an extremely high intellect, that’s okay. The game helps you think it through, without giving you the answer outright. It’s so bloody brilliant.
“Make squares. Just make them. There is no other Dots strategy.”—Quartz writer Zachary M. Seward • Describing the best strategy to play Dots, the absurdly addictive puzzle game that’s currently kicking ass and taking names on the iTunes charts. One other tip on the game: “Reset the game until you’ve got a good opening board. Is there already a square for the taking? A few near-square formations? Is the board heavily concentrated with a few colors? No? Tap the time or score at the top of your screen, and select ‘restart.’” One other piece of advice from me: Don’t download this game because you’ll be playing it while walking and will get hit by a car. It’s that addictive. (via @topherchris)
Riven thus far for me
Riven, Sequel to Myst. Released in 1997 for the PC it’s the second in a series renowned for it’s difficult puzzles but beautiful environments.
After playing for about an hour and a half I managed to get a man killed. Frighten some wild life and a scarab. Play with some kind of pipe system after a rockin’ minecart ride. Saw some villagers run from me. Annoyed the hell out of some family by continually knocking on their door. AND saw a freaky glowy face.
Successful so far, I think.