The puzzle genre produced a number of interesting games in 2017, including high-profile releases like Snipperclips (which released alongside the Nintendo Switch) and the gorgeous Monument Valley 2. But what about the puzzle games you haven’t heard of? This year had a variety of small-scale gems that may have flown under your radar, so here’s a list of puzzle games that didn’t get as much exposure, but are absolutely worth your time. 

Hidden Folks
Release: February 15
Platform: PC, iOS, Android

This modern take on Where’s Waldo? is a joy to play. It features detailed, hand-drawn worlds that come to life with whimsical sound effects, all of which were made using vocals and mouth sounds. You progress by finding a list of different animals, people, and objects hidden in the interactive pictures. You cut down plants and unfurl tent entryways to find hidden objectives as you make your way through cities, farms, deserts, and more. The difficulty ramps up fast, making this a challenging puzzle game that never ceases to be endearing.

Old Man’s Journey
Release: May 18
Platform: PC, iOS, Android

Playing as an elderly man who sets off on a journey through rural areas and European-looking towns, this adventure game also has some fun puzzles to solve. To make your way across the world, you pinch or drag hills so that they become traversable. These puzzles are simple and never too taxing, but they become more complicated by introducing new mechanics as you progress. For example, you eventually have to create bridges by using turnwheels or manipulating train tracks. Old Man’s Journey is a relaxing game that succeeds not just because of its puzzle design, but also for its compelling and colorful world. Check out our review here.

Thimbleweed Park
Release: March 28
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, iOS, Android

Created by renowned adventure game designers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, Thimbleweed Park introduces you to five playable protagonists with their own intriguing and hilarious backstories. Just like classic adventure games, puzzles revolve around combining objects to overcome obstacles. These puzzles also make for some funny moments, like scaring hotel customers while playing as a ghost, and messing with a radio tower to take over the airwaves. While Thimbleweed Park is an homage to older titles, it also modernizes mechanics and leaves behind obtuse puzzle design. This makes for a fun experience that’s never too frustrating. Read our review here.

Rime
Release: May 26
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

In Rime, you play as a young boy who washes up on the shore of a mysterious island. With its minimalistic storytelling and gorgeous visuals, Rime presents a beautiful landscape to explore. You uncover the island’s secrets by solving puzzles, such as manipulating shadows and light to open up entryways, or running under different structures to avoid getting captured by a giant bird. These puzzles are fun, but as our reviewer Kyle Hilliard points out, sometimes they’re a bit too simplistic. Rime is still worth a playthrough, especially if you’re looking for a short-but-intriguing game.

Snake Pass
Release: March 28
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Snake Pass has a unique control system, where you slither around the world as a snake. This puzzle/platformer features innovative puzzles that involve dangling from poles and climbing structures using only three buttons. Being unable to jump can make for some treacherous platforming, but as you continue to master the controls, it slowly becomes more feasible. 

The Sexy Brutale
Release: April 11
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

This murder mystery has you playing through an endlessly looping day. Although it can get repetitive, it has some neat tricks up its sleeve. Featuring an eccentric cast of characters, you unravel a grisly murder in a mansion-turned-casino. Each character has a set pattern for the day, meaning you can follow them as they complete their routines. This eventually shows you how they die, and it’s up to you to change their fates. 


Gorogoa
Release: December 14
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS, Android

Gorogoa may not have resonated with us on an emotional level, but it does have some neat puzzles. They take form in a four-by-four grid, where you manipulate and rearrange four hand-drawn pictures. You can even have these different images connect, such as moving a ladder so that the main character, a young boy, can reach another panel. Although the story didn’t hit home with us, Gorogoa still offers some beautiful artwork and unique puzzle design that can’t be matched elsewhere.

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