Many video games walk you through a long tutorial explaining the controls or feature lengthy cinematic sequences filled with exposition. Not so with Braid. The controls are as basic as can be; your only options are walking and jumping.
But each chapter introduces some new rule to the reality that is never explicitly stated to players. It requires you to learn by doing and by experimenting, and the puzzles become more and more complicated as they bend more of the rules of space and time.
There is a plot to Braid, but that story is secondary to the problem-solving and the beautiful atmosphere. The game’s painterly graphics and haunting music serve as a backdrop to your the teasers. It’s very easy to get lost in this game’s universe.
The original Portal is so well crafted it was added to the freshman curriculum at Wabash College. Portal starts out as a simple physics-based puzzle game, in which you use a wormhole-generating portal gun to traverse increasingly challenging obstacle courses. But all is not as it seems at Aperture Laboratories, the game’s setting, and that robotic voice instructing you through the test chambers may not have your best interests at heart.
The game’s publisher, Valve, released a sequel to Portal in 2011. It’s filled with plenty of mind-bending test chambers like its predecessor, but Portal 2 adds a multiplayer, cooperative campaign that doubles the gleeful physics mayhem. In case you haven’t been fully challenged with the existing gameplay, the studio recently added the ability to create your own test chambers in the sequel.
Both Portal games encourage creativity in an analytical way. There may not be a single correct answer to get you through a puzzle, and inventive thinking is often rewarded.
Myst is an oldie but a goodie. This fantasy adventure game simply sets you loose in a strange world that allows you to travel between Ages with the use of special books.
It’s another game where pretty much every gameplay element is self-taught. There are no explanations of how to solve the puzzles, and in some cases, it may not be clear what the puzzles actually are. This calls for both patience and imagination on your part to piece together the mystery and make the right decision at the finale.
There are a half-dozen sequels to Myst for those seeking more surreal problem solving. Riven and Exile are generally accepted to be the best of that set.
These six titles should be a good start for any gamers looking for a new type of challenge. Get in touch with your creative side and get gaming! Got one we missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Anna Washenko writes for Tecca. Her very concise thoughts can be found on Twitter at @AnnaGetsPithy. Tecca is a next-generation personal electronics information and shopping service. We bring together the web’s leading content, commerce, and community features to provide comprehensive solutions for consumers’ ever-growing technology needs. Think of us as that tech savvy friend who helps you when you have questions about what to buy, what to pay, how to make the most of you already have, and when it’s time to upgrade. Get to know us on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.