The PS4 is not really known for puzzle games as compared to genres such as shooters or RPGs. The genre doesn’t tend to be too showy or visually impressive, often relegated to mobile or PC these days. However, there are some great puzzle titles worth playing on the PS4 as well, although many of these titles are multiplatform and can fall into multiple genres.
Puzzlers are unique because they will make you think and observe your surroundings. They also come in different shapes and sizes from moving blocks around to first-person exploration. This is why they tend to offer some of the most innovative and unique gameplay and should not be ignored. This list includes a wide range of exemplaries of the genre, from platforming side-scrollers to 3D logic solvers.
The Talos Principle
Although many puzzlers tend to focus on logic solving, some also can compete in the presentation and writing department with any genre. The Talos Principle is one of those games. It has beautiful scenery as along with great storytelling and music. The game was developed by Croteam, who created the Serious Sam games and is quite a departure from those titles in gameplay.
One thing it does share in common however is the first-person looks and great use of great-looking outdoor scenery. The game takes place in lush outdoor arenas as you wake up as a robot trying to solve a mystery of your purpose in this world while solving puzzles to gain access to new areas. When solving puzzles, you receive sigils, which are needed to gain access to new areas within a hub from which you can access mini worlds and solve more puzzles. The Talos Principle is a great example of having great gameplay and intriguing story telling in a nice package with top notch presentation.
The game tells its narrative through by having players read notes on computer terminals and this is a great way to keep players interested and playing to find new aspects of the narrative. It also has players use various tools to solve its puzzles and they can vary in scope, which adds to the variation many other staples of the genre lack.
Like the previous title on this list, The Swapper also offers good storytelling in addition to excellent mind twisters. This puzzle title falls into the genre of a side-scroller, although one with impressive 2.5D visuals and overall presentation. You are an explorer in an abandoned space station and are able to use a device in your hand to create clones. These clones are used to overcome the various puzzles along the way within this lavish cave system the game brings you into.
Cloning is the game’s central mechanic and makes The Swapper stand out not just from other PS4 puzzler titles, but basically any game on the system. The space explorer you are tasked with controlling will switch his consciousness among the different clones. However, they do not stand still like you may imagine, but replicate your movement. Thus, you will have to position them in certain ways while moving the currently-selected clone around in order to complete the puzzles within a cave system.
The idea of shooting beams of light onto a tall mountain on a mysterious and abandoned island may not sound exciting at first thought, but The Witness truly runs with this premise to showcase some of the most challenging, interesting and innovative puzzles in game design to date. The Witness is also one of those puzzlers on this list that happens to bypass conventional wisdom of what puzzlers entail, in that it has great presentation and graphics on top of challenging gameplay.
It is an interesting game that combines first-person exploration of an island with a traditional puzzle grid that you see play out later in 3D. There are many secrets to discover on an island and it is a puzzler at heart, but has more to it than that. There is a certain sense of wonder within this game world. In many ways it is like a modern reimagining of Myst, a 90s puzzle logic-solver worth of a playthrough in its own right.
Riding off of Limbo’s success as the spiritual successor, Playdead’s Inside takes the side-scrolling formula of puzzle solving within a psychological horror type of setting and rides with it to new heights. It improves upon the previous title in virtually every way and offers that mix of genres not many titles can do well.
However, both Limbo and Inside have their place on this list if you ask me. These two games have you climbing, running and hiding from baddies in a dystopian and futuristic world that may ring a bell to anyone familiar with George Orwell’s literary works. The eerie atmosphere and dark hues of the environment combined with thought-provoking puzzles make Inside a must play.
If you are in the mood for a more traditional puzzler from the top-down and isometric perspective, give Kine a go. This is surreal a block puzzler with cell-shaded graphics that has you controlling three different machines as you twist and turn across various hazards. The environment you will be traversing is a Tech Noir type of a cityscape with high rise buildings abound. There is a plot as well, although it plays second fiddle to the gameplay and it relates to the theme of music or the idea of becoming a musical-playing machine.
As you can probably tell, I am a pretty big fan of puzzle games and the PS4 luckily has some good ones. Although the console is not known for this genre, due to the multiplatform approach many developers have taken within rhis generation of systems, we are able to play most of the big hitters. There are also many games within the puzzle genre worth chekcing out on the Playstation Network or PSN, which come from indy devs or smaller studios.