From the start, Nintendo handhelds have been strong in the puzzle genre, championing games that might have been lost in the over-the-top, high-resolution world of home consoles. Because the Switch bridges the portable/home console gap, it upholds that long-standing tradition of puzzling and lets people who play games on the go dive deeper into the ever-addictive world of puzzle games than ever before.
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Because there is so much software on Switch, it can be hard to tell good apps from bad apps. We’ve put on our thinking caps and wade through the eShop to find a variety of puzzle games of all shapes and sizes that will get you on the right track. Once Pocket Card Jockey comes over from 3DS, we’ll just have to “make do” with this.
So, without further ado, here are our picks for the best puzzle games on the Nintendo Switch.
Puyo Puyo Tetris (Switch)
Is it bad when you mix up two of the most popular falling block puzzle games? Putting Puyo Puyo Tetris and Puyo Puyo Tetris together is a miracle, but Puyo Puyo Tetris is so confident that you don’t think about how bad this could have been. Sonic Team pays attention to the basics of each series and makes a solid game of both, but it’s not afraid to mix them together for fun. You can play with up to four people at the same time, and everything is presented with a sense of urgency and excitement that belies the decades-long history of both puzzle games. The Story mode is a little crazy, but it’s there if you want it (we were glad for the skip button). As a whole, it’s a spectacular firework of a game that brings together puzzle fans from all walks of life, and it shines very bright on the Nintendo Switch!
If you can’t get enough Puyos and Tetrominoes, there’s always the next game. Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 couldn’t have the same impact as the first game, but it’s still a great puzzle game. The single-player story is just as good as before, and the Skill Battle mode adds a lot of new things to the mix. It still has a lot of content, but because the first game had a lot of it, the impact isn’t as strong.
7 Billion Humans (Switch eShop)
A real winner here. You can add 7 Billion Humans to the list if your melon isn’t completely twisted by code. It has a great mix of puzzles and Tomorrow Corps’ trademark wit. Worker drones are used to do more and more complicated number-based admin tasks in this game, which is a direct follow-up to Human Resource Machine. It can be hard to get through if you’re not willing or able to sit down and think about what it wants you to do. The developers say their next game will be a “road trip adventure,” and after two esoteric puzzle games, we’re hoping it will be a real treat for a wider audience. The dopamine rush you get when you finally solve a puzzle is really great, and we’d recommend anyone who has the brains to give this a try.
Gorogoa (Switch eShop)
Six years in the making, Gorogoa is hard to describe because it’s so different from anything else. This game asks you to zoom in and out of scenes so that you can connect tableaus that are shown in four separate windows. It looks like a storybook because it’s been inked. You line up landscapes and buildings that don’t seem to go together, and you make intuitive mental leaps as you lead a young boy through its pages. Make sure you don’t spoil this short, beautiful game for yourself by reading the reviews. You won’t be sorry.
Art Of Balance (Switch eShop)
First released on Wii in 2010, Art of Balance has been on every Nintendo console since then. We haven’t grown tired of it yet. It has you fight gravity by stacking shapes in such a way that they don’t fall into a bowl of water. If your structure doesn’t fall down in three seconds, you can do it. But when the shapes get more complicated, it can be hard. If you’re trying to balance a triangle on a circle, this game has a lot of different modes. Its zen-like setting and chillout soundtrack are the perfect accompaniments to the hair-pulling frustration.
Toki Tori (Switch eShop)
With Toki Tori, you play as the chick, who is trying to find his half-hatched pals around five worlds that are filled with mazes. Two Tribes’ waddle-puzzle game has been rereleased many times over the years, each time with a new look and new features. It’s never looked better than on the Nintendo Switch, though. One bad move or misplaced power-up can make it impossible to get those hatchlings. The rewind feature is also a life-saver. It’s a good idea to check out the sequel if you can’t get enough of cute chicks waddling around hard puzzle platforms.
Picross S7 (Switch eShop)
Picross is a game where you have to work very hard to get it wrong, so whatever version you have is going to be a blast. This, like its predecessors, is a solid, no-nonsense Picross game.
Hang in there! How did they do that? Other than the touch controls, Picross S7 is pretty much the same game you’ve played countless times before; an ‘expansion pack’ with another few hundred nonogram puzzles just like the last several hundred nonogram puzzles. This is a great puzzle game, though, so if Picross is not your thing, we’d go with S7 because it can be played with a finger. However, any of Jupiter’s Switch games will go down very well with a cup of tea, thanks.
Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase (Switch)
The highly polished version of a popular arcade game in Japan came out at the end of 2017, but as more Switch games came out, it got lost in the crowd. It looks like a game called Puyo Puyo, but Soldam isn’t at all like that game at all. Blocks of primary-colored fruit fall into a well, and matching fruits at the ends of lines (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) link together, changing everything in between to their colour and disappearing if you change an entire line. This game is called “Fruit Connect.” It’s hard to understand for people who’ve played Tetris or Puyo Puyo for a long time, but its unique twist on the falling-block genre is just as addictive. You can play in a lot of different ways, and there’s even some online multiplayer. This is a game that should not be hidden at the bottom of the eShop.
Snipperclips Plus — Cut it out, together!
This great puzzle game has been around since the Nintendo Switch first came out. It’s still as good as it was back then. By cutting and cutting each other into different shapes, Snip and Clip can help each other solve puzzles. When you buy Snipperclips Plus, you can cut it out together! Contains both the base game and the DLC, which adds two new worlds and a stamp mode. It’s the best way to play, and one of the best couch games.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
As a fun little side game in Super Mario 3D World, this game soon turned into a whole new game. Make your way through puzzle boxes with the cute Captain Toad. If you don’t want to get hurt, you can’t jump. In order to get all the stars in each level, you need to use the environment in your favour. It even comes with some extra levels based on Super Mario Odyssey if you can’t get enough of New Donk City.