Oftentimes we play games because they are an escape. However, games can be a great way to keep your brain active and force us to really think. This is especially true for games that involve critical thinking skills.
While many games have elements that can be challenging, games such as Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy or Echoes of the Past: The Castle of Shadows are designed as much to present an entertaining storyline as they are to challenge our brains.
However, if you really want to put your brain through its paces, it is great to look for games that vary from the traditional Hidden Object Adventure gameplay. We’ve put together a list of ten great games that do just this.
In this game, you take on the role of master Safecracker hired to uncover the location of an eccentric billionaire’s hidden will and deed to his riches. As you search for the document, you’ll work your way through his mansion and crack open 35 locked safes, each one presenting a unique challenge.
Some of the safes are pretty straightforward, but others offer challenging puzzle mechanics that will cause even the most seasoned puzzle gamer to pause.
Of all the casual Adventure games that have been released over the years, Myst is one of the most successful. Originally released for the Mac in 1993, Myst was a surprise hit and went on to become the top selling PC game of all time – prior to the Sim series. Full of challenging puzzles and an immersive backstory, Myst will keep you thinking for hours and hours. Best of all, this game is just your first step in the Myst trilogy. Follow it up with Riven and Exile, the second and third installments in the series.
World of Goo
What has come to be a classic genre spanning game, World of Goo is a truly unique physics game in which the player works to rescue gooballs by building structures. The game itself is actually kind of hard to explain. But, trust us, it’s challenging.
Are you a tinkerer or an engineer at heart? Crazy Machines: New from the Lab presents a vast number of physics based puzzles where the player is expected to use such devices as gravity machines, C4, electrical outlets, levers, and inclined planes to guide objects from a starting point to a completion point.
You’ll find yourself planning, building, testing, analyzing, and retesting to clear each level.
Sudoku Latin Squares
Sudoku Latin Squares offers a true classic in the world of brain teasers. Trying to solve such a puzzle using only your brain (no using the classic Sudoku tricks) can really put your mind through a wringer.
If you are unfamiliar with Sudoku, we recommend you check out our Sudoku tips for beginners. It offers a great starting point for learning the techniques best used for successfully finishing Sudoku puzzles.
Temple of Tangram
If you are more of a visual person, a game like Temple of Tangram can be a great way to improve your spatial awareness. Tangrams are a classic activity for your children and this game is a great candidate for a parent/child gaming hour. Visualize how to configure the given shapes to complete each puzzle.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Deductive reasoning is one mode of thinking we were all exposed to during our secondary education days. A Series of Unfortunate Events takes this style of puzzle solving and rolls it into a game. Although somewhat dated and lacking a strong storyline, the puzzles themselves offer a chance for exploring a new way of thinking – especially for young kids.
Of all the games on this list, we would have to rate Murfy Maths as the most challenging. It is a straight ahead mathematics game where the player is presented with a collection of numbers and a final total. By using standard mathematical operations, the player must devise an equation that results in the final total.
Make no mistake about it, this game can be tough. Moreover, it will test your mastery of basic algebra. This is really a great one for those kids out there who need to sharpen their mental mathematics skills.
The Samorost series of games are classic point and click style games that will have you thinking long and hard about what to do, where to click, and how to solve the game. Samorost 2 owes much of its success to the unique art style and the layers of humorous anecdotes interspersed throughout the gameplay.
This game is not for the lazy gamer. You’ll be challenged to think through obscure puzzles and tricky mechanics. In the end, though, the gameplay and the storyline more than carry the challenge.