In 2013, the world was introduced to the PS4, the latest PlayStation console and 2014’s Gadget of the Year at the T3 Awards. We grew up watching the PlayStation adapt through the ages, seeing diehard fans queue through the night just to buy the latest console. We saw them introduce PlayStation TV, the DualShock 4, a motion censor Camera and we even saw them launching games at a whopping 1080p HD, bringing video gaming to the next level.
When it comes to puzzle games, we are often used to seeing mobile or computer games such as Snake, Tetris, Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! and Candy Crush Saga. But over the years, gaming consoles like the PS4 have taken puzzle games to the next level with full HD effects and complex designs. Here, we’ve created a list of the Top 10 Puzzle Games for the PS4:
1. The Witness
2016 saw the release of The Witness on PS4, a highly commended puzzle game with stunning visuals, masterfully designed by Braid creator, Jonathan Blow.
Inspired by Myst, the game allows you to explore an island riddled with commanding puzzle design and intellectually stimulating challenges. The goal is for the player to reach the inside of the mountain by sorting and solving the numerous puzzles thrown their way.
You begin the game with no clues or ideas, leaving you to make all the decisions you need to on your own terms and with your own guidance. The game takes place on a beautiful island filled with rivers, flowers, hills and even buildings that were designed in collaboration with actual architects. On the island you must solve puzzles to open new pathways, access other puzzles and open doors. The player must seek out the rules for each puzzle through their surroundings, where they can find audio and visual clues to help them. Blow created hundreds of different puzzles for the game, which focus on players finding solutions through observation rather than verbal communication.
Developed by Polytron Corporation and published by TrapDoor in 2012, this indie puzzle-platform game follows the character Gomez. Gomez receives a fez hat which reveals his two-dimensional world as just one side of four within what is actually a three-dimensional world. Throughout the game, the player must collect cubes, all the while exploring a new dimension in order to save the universe in which Gomez lives. Intentionally playing to the tune of so many retro games before it, Fez takes it a step further, moving the puzzle into a three-dimensional world of chaos and mystery.
As Arthur Gies from Polygon describes it in his review, Fez is “the most authentic exploration of the NES-era of games I’ve ever played, from its sound and visuals to its obtuseness” and “those willing to bury themselves in Fez’s alien world and logic, there are plenty of treasures to be found.”
However, don’t get too excited for a sequel. There was talks of a Fez II release soon after the initial release of Fez, but game designer Phil Fish changed his mind later on, writing on Polytron’s website that “Fez II is cancelled”. Fish left the video-gaming industry in a rather controversial way back in 2013, leaving Fez behind him.
Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and released in 2016, Valiant Heart: The Great War explores the devastation of war in the style of a comic book. Described by IGN as a “gorgeous and emotional journey”, Valiant Hearts is a puzzle adventure game, inspired by a number of letters written during World War I. It follows four different characters whose lives are intrinsically linked, and you have the opportunity to play all four characters. The game requires you to solve environmental puzzles to make it to the next round, as well as playing through action sequences
with heavy gunfire and practicing stealth to avoid the enemy. The game also features Walt, a dog that is able to perform tasks for the player. Despite revolving around war, the game does not focus on enacting violence, but instead you are largely required to aid others, like rescuing people and providing first aid to the wounded. You are as much a victim of the devastation of war as all the characters within the game and for that reason, Valiant Hearts has earned The Game Awards’ Best Narrative and the Games for Change award in 2014.
Through it’s direct focus on the characters and their involvement in the war, Valiant Hearts sends a larger message about the grim realities of political and historical war, and how much those grander actions affect those who live through it.
4. The Swapper
Initially released in 2013, The Swapper is a science-fiction puzzle-platform game. The player is a scavenger who is stranded on a research station. In order to find a way out of an abandoned space station, the player must search and find various objects, solving puzzles that will help them move to the next level. She also finds a device that gives her the ability to create clones of herself that can manifest and transfer her consciousness. These clones can be used by the player when in direct site of the scavenger. The puzzles within the game are supposed to be mesmerizing, confusing and brilliant, once discovered. The whole game is an emotional rollercoaster of struggle, self-sacrifice and moral questionability.
Developed by the Finnish company Facepalm Games, the game was received with critical acclaim.
Developed by SIE Japan Studio, The Last Guardian was released in December 2016, making it the latest release on our Top 10 Best Puzzle Games list for PS4. The game combines puzzle solving with action and adventure as the player navigates through the story. An unnamed boy is captured under peculiar circumstances and meets a giant creature named Tico. Together they must maneuver a way out of their predicament. Through their journey, they learn that the place they are being held has a magical power, controlling those around them, who continuously attack them during their attempts to escape.
The game relies heavily on the communication between Tico and the boy but due to their lack of common language, the player must rely on gestures to understand what Tico is suggesting and visa versa. It’s puzzles are deemed relatively simple but enjoyable too. Most of the game-play lies in the action and visual story-telling of the game.
Designed and directed by Fumito Ueda, the game bears striking similarities to his previous work – Ico (2001) and Shadow of the Colossus (2005). The game was originally due for release for the PS3 but years of delay led to it’s final release in 2016 for the PS4.
Limbo, originally released on the Xbox 360 in 2010, was released for PS4 in February, 2015 to largely positive reviews. It is a puzzle-platform game focused on a boy moving through hazy, dangerous and downright nightmarish territory in a search for his lost sister. Limbo’s most noteworthy aspect is the open-ended way the game comes to a finish, leaving the player to interpret both the entire story and how it really ends by themselves.
The graphics follow a grainy, black and white – or even black and grey – visual with a truly creepy ambience. The horror-movie quality silhouettes the character, with only lit, white eyes to distinguish him from the background. Giant spiders move ominously around him and danger finds him at every turn.
Since its release on PS4 the puzzle game has upscaled to the 1080p resolution of the PlayStation 4, making it even more visually stunning and eerie than ever before.
Be aware that the game has been critiqued as somewhat short in comparison to other puzzle games, which might make you feel hard-done by. However, the dark presentation, incredible visuals and that mysterious step into the unknown could be positively worth the risk.
Developed by Swedish company Coldwood Interactive, Unravel was released on Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One in February 2016. It is a puzzle-platform video game that focuses on the character Yarny who is literally a creature made of yarn traversing the environment riddled with danger, puzzles and obstacles. Yarny is able to use the yarn from hits body to create swings, bridges and provide use to solve the puzzles the game introduces.
The world in which Unravel is set was inspired by the countryside of Umeå, Sweden. According to creative director Martin Sahlin, the character “unravels the farther away it gets from the things that it loves” which meant that “the yarn came to represent love, the bond between people.” He wanted to create a game that was not just about distraction but had meaning as well.
The game was very well received and was even compared to Limbo for it’s stylistic quality and creation.
8. Soft Body
Developed by Zeke Virant and released in 2016, Soft Body is a strange and captivating puzzle game in a similar style to snake. You are basically controlling a weird, squirmy snake that paints its way through an ever-changing world of colour and pattern. The game can be complicated and compelling. Sometimes you must learn to control two snakes at once both together and separated, all the while avoiding colourful bullets emitted from different shapes around the screen. It is not a game for the faint of heart, it requires precision and motivation.
With a consistent list of rules you work your way through each level following those guidelines. Yet there remains a vastly differing set of obstacles and puzzles in each level, making the game continuously exciting.
Extremely different from all the other styles of the games on this Top 10 PS4 Puzzle Games list, Soft Body is a peculiar and captivating arcade-like puzzle with hypnotic, beautiful visual effects.
9. Escape Plan
Escape Plan is a comically gruesome, purely black and white tale revolving around two characters, Lil and Laarg who are – you’ve guessed it – little and large! Both with contrasting body types (it’s quite self-explanatory who is who) these characters must escape from the evil mastermind Bakuki, navigating their way through rooms filled with obstacles and booby-traps. Each level is a new puzzle and when you die in the game, which can apparently happen quite often, you are taken back to the beginning of the puzzle. The puzzles only get more complicated as you move through the game, but as long as you make it through without dying, you are on to the next level.
IGN described the game, originally released on the PS Vita, as “a worthy purchase, especially if you’re looking for a pick-up-and-play game that can be digested very slowly, one morsel at a time.” Though the game was originally built for the PS Vita it is supposed to translate well onto the PS4.
Contrast begins in 1920s Paris, in a film noir setting. You play as the character Dawn, who is able to shift between the 3D world and the 2D world. The 2D world comes in the form of shadows. The player is able to move as a shadow whenever they reach a lit wall and can systematically flit in and out of the shadow dimension. The puzzle game revolves around Dawn using her abilities to help her friend Didi, whose parents get into trouble throughout the story.
Developed by Compulsion Games and initially released in 2013, Contrast is a puzzle adventure game, combined with a bit of action. Dawn and Didi are the only two characters that appear in 3D, with every other character coming in moving shadow form. The style of the game is uniquely interesting.
However, despite the intriguing plot and beautiful conceptual design, the game received somewhat mediocre reviews. It is up to you whether you consider it worthy of your time.
There we have it, ten great puzzle games for the PlayStation 4 that are sure to pass your time. Which are your recommendations? Be sure to leave them in the comment section.
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