I play a lot of challenging puzzle games. For others who are interested in the same niche, I’ve made a bit of a tier list. Rather than using the classic S/A/B/C/D/F tier system, I’ve chosen more evocative tiers, which are not necessarily organized from best to worst.
The list only includes games that I’ve played and that I remember well enough. I’m also using an arbitrary definition of the “challenging puzzle” genre. (Honestly, Zach-like programming games ought to qualify, but I didn’t put them in this list so.)
Games winning my highest praise
Baba is You – This critically acclaimed game combines an entertaining and clever premise with amazing level design. Puzzlers looking for a challenge will also enjoy the optional puzzles, which go quite deep.
Recursed – A hidden gem, rough around the edges, but absolutely mind-blowing once you get into it. Chests within chests within chests within chests. Chests that contain themselves, or each other. Recursion beyond my wildest dreams!
Toki Tori 2 – The best metroidvania puzzler I’ve ever played. Instead of gaining new abilities, you gain new insights into the mechanics, finding new branch points and solving clever puzzles.