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As a hybrid gaming console, the Nintendo Switch is perfect for pretty much every type of video game—especially puzzle games, when played in handheld mode. If you’ve ever had a Game Boy, you know how many hours you can sink into a game like Tetris when you’re on the couch, in the car, or wherever else.
There are hundreds of puzzle games of varying quality available for the Nintendo Switch, so which ones are worth your time? If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Here are the absolute best Nintendo Switch puzzle games we’ve played.
1. Tetris 99
Here’s an idea: take Tetris and make it a battle royale. That may sound pretty terrible on paper, but for some reason it works—and the cherry on top is the fact that this game is free as long as you subscribe to Nintendo’s Switch Online service. There are optional paid add-ons, but you can have plenty of fun without paying an extra dime.
2. Picross S5
Nintendo handhelds and Picross have a long history together, and there are already plenty of games of this kind on the Nintendo Switch. You can pick up and play any one of them and have fun, but this is the latest entry in the series, so it’s as good a place to start as any other game in the series.
Take Tetris, but take away the part where the blocks always align perfectly, and that’s Tricky Towers in a nutshell. Building taller and taller towers in this game feels like a combination of Tetris and a 2D Jenga, and it’s just as fun as that sounds.
What The Golf? originally debuted on Apple Arcade, one of the few games that made the service feel worthwhile. On the Switch the game is just as fun, and it doesn’t feel like a mobile game carelessly ported to the Switch, it feels like this was the target system for the game all along.
At it’s core, the gameplay of Mr. Driller Drill Land is simple: drill downward through colored blocks, line up color combos, and make sure none of the falling blocks from above land on you. That said, the balance of tension and action make this one of the more gripping puzzle games you’ll find. This is a great one for puzzle fans looking for some twitch action.
As the name implies, Puyo Puyo Tetris is a mash-up of the gameplay styles of the Puyo Puyo and Tetris franchises. You can play either game standalone, but the modes that combine them both are the reason to play this game or its sequel.
The titular characters in BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! can create boxes, hence their names. You, in turn, use these boxes to make your way around whatever obstacles the game throws at you. Of course, it’s never actually this simple. It’s what you do with the boxes that matters, and this is where the complexity lies.
Have you ever wondered what it would look like if you tried to make a puzzle game out of a slasher horror movie franchise? Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut is the answer to that question. While it starts relatively stacked in favor of the player character, Skullface, you’ll eventually face tougher levels that feature SWAT teams and other challenges to your reign of terror.
ACA NEOGEO Puzzle Bobble is far from the only ACA NEOGEO puzzle game on the Switch, but a list of puzzle games wouldn’t be complete without a bubble shooter. You cluster together bubbles of the same color to pop them, but pop the right bubbles and you’ll drop everything below them, which is much more satisfying than it should be.
The PlayStation Portable didn’t make much of a dent in the sales of Nintendo’s handhelds, but it did have its share of fantastic games, one of which was the mesmerizing Lumines. This remastered take on that game is every bit as addictive as the original title was, and it’s a must-play for Switch owners even remotely interested in puzzle games. It’s just a shame that there is no online multiplayer to let you face off with other players from around the globe.
Like Your Puzzles Extra Tricky?
Not every puzzle game is the same, as even a brief glance at the games we looked at here will show. While some of these will have you thinking, others rely much more on fast paced action or careful timing rather than sheer brainpower.
If you’re looking to give your brain a real workout, we’ve got an entire article dedicated to the most mind-boggling puzzle games you’ll find!