Puzzle games focus on logical and conceptual challenges. While many action games and adventure games include puzzle elements in level design, a true puzzle game focuses on puzzle solving as its primary gameplay activity.
Rather than presenting a random collection of puzzles to solve, puzzle games typically offer a series of related puzzles that are a variation on a single theme. This theme could involve pattern recognition, logic, or understanding a process. These games usually have a set of rules, where players manipulate game pieces on a grid, network or other interaction space. Players must unravel clues in order to achieve some victory condition, which will then allow them to advance to the next level. Completing each puzzle will usually lead to a more difficult challenge.
Puzzle games can include:
- Matching objects based on categories (e.g. patterns, colors, shapes, symbols, etc.)
- Visualizing and manipulating objects in space and time
- Memorizing complex patterns
- Tackling increasing complexities of puzzles that build upon previous puzzles
- Solving puzzles under a time constraint or limited-life constraint.
- Applying previous-known knowledge about the world
- Thinking outside of the box