Steam’s library offers plenty of diversity when it comes to available genres. One of the most robust of them is the puzzle section. The players who want their games to be a little more challenging can search for titles that will rack their brains with complex logical problems.

The List of Puzzle Adventure Games on Steam

GameDeveloperReleased DatePrice
Portal Valve Corporation Oct 10, 2007 Buy
Portal 2 Valve Corporation Apr 19, 2011 Buy
Human Fall Flat No Brakes Games Jul 22, 2016 Buy
The Witness Thekla Inc. Jan 26, 2016 Buy
Layers of Fear Bloober Team Feb 15, 2016 Buy
Layers of Fear 2 Bloober Team May 28, 2019 Buy
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Lucasfilm Games Jul 15, 2009 Buy
The Talos Principle Croteam Dec 11, 2014 Buy
Thimbleweed Park Terrible Toybox Mar 30, 2017 Buy
realMyst: Masterpiece Edition Cyan Worlds, Inc. Feb 5, 2014 Buy
Broken Sword Trilogy Revolution Software Oct 19, 2010 Buy
Broken Sword: Director’s Cut Revolution Software Sep 2, 2010 Buy

Let’s take a look at the best adventure puzzle games available on Valve’s platform.

The Portal series

PC
PS3
X360
Genrespuzzle-platform
Developer:Valve
Release year:October 10, 2007 (Portal), April 19, 2011 (Portal 2)
Game modes:single-player, multiplayer

We begin our list with one of Valve’s most surprising successes. The developers behind the adventures of Gordon Freeman give the player a brand new story, where brains are much more important than brawn.

Portal quickly became a cult classic not only thanks to its decent story with solid voice acting but also thanks to its one-of-a-kind gameplay. The portal mechanics implemented in the game put the players’ brains to an uneasy task of solving complex tests put before the player by GLaDOS. Introduction of co-op multiplayer in the sequel made for an even more exciting, albeit a bit frustrating (depending on your partner) experience.

Overall, both installments of the Portal series were met with a positive reception.

Key Features
  • Explore the corridors of Aperture Industries
  • Survive the tests GLaDOS puts you to
  • Use the portal cannon and your own ingenuity to progress through the game
  • Work with a partner and help each other pass…or not

Human Fall Flat

PC
PS4
XO
NS
Genrespuzzle-platform
Developer:No Brakes Games
Release year:July 22, 2016 (PC), May 12, 2017 (XONE), May 9, 2017 (PS4)
Game modes:single-player, multiplayer

Human: Fall Flat is one of those unassuming games that turn out to be really awesome if you give them a try. Don’t be fooled by its simplistic graphics – the game will take your brain through a wringer as you solve physics-based puzzles.

The protagonist of the game is a featureless human named Bob. The player can customize him to their liking, but that’s not important. What is important are the puzzles. Based on the game’s physics, the problems bob has to face to progress through levels will give the player plenty to wrap their minds about. Luckily, the remotes hidden around the levels will provide the player with a clue to solving the puzzle.

Human: Fall Flat received solid reviews from critics, who praised the game’s controls, customization options, and slapstick humor.

Key Features
  • This is Bob
  • Bob solves puzzles based on the game’s physics
  • Bob’s features can be customized by the player
  • Be like Bob

The Witness

PC
PS4
XO
Genrespuzzle
Developer:Thekla, Inc.
Release year:January 26, 2016 (PC, PS4), September 13, 2016 (XONE)
Game modes:single-player

The Witness asks the player a question – what would you do if you found yourself stranded on an uninhabited island with little hopes of rescue? And the answer is…solve a bunch of puzzles to discover the mystery of the place!

The Witness is set in an open-world setting, which the player can explore in search of puzzles to solve. The process requires the player to separate the pieces on a grid and divide them by color. After clearing all the puzzles in the area, the player can move on to completing optional challenges. They follow similar mechanics as the main game puzzles, but the player has to solve them within a given time limit.

The Witness’s critical reception was mostly positive. The reviewers praised the title’s clever riddles and mystery-rich setting.

Key Features
  • Explore the open-world environment of an uninhabited island
  • Solve riddles and discover the island’s mysteries
  • Complete optional time challenges

Layers of Fear

PC
PS4
XO
NS
Genreshorror, puzzle
Developer:Bloober Team
Release year:February 16, 2016 (PC, XONE, PS4), February 21, 2018 (Switch)
Game modes:single-player

Layers of Fear combines the puzzle gameplay mechanics and the psychological horror setting. As the painter working on his masterpiece, you will have to explore the creepy studio looking for inspiration for your finest work. Unravel the mystery and finish the painting before your mind gives out on you.

Bloober Team’s game is an interesting entry on our list. Not only does it manage to send some serious chills down the player’s spine, but it also entices them with pretty complex puzzles. Each room the player explores offers a different kind of riddle to solve. Studying the environment and locating clues will be crucial to figuring out the solution. But the protagonist’s mind slowly unravels as the game progresses, altering his perception of reality, and making the player’s task much more difficult.

Layers of Fear was prised for its genuinely frightening atmosphere and intricate puzzles.

Key Features
  • Explore the painter’s studio in search of inspiration
  • Find clues and solve puzzles as the world changes around you
  • Finish your final masterpiece before it ends you

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

PC
Genresgraphic adventure
Developer:Lucasfilm Games
Release year:July 15, 2009 (Special Edition)
Game modes:single-player

The first of many classics on our list, The Secret of Monkey Island, tells the story of Guybrush Threepwood – a young man aspiring to become a pirate. Dreaming of life full of adventure, he travels to the island of Melee, where he will face a variety of trials to make his wish come true.

TSoMI doesn’t feature any intricate mechanics or outlandish graphics. The player controls Guybrush in a 2D world, and puzzles are solved by collecting various items and piecing them together with the elements of the environment to push the plot forward. This almost archaic gameplay style gives the player a taste of what the puzzle-adventure games used to be all about.

Special Edition of The Secret of Monkey Island was met with a solid reception from the critics.

Key Features
  • Experience the swashbuckling tale of an aspiring pirate
  • Explore the island of Melee and complete the trials to prove that you’re worthy of sailing under the black flag
  • Special Edition features improved graphics and sound, with an option to switch to the classic audiovisuals

The Talos Principle

PC
PS4
XO
NS
Genrespuzzle
Developer:Croteam
Release year:December 11, 2014 (PC), August 31, 2018 (XONE), October 13, 2015 (PS4), December 10, 2019 (Switch)
Game modes:single-player

You wouldn’t expect the developers of the cult-classic FPS series to create a narrative-based puzzle game. And yet Croteam, the fathers of Serious Sam, came up with The Talos Principle, a game that will not only jump-start the player’s neurons with intricate puzzles but touch their souls with its deeply philosophical story.

As an android awoken in a strange new environment, the player’s job will be to explore it and solve a variety of tile-based puzzles. The game does not make the task easier by throwing various obstacles in the player’s way, including wall-mounted turrets and explosive drones – get too close to either of them, and you’ll have to start cracking the puzzle from scratch.

The philosophical nature of the game’s storyline and challenging puzzles were the reasons The Talos Principle was met with positive reviews.

Key Features
  • Solve puzzles and discover the reason for your existence
  • Explore the unknown area and collect keys to move forward towards your destiny
  • Avoid dangers such as turrets and drones that will hinder your progress

Thimbleweed Park

PC
PS4
XO
NS
Genrespoint-and-click adventure
Developer:Terrible Toybox
Release year:March 30, 2017 (PC, XONE), August 22, 2017 (PS4), September 21, 2017 (Switch)
Game modes:single-player

Thimbleweed Park is a love letter from the future to the games of the past. Developed by an indie studio Terrible Toybox, the game draws inspiration from classic adventure games, putting a unique spin on the old formula.

In TP, the player controls a pair of FBI agents investigating a murder case in the rural town of Thimbleweed Park. As the list of suspects grows longer, the agents discover that something else is going on with this town. The game’s storyline is one of its strongest points, and its unique twists will have the player glued to the screens. The game’s mechanics are similar to other adventure titles – the player collects items and solves puzzles to push the plot forward and solve the mystery.

Thimbleweed Park received a mostly positive critical reception.

Key Features
  • Explore the sleepy town of Thimbleweed Park
  • Investigate the town’s secrets to figure out the culprit behind a murder
  • Collect items and solve puzzles in the classic point-and-click puzzle game formula

realMyst: Masterpiece Edition

PC
NS
Genrespoint-and-click adventure
Developer:Terrible Toybox
Release year:March 30, 2017 (PC, XONE), August 22, 2017 (PS4), September 21, 2017 (Switch)
Game modes:single-player

Released in the mid-90s, Myst was one of the best representatives of the budding 3D adventure games genre. Re-released on modern computers and the Nintendo Switch console, realMyst: Masterpiece Edition brings back fond memories to those who played the original and gives a chance to experience the classic to those who didn’t.

The gameplay mechanics and the story of realMyst are pretty simple. The player wakes up on a remote island of Myst. Their job will be to explore it and learn about its past by solving puzzles related to Myst’s four ages. Each puzzle is different and will require the player to think outside the box, using knowledge gathered from all four ages, to solve them all.

realMyst: Masterpiece Edition was met with highly positive reviews from critics.

Key Features
  • The remake of a classic adventure game
  • Explore the island of Myst and learn about its history
  • Solve puzzles using knowledge gathered through exploration

Broken Sword: Shadow of Templars - The Director's Cut

PC
Genresadventure
Developer:Revolution Software
Release year:September 2, 2010
Game modes:single-player

Another cult-classic adventure game remake. Broken Sword takes the player into the world of conspiracies and secret societies, as two unlikely heroes – an American tourist and a French journalist – race against an organization aiming to take over the world using a mysterious Templar treasure.

The gameplay of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – Director’s Cut remains mostly the same compared to the original game. The player collects items to solve context puzzles and push the plot forward. However, unlike in the 1996 cult-classic, the player can control both protagonists of the game – George Stobbart and Nicole Collard.

Much like the original game, the Director’s Cut was met with a positive critical reception.

Key Features
  • Welcome to Paris – the city of love and adventure
  • Solve the mystery of the Templar artifact in a classic adventure gameplay
  • Play as both protagonists, George Stobbart and Nicole Collard

Syberia

PC
NS
Genresadventure
Developer:Microids
Release year:September 1, 2002 (PC), October 20, 2017 (Switch)
Game modes:single-player

We wrap our ist with Syberia – a classic point-and-click adventure game. Kate Walker, the protagonist of the game, is a young lawyer sent on behalf of her firm to settle a takeover of a small family business by a large corporation. While exploring the remote French town of Valadilène and getting to know its people, she’ll discover more than one skeleton in the closet.

The game is a representative of the classic, story-driven adventure games. The gameplay mechanics, similar to those in Broken Sword, take the backseat to the plot. The player can interact with the people and explore the town, searching for clues and items, solving all the mysteries Syberia has to offer.

Thanks to its intricate plot, Syberia received positive reviews from the critics.

Key Features
  • Explore a small French village and learn its tragic secrets
  • Solve puzzles by collecting items and clues and interacting with the people
  • Experience a suspenseful story of Kate Walker

One of the reasons puzzle games are still one of the most popular genres is that we, as players, like to be challenged. And while there are plenty of challenges requiring the players to think quickly on their feet with combat or make split-second choices that will decide on the course of the plot, solving in-game puzzles to move the story forward delivers a different kind of thrill. Using our brains to figure out a solution to the problem can boost our ego more than nailing a perfect 360 no-scope.