The Switch, like the Game Boy long before it, is the perfect platform for puzzle game lovers. The classics are well-represented on Nintendo’s console, as are newer series. If you’re looking for a game that tests your quick thinking abilities, these will do it. Here are the best Nintendo Switch puzzle games.
1. Picross S Series
There are a whole lot of games in the Picross S series on the Switch, and they’re all great. If you’re never tried picross before but you’re into puzzles like sudoku, you should definitely give it a shot. Basically, it’s a logic puzzle where you’re trying to complete a picture on a grid using clues about which spaces are filled in. Each game in the Picross S series has added new features like color puzzles, larger images you complete a small part of at a time, and so on.
2. Grindstone — Best Switch Puzzle Games
Grindstone launched on Apple Arcade, but it’s right at home on the Switch — and it may look like your typical match-three puzzle game, but it’s actually quite a different beast. You control a warrior named Jorj, who attacks enemies with his sword. The trick is that you can only attack one color of enemies in a single move, so you have to plan your attacks carefully. Smashing through ten monsters makes a Grindstone appear, which lets you switch your targeted enemy color and thus build longer chains of attacks. Grindstone will be familiar to anyone who’s played a match-three puzzle game, but it’s different enough to draw your attention. Plus, it’s just a really colorful and charming game.
3. Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 combines, as the name implies, the games of Tetris and Puyo Puyo. If you’re not familiar with the latter, you might know it as Doctor Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, and if you’re too young to remember that, then you might know it from the puzzle boss fight in Sonic Mania. There are lessons that can help you improve your skills, a variety of characters to select from, and even online co-op battles against bosses.
4. Baba is You — Best Switch Puzzle Games
Here’s what I said about Baba Is You when I included it on my 2019 GOTY list: “Baba is You is a true galaxy brain game. The core action of moving around and pushing blocks is so simple that nearly anyone can do it, but it gradually builds upon its foundation in surprising ways. This is a game that can feel frustrating when a puzzle seems impossible, but then makes you feel like a goddamn genius when you figure it out. Can’t escape from impassable walls? Change the rules so that you control the walls instead of Baba, and march the whole structure to the goal. The goal is out of reach? Push things around so that Baba Is Win and you automatically beat the level. From a design perspective, Baba Is You is an incredible accomplishment — it’s hard enough to design a regular puzzle game, but one where you can change the rules of the game itself? I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for designer Arvi Teikari to put together, but I’m glad he did.”
A game about sliding tiles with a slick Y2K aesthetic, CROSSNIQ+ offers a number of different modes to choose from, and features a wide array of customization options. If you’re playing against a friend, you can adjust one player’s difficulty to even the odds a little bit, control which items appear on the board, and even select from different characters with their own special abilities. CROSSNIQ+ also features various color options, which is always welcome in a game about matching tiles and makes the experience that much more accessible for colorblind players.
6. Tetris Effect: Connected
If you’re a Tetris fan, you have to play Tetris Effect. And if you’re not, the game might just convert you. It’s that good. By Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who also worked on Lumines (found later on this list), Tetris Effect is in many ways the ultimate version of the block-dropping formula. The main draw here is the campaign mode — yes, a campaign mode in a Tetris game — which takes you through the history of Earth and humanity, accompanied by an incredible soundtrack and dazzling visuals. The Connected version of the game even features a co-op mode where multiple players can combine their boards to play together.
7. World of Goo — Best Switch Puzzle Games
One of the games that kicked off the indie explosion of the late 2000s, World of Goo originally launched on the Wii but has since found its way to mobile devices, Windows, and the Switch. Gameplay is fairly straightforward — using a number of goo balls, you attempt to build structures to reach a goal. It sounds simple, but the real challenge (and fun) comes from the goo physics, as the towers and bridges you construct creak and topple under their own weight. Throw in an all-timer soundtrack that still gets stuck in my head over a decade after I played it, and World of Goo is well worth checking out (or revisiting) in 2022.
8. Panel de Pon
Included in the SNES offerings through the Switch Online service, Panel de Pon is unfortunately in Japanese, but it’s still one of the best puzzle games on the Switch. It isn’t too hard to figure out the menus, and once you’re into the game, you’ll be enjoying an incredible versus puzzle experience. If you subscribe to the higher-tier Nintendo Online service, you might also want to check out Pokemon Puzzle League, which is essentially the same game released for the Nintendo 64 with a Pokemon reskin.
9. Mini Motorways
Another title that first appeared on Apple Arcade in 2019, Mini Motorways has all the high production values typical of a game from that platform. It’s not just style over substance, though — it’s a thoughtful experience where players must draw roads on a grid to link houses and buildings together, managing traffic in an abstracted way. The design here all contributes to a singular experience, as visual and audio cues help you keep track of the action.
10. Lumines Remastered — Best Switch Puzzle Games
A lot of people missed out on Lumines when it was first released because it was a PSP exclusive. Designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi remastered the game in 2018, and it plays as well as ever — with the added bonus of having the music as it was originally meant to be heard, rather than the downsampled versions on the PSP. The objective of Lumines is pretty straightforward — you’re dropping and rotating blocks to create colored squares, like in many action puzzle games. The main difference here is that completed squares don’t disappear as soon as they’re formed. Instead, a “time line” sweeps across the screen on an interval, clearing out squares and granting points. The time line moves at a different pace according to the music in each stage, so each new level is a unique experience.