10 Best Puzzle Games to Play on Xbox
10 Best Puzzle Games to Play on Xbox image 1

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a puzzle game that tests your problem-solving skills and distracts you from the outside world for a few hours. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best puzzle games on Xbox, from puzzle platformers to sci-fi puzzlers.

1. Cocoon

Puzzle solving in Cocoon on Xbox.

Jeppe Karlsen, the lead gameplay designer of hits Inside and Limbo, has created a mesmerizing cosmic mystery with Cocoon. You play as a tiny bug-like creature and must combine and carry orbs — each with its own world inside — on your back to solve puzzles and uncover each orb’s unique ability. It’s a strangely calming game, with diverse alien biomes to explore and plenty of secrets to uncover, and you’ll find it addictive once you master the basics. Cocoon is available for Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X, and with an Xbox Game Pass too.

2. Venba

Cooking in Venba on Xbox.

Sometimes, you want a puzzle game with a perfect story, and Venba ticks both boxes. Set in the 1980s, it tells the tale of an Indian family that migrates to Canada, through the cooking of various delicious dishes from the mum’s recipe book, which becomes damaged during the move. Find the ingredients, restore the lost recipes, and get to know the family as you uncover the story. Venba is a beautiful little game with an emotionally engaging narrative, and you’ll get to know the characters through branching conversations and cooking their recipes. You can play Venba on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, and it’s also included on Game Pass.

3. Call of the Sea

Looking at a black and white photograph in Call of the Sea on Xbox.

Set in the 1930s, you play as a woman on the hunt for her husband, who’s missing on an expedition on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. You’ll explore a diverse and mysterious island, solving puzzles linked to the area’s history and mythology and finding out more about your husband and the island itself along the way. Call of the Sea is visually stunning thanks to its colorful South Pacific setting, and its gameplay is varied enough to suit those who wouldn’t usually enjoy puzzle games, too. It’s available to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

4. Superliminal

Optical illusions and perspectives inspire puzzles in Superliminal on Xbox.

Superliminal is one of those puzzle games that stays with you long after the end credits roll. This first-person puzzler will see you tackle seemingly impossible puzzles focused on optical illusions and perspective. You’ll need to think outside the box after you wake up without knowing where you are and realize you’re stuck in a strange dream. Things get pretty weird, and we won’t spoil it for you, but the intriguing narrator will help you make sense of what’s happening as you uncover the mysteries of the Pierce Institute and its dream therapy program. You can play Superliminal on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S and it’s now included with Game Pass.

5. Unpacking

Unpacking belongings in Unpacking on Xbox.

Unpacking was one of 2021’s stand-out indie titles, receiving critical acclaim for its storytelling and gameplay. It’s a Zen-like game, and as the title suggests, it’s all about moving into a new home and unpacking your belongings. As the untold narrative unfolds, you’ll move house eight times, getting to know the unseen protagonist through interaction with their belongings. The game is a captivating mix of block-fitting puzzles and home decoration — each item you unpack has a specific place it belongs, and finding it can sometimes prove challenging. You can play Unpacked on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S or enjoy it included with Game Pass.

6. Return of the Obra Dinn

Obra Dinn's unique monochromatic art style on Xbox.

At first glance, Return of the Obra Dinn looks like no game you’ve ever seen before. Its unique monochromatic art style harks back to the early days of Macintosh graphics. This retro vibe works well with the early 1800s setting of the game. You play as an insurance investigator for the East India Company’s London Office. Your job? Find the Obra Dinn, a merchant ship lost at sea on its journey from London to the Orient. You must board the boat and assess the damages — but what happened to the crew, and why was the ship lost in the first place? In this first-person adventure puzzler, you can manipulate time thanks to your pocket watch, which allows you to witness scenes from the past, gather clues, and solve the mystery of the Obra Dinn. You can play the game on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

7. Inside

A boy navigates an eerie dystopian world in Inside on Xbox.

From the creators of Limbo, Inside is a 2D puzzle platformer set in an eerie dystopian world. The game features a moody, muted art style and unsettling vibe as you play as a nameless boy who must navigate the various levels by solving puzzles and avoiding obstacles and hazards. These aren’t just simple puzzles, though, and will often require a degree of critical thinking to solve. You’ll piece together the story as you go along, so we won’t spoil anything here, but it’s a pretty dark story with some dark humor to match. You can play Inside on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, and it’s also included with Game Pass.

8. Portal 2

Using Portals to explore in Portal 2.

Released in 2011, Portal 2 is an older title but makes our list of the top puzzle games as it’s a classic. Though you don’t need to have played the first game to enjoy Portal 2, you’ll meet with a familiar protagonist, Chell, who wakes up in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. GLaDOS, the AI personality defeated in the first game, reappears and will test you by allowing you to escape using only the Portal gun. This device creates linked portals that allow you to travel through space and time. There’s a lot more to the plot, but the innovative puzzle mechanics and increasingly challenging difficulty level ensure that once you pick up Portal 2, you’ll struggle to put it down. Play it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S.

9. Human Fall Flat

Solving physics-based puzzles in Human Fall Flat.

With 23 floating dreamscape levels to crack, Human Fall Flat will keep you entertained for hours. You can play solo or grab up to seven friends for online co-op mode and dive into this physics platformer. You can even play with a friend in couch co-op. You play as Bob, a customizable human who can do simple things like climb ledges and grab objects. Each level has a variety of physics-based puzzles, each with multiple solutions and new environments to navigate, from Aztec temples to snow-capped mountains. Human Fall Flat is available on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S and is included with Game Pass. We’d recommend playing with friends for maximum hilarity and chaos!

10. The Turing Test

A spooky sci-fi world in The Turing Test.

If you prefer puzzle games with a strong narrative and a sci-fi setting, The Turing Test is a game you can’t afford to miss. In this first-person puzzler, you play as Ava Turing, an International Space Agency engineer who must discover what’s happened on Europa’s ISA research base. You’ll need to think logically and methodically to solve complex puzzles as you take control of AI machines and use your Energy Manipulation Tool to transfer power from one object to another. The story dives deep into human intuition and morality, and at times, the ambiance and narration can be downright spooky — though this isn’t a horror game.

Which of these puzzle games on Xbox will you be playing first? If puzzlers aren’t your thing, you might prefer our roundup of the best sports games on Xbox. Looking for something to play with your other half? Our pick of the best Xbox games for couples has you sorted.

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