Best Puzzle Games for Nintendo Switch TechnoBuffalo 2020
Nintendo Switch has a vast catalog of games, including plenty of options that you won't find anywhere else. Some of its most overlooked titles are amazing puzzle games that get you thinking while you're playing video games. Out of everything available, the very best is Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker which makes the simple task of retrieving a star a delightfully fiendish experience.
- Best Overall: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
- Best Value: Sushi Striker
- Best Platformer: Inside
- Best Mashup: Puyo Puyo Tetris
- Best Competition: Battle Chef Brigade
- Best Co-op: Unravel 2
Best Overall: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Toad and Toadette are on an adventure all their own. Instead of teaming up with Mario, this adorably cheerful pair are exploring tiny worlds as they attempt to find priceless treasures like gems and stars. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a delightful puzzle game that has you exploring small levels that must be twisted and turned to find all of their secrets.
Each level in Treasure Tracker works off a pretty simple premise. You need to walk Toad from where you begin to where the star is hiding. However, in many cases, this is easier said than done. Each level is set up like a tiny world carved out of levels you might recognize from other Mario games. Only by twisting and turning the level will you be able to complete it. The primary goal is to find the star and move on. But there are also other bonus goals like collecting gems or golden mushrooms hidden away.
The look of Captain Toad is also stellar. It manages to evoke Mario's aesthetic while also delivering an experience that looks completely fresh. Considering this is a port from the Wii U generation of games, that's no small thing. There's also no shortage of levels. The game has more than 50 that you'll need to complete if you want to beat everything that the game throws at you.
Overall, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is everything that a puzzle game should be. It's fun, easy to pick up, looks fantastic, and will have you scratching your head as you try to work out how to beat each level you come across. It delivers an engaging experience whether you have been gaming for years, or you just bought your first console. It's approachable for players of any age or skill level.
- Awesome gameplay mechanics
- Great graphics
- More than 50 levels to explore and complete
- Lack of ability to jump may be frustrating for some players
- Levels get particularly tricky later on
Tiny obstacle courses
Figure out how to get to the star and collect gems along the way!
Best Value: Sushi Striker
In a world where wars have been fought over delicious plates of sushi, you are the Sushido Musashi. Throughout Sushi Striker, you'll move through a world where you battle against other chefs by collecting and linking plates of sushi to be thrown at your opponent.
Sushi Striker works by having you collect plates of sushi as they move on conveyor belts in front of you. You will collect the sushi and then link plates before throwing them at your opponent during battles to cause damage. Along the way, you also snag offensive and defensive skills with help from sushi sprites. During the campaign, you'll play through about 150 different battles, learning new skills, leveling up your sprites, and engaging in higher-level strategy for sushi battles.
- Adorable anime-inspired graphics
- Fun gameplay mechanics
- Great campaign mode
- Gameplay is chaotic until you get the hang of things
- A lot of moving parts to get acclimated to
- Campaign battles can rely too heavily on chance
War or sushi
Collect and link plates of sushi to be thrown at your opponent in battles over more than food.
Best Platformer: Inside
The world of Inside is painted in dark colors. Pitch black and moody gray dominate the environment with only a few pops of color here and there to give things more depth. The followup to Limbo, Inside is a 2D platforming puzzle game that has you running, jumping and dying as you play. Initially you break into a military complex, and things only get weirder the further you explore. While this is essentially a mixture of platform and puzzle game, it's also absolutely gorgeous with meticulous detail strewn across each level and frame.
Gameplay aims for simplicity with pared-down mechanics and controls. You have one button to jump, and another to interact with the surrounding environment, along with movement through each level. Solving the puzzles, you come across requires a variety of different methods. Sometimes you'll need to move items around while others require you to take advantage of platforming to complete objectives. As a physics-based puzzle game, it means that the variety of puzzles does need some trial and error to figure out, a sometimes difficult prospect because Inside lacks any kind of tutorial.
- Fun physics-based puzzle mechanics
- Great graphics
- Campaign is only 3 hours long
- No tutorial
The perfect blend of platform and puzzle
Comb through a mysterious military complex filled with brain-teasing puzzles.
Best Mashup: Puyo Puyo Tetris
When it comes to puzzle games, few are as well know as Tetris where you try to match lines of blocks as they drop from the top of the screen. Puyo Puyo isn't entirely as well known but works off of matching up colorful little blobs in groups of four. These two games combine in fusion mode, which lets you play a matching game that has aspects of both for something entirely new.
Puyo Puyo Tetris offers up a variety of play modes, including multiplayer options. Depending on how you want to play, you can check out each game separately or play the excellent fusion mode. You can also check out the epic 100-stage adventure which explains how the two games got smashed together. Once you've done that the competitive online multiplayer mode is a great way to continue enjoying the game once you've mastered everything single player has to offer.
- Fun mashup of gameplay mechanics
- Variety of play modes
- Awesome 100-stage adventure
- Later adventure levels can be quite difficult
- Getting the hang of fusion mode can take some time
Two games enter one game leaves
Enjoy the perfect mashup of Puyo Puyo and Tetris in this excellent puzzle game built to be played alone or with friends.
Best Story: Battle Chef Brigade
In the realm of Victusia, the members of the Battle Chef Brigade are known far and wide. They use their abilities to hunt down monsters and then use them to create delicious dishes for people to eat. This high stakes competition isn't easy to get into though, and in this game, you follow one of two different protagonists as they journey through the tournament.
Gameplay is a mixture of several different types of games that come together into a delightful package. You have RPG style character progression as you wander through town and talk to people and platformer combat as you find and hunt down monsters. There are also bejeweled style puzzles that have you cooking up monster parts and using specific items to help you out along the way. Along the way you'll also be able to upgrade your tools and techniques along the way to earn better scores when competing.
- Awesome hand-drawn graphics
- Fun gameplay mechanics
- Trial and error to figure out what gear you need for encounters
- Tasks become repetitive later in the game
Become a master chef
Hunt down monsters, cook up their parts and compete in competitions to become the best Battle Chef around!
Best Co-op: Unravel 2
Yarny is back in a whole new adventure in the platformer that takes you down to a tiny scale. This time a second yarny joins in the fun for a co-op adventure. While this game can be played all by yourself, it's far superior with a friend. That's because Unravel 2 delivers a co-op experience that requires more than just two bodies running side by side across the screen.
The puzzles you run into require genuine cooperation both on and offscreen. Offscreen you have to communicate with your partner since precise timing is needed to complete puzzles. On-screen, this translates to having one player hold yarn while the other rappels, swings, build bridges, and more. The world you're playing through is gorgeous. You're playing as a tiny creature, so the perspective of the world is super zoomed in, letting you spot tons of normal items that are suddenly much larger than usual.
- Cooperation is necessary to complete levels
- Awesome graphics
- Fun mechanics
- Story isn't compelling
Run, jump, swing, and rappel through a giant world as Yarny. Do it with friends, and you get a hilarious cooperative experience.
Every game that made our list brings something different to the table. Whether you want to play classic puzzle games, try a platforming option, or just check out a game that delivers a fun story, there is an option here that will appeal to you. However, the absolute best puzzle game on Nintendo Switch is definitely Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
This game shows off just what a puzzle game can be. It's got gorgeous graphics, and is easy to pick up but delivers puzzles on small levels that will have you scratching your head as you try to figure them out. With multiple objectives and more than 50 levels to figure out, there is plenty here to keep you busy.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jen Karner has been a gamer for more than twenty years and has spent countless hours trying to beat her Tetris score. You can follow her on Twitter
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