Isnʼt Every Game A Puzzle Game


When we think of puzzle games, we often imagine games like Sudoku, crosswords, or jigsaw puzzles. These games typically involve solving a problem or completing a specific task using logic, strategy, and critical thinking. However, if we take a closer look, we can argue that almost every game incorporates elements of puzzles. Whether it’s a classic platformer, a first-person shooter, or even a racing game, puzzles are an inherent part of the gameplay. In this article, we will explore the idea that every game is, in essence, a puzzle game.

What is a puzzle game?

Before diving into the concept of every game being a puzzle game, let’s establish what defines a puzzle game. A puzzle game is a genre that challenges players to solve problems, complete tasks, or manipulate objects in a logical and strategic manner. These games often require critical thinking, pattern recognition, and problem-solving skills to progress or achieve a desired outcome. Examples of popular puzzle games include Tetris, Portal, and Candy Crush Saga.

Puzzles in different game genres

While puzzle games may have their own dedicated genre, elements of puzzles can be found in a wide range of other game genres as well.


Platformers, such as Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog, may seem like straightforward action games, but they frequently incorporate puzzle elements. Players must navigate through a level, avoiding obstacles, timing jumps, and finding hidden paths. These challenges require players to think critically about the environment and utilize their problem-solving skills.

Action-adventure games

Action-adventure games, like The Legend of Zelda series or Tomb Raider, often involve exploring vast worlds, finding hidden treasures, and overcoming obstacles. These games frequently include puzzles that players must solve to progress. These puzzles can range from deciphering ancient scripts to manipulating objects in the environment to unlock secret passages.


Role-playing games (RPGs), such as the Final Fantasy series or Skyrim, are known for their immersive storytelling and character development. However, they also feature puzzle-like elements in the form of quests and riddles. Players must use their problem-solving skills to unravel mysteries, find hidden items, and progress the narrative.

Racing games

Even in fast-paced racing games like Need for Speed or Mario Kart, players encounter puzzles in the form of track layouts and strategic decision-making. Analyzing the best racing line, choosing when to use power-ups, and avoiding obstacles all require critical thinking and strategic planning.

The cognitive benefits of puzzle games

By recognizing that every game incorporates puzzle elements, we can appreciate the cognitive benefits that gaming provides. Puzzle games, in particular, have been associated with several positive mental effects, including:

Improving problem-solving skills

Puzzles demand logical thinking, pattern recognition, and the ability to break complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts. By playing games that incorporate puzzles, players can enhance their problem-solving skills, which can be applied to real-life situations as well.

Enhancing critical thinking abilities

Games that require players to think critically and make strategic decisions help develop their ability to analyze situations, evaluate options, and make informed choices. This skillset is valuable in various aspects of life, from decision-making at work to problem-solving in personal relationships.

Boosting memory and concentration

Puzzle games often require players to remember patterns, solve riddles, and retain information. By regularly engaging in these types of games, players can improve their memory and concentration, which can have positive impacts on academic and professional performance.


While puzzle games may have their own dedicated genre, the idea that every game incorporates puzzle elements is worth considering. Whether it’s a platformer, an action-adventure game, an RPG, or a racing game, puzzles are present in almost every gaming experience. Recognizing this fact not only broadens our perspective on gaming but also allows us to appreciate the cognitive benefits that gaming, particularly puzzle games, can offer. So, the next time you pick up a controller, remember that you are not just playing a game – you are engaging in a puzzle-solving experience.

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