There are few gaming experiences that can surpass the feeling of overcoming a challenge in a puzzle game. Whether it’s getting first place in Tetris 99 or cracking a mind-bending word combination in Baba is You, puzzle games can bring the most satisfaction out of any game genre out there. That’s why it’s great to see Steam celebrating the genre with a dedicated sale.
Between now and May 1, lots of notable titles are discounted during Steam Puzzle Fest, giving you a good opportunity to stack your PC library with some incredibly clever games. What’s more exciting, though, is that many of the best games featured during the sale cost less than $10. At that price point, you’ll find some genre-defining classics and recent hits that are worth checking out. If you’re looking for some new games to pick up during the Steam Puzzle Fest, these are some games that you shouldn’t ignore — and the whole batch will only cost you around $60.
Portal and Portal 2 — $1.48
Kicking off this list, we two of the most iconic puzzle games of all time. Portal, while extremely short, was quite mind-blowing at the time of its release because of how it got players to “think with portals.” It included a variety of puzzles that could be solved by placing portals, which players could move themselves and objects through. Portal 2 offers more of that already great formula, with lots of new puzzles to solve, hysterical writing, and an excellent co-op mode that can be enjoyed with a friend.
The Portal games are some of the most tightly designed first-person puzzle games out there, and they are centered around a mechanic that still feels novel to this day. Both Portal and Portal 2 are just $1 each during this puzzle game sale (or you can pick up the Portal Bundle for $1.48). Any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to pick these games up if they somehow haven’t played them already.
Dorfromantik — $9.79
Those looking for a much more relaxed puzzle gaming experience will want to check out Dorfromantik. This indie game turns city building into a puzzle, as players continuously build an ever-growing village landscape with various tiles they receive. Some in-game challenges give Dorfromantik a sense of progression, but for the most part, it’s easy to relax and just enjoy the sights and sounds as your city and the surrounding area build up over time. It’s discounted to $9.79 during Steam Puzzle Fest and is a worthwhile pickup for anyone who likes a laid-back experience.
Freshly Frosted — $6.69
Do you like donuts and cookies? Then you’ll probably really enjoy Freshly Frosted. This is a puzzle game based around conveyor belts, which players must properly align if they want to make and properly decorate the pastries they are making at their donut factory. Freshly Frosted’s cute aesthetic is what truly makes this memorable; you’ll probably get a taste for donuts by just playing it. And during Steam Puzzle Fest, you can pick it up for just $6.69 — the cost of half a dozen donuts.
Strange Horticulture — $9
For those looking for a puzzle game that doesn’t really play like anything else, Strange Horticulture is a strong option. This mysterious botany title is centered around players running a plant story, but it quickly expands as players uncover an occult conspiracy while sorting plants. Strange Horticulture is a tough game to describe, but for those who enjoy oddball genre swings that take joy in doing something new, it’s worth picking up for just $9 on sale.
Railbound — $9.74
Sometimes, a puzzle game just needs to find a simple gimmick and get the most it can out of that idea. Railbound is a perfect example of that, as it fully explores the idea of a puzzle game centered around the act of laying down railroad tracks so train carriages can connect in the right order. While initially quite easy, the deceptive simplicity of Railbound makes it continuously engaging as the puzzles get harder and harder; you’ll consistently feel you’re just a revelation or two away from solving the rail-based conundrum in front of you. If you missed Railbound when it launched last September, consider picking it up for just $9.74 ahead of May 1.
Superliminal – $10
Superliminal takes some notes out of Portal’s playbook, as this is a puzzle game that’s all about perspective. Instead of portals, though, the hook is that objects can drastically change size depending on how you look at them. For example, if you grab a small chess piece and lift it above your character’s head, it’ll come crashing down like a giant monolith when you let go of it. This opens up lots of opportunities for clever puzzles and will forces players to constantly analyze the environment and their perspective within it. For just $10 during this sale, Superliminal is a great choice for those who’ve already played the Portal games but a looking for a new first-person puzzle game.
Puyo Puyo Tetris and Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 — $5 and $7.49
For those that prefer more arcade-style puzzle games, there are no better choices during the Steam Puzzle Fest than Puyo Puyo Tetris or Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. As their names suggest, these are crossover games that combine Sega’s hectic creature color-matching puzzle series with the iconic falling Tetrominos of Tetris. While both can be played independently from each other, the Fusion mode that combines them is the most novel thing about them. If you’re familiar with one of these series but not the other or are just are wondering what they’d look like smashed together, these are worth a shot. Like Portal, you’re well off no matter which version of the game you choose to pick up. The sequel just introduces more gameplay modes and deepens the mechanics outside of the puzzles in the game’s story mode.
Regardless of what you decide to pick up, it’s clear that there are lots of great options to choose from during the Steam Puzzle Fest. This sale runs until 10 a.m. PT on May 1.
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