Classical game of Breakout - break through the wall by hitting it with the ball
Insights from the gaming industry
Puzzle video games make up a unique genre of video games that emphasize puzzle solving. The types of puzzles can test many problem-solving skills including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion. The player may have unlimited time or infinite attempts to solve a puzzle, or there may be a time limit, or simpler puzzles may be made difficult by having to complete them in real time, as in Tetris.
The genre is very broad, but it generally involves some level of abstraction and may make use of colors, shapes, numbers, physics, or complex rules. Unlike many video games, puzzle video games often do make use of "lives" that challenge a player by limiting the number of tries. In puzzle video games, players often try for a high score or to progress to the next level by getting to a certain place or achieving some criteria.
Puzzle games focus on logical and conceptual challenges, although often the games add time-pressure or other action-elements. Although many action games and adventure games involve puzzles such as obtaining inaccessible objects, a true puzzle game focuses on puzzle solving as the primary gameplay activity. Games usually involve shapes, colors, or symbols, and the player must directly or indirectly manipulate them into a specific pattern.
Rather than presenting a random collection of puzzles to solve, puzzle games typically offer a series of related puzzles that are a variation on a single theme. This theme could involve pattern recognition, logic, or understanding a process. These games usually have a simple set of rules, where players manipulate game pieces on a grid, network or other interaction space. Players must unravel clues in order to achieve some victory condition, which will then allow them to advance to the next level. Completing each puzzle will usually lead to a more difficult challenge, although some games avoid exhausting the player by offering easier levels between more difficult ones.
In adventure games, some stages require solving puzzles as a way to advance the story