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Vote: Best puzzle game of 2012

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Puzzles of every kind abounded this year. Which was your favourite?

Puzzles of every kind abounded this year. Which was your favourite?

Of all of the polls I have so far run on Screen Play in the past week, none has been as difficult to put together as this one. Puzzle games are everywhere, on mobile phones, tablets, PCs, game consoles, and handheld gaming devices.

The indomitable rise of casual gaming, with its strong lean toward puzzles, means that it is not unusual for a dozen or more puzzle games to be released in a single week across a dozen platforms. iOS gaming alone saw enough puzzle game releases in 2012 to pad out a hefty poll all on its own.

The big problem I had writing this list was drawing a hard line between puzzles and action games. I decided to weight it up between twitch reflexes and problem-solving. A puzzle game is one that presents a problem to be solved, though it may be under increasingly stressful conditions, while a game that is all twitch all the time has been listed under action.

With that in mind, let's go over some of the nominees for best puzzle game of 2012.

It's been a busy year for Rovio, of Angry Birds fame. The Finnish game studio released no less than four games across a multitude of platforms in 2012. The Angry Birds franchise alone got two new editions in Angry Birds Space, which introduced variable gravity and planetary orbits, and Angry Birds Star Wars, bringing physics-based destruction to George Lucas's universe. They also released Amazing Alex, a Rube Goldberg machine-building game, and Bad Piggies, an Angry Birds spin-off in which the green pigs construct rickety vehicles and aircraft.

While puzzle games tend to be more casual types of games, there are still a few big event games in the genre. Professor Layton is arguably the diva of puzzle games, the super-star character who can sell significant numbers of units of full-priced packaged games. His latest adventure, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, was his first appearance on the 3DS, and it was an exceptional entry in the series, with good puzzles and a well-told story.

The 2012 launches of the PS Vita handheld and the Nintendo Wii U console also came with some superbly puzzling launch titles. One of the PS Vita's best launch games was the new version of the classic Lumines franchise, with its music-infused falling-blocks gameplay. My personal Wii U launch highlight was Scribblenauts Unlimited, the series entry that finally executed a great formula perfectly.

We will be here all day if I talk about every game on the list, though, so we'd better get on with the voting. Once again, because the list of nominees is so ridiculously long, you may select three games before finalising your vote. Make sure you tick three boxes and then click the "vote" button; you can only vote once! As before, results will be kept secret until I reveal all of the winner later in the week, but you can discuss your favourites in the comments below.

Thanks for voting, everyone.

 - James "DexX" Dominguez

twitter DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

4 comments so far

  • No Virtue's Last Reward? Sure its primarily a visual novel but it does have puzzles every now and then. I found a lot of them to be pretty hard, but doable. The puzzles here are much better than the ones in 999.
    As for the other votes, Professor Layton is always a good staple for the genre. I decided to give my 3rd vote to Quantum Conundrum despite its many flaws, as the concept was interesting enough.

    Commenter
    Raito
    Date and time
    December 18, 2012, 7:23AM
    • Indie game "Snapshot" is one of my picks for the year in terms of puzzlers - clever mechanics around a great base concept.

      Commenter
      Schmole
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 18, 2012, 9:02AM
      • Papo & Yo? Fez? (I know that came under platforming but I think the puzzle part's more important)

        I enjoyed MacGuffin's Curse, too.

        There are several point-and-click adventure games I'm tempted to mention, too, but I guess that's a slightly different thing.

        Commenter
        Cha
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        December 18, 2012, 9:10AM
        • (hating to be that guy, but) No Botanicula? While i'm a self-confessed Amanita Design fanboy after Machinarium, it was honestly some of the best point+click storytelling/puzzle gaming I've enjoyed in recent years. Brilliant soundtrack too!

          Commenter
          Arran
          Date and time
          December 18, 2012, 9:35AM

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