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Top 10 Hardest Puzzles in Video Games

Top 10 Hardest Puzzles in Video Games
VOICE OVER: Aaron Brown WRITTEN BY: Aaron Brown
These puzzles were so hard, they kept players from seeing parts of the game! Welcome to Watchmojo and today we're scratching our brains as we try to untangle these difficult video game puzzles. Our countdown of the hardest puzzles in video games includes The Piano from “Silent Hill” (1999), Learn Braille from “Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire” (2002), Small Space, Big Solution from “The Talos Principle” (2014), The Monolith from “Fez” (2012), and more!

Welcome to Watchmojo and today we’re scratching our brains as we try to untangle these difficult video game puzzles.

#10: The Ultimate Puzzle Challenge

“The Witness” (2016)

Admittedly any puzzles past a certain point in Jonathan Blow’s “The Witness” could leave players staring at the screen like it was their calculus homework. But we’re focusing specifically on what’s been dubbed ‘The Ultimate Puzzle Challenge.’ Not only do players need to work their way through these 14 brain teasers just to complete the challenge, there’s also a time limit that begins as soon as the player starts. Coupling this along with the fact that the puzzle automatically resets if the player pauses the game, and that the puzzles are randomly generated, not even the internet will be able to save you from this ultimate puzzle.

#9: The Piano

“Silent Hill” (1999)

Long before the “Silent Hill” franchise wanted players to earn an English Degree with the third entry’s Shakespearean puzzle, the original wanted you to tap into your inner child prodigy. This puzzle wants you to figure out how an original in-game poem ties directly to the keys on a piano. Thankfully, the game doesn’t go as far as expecting the player to actually learn the instrument. But figuring out the order of the black and white birds within the poem and how they affect which order the piano keys need to be pressed is still a nightmare. Honestly, this is scarier than anything the town had in store for us up to this point.

#8: The Hidden Ending

“Braid” (2008)

Jonathan Blow strikes again with his first indie game that exploded in the early days of the Xbox Live Arcade. Many still debate what the true meaning of the game’s ending and overall themes mean. But players who want to witness the true ending of this time-bending adventure are going to be in for headache-inducing time. With no indicators or hint markers pointing even to their very existence, players will need to find eight stars hidden throughout the game. Some are hidden off screen and one even requires the player to wait in place for over an hour. Given this level of difficulty for an invisible challenge, we shouldn’t be surprised Blow’s next game was absolutely nothing BUT brain teasers.

#7: The Goat

“Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars” (1996)

While the Rubber Duck from “The Longest Journey” easily could have made its way onto this list, The Goat from the very first “Broken Sword” is the stuff of legend. And for a good reason. In the days before the internet, this was when a lot of players’ journey with George Stobbart ended. Unlike most of the other puzzles within the game, this is one of the only timing-based challenges players need to contend with. With seemingly no other way into the castle than past the goat, everything players tried would get them booted by its horns. As it turns out, this was exactly what was supposed to happen. The player traps the goat by its leash, allowing them passage.

#6: Small Space, Big Solution

“The Talos Principle” (2014)

Akin to a mash up between “The Witness” and “Portal,” “The Talos Principle” has no shortage of puzzles designed to stump the player. But ‘Small Space, Big Solution' from the game’s DLC remains the title’s most difficult. “The Talos Principle” makes use of numerous different mechanics throughout its puzzles. And in this one, the puzzle doesn’t even follow the base game’s set of traditional rules. The player must connect both red and blue lasers to one connector, slowly making their way through the puzzle room one connector at a time. Thankfully, this is a secret area puzzle and not required for the game’s completion.

#5: Return of the Secret Pond

“Baba Is You” (2019)

“Baba Is You” is a unique puzzle game in which the player, in most cases anyways, is able to create their own solution to the game’s various puzzles. Like some of the other puzzles on our list, this is thankfully one not required for the game’s completion and is only for the most dedicated of players. However, it will certainly make you work for it. ‘Return of the Secret Pond’ sees players return to a level from earlier in the game but with a significantly increased challenge. The addition of the word “Has” raises the level difficulty far more than players would expect and only those with a firm grasp on the game’s mechanics should willingly accept Baba’s challenge.

#4: Learn Braille

“Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire” (2002)

You would think that the hardest thing about a “Pokémon” game wouldn’t amount to any more than becoming the very best and catchin’ them all. But to complete their Pokédex this time, players need to catch three legendaries. In order to do so, they’ll need to learn braille to decipher the clues inside some caves. What makes this additionally frustrating is that the game doesn’t save the translation guide to your inventory, forcing you to write down the entire alphabet to have on hand for each puzzle. Restrictions have also been placed on Pokémon and what moves they’re allowed to use. This led many players to be grateful this was an optional quest in their journey.

#3: The Most Difficult Trick

“Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals” (1996)

Sometimes a puzzle becomes so notorious, it develops its own cult following as well as extensive Reddit page. But then again, you don’t earn a name like “The World’s Most Difficult Trick” if you can’t back it up. What initially seems like a simple sliding block puzzle quickly evolves into a brain melting experience. We wouldn’t be surprised if it drove many players to quit, giving up on this challenge’s treasure until the internet eventually showed them the solution. With only two open slots to move the blocks in, the best possible scenario takes a ridiculous 116 steps to successfully complete the puzzle. The developers at least had the foresight to make this optional puzzle extremely difficult to find and not a part of the main game.

#2: The Marbles

“Riven” (1997)

The direct sequel to the granddaddy of puzzle games, “Riven” features a puzzle so ridiculously confounding, it remains a series legend even today. Just like every puzzle within “Riven,” the clues to this one's solution are there. But you need to have been taking very diligent notes or even know what you should be looking for beforehand. On a 25-by-25 grid, players need to place one of the colored marbles to correspond to the domes on each of the islands. However, if you weren’t paying attention to the map device on each island, you’re going to be doing a lot of backtracking. Even then, the game doesn’t tell you exactly which marble color goes with each island, leading to more research and backtracking.

#1: The Monolith

“Fez” (2012)

As if the perspective-shifting puzzler “Fez” wasn’t already brain-breaking enough, the game was hiding one final challenge for players who came back for a New Game + playthrough. Now with First Person unlocked, players discovered new previously unseen puzzles in the environment, but also unlocked the massive black monolith using a special button combination. However, players were given little to no direction on how to unlock the final super-secret red cube at its center. With no idea how to find their way inside, the “Fez” community eventually managed to brute force their way inside after roughly 60,000 different combinations. But they still had no real idea how the game wanted players to solve its mystery correctly.

How many of these puzzles were you able to solve without any help? Let us know which puzzles stumped you the most down in the comments.
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