7 Best Nintendo 3DS Puzzle Games for you to crack the code

Puzzle games are best played on the Nintendo 3DS. It's just the nature of the beast that puzzlers are best played on a portable device. Here are seven of the best puzzle games on the handheld console.

Best nintendo 3DS puzzle games

7. Nikoli's Pencil Puzzle

Nikoli’s Pencil Puzzle offers a delightful collection of four engaging logic and number puzzles, including Sudoku, Hashi, Akari, and Shikaku. With over two hundred Sudoku puzzles alone, players have plenty of opportunities to challenge themselves across four difficulty levels. Shikaku presents a unique twist by requiring players to outline empty grid squares based on numerical values, while Hashi tasks them with connecting nodes with lines according to specified numbers.

In Akari, players combine elements of Shikaku and Lights Out, illuminating an entire room by strategically placing lights based on surrounding numbers. The game features a clean and intuitive interface, accompanied by charming background visuals and pleasing music. Additionally, players have access to various customization options and helpful tutorials to enhance their gaming experience.

Nikoli’s Pencil Puzzle offers almost endless hours of brain-teasing entertainment for puzzle enthusiasts. The game's polished presentation and diverse puzzle selection make it a worthwhile investment for those who enjoy math puzzles and logic challenges.

6. Pokémon Battle Trozei

In Pokémon Battle Trozei, players are treated to a unique twist on the traditional matching puzzle game genre, infused with Pokémon-themed mechanics. Players navigate through a 6x6 grid, matching three or more Pokémon horizontally or vertically to trigger attacks against opponent Pokémon. The game's difficulty curve is steep yet addictive, demanding quick thinking and strategy as players progress through levels filled with varied challenges.

The game incorporates elements from the Pokémon universe, such as type matchups and abilities, adding depth to the puzzle-solving experience. Understanding these mechanics becomes crucial for efficient gameplay, as players strategically choose their matched Pokémon and utilize their abilities to overcome obstacles. Additionally, capturing defeated Pokémon to use as partners further enhances the strategic aspect of the game.

Pokémon Battle Trozei excels in providing hours of engaging gameplay. With approximately 15-20 hours required to beat the game and over 50 hours for completionists aiming to fully finish it, the game offers substantial playtime. Its randomized puzzles ensure replayability, providing a fresh and enjoyable experience with each playthrough. 

5. Tetris Axis

Tetris is an all-time G.O.A.T. puzzle game. In fact, it may be the only perfect video game in existence. Tetris Axis continues the iconic legacy of the Tetris series with its blend of classic gameplay and new modes. With modes like Marathon, Fever, Survival, Jigsaw, Fit, and Master Mode, the game offers a diverse and endlessly entertaining experience. Each mode presents unique challenges, from clearing lines as quickly as possible to completing a jigsaw puzzle using falling Tetris blocks. 

In terms of visuals, Tetris Axis impresses with stunning backgrounds and the inclusion of players' Miis dancing on the bottom screen. While the 3D effect adds little to the gameplay experience, the game's audio shines with a variety of music tracks to choose from, including classic Russian songs and Tetris theme remixes. This game is just beaming with content with over 20 modes, online leaderboards, achievements, and various features like AR and SpotPass functionality.

Tetris Axis’ addictive gameplay, diverse modes, and attention to detail make it a must-have for any 3DS owner. Whether you're a Tetris veteran or a newcomer to the series, this game promises a fun-filled and addicting experience that will delight players of all skill levels.

4. ByeBye Boxboy!

The BoxBoy! series, developed by HAL Laboratory, has garnered a dedicated following despite remaining relatively under the radar for most gamers outside of Japan. Bye-Bye BoxBoy! serves as a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, maintaining the series' high standard of quality. The game retains the minimalist visual style of its predecessors, with charming character animations and occasional bursts of color adding personality to the monochrome aesthetic. 

Soundtrack-wise, Bye-Bye BoxBoy features a soundtrack that complements the game's visuals, establishing a slightly melancholic mood. The music, while minimalistic, is atmospheric and effective. 

Gameplay revolves around Qbby, a box with legs who can generate additional boxes to solve puzzles. The game gradually introduces new elements and challenges, building upon established mechanics in a way that keeps players engaged and eager to see what comes next. 

Bye-Bye BoxBoy! offers a substantial amount of content with 22 worlds containing multiple levels each. While the main campaign is more tricky than challenging, bonus worlds provide a greater level of difficulty. Collecting crowns in each level adds an additional layer of strategy, rewarding players who find efficient solutions to puzzles. Despite not introducing many new mechanics, Bye-Bye BoxBoy! remains a standout entry in the series, offering a delightfully puzzle experience that fans are sure to enjoy.

3. Picross 3D: Round 2

Nintendo's surprise release of Picross 3D: Round 2 in the US delighted puzzle game fans, offering a sequel that lives up to its predecessor's legacy. The game maintains the core premise of solving puzzles by chiseling away parts of 3D objects based on numerical clues, now with the added challenge of painting unchiseled parts. This new mechanic enhances the gameplay depth and requires players to carefully strategize their approach.

The presentation of Picross 3D: Round 2 is polished, with puzzles organized thematically in an encyclopedia-like format within the Picross Cafe. Players earn points and gems by solving puzzles efficiently, unlocking additional content and features. The game offers various puzzle types, including time trials and diorama puzzles, providing ample variety and challenge for players of all skill levels.

Picross 3D: Round 2 offers substantial value with over 300 puzzles and hours of gameplay. The graphics and soundtrack contribute to the game's inviting atmosphere, allowing players to focus on puzzle-solving without distraction. While the controls may take some getting used to, and the game is unforgiving of mistakes, its overall polish and depth make it a worthwhile investment for fans of puzzle games.

2. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask marks the fifth installment in the series and the first on the 3DS, raising concerns about potential staleness in a heavily iterated franchise. However, the game manages to keep things fresh with its charming graphics, enhanced by the 3DS capabilities, and vibrant, cartoon-like aesthetics. The incorporation of the 3D effect adds depth to both cutscenes and gameplay, while the colorful environments brim with detail.

Voice acting booms in animated cutscenes and key plot conversations. The story unfolds through self-contained chapters, alternating between present-day investigations and flashbacks, reminiscent of British crime dramas in pacing. This narrative depth, combined with the puzzles, creates a captivating experience, offering players both mental challenges and engaging storytelling.

Touchscreen controls dominate gameplay, facilitating puzzle-solving and exploration. The game's extensive puzzle variety, totaling 150 in the main story, ranges from traditional riddles to more abstract challenges. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask presents a compelling package, blending engaging puzzles with a rich narrative experience, which is a totally rare characteristic for a puzzler.

1. Pushmo

Pullblox, known as Pushmo in some regions, stands out as a gem in Nintendo's digital shop, defying expectations with its critical and commercial success since its 2011 release. The game's graphics are clean and sharp, with detailed character animations and recognizable block structures. The pullblox structures themselves compensate with imagery ranging from animals to Nintendo characters. Leveraging the 3DS's capabilities, the game utilizes the 3D effect seamlessly.

Complementing the visuals, the musical score maintains a cheery tone without becoming repetitive, while effective sound effects aid in understanding gameplay actions. The game's story follows Mallo, a sumo wrestler-like character, navigating Pullblox Park to rescue children trapped in pullblox structures. Gameplay revolves around manipulating blocks to create pathways.

Pullblox excels in its puzzle variation and gradual difficulty progression, gradually introducing new elements and strategies while building on established concepts. With over 200 levels and an intuitive editor, the game offers ample content and creativity. Pullblox is hailed as a quintessential puzzle game, offering a nearly perfect package for 3DS owners and puzzle enthusiasts alike.