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Thinky Games That
Sidestep Right
Thinking
 
Thinky games are an increasingly popular type of video game that call on your brain power more than your reactions. You complete levels and progress by working out the (often impossible-seeming) solution to the scenario in front of you. They are a deeply satisfying challenge, particularly when you find the answer to a tricky conundrum the develop has presented you.

However, there are some of these games that take a different form. Rather than coming up with impressively convoluted, iterative or brain-stretching puzzles, they offer a more malleable challenge. They still rely on you ingenuity but don't insist you solve thinks in the singular right way.

Instead, they offer you scenarios that can be solved in different ways with the tools at your disposal. You often find yourself thinking around a problem rather than trying to work out how the developer intended things to be solved.

Dorfromantik

Dorfromantik is a peaceful village-building strategy puzzle game for one player, inspired by tile-based board games like Carcassonne. You have a stack of hexagonal tiles and work to match their edges while creating areas of towns, forests and fields to...

Design

Mini Metro

Mini Metro is a sequencing strategy game where you create an ordered, efficient underground train system. It sounds like hard work, but the simple Tube-map visuals, calm music, and streamlined interactions make this relaxing, like sudoku. Dip your toe...

Zen Bound

Zen Bound is a puzzle game about wrapping objects in rope. With a relaxing soundtrack and calm visuals you are present with different objects with an attached rope of a specific length. Using a mouse, touch or tilt controls you transfer paint from the...

Prune

Prune involves carefully cutting off tree branches to encourage a tree to grow in a particular direction. It starts simply but turns into a challenge that parents and young children to work on together.

Experiement

Overboard

Overboard is a murder mystery narrative game played in reverse. You murder your husband at the start of the game and then try and get away with it. It's played on a ship where the characters are affected by your choices and changes their actions...

Donut County

Donut County offers a simple style of play. You drag a hole around the screen; the more things you can make fall in, the bigger the hole gets. You start with bricks, road cones and bushes, but eventually you’re swallowing whole houses.

Heave Ho

Heave Ho is a game where up to four players try and swing themselves across a level. But you can only hang on to certain points and must dangle and swing with both arms to progress. The twist is that you can also hold hands with other players and make...

Wordle

Wordle is a daily puzzle game where you (and anyone else playing that day) try and guess the secret word. You get six guesses that must be real words. Each letter is then coloured to provide clues: green for the right letter in the right place, yellow...

Katamari Damacy Reroll

Katamari Damacy Reroll is a puzzle game where you control a sticky ball. The aim is to roll up as much stuff as possible, making yourself as big as possible. The game starts small by simply having you pick up thumbtacks, game pieces, and caramels...

Baba is You

Baba is You requires some lateral thinking. Each level is controlled by rules written on the screen, such as ‘Lava is Hot’, ‘Wall is Stop’ and ‘Flag is Move’. By moving the words around with your pixelated character, you subvert the...

World of Goo

World of Goo is a puzzle game where you use balls of goo to create bridges that span increasingly large chasms and obstacles. The game simulates real-world physics to determine if structures are strong enough and when they collapse. This means that...

Membrane

Membrane is a traversal puzzle game where you fire blocks into the world to build, bend and break the platforms. Play involves running and jumping around the world, more unusually you can change the levels by firing objects that work with the game...

Mosa Lina

Mosa Lina is a platform brain game where you are granted three random abilities to complete each self-contained level. You can always walk and jump around the level, but this is aided (and sometimes hindered) by the selected abilities at your disposal...

Kaiju Super Datetech

Kaiju Super Datetech is a robot dating simulator where you create a machine from simple parts with the unusual aim of attracting a monster date. You run around the simple level to pick up components and place them on your robot. It stands out for the...

Order

Unpacking

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out where...

A Little To The Left

A Little To The Left is a puzzle game where you tidy a house into meticulous order. Each puzzle presents everyday objects and some evidence of how they should be organised. The challenge is you have to deal with a mischievous cat who likes to make a mess.

Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds is an exploration space mystery about a solar system trapped in an endless time loop. After twenty minutes of game time, you must start again – but each time brings a new opportunity to learn how you ended up on the planet and solve the...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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