Why Are Puzzles the Most Popular Online Games?

The evolution of puzzles

Some of the most well-known forms of puzzle games include jigsaw puzzles, Rubik’s cube and crossword puzzles. These classic types of puzzles have been easily transformed into computer games, but the virtual trait of digital games allowed expanding the puzzle concept even further creating new genres.

The popularity of puzzle computer games, rapidly increased thanks to the Internet, as many of them became online, browser-based games. The easy access, large variety and affordable prices are the main advantages that led to the huge success of online puzzle games correlated with the increasing number of people that play games online. There are many types of computer puzzle games, and below you will find a list with some of the most important categories.

Main types of puzzles

Action puzzles contain the “problem solving” component with extra challenges, such as time limits per game or per level. There can be “falling-block” action puzzles, such as Tetris, and even more refined combinations of several elements such as platform games. These usually require controlling a character’s actions to advance through levels built as platforms. While action elements can consist of various obstacles and enemies which have to be dealt with in various ways such as shooting, fighting or avoiding, the puzzle element is still present, requiring the player’s logic to find objects, open doors, disable traps… etc.

Tile-matching games are a type of puzzle that requires matching three or more objects based on their color, shape and other characteristics in order to eliminate them until the entire board is cleared. Some of them are also known as color-matching games or match-three games. The tiles/pieces can be matched in multiple ways such as “falling block” (e.g. Tetris), swapping (e.g. Bejewled) or shooting (e.g. Zuma).

Physics puzzles require the player to use the game’s physics to complete the puzzle. Some physics games also require good reflexes as the player has to quickly perform a series of actions like launching/shooting objects to clear paths/destroy structures (e.g. Angry Birds), triggering power-ups or removing objects to create a chain of actions (e.g. Cut the Rope).

In hidden-object puzzles the player has to find items hidden within an image. Many of them are free, but even paid ones are usually inexpensive. Hidden-object puzzles became very popular as casual games.

Many traditional puzzles such as Solitaire, Mahjong and Chess have been implemented as computer games. Word puzzles, spot the difference, mathematical puzzles such as Sudoku and others are among the large number of classic puzzles that can be played as online games.


There are many kinds of games, but through their endless variety and online availability, online puzzle games are currently the most popular. Dedicated websites allow users to play games online at no cost, puzzles included. However, the game variety goes way beyond puzzles, from action, shooting and strategy games to arcade, card and board genres.