10 Puzzle Games That Were Critically-Panned But Popular

All modern video games are fundamentally considered as puzzle games. In fact, missions in much-awaited titles such as Final Fantasy XVI and beloved sequels like Horizon Forbidden West have puzzle aspects that add depth and dimension to their gameplay. However, those who want to tickle their brain without having to worry about combat or other gaming systems should instead look to pure puzzle games.

Related: 10 Best Puzzle Games On The Nintendo Switch

Portal 2, Baba Is You, and Braid are some of the top puzzle games that have been well-received by both critics and gamers alike. With the myriad of puzzle games available for gamers today, it's not surprising to see that some games have gained a ton of fans from the general public but have received low scores from critics.

10 Tetris Evolution

Tetris is arguably the world's most popular puzzle game. But unlike the critically-adored Tetris Effect, the 2007 variant Tetris Evolution wasn't a big hit with critics. Released on the Xbox 360, critics complained how the analog stick and 360 d-pads failed to provide precision for this particular puzzle game.

In spite of the aforementioned reason, Tetris Evolution was still thoroughly enjoyed by fans of puzzle games. This variant of the iconic puzzle game franchise gave players access to multiple customization options and brand new game modes. Furthermore, the newly-added ways to drop blocks have made Tetris Evolution a more exciting game compared to its predecessors.

9 I Heart Geeks!

I Heart Geeks! is a puzzle game that gets the job done. In this 2011 game by developer SevenOne Media, players assume the role of a geek who assists other students in helping their bullies finish their school work. Gamers like the game for its no-nonsense approach to puzzles and minimal dialogue.

However, some critics actually dislike the absence of narrative and story in the game. I Heart Geeks! also suffers from awkward tool placement issues to boot. The game's interactive missions, engaging puzzles, and fun boss battles weren't enough to woo game critics at the time of its release.

8 Paper Airplane Chase

Despite being a small handheld gaming console, the DSi is known for offering some of the most visually appealing games, such as Super Mario 64 DS and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. But for some reason, Nintendo decided to release Paper Airplane Chase for the DSi in 2009, which critics noted suffered from clunky and incredibly simplistic graphics and mechanics.

In the game, players need to maneuver a paper airplane across a winding track. Critics hated how visually stumped Paper Airplane Chase was, especially at a time when the iPhone was rising as a mobile gaming device with its impressive game lineup. Nevertheless, DSi gamers still bought Paper Airplane Chase and used it as a quick fix to quench their thirst for puzzles.

7 Puzzle De Harvest Moon

Life simulation games, such as The Sims and Stardew Valley, have gained a loyal following for their relaxed and escapist gameplay. Harvest Moon, another popular life simulation game, has gained a loyal following since its release in 1998. When the developer of Harvest Moon ventured into puzzle game territory with Puzzle De Harvest Moon, lots of gamers still supported the puzzle-centered spin-off of the franchise.

Much to the chagrin of the developers, Puzzle De Harvest Moon didn't make a huge splash with game critics. The game was criticized for being too easy, having bad design choices, and suffering from short play sessions.

6 Bliss Island

To its fans, Bliss Island is a fun collection of mini-games where they can play as Zwoophs, a blue, furry creature that blows gusts of air. But to its critics, Bliss Island is a horrible game that makes no attempt at building lovable characters and suffers from boring mechanics, as well as uninspiring challenges.

Related: 20 Best .IO Games Worth Wasting Your Time On

To add, some critics also think that Bliss Island is reminiscent of free flash games. That's not to say that flash games are incapable of being memorable and entertaining, but comparing a full-priced game to something that players can play for free on their browser is unfortunate.

5 Smart Bomb

Timed puzzle games are supposed to instill excitement, thrill, and fear into the minds of those who play them. Sadly, many critics think that Smart Bomb only succeeds in being an absolute waste of time. The game is notorious for having extremely slow load times and sluggish puzzles, making it one of the worst games to play for impatient folks.

But many gamers genuinely enjoyed Smart Bomb for being able to genuinely recreate the tenseness associated with being in the same room as a ticking time bomb. The game's techno music and fresh graphics have also made it a must-play puzzle game for PlayStation Portable players.

4 Napoleon Dynamite: The Game

The 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite deservedly gained a cult following thanks to its impeccable dialogue, quirky humor, and heartfelt tone. Riding off the popularity of the film is game developer 7 Studios, with them releasing Napoleon Dynamite: The Game in 2007.

The puzzle game is loved by the fans of the film as it allowed them to play several flash-based applications that are littered with visuals and graphic elements from the beloved source material. Game critics have blasted the game for being a low-quality licensed game that's worse than the flash games users can play for free online.

3 Puzzle Arcade

Completing jigsaw puzzles is a relaxing activity that many folks do during their free time. Having said that, this activity is mostly at home as it needs plenty of floor space and can take a while to complete. That's why having Puzzle Arcade on the Xbox 360 was a big relief for lovers of jigsaw puzzles, as it allowed them to finish a puzzle without having to worry about floor space or losing an important piece of the puzzle.

Related: The 10 Best Xbox 360 Games You Totally Forgot About

Unfortunately, critics think that Puzzle Arcade does not provide the same satisfaction a physical jigsaw puzzle provides. What's more, critics also say that the game is a nasty cash grab as there is a myriad of free jigsaw puzzles that one can play on their computer, provided that they're connected to the internet.

2 Mr. Driller Online

Old Bandai Namco titles such as .Hack and Klonoa are some of the best-received games from the leading game studio. Sadly, 2008's Mr. Driller Online is not one of them.

The Xbox 360 puzzle game has some of the worst critic reviews online. Some say that the game is not worth its price at the time of its release due to its scanty selection of game modes and faulty online gameplay. Meanwhile, other critics took offense to its simplistic mechanics. Regardless, Mr. Driller Online was still able to capture the hearts of Xbox 360 gamers thanks to its sickly sweet graphics and breezy puzzles.

1 Super Rub-A-Dub

In Super Rub-A-Dub, gamers are faced with puzzle challenges that involve small and huge rubber duckies. Essentially, the game requires the players to solve puzzles and lead the rubber duckies away from nasty sharks. With over 60 stages, puzzle fans love Super Rub-A-Dub for providing them with plenty of puzzles that have HD graphics and colorful stages.

On the other hand, critics panned the game for being dull and monotonous. Also, critics labeled Super Rub-A-Dub as a dignified demo game that has poor design choices and barely any gameplay. It goes without saying that critics who reviewed Super Rub-A-Dub think that gamers are better off spending their money on other puzzle games.

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