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The best puzzle games on Xbox Game Pass

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Looking for a good puzzle game to sink your teeth into on Xbox Game Pass? Look no further. Depending on your mood, sometimes there’s nothing finer than getting lost in a puzzle game. They come in various shapes and sizes, but the best ones are those that truly make your brain itch as you try to think of solutions. Lucky for you, there’s a good selection of puzzle games on Xbox Game Pass, and we’ve rounded up our favourites.

Some of the games on this list are adventure games, others are pure puzzles. But they all have one thing in common: they’ll get those cogs in your head turning as you try to figure your way through them.

1. The Case of the Golden Idol

Case of the Golden Idol screenshot
Image: Color Gray Games

If detective games are your thing, then The Case of the Golden Idol is undoubtedly one of the best puzzle games you can sink your teeth into on Xbox Game Pass. With a retro art style, you’ll be presented with different scenarios to try and solve. It’s up to you to work out the suspect, deduce a motive and piece together exactly what happened.

The Case of the Golden Idol uses a novel word-based solution system, so you’ll need to find all the clues to unlock all available words. When you’ve got everything, you’ll have to figure out where your clue words fit in order to come up with a solution.

2. Botany Manor

Botany Manor screenshot
Image: Balloon Studios/Whitehorn Games

We just don’t have enough good things to say about Botany Manor: it’s wonderful in just about every way. Set in the late 1800s, it casts you as a skilled botanist. The puzzles of the game revolve around figuring out how to make rare plants bloom and, in order to find the solutions, you’ll need to explore the beautiful rooms and gardens of a sprawling manor.

It’ll only take a few hours to complete Botany Manor, but you’ll have an absolutely wonderful time as you make your way through its puzzles. Using unique ways to make plants bloom — such as using camera flashes or a rotoscope projector — is seriously neat, and piecing together information to come up with a solution feels very rewarding.

Read our review of Botany Manor

3. Return to Monkey Island

Return to Monkey Island
Image: Terrible Toybox/Devolver Digital

As far as point and click puzzle games go, they don’t get much better than the Monkey Island series. And in 2023, we were treated to a brand new game in the series: Return to Monkey Island.

With series creator Ron Gilbert back at the helm, it’s just as good as it’s ever been. Players take control of mighty pirate Guybrush Threepwood as he puzzles his way through an adventure like no other.  You’ll need to explore, gather items, talk to the folk around town and use your noggin to get through it. Or, you know, just look up a walkthrough online.

Read our review of Return to Monkey Island 

4. A Little to the Left

A Little to the Left
Image: Secret Mode

If you enjoy sorting stuff, then A Little to the Left is undoubtedly going to be one of the best puzzle games on Xbox Game Pass for you. This lovely little sort ’em up is filled with dozens of unique puzzles: some might ask you to sort out a junk drawer, while others want you to arrange books in a logical order.

Some of the game’s puzzles are a little more obtuse, but there’s certainly more good than bad here. We particularly love that some puzzles have multiple solutions: if it makes more sense for you to sort something by colour than by size, for example, A Little to the Left caters for you.

Read our review of A Little to the Left

5. Escape Academy

Escape Academy preview 2

A game all about escaping from rooms, Escape Academy is undoubtedly one of the best puzzle games you’ll find on Xbox Game Pass. You take on the role of a new recruit at the prestigious Escape Academy – a school for escape artists.

Each level of Escape Academy is a themed room, packed with expertly designed puzzles for you to solve. You’ll need to hunt down combinations to doors, figure out how to get past secure locks, and search the environment for clues. It’s brilliant – and you can even play in co-op if you want to bring a friend along for the ride.

Read our review of Escape Academy

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