10 of the Best Mind-Bending Puzzle Games to Play on the Gear VR

by David Cristo • June 29th, 2016

The puzzle game genre has a significant and growing presence on the Gear VR Store. Puzzle games present themselves as a challenge of intelligence and who can turn down a chance to prove their mental prowess? Some of best titles have been available since the launch of the Gear VR consumer edition, including the indie murder mystery Dead Secret and the exploratory adventure Land’s End from the creators of the mobile sensation Monument Valley. More titles have been added over the past six months, including two new instant favourites Floor Plan and Please, Don’t Touch Anything.

These and many other puzzle games add a unique, mind-twisting take to the genre in a virtual reality environment and nearly all of them offer a first-person perspective. Let’s take a look at the best puzzle games for Gear VR. Or if multiplayer VR games are more your style, don’t forget to check out our list of the best Gear VR games you can play with your friends.

Dead Secret

Dead Secret is a murder mystery and you’re on the scene to investigate the killing of Harris Bullard. Be warned, this thriller from Robot Invader isn’t for the faint of heart. There are certainly some elements of Dead Secret that will have you jumping out of your seat. If you’re still daring enough to try it, you’ll find yourself in a rural home searching for clues about Bullard, his associates, and his eccentric work and inventions. Be ready to feel a pit in your stomach every time you look behind you. Who killed Bullard? Are there supernatural forces at play? Are you alone?

If you enjoy this style of game, you may also want to give Dark Days a look as well.

Available Platforms: Gear VR, Oculus Rift, non-VR version on PC, Mac (Steam)

Esper 1 and Esper 2

If you’re a fan of Valve’s Portal games, you’ll want to pay attention to Coatsink Software’s Esper and Esper 2. The first is somewhat short, but satisfying, while the sequel takes you to a range of locales and will get your even more bang for your buck. The brief plot of Esper revolves around testing your ability to move objects with your mind. You’ll find yourself in an office that doubles as your testing room, and you’ll go through a series of tests that require you to move balls, Rubix cubes and more to solve the puzzle.

In Esper 2, you’ll be putting your telekinetic ability to use in order to stop the main villain from completing his evil plan. Like the Portal series, both games include quirky narrators and Esper 2 even includes comedic narration from the likes of Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and other familiar voices. You’ll certainly be able to play using the touchpad, but controllers are supported and I’d recommend using one if you have it.

Available Platforms: Esper 1 exclusive to Gear VR; Esper 2 available on Gear VR, Oculus Rift

Land’s End

Land’s End was developed by ustwo games, the creators of Monument Valley. Admittedly, it’s actually categorized as an “exploration” game, but there are some simple puzzles along the way to add some minor challenge to the adventure. If you loved the pace, colors and modern aesthetic of Monument Valley, you’ll feel right at home in Land’s End. Explore five unique environments from a first-person perspective in this beautiful 3D world and be sure to give yourself time to take in the sights.

You can even take screenshots on the environments and find them in your phone’s photo gallery when you’re done. This is definitely the most relaxing title on this list.

Available Platforms: Exclusive to Gear VR

Neverout

Time to find out if you’re claustrophobic. Setapp’s Neverout will lock you in a cube and leave you for dead. Don’t get too excited when you escape the cubed room though, you’ll just find yourself in another. As you approach the room walls, the entire room will rotate, which you’ll need to use to your advantage to reach the exit. The rooms get more complicated by adding in a series of different elements, including crates that will crush you if you rotate the room at the wrong time.

If you can make that all work for you, it’s as easy as avoiding the murderous traps and electrical charges, and you’re practically free. There are more levels than you can shake a deadly stick at, so you won’t be disappointed by the amount of content here.

Available Platforms: Exclusive to Gear VR

Hidden Temple – VR Adventure

The good news is that you’ve just found an underground temple full of gold. The bad news is that your escape rope has snapped and you’ll need to find another way out. HandyGames’ Hidden Temple has easy, but enjoyable puzzles in this beautifully rendered environment.

Move from room to room with simple controls and collect items to progress through the different challenges. Some items will even combine with others and you’ll need to scan the rooms for visual clues as well. While a controller is supported, this is one of the few games that I would recommend using the intuitive “gaze” control option. Will you be able to find an exit and escape, or become one of the many skeletons scattered underground?

Available Platforms: Gear VR, Android, iOS

Hitman GO: VR Edition

You may already know of Hitman GO from other platforms such as Android or iOS, but if you haven’t played it yet, VR may be the reason you do.  This turn-based puzzler from Square Enix Montreal requires you to get to the end of each scene without being detected by enemies, but what makes it even more challenging are the other objectives for each level. Levels typically have a suitcase to collect somewhere along the way,  and you may need to complete the level multiple times to achieve all of the goals that include killing all of the enemies, not killing any enemies, or even completing the level with the least number of moves possible.

The difficulty increases as you get to later levels thanks to weapons,  stairs and even new opponents. The Gear VR version takes the visuals a step further and using a compatible gamepad will make controls much easier.  You can rotate the three dimensional board to get different perspectives and plan your next move and the floating menu options make a subtle, but good use depth. If you’re considering Hitman GO, now may be the time. We called the VR edition the “ultimate version” of the game in our hands-on impressions.

Available Platforms:  Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Non-VR versions for PC (Steam, Windows Store), PS4, PSVita, Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Floor Plan

One of the newest and most unconventional puzzle titles for the Gear VR is Floor Plan. You’ll spend the entire game in an elevator with the goal of finding a full set of spacesuit equipment scattered throughout the many unique floors. I won’t spoil any of the puzzles for you (because the puzzles do not change), but you’ll face environments such as a meat fridge with a snowman, a psychedelic sky with a busy bee and a western town with a cowboy robot.

You’ll need to utilize the items you collect from one floor on another floor to progress through the game, and you can always get clues to assist you along the way if you get stuck. This new puzzler from Turbo Button isn’t exactly the longest game on the platform, but it’s worth your attention. Read our review for more details.

Available Platforms: Gear VR, Oculus Rift

Please, Don’t Touch Anything

In this puzzle game, you’ll find yourself in a room with a desk and screen in front of you, as well as some random office objects surrounding you. Your coworker will give you the only setup or guideline that you’ll receive when he tells you, “Please, don’t touch anything” before disappearing out the door of the small room. If you’re one to quickly become frustrated with games that offer little to no guidance, you may be closer to a “rage quit” than you realize.

This is another game that can be easily spoiled with too much info, but the basic premise is that you’ll need to test different objects around the room in order to solve an associated puzzle. There are quite a few different puzzles to solve in BulkyPix’s Gear VR debut and they could certainly take a decent amount of your time if you have the patience to solve them all. If you enjoy the toughest of puzzles, start here. You can read more about why we enjoyed it in our review.

Available Platforms: Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Non-VR versions for PC, Mac (Steam)

Darknet

E McNeill’s Darknet has been a fan favorite since winning Oculus’ VR Jam in 2013. The basic premise has you hacking networks before the time runs out. Each round of hacking is represented by a 360 degree view of the network, which consists of different nodes protected by shields that need to be defeated in order to take down the entire network.

To do so, you’ll need to hack individual nodes in order to collect bounty that can buy sophisticated hacking tools such as worms, viruses and other exploits capable of taking them out. The gameplay also takes place within a sphere and you’ll need to strategize where to place your attacks within the nodes, with the difficulty ranging from relatively easy to quite difficult. Take down the network before you’re caught.

Available Platforms: Gear VR, Oculus Rift

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

This last puzzler is unique in that it requires at least two players and will benefit significantly from even more. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes from Steel Crate Games is a local multiplayer title that thankfully only requires one Gear VR headset,  and it has won numerous awards for it’s fantastic design.

With one player donning the headset and describing the different modules of the bomb, the other players will have to interpret the description and guide the bomb defuser using the downloadable manual with countless solutions. Things get tense as the time counts down and friendships will be tested. Invite some friends over and find out who is best at handling stressful situations.

Available Platforms: Gear VR, PC, Mac (Steam, with support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive)

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