Best Puzzle Platformers
Image: Nintendo Life

The Switch has a lot of platformers, and a lot of puzzle games, and that extends to puzzle platformers. If you're raising your eyebrows and saying, "What are you on about, you can't just combine them like they're ice cream flavours," then stick with us. It's a thing, we promise.

Rather than games focused purely on running and jumping accurately, or just using your noggin to find clever solutions, these games combine the two to rather charming effect. Often you'll take pause at points to plot a way forward, combining skill with intellect. Puzzle platformers also often have a strong approach to storytelling, making them a relatively impactful experience when at their best.

Below you will find our picks for the puzzle platform games currently available on Switch. This selection is presented in no particular order and will continue to grow and evolve over time. We'll also continue to check on reader suggestions in the comments and from our team, as quality games in this genre emerge regularly.

Without further ado, let's get to it!

BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! (Switch eShop)

Bigger and more fully featured than ever, BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! marks a high point in this quirky puzzle-platformer series. It's not perfect - the stripped back aesthetic and lethargic physics won't be everyone's cup of tea - but fans of co-op puzzlers, in particular, should investigate pronto. The 'Tale for Two' campaign lets a second player take control of Qucy and you must work together to create strings of boxes and navigate through each 2D level to the exit. It remains a distinctive and deceptively layered puzzler very much in line with the trilogy on 3DS, but the fact that you can now bring a partner in on the fun makes this the best BOXBOY yet.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch)

A beautiful little game, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a winner whether you're after puzzling or jump button-less platforming. With beautiful visuals and an upbeat soundtrack, it's is a real gem; a wonderful and gorgeous 3D platform puzzler fit for all ages, and one which you should definitely experience if you're yet to. The two-player co-op Nintendo added makes this offering even tastier with Toadette joining the Captain, and there's even a nice little nugget of DLC for once you've polished off the main game.

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Toki Tori 2+ (Switch eShop)

Another puzzle platformer with no actual jumping, but you do solve environmental puzzles in order to progress. Toki Tori 2+ is a game that had a bit of an overhaul after its original Wii U version (hence the '+') to help players make sense of its surprisingly sizeable world, it's a charming take on the IP's puzzle style. Of course the original Toki Tori is also on Switch eShop, if you'd prefer more conventional single-screen challenges.

Inside (Switch eShop)

Inside is the spiritual successor to Limbo and it builds on its predecessor in every imaginable way. A grimly beautiful platform-puzzler that, while brief, is packed full of jaw-dropping highlights, its dark tone won't be for everyone, but it's been executed brilliantly, with gently taxing physics-based conundrums woven into a haunting wordless narrative. It's a very similar game to its predecessor in many ways, with side-scrolling elements, a gorgeous, moody art style, and a vulnerable protagonist at the heart of it. Everything's just bigger, better, and more affecting.

GRIS (Switch eShop)

We’re very careful when we use this word, but Gris is a masterpiece. Its jaw-dropping visual style and heart-wrenching score combine for one of the most emotional pieces of interactive art you’ll ever play. It may be too short for some, its puzzles may be on the simple side and the lack of any real challenge may not be to everyone’s taste, but this is a game focused more on fragility than ability and as long as you’re willing to go along for the ride, it’s one that will stick with you for a very long time indeed.

VVVVVV (Switch eShop)

Another game where you technically don't jump, but flipping gravity does essentially the same thing. VVVVVV still feels every bit as fresh on the Switch as it did on the 3DS in 2010; if you didn't try it back then you should definitely pick it up now. If you did, now may nevertheless be a good time to revisit. Multiplayer makes the Switch version even more interesting, and this is a game that still serves up an intense and enjoyable challenge.

Evergate (Switch eShop)

Evergate is a wonderfully designed puzzle/platformer that starts off strong and goes from strength to strength over the course of its campaign. Every new world you encounter here adds a new twist to proceedings, gradually becoming more complex as it layers mechanics on top of one each other, enabling you to experiment and come up with your own unique ways to bound across its intricate levels. Speed-running here, for us, feels like it was tacked on for no real reason but, besides this one little misstep, this really is an essential purchase for puzzle/platforming fans and a standout example of its genre on Switch.

Horace (Switch eShop)

Horace is something very special — blending intensely challenging stages with emotive storytelling. If you have any interest in superb level design, headscratching and tricky blends of tight platforming and puzzle solving, excellent storytelling, terrific art, evocative music, great characters, hilarious situations and emotional gut-punches, Horace is a no-brainer. It's moving without being manipulative, clever without being smug, and nostalgic without being a lazy rehash. It's also fiendishly difficult, if you fancy a challenge.

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince (Switch)

The entire series is available on Switch, so this entry ultimately represents them all. With the exception of the third release they're all fundamentally 2D puzzle platformers, with combat thrown in, as you embark on fantastical adventures with our three heroes. Some rooms (especially in the first two games) may take a while to puzzle through, and mastering each character's abilities is integral to making progress.

A Boy and His Blob (Switch eShop)

This is a game that's had an extraordinarily long life, even when only accounting for this updated and eventual HD version. A Boy and His Blob was once a bit of a genre definer, that status is long gone but it's still a very enjoyable puzzling / platforming experience, in which you have to make the most of the Blob's various abilities to make progress. It's rather lovely in its Switch iteration, too.

FEZ (Switch eShop)

FEZ is a fun, challenging puzzle platformer fit to burst with original ideas and unique gameplay wrinkles. Its puzzles bend reality and even leech into our own world on occasion, but aside from a few select mega-challenges it remains fair. From an earlier era of 'Indie' games and one that made its mark on the industry, it's well worth a visit on Switch.