The 10 Best Puzzle-Adventure Games for iPad in 2023

Titles with great stories and head-scratching puzzles

While there are plenty of pure puzzle games on the iPad like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, there's nothing quite like the puzzle adventure game that immerses you in the story, dazzles you with beautiful landscapes, and taunts you with some of the most difficult puzzles ever presented. But it is not all about difficult puzzles. While a few games on this list will have you pulling your hair out or searching Google for hints, others are more about the fun, the adventure, or simply the strange and eerie.

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The Tiny Bang Story HD

Screenshot of the game 'The Tiny Bang Story HD'
What We Like
  • Interesting combination of hidden object and puzzle games.

  • Beautiful artwork.

  • Good variety of puzzles and difficulty.

What We Don't Like
  • Not for players who don't like jigsaw puzzles.

  • No tutorial or instructions.

A great point-and-click adventure game that is perfect for the whole family, "The Tiny Bang Story" depicts life on Tiny Planet after a meteor crashes to the ground. A hidden object game that has you collecting jigsaw puzzle pieces, you'll need more than sharp eyes to get all of the objects together. Many pieces will require you to solve puzzles before they become available. There's no dialogue in the game, and those looking to become immersed in a story might become frustrated, but the beautiful graphics provide nice eye candy and the simplistic style works.

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Screenshot of the game 'Machinarium'
What We Like
  • Gorgeous art and fun music. No dialogue.

  • Charming storyline.

  • Hints and a built-in walkthrough to help players with difficult-to-solve puzzles.

What We Don't Like
  • Scenes of bullying and smoking unsuitable for young children, but game is not for young children.

  • Difficult to use controls on smaller screens.

An old-school adventure puzzle game wrapped in beautiful artwork, "Machinarium" is not for the easily frustrated. Some of the puzzles are quite difficult in that quite addicting "I have to figure it out" way. A game without dialogue where you control a robot who is able to squish and stretch his body, "Machinarium" offers a unique experience and some interesting puzzles.

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The Silent Age

Screenshot of the game 'The Silent Age'
What We Like
  • Time travel aspect of game is intriguing.

  • Game has a fun, creepy vibe.

  • Simple but effective graphics.

What We Don't Like
  • Surprisingly short game.

  • Politically incorrect dialogue may be offensive.

Not many games cast the protagonist as an average Joe working as a plumber. But then again, not too many games use 1972 as a setting. But it works in this adventure game, with Joe the plumber crossing paths with a time-traveling stranger from future that (you guessed it) must be averted. A nice twist on the genre, The Silent Age will have you traveling back and forth between two times in order to gather everything you need to solve the puzzles.

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The Room

Screenshot of the game 'The Room'
What We Like
  • Exceptionally absorbing game.

  • Atmospheric graphics set the mood effectively.

  • Anyone who loved Myst will love The Room.

What We Don't Like
  • It's difficult to become proficient at this game.

  • Instances of tarot, astrology, or satanic symbolism may offend some players.

While this list is by no means in order of best-to-worst, it would be a crime not to put Apple's 2012 Game of the Year at the top of the adventure-puzzle list. "The Room" has a simple enough concept: You share a room with a safe, and your goal is to open that safe. But don't worry, you'll have a little help. Early on, you'll discover a special eyeglass that will allow you to see objects that would otherwise go unseen. Beautiful graphics and a great feel for creating a scene, the game's addictive puzzles quickly draw you in and their increasing difficulty will keep you there. 

And if you have already experienced The Room, you can also check out  "The Room Two" and "The Room Three."

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Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery

Screenshot of the game 'Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery'
What We Like
  • Captivating game.

  • Tongue-in-cheek dialogue and storyline.

  • Excellent soundtrack.

What We Don't Like
  • Goal of the game is unclear.

  • Not a lot of gameplay.

  • Confusing user interface.

"Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery" isn't quite an adventure puzzle, but then again, it's not quite an action-fantasy RPG, either. Designed to take into full account the unique controls of the iPad, you'll be tapping, swiping, and even tilting as you explore and battle your way through the game, which is depicted in a very old-school 8-bit side-scrolling style that has gone 3D. The game is as much about the journey as anything, where even combat becomes its own puzzle.

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Device 6

Screenshot of game 'Device 6'
What We Like
  • Imaginative and playful puzzles.

  • Interesting concept of puzzles within story.

  • Great final act.

What We Don't Like
  • It's more an interactive book than a game.

  • Must be played with sound turned on for audible clues.

  • Short game.

One of the most inventive games you will ever play, "Device 6" is a mashup of an interactive novel with an adventure puzzle game locked inside of it. As Anna, you are trying to escape a castle on a remote island. The game plays out in the confines of a book, but as you read the text, you will see glimpses of the world around you. And the text itself takes on a strange life of its own, forcing you to rotate your iPad to keep up with it. And interspersed throughout are (of course) a number of great puzzles for you to solve. 

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Screenshot of the game 'Shadowmatic'
What We Like
  • Original concept and whimsical puzzles.

  • Stress-free gameplay.

  • Hidden secrets keep things interesting.

What We Don't Like
  • Too many easy levels.

  • Players looking for action won't find it here.

  • Not a lot of variety.

If you have ever had fun manipulating your hands to make shadowy shapes of bats and ducks on the wall, you will love "Shadowmatic." It's basically a create-the-shape game using shadows. You are tasked with manipulating objects in the middle of the room to create a specific shadowy shape. This game is absolutely gorgeous as well as massively addicting. 

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Screenshot of the game 'Myst'
What We Like
  • Faithful to the original game.

  • Oldie but goodie delivers immersive experience.

  • Integrated hint guide.

What We Don't Like
  • Not for players looking for fast-paced action games.

  • Requires offline note-taking.

"Myst" was originally released in 1993 and was the best selling game of its time, holding that title until "The Sims" came along nearly a decade later. A surreal puzzle game, Myst was considered one of the most difficult and beautiful games of its time. And if you really love Myst, you can step into the world in the free-roaming "realMyst" remake of the game.

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Screenshot of the game 'Windosill'

Patrick Smith (Vectorpark) / Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0

What We Like
  • Exploring the scenes is as fun as solving the puzzles.

  • Calming without being boring.

  • Completely different from other games.

What We Don't Like
  • Priced too high for a super-short game.

  • No instructions or tutorial.

There aren't too many games that are extremely fun for both the youngest and the oldest of gamers. A short adventure — don't expect to be playing this one for hours — it is nonetheless very entertaining. It might seem odd to pay for a game that can be solved in a single sitting, but then again, that's much cheaper than going out to a movie. And if you live with a family of puzzle-lovers, there's definitely some value here.

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Slender Rising

Screenshot of the game 'Slender Rising'
What We Like
  • Horror fans won't be disappointed.

  • Addicting, fun, and terrifying.

  • Appropriately haunting visuals.

What We Don't Like
  • Too scary for children and some adults.

  • Doesn't offer much of a storyline.

It is not often that an internet meme becomes a game, much less a whole host of games. And while many of the Slender Man games don't live up to the name, a few stick out. Slender Rising works best for those familiar with the legend of the Slender Man, and it doesn't have that "The Room" or "Machinarium" level of difficulty. But if you like puzzle games that are on the creepy side, "Slender Rising" could be your answer.

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