Benefits of playing puzzle games


Puzzle games are widely popular because they combine the right amount of challenge and fun. They help players relax while also keeping their minds active to chase away any boredom. These are already good reasons to give them a try but there are other important benefits of playing puzzle games.

1. Improves problem-solving skills

A puzzle is by nature a problem and, as such, puzzle games are always based on a conundrum that the players need to solve to win.

In practice, this means that players must actively use their problem-solving skills while playing, even if they do not realize it. They must assess what needs to be done, formulate theories and plans of action and try to implement them to reach a solution. In most cases, they can also take a trial and error approach, provided they have enough tries or “lives” available.

While engaged in this process, the players are actively training their problem-solving skills. That is why, the more they play, the better they get at it. They can identify where the core problems lie and devise a strategy to approach the challenge more effectively and efficiently.

An easy Sudoku or a beginner’s Word Search puzzle that seemed so daunting when they first started playing, eventually becomes so obvious and simple that they no longer stimulate their brains or excite them.

2. Boosts logical reasoning

Good reasoning is key to solving any puzzle game, even for those requiring a particular skill or knowledge set. Logic is one of the distinguishing features behind what a puzzle means and entails.

Therefore, one of the benefits of playing puzzle games is that they force the players to train and improve their logical reasoning unknowingly. The individuals may believe that they are simply having a nice time and winding down from a stressful day, but the reality is that they are improving their mental abilities whilst having fun doing it.

For example, when the players are filing in a Sudoku grid and realize that if X is true then Y must be false, they are actually employing their reasoning skills. 

3. Enhances memory and concentration skills

A good puzzle game cannot be solved absentmindedly. Problem-solving and the reasoning behind it demand concentration. A quick distraction may be enough to lose your thread of thought and miss an important detail or move.

Likewise, another of the benefits of playing puzzle games is the ability to train short-term memory. This type of memory stores information to be used in a short period and then it is eliminated to avoid cluttering the brain.

For example, when assembling a jigsaw puzzle you must always keep in mind the final picture and its details while looking for and connecting the pieces. If you cannot remember what you are building, rummaging through the pieces is useless.

New players may find themselves constantly peeking at the picture to refresh their memory, while experts can go through one long playing session without having to check more than once or twice.

4. Helps improve your mood

Another benefit of playing puzzle games lies in the sense of satisfaction one feels after each victory and puzzle completion.

Everyone enjoys winning against other players, but puzzles are normally a battle against oneself and a chance to prove one’s skills. Consequently, finding the solution to the puzzle game tends to generate a more intense feeling of happiness, which in turn makes the players more motivated to keep playing in search of that reward.

In a study conducted at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, the researchers tried to analyze why what they called the “Aha!” moment generates such a good feeling. According to them, dopamine, the feel-good hormone, is the culprit.

While studying subjects playing anagram puzzles, they discovered that dopamine is released into the brain when the “Eureka” moment happens. The levels of dopamine and, consequently, the intensity of that good feeling depended on the personality of the subjects, and on whether they were more or less reward-oriented, but they all experienced a sense of satisfaction regardless.


As you can see, there are more benefits to playing puzzle games than simply spending a good time relaxing and having fun. They can also support your brain’s well-being. 

You have no reason to feel guilty the next time someone berates you for spending too much time playing puzzles.

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