The best part about the current state of the game industry—well, aside from all of the great games—is how impossible it is to predict where things are headed. Will there be another generation of consoles after the next Xbox and PS3 (PS4, I guess you could say)? Will tablets take their place? We can guess all we want, but no one truly knows. It’s something of a puzzle, I suppose you could say.

To celebrate this current state of affairs, we figured we’d lead off our Best of 2012 series with the best puzzle games of the year. We debated making it all cryptic in honor of the subject matter, but ultimately decided we’d leave such things up to the games themselves.

Without further ado:

 

#5 – Super Monsters Ate My Condo! (iPhone, iPad)

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It’s hard not to question the necessity of sequels in the mobile space. After all, developers are constantly patching titles and adding new content at no cost or a small fee. But Super Monsters Ate My Condo!, the sequel to [adult swim]’s Monsters Ate My Condo, has more than enough bells and whistles to justify its existence, including new condos, a boost shop filled with power-ups, and a new line-up of achievements. And if you fear change, worry not! The same addictive match-3 gameplay is alive and well in this sequel.

Even with the exclusion of the original’s Endless Mode, Super Monsters Ate My Condo! is long and afar the better game. Just watch out for those evil “nuke” condos, which will end the game the second they go off. Seriously, what kind of person owns a condo filled with nuclear weapons? 

 

#4 – Girls Like Robots (iPhone, iPad)

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Those of us who’ve attended high school can attest to how tangled some social hierarchies can get. Certain cliques immensely dislike each other, and any attempts to combine them would probably result in a volatile reaction. It’s no different in Girls Like Robots, where players must place square-shaped characters on a grid next to those they get along with, all the while avoiding placing them near those they dislike. It’s easy enough at first, but the game continually ups the nuance by introducing new characters (and pie!).

Simply put, it’s as though someone took the worst part of high school and made it fun!

 

#3 – McPixel (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad)

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If ever someone asks you to explain the whole indie thing, just gift them McPixel on Steam or iOS. It’s a wonderfully weird game that could never have been released through traditional means, what with its odd fascination with MacGyver and peeing on things.

The game presents players with rapid-fire scenarios a la WarioWare, the goal of each being to defuse bombs before they explode or “save the day” in other ways. Easier said than done, though, as McPixel operates on a quirky (and incredibly charming) kind of dream logic.

The game also provides you the chance to feed an explosive hot dog to an alien at one point, which weighed heavily in the its favor when we were hashing out this best-of list.

 

#2 – Bad Piggies (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android)

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When Rovio announced the follow-up to Angry Birds, a lot of people assumed its gameplay would be streamlined and immediately accessible in the same way. There wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that, but we’re still glad they didn’t take that route. Bad Piggies is a wonderfully involved physics puzzle game that simultaneously respects the player’s intelligence and encourages them to build the stupidest contraptions possible.

It’s also one of the few games where losing a level is just as much fun as winning. Seriously, what’s more entertaining than seeing a pig in a jalopy crash directly into a wall?

 

#1 – Scribblenauts Unlimited (PC)

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By weaving in a surprisingly affecting storyline and incorporating an explorable overworld,  Scribblenauts Unlimited finally delivers on the crazy amount of potential we knew the Scribblenauts series had all along. Sure, you can still beat most puzzles by spamming them with uninventive solutions, but why would you want to? Unlimited is a playground for the imagination, not to mention the chance to pit Cthulhu against a yeti that we’ve all been waiting for.

There’s one serious problem with the game, however: we’re violently jealous of its world. We want nothing more than to be able to type “pizza” and see one drop right in front of us. We could solve world hunger!

 

With another year come and gone, Gamezebo is looking back at the best games that 2012 had to offer. Our month-long retrospective will touch on just about every type of game you can imagine – so be sure not to miss any of it! Check out our full collection of Best of 2012 articles, and vote for your favorite games in our 2012 Reader’s Choice awards.