A puzzle is an object that requires ingenuity or persistence to open/solve. It acts as a barrier that prevents the player from progressing through a level or accessing a container until they've discovered the solution. A puzzle primarily requires the player to use real world skills, sometimes in combination with skill checks or keys. Hints for the puzzle may be found that guide the player or even tell them how to solve the puzzle.

A good puzzle satisfies the player who completes it as much as the rewards the puzzle holds. It can be used as a different type of gameplay to increase player interest.

Variables and Affordances

  • Difficulty of puzzle. (Easy ↔ Hard). An easy puzzle won't challenge too many players, but won't reward as well as a hard puzzle, though a hard puzzle might stump players and not grant them the rewards.
  • Necessity of puzzle. (Mandatory or Optional). A mandatory puzzle can't be too hard, as this would prevent too many players from progressing. An optional puzzle, however, can be more difficult, to further reward a player for success.
  • Environmental vs. Minigame. Some puzzles involve moving characters around the environment, perhaps standing on different triggers, while others are minigames that may remove the player from the normal game world for the duration of the puzzle.


  • Dragon Age: Origins. Third trial of the Test of Faith during the Urn of the Sacred Ashes quest. To get to the urn, the player must solve a puzzle centered around moving characters on pressure plates to create sections of a bridge. environmental
  • Fallout 3. Hacking terminals. Hacking in Fallout 3 is done by playing a word-based Master Mind-esque game. A player only gets the option to hack if their science skill is high enough. minigame
  • Labyrinth. A labyrinth is a level that is inherently a puzzle.
  • Container. Special containers might require solving a puzzle to open them.
  • Trigger. An environmental puzzle often uses triggers to change its state.

Quest-Level Relationships

patterns/puzzle.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/13 11:41 by Gillian Smith
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