Eleven Puzzle Games that Aren’t Tetris


Here at The ‘Berg we know when to laugh and joke about video games. But today I’m addressing something that is, in fact, quite serious. And that thing is puzzle games.

Now, what might you think of when I say puzzle games? Odds are, you’re thinking of that one game involving blocks and lines, Tetris (or one of its billion iterations). That’s fair and all; Tetris is currently tearing up the dance floor as it breakdances its way to making the Game Boy Nintendo’s best seller.* But what you might not know is that there are, in fact, other puzzle games that aren’t Tetris. 

I know. Hold on to your butts.

I know. Hold on to your butts.

So I hope you punched your ticket, because we’re about to throw not one, not five, not ten, but eleven puzzle games that AREN’T Tetris right in your face. You paid for the whole seat, but you only need the EDGE!!


*In 1989. Fooled you! You didn’t time travel, it’s actually still 2015. Or is it?


columns cover

11. Columns

 (on everything Sega)

You might not know this, but Columns was actually first played by the Romans. So overcome with wealth and prestige of being in the best empire on earth, they’d toss gems into urns while eating grapes in their vomitariums. In order to make the gems disappear, they would feed them to each other while lounging on couches. This, obviously, lead to the eventual fall of the Roman empire as nobody could go to the bathroom without excessive bowel pain.

Actually, that looks more Greek than Roman. IGNORE PREVIOUS JOKE.

Actually, that looks more Greek than Roman. IGNORE PREVIOUS JOKE.

Luckily, the modern day rendition of Columns has much more fun and much less vomit slash constipation. You might be confused at first and try and play the game like Tetris, but the joke is on you! Instead of filling lines, you’re trying to get three gems of the same color in order, like that other gem matching game. Then they blow up and you get some points. Hooray for points!

Also, you can play with Sakura, so what's not to like?!

Also, you can play with Sakura, so what’s not to like?!

I suck hard at this game and it usually turns into a war of attrition on who can suck ever so slightly less when I play against friends. But apparently Reset Tears loves it or something, so we can all either praise his skills or mock his poor taste in puzzle games, whichever you prefer.



10. Picross, aka Mario’s Picross 

(on the Game Boy, Super Famicom, and DS/3DS)

Picross is not at all like lacross. There are no silly sticks or small balls to toss around. The only similarites between the two is both are more popular overseas than in the United States, so for us ‘Mericans they might as well be the same damn game.

Stoic Toad.

Stoic Toad.

Anywho, Picross is a grid-based puzzle game where the numbers on the sides say how many squares to mark in each row. You have to use crazy mind-logic to figure out which ones to chip in particular, however, because if you mark the wrong one Mario straight up deletes your Super Metroid save. The patterns you make are pretty cool, ranging from things from the Mario universe on the GB version, and weird…Japanese symbols on the Super Famicom version.

Is...that Sharkberg?

Is…that Sharkberg?

They also made a 3D version for the DS, in case the game wasn’t already complex enough. Joking aside, these games are awesome, and you can get most of them through the eShop. Just leave your long stick with small nets on the end at home. Or bring em, because this is AMERICA and you have the right to do whatever the hell you want.



9. Klax

(On everything…in the 90s)

Klax has perhaps the best intro ever.

Spoiler: Klax is what it is time for.

Spoiler: Klax is what it is time for.

Well, it isn’t the 90s anymore, so no more time for Klax. Review over!

Alright, I’ll say this: Klax is a game where you move tic tacks around and try to line up colors of tic tacks in certain ways. It actually reminds me a bit of Columns in you have vertical and diagonal ways to match the klax. It would, except everything else is nothing like Columns. Man, this article was doomed from the start.

Klax is hax!

Klax is hax!

Anywho, if you like lining up tic-tacs and watching square things somehow roll down a flat plain, defying physics entirely, this is a pretty good way to experience that. Also the Genesis version is the best version, just saying.



8. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

(PC, Xbone, PS4)

It’s puzzling to me why people keep buying these games!

Ha ha, can I get a high five? Can a brother relate? Hey…hello? Where…where is everybody going?



7. Pac Attack

(SNES and Genesis)

Anybody remember Pac-Man? I know the game was kind of a hidden arcade gem in the 80’s, so it’s ok if you’ve never heard of it. It starred a yellow guy who ate balls, was attacked by ghosts, and eventually got married, had a kid, and went hang-gliding. This is all canon, by the way.

The best sequel money could buy

The best sequel money could buy

Anyway, since the original game was pretty much a huge dud, Namco released a puzzle follow-up called Pac Attack. And since puzzle games were all the rage, this game sold like hotcakes! It revitalized the brand, and now Pac Man is popular again. Thanks, Pac Attack!

The game is like a weird mix between Tetris and god-knows-what. You drop chunks of stuff that either has blocks, ghosts, or both in it. Line up a row of block and you will remove it. Line up a row of ghost and you get spooked. If you are really smart, you can use the blocks and ghosts to make your own haunted house. Try it today!

Pac-Man graffiti, showing the yellow ball's urban upbringing

Pac-Man graffiti, showing the yellow ball’s urban upbringing

In order to not be overrun with ghosts, you call the #1 Ghostbuster: Bill Murray, in this game played by Pac Man. When you get a Pac Piece, he’ll eat all the ghosts in a downward strike until he hits a dead end and explodes in fiery death. Basically the plot to the Ghostbusters remake, except in that one it’s Ms. Pac Man Bill Murray instead.

Coming soon to a theater near you

Coming soon to a theater near you

For a totally weird 16-bit puzzle game that nobody played, Pac Attack is a ghost-munching blast. So if you are one of those 80’s kids who can’t get enough of Vanilla Ice, Duck Tales, Furbies, and One Direction, grab your copy today!


puyo western games

6. Puyo Puyo / Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine / Kirby’s Avalanche

 (on every system known to man)

What is as puyo? Is it alive? Does it feel? Is it releated to the Pokemon Ditto? Why am I asking questions in an article where nobody can respond until after it is published?

Pictured: Puyos about to die

Pictured: Puyos about to die

Puyo Puyo is a game where you match blobs together. They fall from the top in collections of two, kind of like Dr. Mario (a game everybody loves but I suck at so it isn’t on this list). When you match four blobs in a row, they explode into fiery death. Chain them together to prove you are the king of Puyo Murdering. You probably already knew all this because of dumb Reset Tears reviewing Puyo Puyo SunGosh darn him, always beating me to the punch! Darn him to heck!

He even plays REAL LIFE PUYO PUYO! Who is this masked man?!

He even plays REAL LIFE PUYO PUYO! Who is this masked man?!

Something about this game that always pissed me off is there’s no single player, probably because the game would be too easy if it was. So you always have to play verses against either a friend/enemy/frienemy or the cold unfeeling AI. I for one enjoy proving human’s superiority over machines by blasting them with brightly colored jello knockoffs, but I would really like to give peace a chance and just play it by myself.

What's so darn funny, you damn hippie tree!?

What’s so darn funny, you damn hippie tree!?

It’s also worth pointing out this game has been released more times than years mankind has been on this planet. Like, seriously. Reset Tears has like sixteen versions on the Sega Saturn alone.



5. Loopz 

(PC, NES, who cares what else)

I fscking hate Loopz. Why is it on this list, good lord. It’s one of those few games my parents let me own on computer as a kid, so I played it because I had to. But replaying it now…it stinks. It stinks of rotten memories and broken dreams, of a child who wanted Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness for his birthday so much, but when his friends got it for him, his parents made him return it because it was too violent.* Memories…memories…looping…loopz…



Burn in hell, Loopz. I’m not even going to describe you. You don’t deserve it.

*This is a 100% true story.



4. Wario’s Woods


Ah, Wario, everbody’s favorite Mario villain. With the exception of Waluigi, I can’t think of a more loved bulbous-nosed baddie. I mean, just look at him! Isn’t he adorable?!

...well, now I feel uncomfortable.

…well, now I feel uncomfortable.

Anyway, Wario’s Woods is the last licensed game to ever release on the NES. Isn’t that a fun fact to know? Look at the fun we’re having! It’s also one of the few games that totally stars Toad. And where Birdo is a good guy/gal/whatever s/he is. And where you murder blobs of weird monsters with bombs. And apparently Wario lives in the woods now? How exactly does this fit in the Mario canon?

Someone's about to get Thwomped.

Someone’s about to get Thwomped.

Anyway, it’s a weird game where it’s kind of got platforming controls (you run Toad around picking up critters and bombs), but also like…a day/night type thing (where Birdo tosses you good stuff, than Wario shows up and throws the contents of his garbage disposal at you). I really don’t know because I’m awful at this game, but my wife said I’d have to sleep on the couch if I didn’t include it in this list, so this one’s for you sweetie.

Now could you please put the pink bomb down?



3. Bust-a-Move SNOOD

 (PC, GBA)

You may be thinking, “why not Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble?” WTF is a SNOOD? Well, let me tell you. Snood is…*drumroll please*…

A knock-off of Bust-a-Move, released as a freeware flash game in the late 90s/early 2000s. Astonishing!

Pictured: Not Snood

Pictured: Not Snood

The game plays exactly the same, though. You are at the bottom, blasting up balls/other objects of matching colors. Get three to touch, and they EXPLODE!! Blast ones early up in the chain, and everything beneath it FALLS TO ITS DEATH! Violence! Explosions! America! Woo!

Pictured: Also Not Snood

Pictured: Also Not Snood

Snood has the dubious honor of being my introduction to these types of games, way back at summer camp in…uh…01 or something, I can’t remember. But I do remember this important ditty at the end of the downloadable demo:

*clears throat*

Be a Pal

Be a Dude

Be Responsible

Register Snood.


Pictured: Bing image results for "Snood." Also not Snood.

Pictured: Bing image results for “Snood.” Also not Snood.

I never registered Snood, and it was the one thing in my long life that still fills me with regret to this day. Not being a pal, dude, or responsible has really screwed up my life, and I really just wanted to take the time to present this cautionary tale to you, the younger generation, in the hopes that you will live a better life than I did.

If not for you, for your children. Think of them. Think of Snood.



2. Minesweeper

Another niche game that only Real Hardcore Gamerz will know, Minesweeper is a game about using numbers to find landmines and also about Operation Desert Storm. As a politically charged propaganda piece, Minesweeper came with every copy of Windows ever made to help push Microsoft’s liberal anti-war agenda (Thanks, Obama!). To be fair, Tetris is just a Russian Communism Apologist Simulator (who do you think benefits from destroying lines? The Motherland, that’s who!), so it makes sense that USA #1 would have some sort of counter-response.

Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring

At the top of every minefield is a little yellow smiley face, who was probably drafted at the age of 18 despite wanting nothing to do with the war for oil. With every click his eyes bulge wide with terror, settling down into brief relief when you click a safe tile. Click a mine, however, and Johnny ain’t coming home from the war. You bastard.



On the plus side, if you win he dons a sick pair of aviators and probably flies jets around and plays beach volleyball with movie stars. So you have that goal to shoot for.

Not pictured: Tom Cruise, Scientology, A Bald Eagle

Not pictured: Tom Cruise, Scientology, A Bald Eagle



1. Candy Crush Saga 



Burn this world, for there is nothing left worth saving.

Author: Nathan Major

Spirit Shark: Hammerhead. Retro game collector, true ginger, and SNES fanatic. Goal in life is to become Karnov from the NES game Karnov.

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    • Dr. Mario did help me realize that med school was not for me, so I guess I have to give it that!

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  1. I’m confused; aren’t all these games Tetris? What a strange list!

    Oh I’m just joking. Random musings:

    1) I may or may not have tried mimicking the hand on the Klax cover.
    2) Speaking of covers, how about that Pac-Attack artwork? Pac-man can only be described as the villain in this image. Not going to lie; I’m siding with the ghosts on this one.
    3) I SUCK at Minesweeper.
    4) I remember seeing a video for a random old-school puzzle game from Japan, and thought I’d share it here. Gorby no Pipeline Daisakusen. It has something to do with Russia, so it has to be at least as good as Tetris, right?

    Post a Reply

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