Hardest Puzzles Header

Melt your brain with the hardest puzzles in the world.

If you asked me about the most frustrating puzzle I’ve ever had to solve in my life, I’d probably say “That stupid water temple from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” If you asked someone who’s actually good at puzzles the same question, they might answer with one of these puzzles below.

Although difficulty is a subjective term, we guarantee the challenges below will test every part of your mind to the max. Just as a reminder, each of these is really hard, and we recommend setting aside plenty of time to complete each without looking up answers online.

XKCD Blue Eyes Puzzle

XKCD’s “Blue Eyes.”

XKCD has long been renown for its vast catalog of nerd humor told via stick figure comics. That said, even longtime XKCD fans may have missed the series creator’s attempt to spin the “hardest logic puzzle in the world.”

While “Blue Eyes” is more-or-less a retelling of the popular “100 Green-Eyed Dragons” puzzle, we give the nod to XKCD for its careful wording. While “Blue Eyes” may lack a mystic narrative, it carefully eliminates ambiguity to give readers all the necessary details to solve the riddle. If you’d like to see the full puzzle, you can check it out here.

Hardest Sudoku

Arto Inkala’s Sudoku puzzle

In 2012, Finish mathematician Arto Inkala set out to create the toughest Sudoku puzzle the world has ever seen. According to him, this puzzle is the result.

If you’re a number-crunching expert and wind up finishing this puzzle in record time, worry not. Some Sudoku pros argue that David Filmer’s “Unsolvable #28” puzzle is actually more difficult!

The Witness The Challenge

“The Challenge” in The Witness

The Witness is a puzzle video game produced by acclaimed designer Jonathan Blow. For any skeptics about The Witness‘ place on the list, this isn’t a puzzle game like Tetris. On the contrary, this is a game packed with over 600 puzzles that will give you a mental workout like any other pen-and-paper puzzle book.

While the game itself could qualify for this list, The Witness truly raises the bar for puzzle difficulty in its optional, ultimate challenge room. Dubbed “The Challenge,” this section of the game tasks players with completing 14 tough-as-nails puzzles in approximately 6.5 minutes. The catch? These puzzles are randomly generated, so there’s no way to brute force your way through this with rote memorization. According to Steam achievement data, less than 4% of the game’s players have been able to complete The Challenge.

1000 Colors Jigsaw Puzzle

“1000 Colors” Jigsaw Puzzle

When it comes to jigsaw puzzles, some boards blur the line between “super challenging” and “wait the whole thing is the same color what kind of sick human would make this!?” In other words, although 1000 Colors may not technically be the hardest jigsaw puzzle, its unique gimmick will give you a challenge unlike any other traditional puzzle.

As the name implies, 1000 Colors is a 1000 piece puzzle in which every piece is a unique color. The end result forms a beautiful color gradient, which is the player’s only clue in deciphering which color goes where. Funny enough, 1000 Colors’ creator Clemens Habicht argues that this board is actually easier than traditional image-based jigsaw puzzles. We’ll agree to disagree.

Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever

George Bolos’ “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever”

Okay, we get it, calling your puzzle the “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever” is a bit on-the-nose. Heck, on this very list we had another puzzle dubbed “The Hardest Logic Puzzle in the world.” The thing is, once you dive into the trenches of George Bolos’ logic puzzle, you’ll be fully inclined to agree.

The “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever” is a variation of the classic “Knights and Knaves” form of logic puzzle, in which the player is faced with a character who always tells the truth and another character who always lies. That said, George Bolos throws a massive wrench into this otherwise elementary setup: there is a third character who answers completely at random. And in case that wasn’t difficult enough, each character can only answer yes and no questions and their responses are in a fictional language the player does not understand. The goal is to decipher who each of the characters are in three questions.

This is one of those puzzles in which just explaining the answer is a feat unto itself. However, unlike impossible puzzlers such as Seven Bridges of Königsberg, this one does have a perfectly reasonable answer. If you’re interested in challenging this puzzle properly, we recommend checking it out here.

And if you manage to best even this puzzle and want more of a challenge, then… well, congratulations, you’ve overcome all of our best efforts to stump you. Now make up your own puzzles so we can change the name of Bolos’ challenge to “The Second Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever.”

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Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on Destructoid.com.