It’s hard to put a finger on what makes puzzles so satisfying. They’re simple enough for anyone to use but demand sustained focus and precision, and they offer a beautiful feeling upon completion. Whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that puzzles are a fun and pressure-free way to eat up hours of anyone’s day. For those of us looking to push our limits, there’s an entire category of 3D puzzles that take this concept to the next level, combining optical illusions with unique designs and off-the-wall solutions into out-of-this-world brain teasers. If you’ve got a hankering for a challenge and extra time to kill, you won’t want to miss these.
Here are some of our favorite 3D puzzles and brain teasers on the market.
This set of brain teasers is extensive and intriguing enough in design variety to keep your whole family quietly occupied and engaged. Consisting of 16 entangled pairs of high-quality metal pieces, these puzzles are locked together in not-so-obvious ways and it’s your job to get them to come apart. The ends are rounded off, so they’re easy on your hands and appropriate for kids too.
Landing somewhere between a traditional jigsaw puzzle, Jenga, and Tetris, this beautiful wooden brain teaser is a three-dimensional quest to complete a cube using 54 oddly-shaped wood pieces. Its combination of tactile satisfaction and moderate difficulty are great for spending hours occupied, and your reward on completion is aesthetically pleasing and artful, which makes it a great choice for storing openly on a bookshelf, bar,or coffee table to encourage replays.
Within this beautifully understated metal casting hides an extremely difficult puzzle that you can solve with one hand if you’re slick enough. The shape itself is reminiscent of the infinity symbol, and its movement is both smooth and poetically infinite, too—until you figure out how to take it apart. Because of its small size and simplicity, it’s also great as a fidget-satisfying accessory.
This beautiful dragon egg puzzle is categorized as “maddening” by the manufacturer, and at first glance that’s not hard to imagine. Your goal is to free the wand from the egg, but you’ll need to navigate through its double labyrinth construction and use more than just visual feedback to solve it. There are infinite ways to free the wand and infinite ways to get stuck, and when you’re finally at the end you can pop the wand back in and do it all again!