In the gaming world, you can often learn valuable lessons to do with strategy, improve your reflexes, and increase your social skills. Among the many genres out there are titles geared towards gamers who have a passion for analysis, engineering, and problem solving. It makes sense that game developers have created these games to impart skills that have real-world applications. One example of this is a puzzle game called The Turing Test, which was developed by Square Enix. It is set on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons and filled with a series of puzzles that relate to ethical dilemmas.

Without further ado, here’s our list of challenging games that can teach you the basics of engineering design. Note that while they might not be wholly related to engineering, they feature significant concepts or details to help inspire your thought process.

1. KOHCTPYKTOP: Engineer of the People

A free online game directly geared towards engineers is KOHCTPYKTOP: Engineer of the People. According to the game specifications by Zachtronics, “this game is actually quite difficult; while you don’t need to know anything about electronics to play, being familiar with some of the concepts will definitely help in the later levels, as most of them are based around real-life circuits.” The title is self-explanatory, due to the fact that you are playing as an engineer in a semiconductor factory. This is definitely a game for intelligent minds who aren’t afraid of a challenge because they even direct you to Wikipedia to do research on certain aspects of circuitry. A review of the game by The Stoned Dragons reiterates the difficulty of this game but also notes that “life won’t hand you solutions on a platter.” If you’re still confused about what to do, check out the YouTube tutorial below for some guidance.

2. Router

A deceptively simple circuit puzzle game, the goal of Router is to connect colored dots with a continuous series of lines without them overlapping with one another. The aim is to find the shortest and most direct path that fits the parameters. It is also suitable for all ages, due to its intuitive and colorful interface. If you get stuck on one of its seven chapters, you can earn “Star Points” that are awarded after a perfect score to redeem hints or use in-app purchases as an easy shortcut. As discussed in Altium’s post on ‘PCB Design Guide for Engineers: Part 1 – The Team’, the process of creating a printed circuit board (PCB) can be complex and often requires a team effort. To help you get started on the engineering side of things, this game can help you get into the right mental headspace whether you’re a novice/student, or electronics engineering professional. In fact, according to a review of its gameplay on Amazon, it is reminiscent to one reviewer of “the old days of laying out circuit PC Boards as a design engineer.”

3. Ruckingenur II

Also a brainchild of Zachtronics, Ruckingenur II is a Windows-compatible game about the reverse engineering of electrical circuits. It tests your ability to measure voltages, create pulses, monitor serial data, and debug chips. User reviews on Reddit claim that some strong points of the game include funny live-action clips and that it is highly enjoyable to play. However, some users complain that they can get through the entire game in twenty minutes, which may or may not be a perk for you depending on your gaming style. For those who’ve already completed the game, they also offer Ruckingenur CE, which contains user-made levels by gamers Ariel, Jonathan, AJ, and Fredrik, as winners of the level creation contest.

Hopefully, these games can keep your brain occupied with new ideas for circuit design and revolutionize your future engineering process.