The most difficult puzzles: Puzzles up to 2000 pieces for adults

The jigsaw puzzle’s comeback has been major, with some retailers even struggling to keep up with demand.

But whether you’re a toddler thinking about nine pieces or you’re used to going through 1,000 without incident, that brilliant feeling after completing a puzzle remains the same.

However, there are some puzzles that are designed to be nearly impossible to start, let alone finish.

Typically made up of around 1,000 pieces or more, they feature very similar colors or – terrifyingly – a single color, as well as small repeating patterns. Some may even contain non-traditional shaped pieces, to surprise you.

The best challenging puzzles should feel overwhelming when you examine the design on the box. You should feel a sense of awe, horror, and delight. And you should know from the start that it’s going to take days, and the kitchen table won’t be available for anything other than thinking about the puzzles during that time.

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How we tested

All the puzzles in this overview correspond to the bill described. We tested them over a period of a month: the same two adults did most of the work with the help of an ever-changing group of visitors who were asked to take five minutes (or in one case three hours ) to help us.

The best difficult puzzles for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Ravensburger impossible gold krypt puzzle: £14.80, Amazon.co.uk
  • Ideal for those who like to strategize – Blackberry Gradient: £30.91, Cloudberries.co.uk
  • Great for styling – John Derian Paper Goods Painter’s Palette 1,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle: £12.80, Whsmith.co.uk
  • Best game and puzzle in one – Big Potato Games evening at the cinema: £15, Bigpotato.co.uk
  • Best complex model – Blackberry Metropolis Puzzle: £24.99, Cloudberries.co.uk
  • Ideal for astronomy enthusiasts – Ravensburger map of the universe: £17.84, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best quality – Almond Blossom Wentworth Puzzles: from £29.95, Wentworthpuzzles.com
  • Ideal for people who like to tidy up – Pick Me Up Jigsaw Puzzle Houseplants 1000 pieces: £18, Talkingtables.co.uk

Ravensburger krypt gold impossible puzzle

Better: Globally

Evaluation: 10/10

If you want to know what a low key wrestling looks like, this is it – an all plain gold jigsaw puzzle (69cm x 51cm) with 631 pieces to put together. Neither piece offers anything different from the other except its shape. Unlike traditional puzzles, this one is designed with a central spiral, which adds to the test. Even with the picture to guide us, it felt like we would never see this finished. And we have to admit that we haven’t finished it yet, so unfortunately it’s still impossible for us. One for those with a lot of patience.

Cloudberry Gradient

Better: For those who like to strategize

Evaluation: 9/10

Made up of 2,000 pieces, this is an oversized version of one of Cloudberry’s most popular puzzles – “Gradient”. Who would have thought that a group of bright acidic colors that faded into each other could cause so much shock and awe? You just see a spectrum of colored nothingness and you know it’s going to be a real challenge.

First of all – you’ll need plenty of space for this one – it measures 98cm x 68.6cm when complete. Our strategy was edges followed by color grouping and then lots of patience. There is a full size poster included which makes things easier. Masochists do not need to refer to it.

We love Cloudberries because the brand’s pieces fit perfectly and are beautifully made from paper that never peels off.

John Derian Paper Goods Painter’s Palette

Better: For the look

Evaluation: 8/10

This 1000 piece puzzle (67cm x 47.9cm) is beautiful, elegant and delicate. Representing the paint palette of an art student, a true study of color, is a real pleasure to work with, even if it requires a lot of patience and determination.

With a poster for reference, we started by sorting the colors. It was a good start, except there are a lot of roses. And black samples. And a cream background. Suffice to say that it is much more than a pretty face.

Big Potato Games night at the cinema

Better: Game and puzzle in one

Evaluation: 8/10

This 1000 piece puzzle (26.5cm x 26.5cm) is much more than a challenging puzzle. It’s a game too. So, after struggling to complete this brilliant but frankly hectic scene of an open-air cinema, you have another task: to solve 101 puzzles relating to the films that are in the picture.

We absolutely loved doing this puzzle: it’s by no means the most taxing of this roundup, but it’s challenging enough (it took us the better part of a day). But collecting clues and enumerating puzzles along the way and after completion adds another dimension to the fun.

Blueberry Metropolis Puzzle

Better: Complex model

Evaluation: 9/10

If you fancy smoothing over or arranging hectic scenarios, look no further than this bird’s eye view of a bustling city divided into 2,000 parts. Metropolis is extremely detailed and intricate, even when looking at the full-size poster that comes in the box to guide you.

It was hard to know where to start – so we went with the edges. After that things got haphazard and messy and we did what we could…little by little.

Ravensburger map of the universe

Better: For astronomy enthusiasts

Evaluation: 9/10

All those dark pieces covered in tiny intricate patterns that make up the map of our universe – this 1,500 piece puzzle bears all the marks of a tough test and it didn’t disappoint. It’s really, really grueling, but the satisfaction of each level of progression – like finishing the bottom left corner of the galaxies – is huge.

As is usually the case with Ravensburger puzzles, the pieces are thick, sturdy and well made – no peeling or fraying. But what we loved was that we got a little astronomy lesson along the way, focusing on the galaxies and solar systems we all know are there but rarely stop at. to consider.

Wentworth Puzzles Almond Blossom

Better: Quality

Evaluation: 9/10

The Almond Blossom puzzle comes in three sizes, and obviously the 1,000 piece one is the hardest, but even the 250 piece version is no walk in the park. The amount of blue in Van Gogh’s famous painting promises a decent challenge at first glance, but once you get down to business, it’s the pesky petals that will send you over the edge.

What makes this brand’s puzzles so challenging is that they include oddly shaped pieces including flowers, bottles, and butterflies, which kept us guessing, to say the least.

Like all of Wentworth’s puzzles, this one is made with wood sourced from sustainable forests and the pieces have been laser cut, making for an extremely tactile puzzle experience. When we got frustrated, we just ran our hands over what we had managed to do and felt soothed by the wood before trying again.

It would be great as a gift – it has its own special cloth bag in the box to protect the parts, giving it a quality edge.

Pick Me Up Jigsaw Puzzle Indoor Plants

Better: For those who like to store

Evaluation: 8/10

This 1,000 piece puzzle has a beautiful whimsical design of a cluttered interior dominated by houseplants – but don’t let that fool you. It’s really difficult. All that green. All those leaves.

It’s not the hardest of the bunch, but it’s absolutely a puzzler that will provide plenty for even the most seasoned puzzlers.

The Verdict: Challenging Puzzles for Adults

The Ravensburger krypt gold is the hardest, as evidenced by the fact that we haven’t finished it at the time of writing! It’s all one color and has a centered spiral layout to boot – it’s not for the impatient. Both Cloudberries puzzles are extremely difficult while the 1,000-piece Almond Blossom will have you wishing you never started (but be extremely satisfied when you’re done).

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