Magic Square Puzzle

A Magic Square Puzzle is typically a grid of nine squares where a given sequence of numbers must be placed in a specific order to equal another number in all directions. Somewhat similar to a Fifteen Puzzle, depending on the mechanics, though a magic square usually has complete freedom of moving pieces if it has physical pieces for each number.


Alternate Reality Game
  • Perplex City has a card with a 4×4 magic square which must be filled in, with only two starting numbers.

Live-Action TV
  • Stargate Atlantis episode "The Brotherhood" was all about this puzzle. First version, the eight pieces of the movable numbers were arranged in a grid square over a wide area of land. At the final puzzle, nine pieces with the numbers 1-9 were placed. One piece fit into a certain slot in the middle of the grid, and the eight others were placed around it. After witnessing one Mook get killed by an incorrect arrangement, Sheppard solves the puzzle by realizing that the numbers 1-9 can be placed in a grid to add up to 15 in all directions. Of course, there's a certain element of Fridge Logic to the fact that quite a few different such arrangements are possible, but one can Hand Wave this by claiming that any of them would have worked.

Video Games
  • It should not surprise anyone that Professor Layton and the Curious Village has one of these.
  • The PC game Sherlock Holmes and the Secret of the Silver Earring has an unusually large one, ten columns wide.
  • The first test you must complete to get one of Johnny's Tools in Shadow Hearts: From the New World is a staggered magic square, requiring you to match different sums for each direction.
  • Happens twice in Onimusha 2 where you have to solve such a puzzle to open the chests containing the proper trinket.
  • Castle of Dr. Brain and Island of Dr. Brain have this as one of the puzzles in each game. In the first game, the puzzle is the same every time you play (with a blank board), but the size will differ based on the difficulty. In the second game, you can replay the puzzle as many times as you like, and have it randomised each time.
  • The first Might and Magic game has a 4×4 magic square dungeon, the successful solution of which will grant your party +2 intelligence.
  • Often used in room escape point-and-click games. Sometimes you have to go on a Pixel Hunt to collect all the numbers before you can start work on the puzzle.
  • There's one in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. If it wasn't difficult enough per se, part of its nastiness comes from figuring out what the rows, columns and diagonals must equal. It gives you a hint in hexadecimal, though, which is a numerical base you've been using in previous puzzles; but you might as well have forgotten about it by the time you encounter this square, especially due to New Game+ reruns.