Should I Buy? – Puzzle Agent

I can save you the trouble of having to read this. Do you like Professor Layton? Then yes. While Professor Layton is the respectable, well turned out gentleman of puzzle games, Puzzle Agent feels like its horror-fan little sibling.

Puzzle Agent is a so far two game series developed by the ever versatile Telltale Games and tells the tale of the only member of the FBI’s Puzzle Research Division investigating the mysterious closure of an eraser factory in Scoggins. Said factory is so important because it’s where the White House gets it erasers from, and you’re sent because all attempts to contact the sleepy northern town have been answered with puzzles.

Silly as all this sounds, the game somehow manages to play it all seriously, though it’s never afraid to make the occasional jab at its own lunacy. Instead, it’s more concerned with being a horror game. Telltale were fully aware that they couldn’t get away with big shocks or grotesque monsters, so Puzzle Agent instead goes for a slow burning sense of unease and mystery.

The influence from Twin Peaks and Stanley Kubrick is almost palpable, although it never quite manages the balance of mystery versus explanation that it needs, and the ending all but screams ‘sequel tease’.

Gnet it?

That being said, that my complaints with pacing all get quickly put aside when it decides to twist the screw and bring in the chills. The character of Tethers is also a surprisingly good lead, with a credible and strong character emerging from his initial nervous persona. The others are all weird townsfolk of varying levels of cliché, though I will give special mention to both the writing and acting of the character Glori Davner for managing to rise up from the rest of townfolk.

Now you may have noticed that I’ve spent a lot of time avoiding any mention of the actual gameplay, save for a brief comparison to the king of puzzle games. Really, Puzzle Agent is very much the same. It’s lacking in the sheer numbers of puzzles, but there does tend to be a better reason for you solving them.

So was mine by the time I'd finished

It has a near identical Hint system, but also lacks any additional puzzles or challenges. If I were to say the puzzles have one advantage, its that they tend to be explained better than some of those from Professor Layton though this by no means makes them easier.

It doesn’t present itself as well as its older brother, opting for a more simplistic approach with its art style and a near-absent musical score. Though the stripped-down visuals serve the tone, as soon as there’s a close up of an art piece the rough edges show quite clearly.

The puzzles do tend to repeat themselves, this may be an annoyance to you, but the ones this happened with were personally some of the puzzles I most enjoyed.

This game is cheap, widely available and while not overly long, certainly earns its price tag.

Price: (Steam) £3.99
(iPhone) £2.99
(iPad) £4.99


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Should I Buy? – Puzzle Agent 2 « buythatgame
  2. Trackback: Home | flashleadsystems

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