Despite the game's artistic ingenuity and dark humour, Puzzle Agent just doesn't live up to its puzzle-adventure counterparts when it comes to sheer brain activity
- Unique animation and an eerily quirky mystery in a Fargo-esque town, a handful of fun brain teasers
- Misleading hints and vague instructions are more difficult to understand than the puzzles
Delightfully eerie and expertly atmospheric, Puzzle Agent is a worthy debut for Telltale's innovative Pilot Program, even if it occasionally suffers from vague puzzle instructions and unclear hints.
Quirky, mysterious and chock-full of dark humor, Puzzle Agent is just shy of exemplifying the perfect launch title for Telltale's new game-release strategy. Dubbed the Pilot Program, Telltale's new agenda tests out audience reactions with a short "pilot" episode of a new IP before launching an all-out episodic franchise, allowing the company to try new ideas at minimal financial risk. With roughly one-third the size of the average team, the Telltale developers worked with alt-cartoonist and former Telltale staffer Graham Annable to create its first trial-by-fire title in Puzzle Agent, a Professor Layton-esque point-and-click adventure with a unique flair reminiscent of the best independent games.
Puzzle Agent follows the eerie journey of Nelson Tethers, an FBI agent of the Puzzle Research Division looking into a mysterious accident at an eraser factory. Tethers' investigation takes him to Scoggins, Minnesota, a snowy Fargo-esque town that, despite its unassuming appearance, clearly has something to hide. Funny accents and hometown charm belie the town's darker nature, but through Tethers' sarcastic self-reflective commentary, a series of brain teasers, and some absurd run-ins with the locals, a simple hunt for answers soon takes a turn for the bizarre.
The game's dry humor, interspersed with surprisingly creepy moments, will make you laugh as much as reel back in terror -- often simultaneously. Most of Puzzle Agent's unique feel can be credited to Graham Annable's simplistic charcoal-like drawings, but the purposely awkward dialogue and frequent chills also go a long way in setting the mood. It's embarrassing to admit wanting the lights on to play a 2D puzzle adventure, but even during the puzzles, Nordic cultists and evil red gnomes have a way of scaring the bejeezus out of you.
Despite the game's artistic ingenuity and dark humour, Puzzle Agent just doesn't live up to its puzzle-adventure counterparts when it comes to sheer brain activity. Decently challenging, varied, and simply entertaining, the game's puzzles should have easily matched the game's wit and presentation. One level, you attempt to determine the winner of an arm-wrestling match using vague eye-witness statements. Another, you're arranging a furnace flume in the vein of classic puzzler Pipe Dream for Windows.
Some puzzles take a bit of note-taking while others are just a matter of spatial reasoning. But whatever the type, most of the pilot's 37 brain teasers have vague instructions that take more brain power to decipher than the actual puzzle. Even hints, which you earn through collecting used gum from the streets of Scoggins (ew), are frequently misleading. It's not just frustrating, but it takes away from the quality of the puzzles and knocks your Agent Rank down a notch in result.
Even with fuzzy instructions and the resulting frustration, Puzzle Agent is worth even more than its $10 price tag. The animations alone are entertaining, and the freakish characters you encounter in Scoggins are even better. With all of its ingenuity and charm, this episode is a great first step in Telltale's Pilot Program.
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A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
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