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.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 2 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 3 LED Lenser P7R Professional Torch review
- 4 Aftershokz Wireless Trekz Titanium Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones review
- 5 Review: Periscope users rejoice with Feiyu’s G4 Plus 3-Axis Gimbal for Smartphone video
Latest News Articles
- Wasteland 3 heads to a crowdfunding campaign, and the snowy wastes of Colorado
- This week in games: Blizzard ditches Battle.net, Gears of War 4 adds PC split-screen
- Forza Horizon 3 (PC) review impressions: Get ready to make your graphics card sweat
- How Xbox Project Scorpio and the PS4 Pro can play 4K games: Visual compromises
- Games yanked from Steam after developer sues users for nasty negative reviews
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTTechnical Support Engineer | Cloud | Automation techsNSW
- FTCertification and Accreditation Security ConsultantACT
- CCBI Reporting AnalystACT
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- FTBackup ConsultantWA
- CCPMO AnalystNSW
- CCSecurity Cleared IT Professionals - Expression of InterestSA
- FTIT Pre-Sales EngineerSA
- CCJava / J2ee ProgrammersACT
- CCTechnical Architect/DesignerACT
- CCContract Systems Analyst (IT Security) 160928/JP/653Asia
- FTTest SpecialistSA
- CCProgram Manager - Data InsightVIC
- FTBusiness Development Manager | ICT intelligent systems integrationVIC
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- CCInformatica Developer (MDM)NSW
- CCAcquisition Marketing Executive - B2BNSW
- FTDesktop/Application SupportVIC
- CCBusiness ArchitectNSW
- FTCarrier/ Industrial Network ConsultantsWA
- CCNetwork and Security EngineerNSW
- FTPositive Vetted ICT positions - Defence intelligence and information securityACT
- CCSenior Infrastrcture Project ManagerACT
- CCIT Security ArchitectACT
- CCeCommerce Project ManagerNSW