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!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
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.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCContract - System Access Administrator - major Telco in MelbourneVIC
- CCSystems Engineer (Infra)NSW
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXWA
- CCWindows AdministratorACT
- FTLevel 2 Technical Support OfficerQLD
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- TPAnalyst Programmer (Adabas)SA
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)NSW
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- CCData Analyst - AutoHaulWA
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- FTSupport and Operations Team LeadNSW
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- TPDigital Business Analyst | AgileQLD
- FTStorage Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTSecurity Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- TPJava DeveloperVIC
- CCProject Manager - Telco Networks EngineeringVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)QLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)WA
- CCJunior Data ArchitectACT