Jul 06 //
Puzzle Agent 2 (PC [reviewed], Mac, iOS)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: June 30, 2011MSRP: $9.99
For the uninitiated, the Puzzle Agent series follows Nelson Tethers, of the FBI's Department of Puzzle Research, through a Professor Layton-esque point and click adventure with discrete, self contained puzzles. This sequel aims to tie up the some of the loose ends left by the first game, after Agent Tethers' first trip to the unsettling small town of Scoggins, Minnesota. While the government was satisfied that he got the eraser factory back up and running, Nelson took it upon himself to truly solve the mysteries of the missing foreman and the Hidden People -- red faced forest gnomes of legend.
Continuing the Puzzle Agent tradition, the story takes a few unexpected turns and it's a bit darker and more bizarre than the art style might lead one to believe. The presentation works well, but it may surprise players who are expecting something slightly less weird.
The art style is based off of the drawings of Graham Annable. It has a fantastic cartoon aesthetic that almost feels like it was drawn in crayon on canvas. The downside to the hand drawn artwork is that the animation ranges from jarring to nonexistent at times. While it looks great in still images, the animation (or lack thereof) takes some getting used to.
On par with the previous game, Puzzle Agent 2 showcases voice acting done well. Each of the characters has a distinct personality, and a lot of that is derived from the voices. From the curious Tethers to the mysterious Korka, welcoming Valda or creepy Bjorn, you can tell that a lot of care went into directing the voice work to fit the universe.
One slightly unfortunate result in this sequel is the recycling of assets from the previous game. Most notable is the music that plays during a puzzle, but certain locations have also been reused, including Valda's Inn and the Moose Ear Diner. The writers at least acknowledge the retreading of ground, as Tethers will occasionally reference occurrences from the last game. In the end, there are more new assets than old, so it is just a minor niggle near the beginning.
One of the supposed benefits of reusing locations, characters, and music is that the development team had more time to spend on designing puzzles. As the central gameplay focus of the Puzzle Agent series, the puzzles were a bit disappointing this time around. Though I wouldn't go so far as to say that the puzzles were bad, none were particularly good either.
A well designed puzzle is clever and elegant, leaving the player feeling satisfied after successfully figuring it out. Many of the puzzles in Puzzle Agent 2 are immediately obvious, some can be solved by brute force methods, and still others are borrowed from history and even the previous game. Puzzle aficionados will immediately recognize concepts like sliding blocks, crossing rivers, bouncing lasers, and ordering images, and they will already have strategies for those.
One strange decision in the puzzle design is that a few require non-trivial mathematics knowledge in order to solve them. Knowledge of the digits of pi, understanding of base-2 counting, and even familiarity with basic Calculus all show up in various puzzles. While math nerds (like myself) will have little problem, it seems like another inelegant point that the puzzle solutions rely more on knowledge than logic.
And then there are a select few puzzles whose rules are not quite explained well enough, causing the player to fail through no fault of his own. While the penalty for wrong answers is minor, it is a bit frustrating to have a submission rejected simply because a drawing wasn't clear or a rule was easily misinterpretable.
Still, to reiterate, the puzzles featured in Puzzle Agent 2 are not bad overall. They simply could have been so much better. Rather than being the perfectly cooked, delicious steak that you miss immediately after you finish, they are the breakfast cereal that is palatable and will tide you over until lunch time.
With about four hours of total gameplay, there are certainly worse ways to spend ten dollars. Fans of the first game will enjoy their time spent returning to Scoggins, despite the slight dip in puzzle quality and quantity. Newcomers would almost certainly be better off checking out the original Puzzle Agent, not only to enjoy superior puzzles, but also to start at the beginning of a truly bizarre, entertaining narrative.
There are a few different philosophies that developers subscribe to when making a sequel. Some make wild design changes, some make iterative improvements, and some leave the basic pieces intact while expanding the narrative.&...
GoofierBrute And so I purchased not just Hyper Dimension Neptunia, but also its sequel and Grim Fandango Remastered in the Steam Sale, and it isn't even the end of the first day. God damnit.
At least refunds are thing a now.Samsneeze I'm currently writing a review for a mobile game, but only because I'm enjoying the hell out it. I'm honestly enjoying it far more than Puzzles and Dragons.Zer0t0nin Damn, I think I'm Bruce Willis from Unbreakable. Just fell of a 12-foot ladder and all I got was a little scratch on my finger.CoilWhine After I finish Fallout 4 I'm thinking of 100%ing Skyrim and then installing a TON of dinosaur mods on it. voex 4 hours into Hotline Miami 2 and I'm finding it just as fun as the original. So far it's a good balance between frustration and satisfaction. Still have no idea what the story is about.OverlordZetta 1. Start playing Ocarina of Time again. 2. Start having fun. 3. Discover fishing area. 4. Stop having fun.AvtrSpirit A 2-d hovercraft platforming exploration game just came out today. Have fun collecting the coins! My record so far is 140.
https://xkcd.com/Occams Holy shit the new David Bowie video/song is just lovely. Barry Kelly So many people angry at Play-Asia right now. Totally not exactly the kind of backlash Tecmo were trying to avoid by not releasing the game here in the first place.FlanxLycanth If you're a UK kid there's a Wii U 32 GB Wind Waker Premium Pack on Amazon for £240. It says sale... I dunno how much of a saving that is. You tell me.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00EZMPY0A?ref_=gbps_img_m-3_2807_37b2c4b4&smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLEArchelon Community Question: Not strictly speaking video game-related, but screw it. Team Captain America or Team Iron Man?ikiryou I want Just Cause 2 and Metal Gear Solid V + Peace Walker to fornicate together so we can have a beautiful big open world to blow up and/or fulton. Then I want to build an infinitely-sized base of soldiers, each with their own personalities and stats. FlanxLycanth When SFV drops next year we gotta get some DTOID noob battles on, practice with online lag with friends, be really bad casuals together. We can call it Kanye Night Fights. #Swerve on FNF (just kidding...maybe).Solar Pony Django So someone messaged me on a Lightning fast, comment board that bow they're super depressed. And I worry for them now. Because a comment board is not something to get depressed over, just because someone disagrees with you if your an ass, people will be 2.arkane9 Guys, a sequel to Retro City Rampage: Shakedown Hawaii! Someone should really write about it. Lots of Dtoid staff were in the RCR after all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV0qd7jr6ywFlanxLycanth Fuck racism man, shit ain't fair. Can't stand it and I shouldn't have to. Nobody should.Robo Panda Z Embedded pictures in Quickposts seem to be broken for me right now.Flegma To my surprise, I've more or less figured out Rodea Wii U controls. Still a different game from the Wii version, but not as decidedly inferior in my eyes. Did the legacy medals do anything in Wii version?RadicalYoseph "Am I a kid, or a squid?" I ponder as I stare off into the horizon. A wise man once told me "Son, you can be whatever you want to be. You are only limited by your lack of ambition " And I want to be a squid. A squid now.Parismio Captain America: Civil War trailer dropped!: