Sunday, July 17, 2011

Video Game Review: PUZZLE AGENT 2





I consider myself a glutton for punishment...because I love puzzle games SO much, I'm willing to suffer through the headache some of them give me. Ever since I was six years old, playing Tetris on my NES, I've gathered a grand collection of puzzle games that you'd think would last me a lifetime, or at least enough to not ADD out on them.

TellTale Games' Puzzle Agent 2 is one, however, of a kind I've yet encountered before...a puzzle game...with a story.
Now, don't get me wrong, I've played tons of games that were a story that happened to have puzzles to solve in it; I, too, have lost a fair share of hair from playing Myst...but I've yet to play a game that uses puzzles as it's driving force...and I think I like it! I only wish I got to play the first one before this!

Puzzle Agent 2 continues the story of Agent Nelson Tethers, the top agent of the FBI's Department of Puzzle Research, who is following up on parts of his last case(closed by the Bureau) that don't quite sit right with him. Taking him back to the creepy town of Scoggins, Wisconson, Agent Tethers finds himself going rogue in order to close his last case completely, knowing it was solved.

You follow Tethers around his environment, interrogating people and finding clues (and extra hints) in his surrounding environment, finding yourself solving various puzzles for various reasons, either case-breaking or simply menial, at sometimes random times. The puzzles range from relatively easy to kinda hard, and they mix them up quite a bit, so you never know what skill level or even what type of puzzle you'll be solving. I made it through most of them pretty easily, though some I had to use a few hints...and some I completely failed before getting them right.
The puzzles are quite a mix-up, and there's pretty much any type of puzzle for any type of person. It's strange how some of the easiest (and most obvious in retrospect) answers show up on a puzzle you looked too much into, leaving you smacking your forehead because you didn't think of it, and in that respect, it shows how much thought went into some of them.

The story is quirky, as is the animation. Don't expect Disney level of detail in the movement or anything, but that, to me, is definitely part of it's charm. The voice acting is cute, most having that trademark Wisconsin accent that makes me giggle far more than I should (which I blame mostly on actress Edie McClerg in Trains Planes and Automobiles...and a set of lines I probably shouldn't quote right now).

Controls are quite easy; just point and click, really. Moving your mouse around the screen's environment reveals the places you can go and clicking with the magnifying glass icon reveals clues, observations to make note of, and hidden items, like extra hints in case you've used all of yours up. Unfortunately, I don't see much re-playability...though I can't be quite sure about that until I start over again, the puzzles seem to be pretty specific so I don't think there will be much of a change-up, if any at all, with the start of a new game. You might just have to wait for the next one.

All in all, I think this is another wonderfully imaginative game by TellTale, brought together in a wonderfully unique style and is a great refresher between all those hours you've put in on that most recent console title you've been playing(for me, it's been between Assassin's Creed, Fable III, and...well...Angry Birds, all at once, which is why this review has been a bit...delayed. Heh). And seriously, for the price it is for each individual device it's available, it's not a bad dent in your pocket at all and worth it for the gamer who needs something a bit lighter than normal, the gamer who wants something deep while on a long commute, or, like me, just someone who likes puzzle games or games with a unique feel.

You can get Puzzle Agent 2 for the PC or Mac from TellTale Game's Store for $9.99, for the Apple iPad for $6.99 and for the iPhone for $4.99 at the iTunes App Store.

-Played, Written...then Rewritten, and Reviewed by Crux

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