|Platform: PC, iPad, iPod||Developer: Teletale Games|
Once again, we fill the shoes of the mild mannered Special Agent, Nelson Tethers of the FBI’s Puzzle Research Division. After a foray into Scoggins, Minnesota investigating the shutdown of the eraser factory that supplies the White House, Tethers discovers things aren’t quite right in the town. With their obsession with puzzles and these gnome like creatures, some inhabitants worship the ‘Hidden People’. After unraveling the mystery, Tethers manages to get the factory up and running again, but things aren’t quite finished. People are still missing, and the “Hidden People’ are still out there. In Puzzle Quest 2, we head back to Scoggins in search of the truth and finishing the case one and for all.
Puzzle Agent 2 functions less like point-and-click adventures it borrows its mechanics from, and it truly embodies the puzzle experience. Puzzles range from furniture reorganization, where players have to organize furniture to make a patch while blocking opposition; lock slicing, where players must draw a line that will cut through all object barricading a door, to a fast paced match sequences.
When starting a puzzle, a description of the situation and rules associated with the puzzle is presented. It is paramount they be read, because the game can be a bit unforgiving when scrambling for the perimeters of the puzzle. In one puzzle, I had to make sure I got exactly fifty flyers across branching streets where a bandit could steal the papers on any three of the five routes. I came up with a flawed and uneducated solution. Since I didn’t read the rules thoroughly, I ended up doing quite poorly.
The game actually requires the player to be intelligent and intuitive, making the game challenging in the best ways. Some puzzles are built around mathematics and formula, as well as properly dissecting pictures to determine their order, and on one occasion, guiding three objects to three different destinations all at once via an intricate strategy. The various puzzles kept the experience fairly fresh with the exception of a few repetitive ‘arrange the room’ bits. And though the game seeks to challenge its players, there is an accessible hint system that is paid for with “gum” found in game.
The environment contributes greatly to the setting of Scoggins, a seemingly unimportant mountain town that is a ripe hot-bed for long kept secrets. The characters that make up the town bring it to life: the dutiful yet unhelpful Sheriff Bahg, the mysterious repairman Randy Scruffman, the charming Korka, and the motherly Mrs. Garret all set the tone. With the corky dialogue, the mysterious sightings and unique discoveries constantly has that “something isn’t quite right here” feel that brings the story to life.
The game isn’t completely genius, though. I would have loved to see them do something with the replay feature for the puzzles. At any point in the game, players can go back and review a puzzle they’ve completed, but I would have loved it if they adding in some randomization and extra challenge. This could even spell out a great system for “100-percenting” the game.
In any case, Teletale Games creates another gem with Puzzle Agent 2. It stays true to what it is — a quirky, entertaining puzzle solving adventure. If you like puzzle play or if you’re just a fan of point-and-clicks, this game does not disappoint.
4 out of 5