Puzzle Agent returns to the iPad for a second helping, but is this a case worth cracking?
Continuing on from the first game, you play Nelson Tethers FBI Agent, puzzle specialist, and all round nice kinda guy. Nelson’s previous case at Scoggins eraser factory has been branded closed, but those of you that have played through the first game know there is quite a bit of unfinished business left in Scoggins. Unable to reopen the case Nelson decides to take a little ‘vacation’ to Scoggins, and tries to uncover the secret that has been overshadowing this town for years.
Puzzle Agent plays almost exactly like the first game. Based very much on the game play style of the famous Professor Layton series, as Nelson Tethers you visit different locations throughout Scoggins, questioning its residents and attempt to uncover the secret behind the hidden people.
Now, I was looking forward to this game, I had played through the first one last year and thoroughly enjoyed it despite it’s short length. I was disappointed however to found out this game is even shorter than the first, although there isn’t a big difference in the number of puzzles, the overall game is over far to quick.
The puzzles themselves are a mixed bag with the same styles of puzzles often repeated as the game progresses. For example, I am sure I had done at least 4 puzzles of the ‘Unblock Me’ type as well another 5 where I had to arrange the order of 6 photographs chronologically. It might not sound like much, but when you have a total of just over 30 puzzles, the repetition is transparent. In addition the explanation of some puzzles can be more confusing than the puzzles themselves. I did come across one puzzle that involved American valued coins that left me with no hope of solving as I am not familiar with what specific coins like a dollar, quarter, dime etc.. look like so I had to randomly guess the answer.
Although the quality of these brainteaser puzzles is good, they are by no means exceptional.
Navigating around the screen is very much like the first game also, you tap your finger to send out a radar that will display interactive parts of the screen. You collect hints in the form of chewing gum and there are more than enough hints to collect as Telltale have been very generous in scattering them, practically everywhere.
One thing that did bug me when playing through was how the dialogue trees are far more limited in this game than the first. When arriving back at Scoggins, I exhausted all my available talking points with the Inn owner, leaving me with nothing else to say to her for rest of the game. From time to time when I had reached a turning point in the story, I would venture back to see if anything new could be said but I was met with the same list of crossed out dialogue options. This is true with several people within Scoggins and feels like the dialogue was a rushed element in production.
As the story progresses it gets weirder and as you approach the end it’s almost as if all the rules have gone out the window. Some main story elements from the first episode have been dropped out from the second also. It would have been nice to have at least a bit more reference to the eraser factory, or even to see some more of the hidden people at points throughout the game. A couple of new characters have been introduced, but I am only mentioning this because I feel I have to, they are neither memorable or any more interesting than what already exists in Scoggins.
Nelson is a very likable character but doomed by the little variation within the small collection of mediocre puzzles wrapped in a story that can best be described as strange and most certainly an acquired taste.