Puzzle agent is a light adventure/puzzle game with a lot of charm and some imaginative puzzles, based upon the work by Graham Annable (which I was entirely unfamiliar with when I played the game)
Graphics & Sound Puzzle agent has a very distinct art style, one that I guess is a bit of a love it or hate it kind of deal. It's very consistent though, everything looks like it belongs in the world, and nothing looks out of place. Personally, I found the game to be nice looking, in its own peculiar way. The sound design also works well with what the game tries to be. The voice actors do a good job at portraying the different characters, and while there are no Oscar winning performances here, it works well. The voice acting also helps lend the game a lot of personality, which makes it memorable for more than just its puzzles.
Story & setting In Puzzle Agent you play as agent Nelson Tethers, who works at the US department of Puzzle research. There are trouble in the small town of Scoggins and their eraser factory, which supplies erasers to the White House. Thus your job is of utmost importance to the safety of the country. Scoggins is a peculiar place. Everyone is obsessed with puzzles, and not only that, everyone is also a bit Norwegian. Your job is to find out what is going on, and why there are pointy red hats seen everywhere. To make matters worse, the entire city is out of chewing gums, something that agent Tethers need in order to focus on his puzzles. This ties in directly with the games hint system, if you spend some of the gum you have in you've picked up you get a hint for whatever puzzle you're working on.
Gameplay Gameplay is mostly straight forward. You click on objects like in a point & click adventure game, gather talk to people, and quite often you're given a puzzle. These puzzles don't fit in as well with the world as something in say Syberia or The Longest Journey, but are their own self contained little entities. This does allow the game designers to constantly mix things up with new and interesting puzzles, but at the expense of some immersion. If you've ever played a Professor Layton game, you'll feel right at home here, the puzzles are handled in a similar way. And the vast majority of the puzzles are fun to solve. Puzzle Agent is not a particularly lengthy game. The game can easily be beaten in less than 3h if you're comfortable with solving logical puzzles.
Final thoughts Puzzle agent is an excellent little puzzle game with a really fun story, and some well thought out puzzles. At a base price of 5€, it's hard to not recommend this game, despite its short length.
This game is very similar to Detective Grimoire, where you play a detective tasked with solving a mystery. Here, you travel to some town to find out more about some strange events that have been going on in their eraser factory.
Art style & graphics
Story & premise
Intro took ages to play through - we see several seconds of a person's stunned expression, and other such unimportant, inane things. Is there really a need, for god's sake?
Every single conversation is animated, and takes a long time to get through. You absolutely cannot fast forward anything. (See point #2 below.)
No way to fast forward dialogue without missing out on reading it
The way dialogues take place in this game is like this: as every character speaks, a text bubble appears, and the text only displays as they speak, and not at once. Now, if you try to make the dialogue go faster, clicking just causes the entire text bubble to disappear, instead of making the remaining undisplayed text appear! How stupid is that?!
I wouldn't mind so much if characters said important things with every speech bubble, but most of the time the text is extraneous, so you are forced to sit through tons of worthless dialogue before you can finally glean the important stuff.
Puzzles are way too simple
E.g. Put fragments of a torn picture together. And said fragments are very big, not small or complicated in the least.
E.g. Click on squares to rotate them until they all face the correct way, forming a complete picture.
Puzzles are misleading
E.g. One puzzle said you would find a "hidden object" once you rotated the squares correctly to form the correct picture. There was no such "hidden object".
Some puzzle instructions are very poor
E.g. In one puzzle, you must place logs to make your character go the correct way. You are supposed to "pass 2 traffic lights" along the way. Now, I had no idea the 2 traffic lights were "passable" (i.e. your character could go through them), as opposed to being an obstacle on the board. Also, when you say "pass", do you mean you need to pass them on the left? Or right? Or through them (which was the intention)? As a result of the complete ambiguity, this puzzle had to be attempted a 2nd time before I finally understood what the game wanted.
Way too much hand-holding in the beginning
At the start of the game, instead of asking you if you want a tutorial or stuff, the game just SPECIFICALLY TELLS YOU WHAT TO DO next. As in, "talk to man", "enter hotel", etc. This went on for quite a while, until I thought the entire game would be like this.
No free exploration + no real choice
If you're looking for a true adventure game where you can freely roam and check out objects in your own time, this is not that game. It is extremely linear, and most of the time you are implicitly told what to do or where to go next. So it plays out more like an interactive novel, only with so-called puzzles to solve along the way.
Based on the interface, excessive hand-holding, extremely slow dialogue & game pace, way too easy puzzles, etc, I have to conclude that this game is more for kids. As an adult, I just did not have the patience to deal with the horrible mechanics of the text bubbles in particular. I cannot for the life of me understand why clicking to fast forward wouldn't just show you all the text immediately rather than make it completely disappear. This was extremely frustrating and irritating and I could not see myself sitting through this game waiting for countless text bubbles to disappear.
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 24
Telltale Games forgot to mention on the store page that if you're running this on a version of OSX of 10.8 or higher, the game will either not work or will be so bugged that you can't even access the first puzzle of the game. It's simply unplayable.
This Game almost hit my expectations, after i read all the reviews before i played the game.
Difficulty: 2 of the 37 puzzles i solved were a little bit more challenging than all the others. The others were just 'too easy'. And yeah, i played all Myst Games, so i know what i'm talking about. If you want to have 3 hours of light entertainment (more storytelling and some surprise moments That red gnomes are creepy! than puzzling) than this is for you. Other than i thought i really liked the game graphics, but that's only my personal taste. I'm looking pleased forward to play Puzzle Agent 2. But i dont think the games are worth the full price.
Pros: - light entertainment - nice graphics - all voices are crisp clear and gives evryone a personality - the puzzles are logical - nice atmosphere
Cons: - way too short - easy puzzles - gums are too easy to find - a few puzzles had no clear instructions (more like try and error, but prevented me getting a perfect score) - the end came too soon, i didnt expected it, the puzzles didnt get harder or gave me the feeling of a 'beat the endboss-challenge) - no replay value
Not a bad game for what it is. Probably aimed at a slightly younger audience as the puzzles aren't anything really difficult.
The pacing was OK, if sometimes frustratingly slow waiting for animations etc. There isn't a lot of gameplay involved though, it took me less than 4 hrs total to play the whole way through the game at a casual pace.
Interesting theme about the "little people" woven into the story. I will be playing the second installment soon.
The story is good, although short, and then the ending is bad. the puzzles vary between ok but easy and frustrating because of poor explanations/no ability to make notes/having to constantly click to another screen for rules. I struggled on a few puzzles because of difficulty but most of the struggle was just frustration. Others aren't hard but purely tedium - eg connecting the images together, when you put them in the right place they snap together so you can't go wrong but it's very hard to actually see how they should connect together often so you just move stuff around hoping they'll work. A couple puzzles have too many steps but you can't make notes or draw or anything which is a pain. A few have confusing explanations and eg the one revolving around patrons looking like food I couldn't work out which a couple of people were supposed to look like. I had some fun and for the price it's not bad but kind of a frustrating experience.