Every now and then, I like to dust off the ol' grey cells with a more challenging mental contortion. You know—when slaughtering hoards of zombies or jumping from platform to floating platform becomes too monotonous (and young as I am, I can still appreciate just how ridiculous that statement sounds). Sometimes, I just have to give colorful characters and gripping storytelling a break and get down to some real problem solving. Few games can truly test the fortitude of my formidable problem-solving capabilities, which border on Einsteinian. Haha, I'm kidding, you'll probably beat this next game way faster than I did.
Following the original, Take Something Literally 2, by Benoit Freslon, continues in the footsteps of its predecessor, delivering 25 mind-churning, browser-busting puzzles. The setup is pretty straightforward; puzzles are arranged in rows of increasing difficulty. One star means the puzzle is a little annoying. Two stars will give you a headache. Three stars... well, you can extrapolate from there. Each puzzle presents you with a separate screen and a title which will be the key to figuring out how to solve the puzzle. And believe me, this can get pretty tricky, so you may be tempted to get some outside help. But hey, you're not a cheater, right? Walkthroughs are for wussies! (Note: Not actually for wussies!) In case you get stuck but don't want to get beaten up by your fellow gamers for being a dirty cheater, just look for the light bulbs hidden throughout the levels. One bulb will earn you one tip on a level, though sometimes these hints are almost as enigmatic as the puzzles themselves. Gee, thanks, Benoit! These little light bulbs are well-hidden, enough so that finding each one adds another level of satisfying challenge.
Analysis: What can I say? Take Something Literally 2 lives up to its title and often requires you to think a little harder than you might on your lunch break. I've touted the value of out-of-the-box thinking before, but it's particularly useful with the minimalistic presentation style and the various forms of solution inputs, like clicking, typing something in or reaching a destination. Some of the solutions become apparent after a minute or two, while others are (sometimes MUCH) more obtuse. In fact, one of the problems that plagues these kind of puzzle games is that you are often trying to do what the designer thought made sense at the time. The problem, of course, lies in the fact that you may not make the same mental connection between the title and the solution that the designer did during beta testing. Take Something Literally dodges this bullet narrowly because of its relatively high accessibility, but one or two puzzles require a certain amount of familiarity with the designer's work. If you played the original, though, you will be used to this sort of thing.
The whole appeal of the TSL series is the challenge. It is not found in the monochromatic presentation or the canned "reward" for each puzzle solved. You will, however, experience some "ah-HAH!" moments, particularly when... well, I hesitate to say too much, lest I be flayed for spoiling. So just go give it a shot, okay? The reward for each puzzle may be a little... 3 years ago, but we all know the REAL satisfaction that comes from this type of game is knowing you totally didn't use that walkthrough or ask anyone for help in the comments, right?