Puzzle Agent


  • Currently 4.4/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4.4/5 (24 votes)
| Comments (7) | Views (55)

Puzzle Agent

DoraWhat do you get when you combine the dark mystery of Twin Peaks with the absurdity of Deadly Premonition and a Saturday morning cartoon crossed with Miss Marple? Apparently, Puzzle Agent from Telltale Games is the unlikely answer! In this bizarre mystery point-and-click adventure series, you join forces with a very unusual hero; Nelson Tethers, who works for the FBI Department of Puzzle Research, and is assigned to the small town of Scoggins, Minnesota, when their eraser factory shuts down following the disappearance of their foreman, Isaac Davner. Since the factory supplies all the erasers to the government, this is a bigger deal than you might expect, but Nelson is about to find out that the same holds true for the case he's trying to solve. Scoggins has a lot of secrets, and its townsfolk are more than a little eccentric, but are the rumours and local legends the result of a lot of small town gossip, or has Nelson really stumbled across some sort of conspiracy?

Puzzle AgentThe Puzzle Agent series consists of two games, with the recently released sequel picking up just a few months after the original and continuing the story. In Puzzle Agent 2, Nelson returns to the burg of Scoggins, dissatisfied with the FBI's apparent disinterest in finding out the truth, and discovers that the truth may be even more complicated (and weirder) than he'd previously suspected. The townspeople don't seem to want to cooperate, someone is leaving him coded messages, and of course there are the Hidden People that don't seem to appreciate his prying.

All you need to do to play is click. Clicking anywhere onscreen that isn't itself an interactive hotspot will send out a circular pulse that highlights places you can do something with. A magnifying glass, for example, means Nelson can take a closer look at an object. Unlike most point-and-click titles, there's no inventory to manage; progress is made by talking to people and exhausting topics in Nelson's notebook, and also by solving the various puzzles in your way. Puzzles can range from mathematical problems to mazes to logic and more. If you find yourself stymied, you can use some gum (which helps Nelson concentrate) to get up to three hints, so keep your eyes peeled for gum stuck all over town... yes, even the previously chewed stuff. Ewwwww.

Puzzle AgentAnalysis: There really are no words for how badly Puzzle Agent needs to be its own television series, but I'll take its signature brand of casual, sneaky humour and surprisingly freaky mystery any way I can get it. Artist Graham Annable's work lends Puzzle Agent much of its charm and humour, with Nelson's nebbishy, perpetually worried expressions and oddball townsfolk making for some surprisingly funny scenes, often without a word of dialogue. The atmosphere perfectly captures the drama and eccentricities of small town life and people, and then exaggerates them just enough to make them absurd and stirs in exactly the right amount of creepiness.

The bad news, then, is that for a game with the word "puzzle" right there in the title, the puzzles fail to impress, and feel like they're doing little more than refusing to let you proceed with the story until you've solved a page from one of those Big Book 'o' Puzzles you can buy for two dollars at the supermarket cash register next to People and Woman's Weekly. Most of them are logic puzzle variations that can be frustrating to the point where the game really just needs an option to skip them by paying a fee in gum. One puzzle that involves flipping tiles to connect a ridiculously long and complicated pipe path, is actually done twice in a row after a silly complication once you solve it the first time that requires you to solve the exact same puzzle seconds later.

Puzzle AgentSo it's both good and bad, then, that the sequel, which picks up the story shortly after the end of the original, is more of the same. Good because it's a return to the surreal, funny, just a little creepy adventures of Nelson, but bad because it doesn't really do much to improve on what was a flawed formula to begin with. At least most of the blander puzzles have been retooled somewhat and presented in a more entertaining fashion. It's still a disappointment since the rest of the package is so stellar, and the characters and world of Scoggins really are such a treat to experience. It almost makes me wish the game were more of a traditional point-and-click type with your typical inventory/item use activities than Professor Layton by way of Fargo. As for the story in the sequel itself, it significantly fleshes out the mystery in new and unexpected ways, while expanding the cast and Skoggins itself so you don't feel as if you're just rehashing old territory.

While Puzzle Agent hasn't quite found its groove, it's still more than worth playing for the story alone. Both games will take you around four hours to complete, depending on how the puzzles trip you up and whether you track down and solve the "bonus" puzzles to boot. The game also looks and plays great on the iPad, if you have one, where the touch controls feel perfectly natural. Nelson Tethers likely isn't going to dethrone Professor Layton anytime soon, but it's hard to dislike a guy who rocks that flap hat so hard. If you like humour, strangeness, conspiracies, and little guys with beards and red hats, make a trip to Scoggins today. And make sure you try the Hot Dish... it's awesome.

WindowsWindows:
Order Puzzle Agent
Order Puzzle Agent 2

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Order Puzzle Agent
Order Puzzle Agent 2

7 Comments

SonicLover Author Profile Page July 3, 2011 4:24 PM

I've played both games from beginning to end. Interesting experience, albeit unusually linear. And the puzzles aren't THAT bad if you ask me.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

If the pipe flipping puzzle is the moment I'm thinking of, it was the best moment from the first game. I'd say the "silly complication" more than paid off for having to do the puzzle twice.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Anonymous July 3, 2011 5:35 PM

"What do you get when you combine the dark mystery of Twin Peaks with the absurdity of Deadly Premonition..."

I think what you get is "Twin Peaks".

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Anonymous July 3, 2011 7:34 PM

I wouldn't call Puzzle Agent a Saturday cartoon, it's got some good terror stuff and as you can see it's rated yellow. I found these games great and am happy there was an ending.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
wildflower12 Author Profile Page July 4, 2011 5:14 AM

Awww, I never download the games, but I love Grickle and follow the animated shorts on Youtube. It's kind of cool he made a game.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
richmcd Author Profile Page July 4, 2011 1:17 PM

I've said something similar on the Telltale forums as well, but I just want to say I agree with Dora: the puzzles really are THAT bad.

It just seems like they put in an astonishing lack of effort. There are four people listed as puzzle designers for the second game and only 33 puzzles, all of them trivial, recycled or dull. It hardly seems like they put in more than a day's work.

I know they're not really comparable except in the vaguest terms, but the LETTERS IN BOXES puzzles you've been running have shown a far higher degree of ingenuity and craftsmanship than the ones in this game. It felt like someone at Jayisgames actually WANTED to create a fun puzzle, whereas in Puzzle Agent, as Dora said, it seems like they felt obliged to put some puzzles in because of the title, so grudgingly threw some together.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
mr1black Author Profile Page July 4, 2011 4:15 PM

I like this sort of puzzle meets adventure type games (Prof. Layton being most prominent member). It's a real shame if the puzzles are so predictive as all of you describe! But that's where good story, characters, dialoges, and/or graphic come to play, and first part of PA delivered solid on that points. Looking forward to this part!

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

    Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • PLEASE UNDERSTAND SITE POLICIES BEFORE POSTING COMMENTS
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
362 Views
0 Comments
Sneaky Sneaky> Lori.h Just as you escape with your best haul yet, a group of thugs stop you before you can spend your reward. Sneak around to recollect your loot and trick your enemies to meet their makers sooner than they would have liked and if you do so strategically, perhaps you'll end up with more than you stole in the first place. And isn't that every thief's dream?  ...
914 Views
1 Comment
Crossy Road> Dora Endless arcade action meets classic Frogger style gameplay in this free iOS game where you control a series of hapless unlockable creatures trying to cross some very busy and very deadly roads and rapids. With a sense of humor and vibrant voxel graphics, it's both charming and hard to put down.  ...
Find the Escape-Men Part 126: The Special Property> Dora The apartment in this escape game's rent is suspiciously low, and there's a weird smell here too... so it's probably not a good sign your realtor has locked you inside! Experience a whole lot of weirdness (and a jump scare or two) in this very silly game from no1game.  ...
331 Views
1 Comment
Natural Selection 2> Johnny123 Your cute little spider-ball is hungry. Use the mouse to shoot strands of webbing to pull him around each level, catching and ensaring flies and avoiding the angry bees that chase you through each level.  ...

Recent Comments

 

Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Casual game of the week

Surface: Game of Gods

Your Favorite Games edit

add
Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Monthly Archives

Legal notice

All games mentioned or hosted and images appearing on JayIsGames are Copyright their respective owner(s).

All other content is Copyright ©2003-2014 JayIsGames.com. All Rights Reserved.


Visit our great partner: maxcdn!