Let's consider the nameless supervillain whose supervillainous lair is the setting of Agent 079, a new spy-themed point-and-click adventure game from Atomic Cicada. This is a man committed to his work. While lesser evil geniuses would be content to tie their nemeses to an assembly line and take an early lunch, this guy knows how to persecute a superspy: Lure him into your funhouse of bizarre puzzles and gadgetry, compel them to collect items, crack codes, shunt entire rooms, and learn to smith keys; then, just as escape seems imminent... Well, you'll have to play to find out.
Agent 079 puts you in the stylish patent-leather shoes of the eponymous superspy protagonist. Use your mouse to point and click in this point-and-clicker; navigation, item collection, and interaction are entirely mouse-based. Your inventory bar is at the bottom of the screen. Click an item to use it in the environment, or to combine it with another item. If you want to dismiss the item, click the handy pointing-hand icon. When riding the elevator, you can click on the up-and-down arrows to the right to switch floors. Other tasks are explained by in-game instructions, so keep your eyes peeled.
Analysis: Agent 079 is about puzzles first, presentation second, which is not to say that the presentation is wanting. While the rough, watercolor-looking visuals and extremely-limited animation don't make for the slickest design, it looks fine, and even engenders a sort of comic-book vibe, like you are looking at separate panels on a page. The soundtrack is pleasantly understated, mostly confined to soft mechanical whirs and dings, like you might expect to hear in a supervillain's super-lab.
The puzzles themselves are where Agent 079 shines. They are clever, logical, and strike a fine balance between straightforward fare and the occasional rewarding head-scratcher (there is at least one color-based puzzle, by the way). For the most part there aren't any obvious hotspots, but nothing is cruelly hidden away either, so pixel-hunting is not an issue. Some of the puzzles have at best a tenuous connection to the game's purported spy-theme, but they are all so well done that you will hardly notice.
The setting is no ordinary den of super-science, for this evil genius has installed rooms that can be moved and rearranged, so that any room can be adjacent to another. The puzzles that involve moving rooms around are by far the most clever and most rewarding Agent 079 has to offer. Sometimes you need to move rooms around for reasons of simple navigation. Other times you want to exploit resources that various rooms generate. There is a furnace room, a power room, and a few others; and if you want another room to use these resources, you have to arrange them so that such a transfer is possible. It can be a little tedious figuring out how to arrange and rearrange rooms to get where you want to go, but the puzzles are cool enough that it's worth it.
Agent 079 is a solid adventure game with clever puzzles that is well worth the hour or two it takes to complete. It's also a bold model for a particularly devious brand of dedicated supervillainry. Once you escape, make sure you don't burn yourself.