Puzzle Agent 2 – Review
*spoken like Don LaFontaine* In a town where people are disappearing every few weeks. Where puzzles need to be solved. Where government conspiracies lurk around every corner… Only one man has the brains to tackle these dire circumstances. That man, is FBI agent Nelson Tethers, Puzzle Division.
Puzzle Agent 2 takes over where its predecessor takes off after solving the case of an eraser shortage from a mysterious shutdown of a factory in Scoggins, Minnesota. The factory began production again, but the foreman, Isaac Davner, has gone missing. The last time he was seen is when Agent Tethers saw a pack of gnomes or “hidden people” dragging him away. Were his eyes playing tricks on him? Are there really pointy hatted garden gnomes abducting people in Scoggins? Either way the case has been closed and his superiors say that his disappearance is a matter for the local authorities and he should drop it. So he decides to take some vacation time to head back to Scoggins to do some personal research and find out once and for all what’s really going on.
The story of this game is a little shaky and wasn’t too exciting for me, but it kept a modicum of linearity to the story to keep it cohesive. The animation is fun but similarly lacking with simple hand drawn characters and backgrounds. It adds some cartoony flavor to it, but can be a little too simplified sometimes.
The gameplay itself is where the game shines. It’s a simple point and click interface with no inventory to try and keep track of. When you click on an area, it has a quick ring that expands from the cursor that searches the area for clues, interactive objects, puzzles, persons of interest, gum, etc. This is a little nicer than some point and click game interfaces because you may find yourself clicking each part of the screen to see if it is part of the story or just a part of the background. When you talk with individuals it will cross off dialogue options you have completely delved into preventing you from clicking repeatedly on the same question hoping to pry just a little extra info out of them.
The puzzles are the main reason for this game. They vary quite a bit to make you use different parts of your brain. Some are simple puzzles requiring only a few seconds, while a couple had me stroking my chin for a good 30 minutes. One feature that was added that is a benefit and detraction to the puzzles is the hint system. You collect gum while running around town and can use it to get a hint on a puzzle. You can have a total of 3 hints on each puzzle with each taking up one piece of gum. It’s nice because there were a few puzzles that I had to take a hint because I was over-thinking them and had no clue which direction I was even supposed to look. So instead of sitting and getting pissed off that I had no clue or cheating and finding the strategy guide or walkthrough you can just get a hint or two to coax you along. The first is very subtle, the second is a bit more
directing, and the final hint nearly gives it to you. Which brings me to the detriment. They give you TONS of gum if you keep your eyes open. This basically gives you the ability to fly through every puzzle you come across. The only thing that attempts to sway you from this course of action is the grade they give you after you solve each one which incorporates the number of tries you took, the hints, etc. Taking one extra guess or hint drops it down to a B grade.
As a whole, a fun game to play if you are into puzzles. Don’t buy it looking for the next video game epic in your life.