Platforms: Win, Mac, PS3
Puzzle Agent is a point-n-click adventure game with, unsurprisingly, a heavy focus on puzzles of all kinds. Which is odd because the major type of puzzle associated with point-n-click adventure games is the inventory puzzle, and there’s no inventory here. Just a weird town full of strange people, and with one central mystery, wrapped in lots and lots of different kinds of puzzles.
There is definitely a story here, and the characters and setting are well done and amusing caricatures, but there are a couple of pretty serious flaws as well. The first thing you should know is that the end of the game is not the end of the story – there’s a sequel that’s pretty critical if you really want to understand what’s going on. The second problem – or not, depending on your point of view – is how insanely contrived it all feels.
I think the biggest thing for me that detracted from my enjoyment is the fact that you will encounter a huge variety of puzzles. While that sounds like a good thing, puzzles encapsulate so many different types of conundrums. Most folks will gravitate to certain types of puzzles – for example, I’m fine with jigsaws, and most language and logic puzzles, but other types that I find frustrating. Nothing here is skippable, and even with the available hint system, you’re likely to run into a puzzle or two that are just not fun.
And if you’re not enjoying the puzzles, then there’s really not enough here to dig your teeth into. Walkthroughs exist, but using them would be shaving even more time off a game that’s probably already a bit too short. With a runtime of about 3 hours, and limited replayability (since nothing in the game changes based on choices, and the puzzles are always going to be the same), it’s hard to recommend picking up Puzzle Agent at full price. If you can get it at a deep discount – especially if you can find it bundled up with Puzzle Agent 2 – it’s good for a few hours of entertainment, but it’s certainly nowhere near the best of Telltale’s offerings.