Puzzle Agent impressions!



  • edited July 2010
    I think this game was pretty much a home run. I'm a big Twin Peaks and Fargo fan, so I might be biased, but the atmosphere was fantastic - and I really think that puzzles are the perfect pairing for a mystery, since that's really what a mystery is - a puzzle.

    The art and music were fantastic as mentioned before - and while some people say the game was too linear, I disagree. It isn't meant to be a point and click adventure, its meant to be a puzzle solver - and that's what it does. Plus - I think the linearity of it pushed the story along at the correct pace. A lot of times when I'm playing an adventure game, I'll spend an hour or so trying to figure out the solution to a problem, and by the time I finally figure it, i feel disconnected from the story, since the last narration or cut scene was at least an hour ago. This flowed perfectly - I was always very enveloped in the story - the atmosphere was never broken by gameplay.

    If Telltale does end up doing more in a series, I would like them to keep the gameplay dynamics exactly the same, I think they found the perfect recipe here. The only real issue I had with parts of the game was some clarification on rules of a couple of the puzzles - but it's tough to write a description that's going to click 100% for everyone.

    The fact that I wanted more and to replay it the moment I was done is something I've rarely experienced with a game. I would definitely count it as one of the best Telltale titles released to date.
  • stirpicusstirpicus Telltale Alumni
    edited July 2010
    On the whole, I gotta say I greatly enjoyed this game. The atmosphere was dark, twisted, and deliciously fun. Had to play the whole thing in one sitting because I couldn't walk away without knowing what the heck was going on. The gnomes were always consistently disturbing and unsettling. And that music, man, it just was the icing on the cake. I was constantly on edge and looking over my own shoulder, ha. The voice acting was superb, as is now standard for Telltale. Nelson's VA was, in particular, a great casting choice. He properly conveyed the character, and worked perfectly with the tone of the whole game. Additionally, I loved his little quirk of taking notes with his tape recorder. The dialogue written for those moments was especially laugh-out-loud worthy at times.

    The cinematic approach here was fantastic. I'm a storyboard artist, so I really appreciated the amazing angles and shot choices made in this game: everything was done to keep that feeling of unease, and it was really great. The slow, calculated pace added to that too. It seemed like everyone in the town was suspicious. Speaking of everyone in town: what great characters. All the oddly captivating freaks and weirdos of Scoggins were just great and unique in their own right.

    So those are the quite fantastic pros. The cons, however, would be the actual puzzles. Too many, in my opinion, were repeated, and seemed obviously designed with a touch interface (ie. the iPad) in mind. Things like the tile rotation, or fitting objects together, felt a little lame and contrived to me: in my opinion Telltale could be creating much stronger puzzles. Other puzzles, like riddles, felt like they shouldn't have been counted as puzzles on their own but maybe grouped together in a bunch, such as maybe having one character who is specifically 'riddle-obsessed' hit you with a bunch of riddles in a row. Having just one puzzle by itself count as a riddle felt like a bit of a cop-out, and resulted in an inconsistent level of difficulty, which I'll go into further below:

    [in this next section I'll be discussing specific puzzles from the game, so if you're Spoiler-phobic, please avoid]
    Puzzles that I thought were weak were:
    -The 'fitting pieces together' puzzles, particularly the chair stacking and the furnace fitting. These became a little too esoteric and became little more than guessing games for me: it didn't always make sense why certain pieces fit together and others didn't. And with the furnace, there were so many pieces that I found myself becoming aggravated when I couldn't pick the piece I wanted to because the larger mass was in the way. If the mass could itself be affixed to the background/slot I think it would help a lot.
    -The snowmobile deflection puzzles. The first one was fun, but by the third one it just felt tired. Even if something as simple as introducing a new element was added it would be a good addition and make it feel like I was doing something different, rather than just another iteration of the same puzzle.
    -The eraser-support-slicing puzzle. This one, I'm sorry, was just lame and felt rushed to me. It was nothing more than the classic 'trace a line back to its origin point' as seen in every activity book ever. I would've been fine with it towards the beginning of the game, but when you're getting towards the climax, it felt far too easy (especially when put immediately before the furnace puzzle)
    -The tile puzzles (tapeworm, furnace pipe, snowmobile engine, path through the ice, etc) Again, one or even two of these would've been fine, but by the end of the game it started to get tiresome. Also, the ambiguity of the rules for some (such as the furnace pipe not being able to have any open edges while the ice flows could have 'dead ends', etc.) made them frustrating.
    -The confused sock picker riddle: This one was just a simple math riddle and, well, felt too easy. Particularly when it was right after the awesome birds on a line puzzle.

    Puzzles that I really enjoyed
    -The birds on a line puzzle: Any puzzle that makes me get out my pad of paper to start solving it are, in my opinion, the best kind. This one was very challenging and felt really satisfying when I finally beat it. Having to work out the spatial relationships and try and wrap your head around the whole mental image was a great cerebral workout.
    -The key in the fish puzzle: This was a great example of a simple logic and reasoning puzzle. Wasn't overly complicated but, again, once you wrapped your head around the whole thing it made you feel like a genius, ha.
    -The 'who eats what' puzzle: Again, great logic and reasoning puzzle. Only thing that would've improved this one would be being able to see the rules at the same time as the diners, like in the key-in-the-fish puzzle.
    -The hydraulic lift puzzle: Maybe not as devious or complicated as I would hope for a final puzzle, but it was a good one nonetheless. It was nice because it was just different and required thinking about a lot of moving pieces at once.
    -The room number puzzle: this one was really simple, but it was memorable and made a great puzzle for the start of the game.

    [Okay, spoilers are over!]

    So, overall, I really enjoyed the game, and it made for a great playthrough even if the puzzles weren't exactly challenging at all times. I loved Graham's art direction and the overall 'feel' of the world enough that it kept me playing despite occasionally hum-drum gameplay. Definitely felt worth my ten bucks and, with that ending, I really hope this gets picked up for a full season!

    Thanks for the fun time, Telltale!
  • edited July 2010
    prizna wrote: »
    Is everyone who is mentioning the game being jerky aware that it is supposed to be that way?
    yes. At least I am. We are talking about it being on Quality level 4 which makes it unplayable and choppy on our hardware.
  • edited July 2010
    You should be able to tell the jerkiness during things like the end of puzzle swoosh, which should be smooth.
  • edited July 2010
    I enjoyed the game. It surely worth my ten dollars. (well... "my converted-to-ten-dollars-euros")

    I'll try to be brief...


    - Voice Acting ---> WoW! I think...it's almost perfect
    - Atmosphere ---> It just as i want it to be...dark, disturbing, alienating...really appreciate it..
    - Graphic ---> I LOVE Graham's style.
    - Story ---> Yes, it is ok. Disturbing, strange. i liked it. Really

    - Graphic ---> i love the art, the cinematic choice BUT im my opinion some of the "Zoomed" shot are excessive, the lines of the drawings in certain cases are too marked, too tought.
    - Puzzles ---> I don't like puzzles very much, but theese seems a bit too easy (also for me) and they are a little in contrast with the "story feelings" , i feel that they often "kills" the narration.
    - Saving System ---> No, it's weird. I really fell the need of a "classical" approach. I want to load a savegame to see again a situation, a particular line or charachter, not only to solve again the puzzles.

    Sincerly, i appreciated the game, but i feels that it don't need a series. It looks to me like a WONDERFUL longer "short" (like other Graham's shorts) with EXCELLENT voice acting, great text and music themes added. A sort of mix of a "meta-comic" and a "not so interactive but still interactive Flash-like short". The "puzzles" are the "gaming" part, but they seems "dispensable" in my opinion, i didn't enjoy them, but i HAVE to solve them to continue and take advantage of the story, atmosphere and Grickle style art.

    Just my two cents.
  • edited July 2010
    Dowloading it ... I hope the game will be awesome ..
  • edited July 2010
    Just finished.
    Bravo, Telltale!
    The graphics are awesome: the mix of 3D and 2D makes the game look exactly like a comic! And I love comics! :D
    Jared-Emerson Johnson surprises me with every new game! If he continues like this my admiration for him will grow stronger than my admiration from Michael Land. Great work.
    Puzzles are generally well-balanced, but I found some of them very hard and some of them way too easy.
    The story is good. Being a pilot, I don't know if you'll be doing more episodes, but if you'll do, please insert greater cliff hangers. The ending left me unsatisfied. A lot.
    I know it is a puzzle game more than a graphic adventure, but I found some of the dialogues unsatisfiyng: some of them are very short, and some of them are useless to the plot (for example the bird-delivery guy in the diner).
    Oh, and for God's sake change the save system! It's ok with auto saving, but I want to be able to save the game when I want to and in the slot that I want to! What if I wanted to watch again a cutscene?
    Even considering that it's a genre that you can love or hate, Puzzle Agent is a good effort that may result in a new cult game series.

    (Plus, I love Twin Peaks, and it seemed to me that you took A LOT of inspiration from it. Great :D)
  • edited July 2010
    der_ketzer wrote: »
    yes. At least I am. We are talking about it being on Quality level 4 which makes it unplayable and choppy on our hardware.

    Me too. I know what the style is supposed to move/look like, but i also know what a game looks like when it's running too slow. Why couldn't Telltale have added the Graphic Quality Setting like their recent games?:( WHY!?:confused:
  • edited July 2010
    It was quite impressive, better than I anticipated.
    However, some of the puzzles could have been explained better, or even provide a visual example.
    I especially loved the music
  • edited July 2010
    Puzzle Agent is good, but not great. It's kind of disappointing following Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse. I like that it's a Layton-alike, since I love the Professor Layton series. The story, graphics, and atmosphere is good. Overall Puzzle Agent a good game.

    Except for the puzzles, which is the maddening part.

    A number of the puzzles were marred with vague or missing information, with the most notable being the last bird puzzle. The revolving square puzzles also outlived its welcome, being all sorts of tedious. For the puzzles where you had to piece things together, it wasn't challenging nor difficult, because you can just drag items around until they lock with other objects. Locking into place in the background instead of other objects would have been more preferable. A lack of more logic puzzles was also disappointing.
  • edited July 2010
    The only puzzle I didn't understand and was never explained properly was the walkway puzzle where you have to program in a command line and all three move at the same time. That wasn't explained enough. I had to get a wrong answer just so it would be revealed to me what actually happens.
  • edited July 2010
    Just finished the game, aside from few missing puzzle rules I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. The "room number puzzle" was probably the best one from my point of view (pun intended), I missed a few more puzzles that required you to think a bit and not just "put the pieces toghether" / "rotate the tiles" ones (especially the Snowmobile snafu, where you've got even different background colors so you could connect the tiles only on that basis - it couldn't be easier and that one was placed near the end of the game). I liked the X-files-like ending and still hope for a full season of this one - just release it "when it's done" and work on the puzzles a bit more, every other aspect of this game is exceptional :)
  • edited July 2010
    I'm sure somebody already posted this, but the fact you guys put in the monkey totally made my day. That took skill, provided the fact that my AC broke. And it's kinda hard to play games in an 85 degree house with a hot laptop. But I smiled. Kudos.

    Being a not-so-adventurey guy, I have trouble with puzzle like this, bahaha. But I really enjoyed the game. Damn cliffhanger...
  • edited July 2010
    I just finished the game with 30 completed puzzles out of 37.
    I liked it a lot and it lived up to the hype.

    However, THE question is "would you like a full series out of this? monthly, maybe?"
    My answer is "not... really?".

    And it saddens me so much to say it, because I kind of want it just for the world, the characters and the animation.
    So yeah, I want it, I would buy it! :D ...but I have to say "no" because of a simple thing: gameplay.

    I'm a big Professor Layton fan, and the last thing I'd want is to get burnt out of it.
    Since Puzzle Agent is almost the same game, gameplay-wise, I'd have to buy the two series, and I'm afraid I would get bored of this kind of puzzles/hint system.
    It's an odd reason, I absolutely understand; however I hope the developers can understand what I'm saying here: I love your work but you should make it a lot more different than Layton.
    Between the two, I'd have to choose the original and - in my opinion - the better game: Layton.

    Why is Puzzle Agent the inferior game?
    For one thing, you can't write notes/whatever you are thinking about the puzzles on the "touch screen", because you don't have one there.
    This little thing is crucial in Professor Layton and in "maths" puzzles.

    EXStrike wrote: »
    For the puzzles where you had to piece things together, it wasn't challenging nor difficult, because you can just drag items around until they lock with other objects. Locking into place in the background instead of other objects would have been more preferable. A lack of more logic puzzles was also disappointing.


    This game was fantastic and the series could be off to a wonderful start: just make it a little more different/original!
    Perhaps a different hint system, I don't know.
    Different kind of puzzles.
    Something to make the game stand out :)

  • edited July 2010
    As i wrote already i really like the gfx and the music.

    What i do not like are the conversations (rather boring), Nelson's voice (just doesn't suit to the Grickle style i have in mind) and i think the puzzle design has its issues.

    From the few puzzles i did, i got the impression that they are either extremely easy (click, click, click, done), a bit unlogical (lacking information) or quite hard because i'm just thinking in a different way and came up with a couple of valid solutions but just not the one the designer thought of. This inflexibility can be rather annoying as i think really good puzzles either lead you into the proper direction by saying things between the lines, don't offer this many interpretations or offer more than just one solution.

    Overall i think it's worth its money but it's also not a blast, so i have mixed feelings about the game, also with the not so lucky publishing.
  • edited July 2010
    I don't plan to read through nine pages of impressions, so my apologies if I repeat somebody's post:

    In short, I like it. It's definitely a darker clone of Layton, but that's not a bad thing. The art seemed a bit hit-or-miss, but other than that, it's a damn solid puzzler.

    +1 for making this into a series.
    I actually jumped a bit when the hidden person stole the pipe from the puzzle. :D Well played.
  • edited July 2010
    Besides All The Screaming, Anger, Frustration, Sadness, and Flipping The Game Off. The Story Was Fantastic. I Loved The Scary Atmosphere. The Animation Was Cool Too See, And Most Of The Puzzles Were Fun And Chalenging. I'd Love Too See More.
  • edited July 2010
    I'm really enjoying it so far. The little red guys really freak me out! :) Also, agree: the music is pretty cool!!
  • edited July 2010
    Just finished the game.


    It finishes very suddenly, and i felt I wanted to find out more. Is there going to be another chapter or are we just supposed to be left wondering about the gnomes taking Isaac Davner?

    I thought some of the fitting-together puzzles were easy, only because they had a click-into-place feature, and though that "saved" me, from tearing out hair etc, especially with the factory cogs, I wish it wasn't there too... so it was more using brainpower than random clickage.

    Apart from that, I loved the characters, spookiness and scratchy-drawn images. I really hope there are more of these to come!!
  • edited July 2010
    Hopefully if it sells well it will become a series.
  • TeaTea
    edited July 2010

    I wrote some words about it. I'm kind of let down by the storytelling aspect of it. This is the first 'non-interactive' game I've played from Telltale. I didn't feel like there was much point to solving the puzzles, essentially,

    Still, this game is top notch with its psychological horror atmosphere, wonderful animation and fantastic VO. It's just that it may as well have been a movie.
  • edited July 2010
    Just finished the game. I loved the creepy/weird feeling of it and the puzzles were great! I am a huge die hard geek fan of Professor Layton and am really happy other people are doing the puzzle thing as well. I hope to see more of these.

    Great job!
  • edited July 2010
    TheJoe wrote: »
    I didn't feel like there was much point to solving the puzzles, essentially
    Another sad thing is that Puzzle Agent, unlike other TTG adventures has no replay value AT ALL, since you already know the answers anyway. It would take far more years to forget them to enjoy this game again, as there isn't the laughter like S&M or ToMI that can be have even if you already know the puzzle solutions.

    Maybe the "interactive movie once the game is done" feature someone suggested helps a bit with that though, although I doubt TTG would really add it in.
  • JenniferJennifer Moderator
    edited July 2010
    I finished it, and liked it a lot. It's my first experience with this type of game, and it left me wanting more. :D

    Here's my full review. :)
  • edited July 2010
    I did enjoy the game, and while I do agree is was more of a Grickle short that required you to solve puzzles to continue, it was still entertaining.

    I don't like how the puzzles are the same each time; I was halfway expecting them to be randomized each time, which would have made replayability possible. There also seemed to be a lack of side puzzles, and, while there were several creepy "Holy crap, gnomes!" moments, compared to the original Hidden People short, the game was just not as scary or nerve-racking. I was expecting a much higher creepiness factor.
  • edited July 2010
    I am really digging this game. As previously stated from the other members, the atmosphere and music is just fantastic. I've always been a fan of the Grickle world, so the animation style is something I've grown accustomed to.

    Personally, I'm a huge fan of the Layton series for the DS and this is the next best thing to tide me over. Heck, I'd be happy to say they are side-by-side in the adventure/brain-teaser genre.

    I even got started when that one thing happened during that one puzzle. You know what I'm talking about. Unexpected and executed brilliantly!
  • edited July 2010

    I just saw the ending of Nelson Tethers - Puzzle Agent and I am still fascinated of what I saw in the past couple of houres.
    The music is definitely a highlight of the game, but first and foremost the story kept me going. I totally enjoied the ending, wich felt like watching X-Files, because just nothing was explained and everything is up to my own imagination. The idea of a Puzzle Agent seems rediculous and seeing Agent Tethers introducing himself was like the perfect running gag.

    I really want to see where the story will go. Hopefully there will soon be more puzzles to solve in the next episode.

    So thumbs up for this brilliant game! Hopefully everyone enjoied it as much as I did and there will be more to see soon.
  • edited July 2010
    I finished this game and the reason why I enjoyed it so much was graphic style (especially!), music, freaking red gnomes and their implementation during the puzzles, story, and the puzzles.

    Concerning the puzzles. Maybe there could be more diversity and a slightly greater increase towards the end in difficulty levels. Also, as already noted before, more puzzles that are integrated into the story or that fit better into the context impacting story progress. I also suppose the view that certain puzzles need to be explained more accurately.

    Other points:
    - There wasn't much to discover, or many objects to interact with in the world of Scoggig (don't remember anymore the correct name).
    - The radius that is checked for interactive objects by a left mouse klick should be smaler. This makes search for objects more exciting.

    Nevertheless, the game left a coherent impression on me. Especially because of the graphics and the story, jokes. Hoping for more.

    Maybe I am demanding now, but some more content (I mean a longer story line) the next time please!
  • edited July 2010
    I loved it. Played it over 3 evenings, but that's only because I had stuff to get to, or sleep to get. Although, I was told (by one of the Telltale guys) that it was better that way instead of one sitting.

    Keep up the good work guys. Much love! <3
  • edited July 2010
    I definitely loved the Fargo type atmosphere and accents (and a quick plug for that movie..... it's a pretty funny movie on its own but the accents in it made it golden. Highly recommend anyone to see that movie if you like comedies).

    Some puzzles were very easy, others a bit confusing as to the goal. I won't rehash what others have said as it's probably been covered.

    I loved the gnomes and they definitely added a bit of a creepy factor to it.
    Towards the end when the "puzzle" piece gets dropped and you see who gave it back to you, I thought that was very intriguing and nicely played on the writer's part (unless I read too much into it or previously missed something). But I was a bit disappointed at the end of the game when I realized that some things were not going to be explained.... the gnomes, what exactly were they doing, what was their goal, etc.
    Again.... unless I missed something. :)

    The soundtrack was excellent BTW!
  • edited July 2010
    Loved the art style and the freaky red gnomes screwing with the puzzles. A little more environmental interactivity would be nice, but definitely not a deal breaker. More please!

  • edited July 2010
    I enjoyed the game, almost entirely because I had no idea of the direction it would go. Surprised the hell out of me.

    Anyways, great game, but the puzzle aspect SERIOUSLY needs work. And it's not even really work so much as editing. Several puzzles were very unclear (some weren't even possible without assuming certain things, which i didn't do, because I assumed the puzzles would be flawless, leaving me very stuck at some parts of the game), some puzzles were repeated unnecessarily, and really, after some time I just decided not to do puzzles not mandatory for the story. Because that was what shined.

    If I had to rate it, I'd say:
    Atmosphere and Story: 9.5/10
    Actual Gameplay: 5-6/10

    Oh, and also, if this turns into a full out series, the next game should be focused on something entirely different; the x-filesy "there is no answer" ending was one of my favorite things about the game.:eek:
  • edited July 2010
    G****** random gnome attacks almost made me pee my pants! Great game, but some of the puzzle instructions were pretty confusing; took about five read-throughs before I finally understood what to do on a few of them. Overall though, a very fun few hours.
  • edited July 2010
    Just finished it as well and i stay with my opinion.

    It's kind of stupid but it felt attracted to Gloria and i also liked the music playing there, melancholic mood.

    Puzzle Agent is so strong on the art/atmosphere side but it's rather weak and unbalanced on the gameplay/puzzle/dialogue side.

    Btw i think Nelson uses his gun way too fast, actually he shouldn't have one at all.
  • [TTG] Yare[TTG] Yare Telltale Alumni
    edited July 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    Btw i think Nelson uses his gun way too fast, actually he shouldn't have one at all.

    I can't speak to how quick Nelson uses it, but in the US our law enforcement people carry firearms.
  • edited July 2010
    Think about it, he is a puzzle agent.

    Maybe he throws a rubik's cube at someone but i really don't think he would use guns, even a Mc Gyver, who was less of a whimp, never did, like most of the great detectives.
  • edited July 2010
    Whoa! Real Life (TM) got in the way, so I've just finished the game!
    What a great game you've made!
    Yes, It might not have a lot of replay value (unless you'd had like 5 versions of each puzzle shown at random), but what a blast I've had!
    I had my doubts with the art, but it worked really well. The music was superb, yes, I'm also digging a proper soundtrack. The voice acting was exceptional, and the interface simply magnificent.
    I had my share of trouble with some puzzles, but out of the 37, I stumbled only on 4... the rest were solved in one attempt.

    So... when's the rest of the season coming out?
  • JakeJake Telltale Alumni
    edited July 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    Think about it, he is a puzzle agent.

    Maybe he throws a rubik's cube at someone but i really don't think he would use guns, even a Mc Gyver, who was less of a whimp, never did, like most of the great detectives.

    You talk about mood and feeling and everything, but you want an FBI agent to not use a gun, and instead to pull a rubber chicken out and wobble it around or something goofy like that? I think it adds a ton to Nelson Tethers' character that, while he's a "Puzzle Agent," he is still an FBI agent first. He went to the academy. He had weapons training. He has a chain of command, etc. Otherwise he wouldn't be on the case at all! It's far more interesting to me that way. Also, Nelson only brings out his gun when he is scared. I don't think it's in his nature to do so, but he falls back on his training and typical FBI behavior when he has no idea what else to do, or what is appropriate.
  • edited July 2010
    I'm not too far in yet, but what happens when you try to solve the
    puzzle the first time was just about the greatest thing Telltale has ever done in anything.
  • edited July 2010
    Nelson can have a gun. Guns aren't evil. Why my good friend, Abraham Lincoln, has an arm made out of a gun.


    This is a recent picture I took of him on his patio. Remember, kids, Abraham Lincoln's motto is, "Guns don't kill people. I do."

    God Bless you, Abraham Lincoln! salute
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