Puzzle Agent 2 Review Thread
puzzlebox Telltale Alumni
edited January 2012 in Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent
So we finally return to the crazy creepy town of Scoggins for a second helping of nuts!
What did you think of Puzzle Agent 2?
What did you think of Puzzle Agent 2?
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But seriously, I hope the gnomes are still creepy a second time around and the mystery of Scoggins is solved in a satisfactory way.
Let me just say that I discovered Puzzle Agent 1 about a week and a half ago. I went on an iPhone gaming shopping spree to say the least, and Puzzle Agent 1 was one of the games I picked up. It was one of the last games that I tried out, but it turned out to be the best experience out of all of my new games. I was thrilled by the story of Puzzle Agent 1, and when I discovered I was just in time for the sequel, it was rather pleasing news. So I put the date on my calendar, and grabbed Puzzle Agent 2 at 10 PM CST last night.
I realized I'd have to upgrade to iOS 4.2 to play the game, so it took me a while to restore my phone after I bought the game. I chose to start playing the game late last night even though it was well past time for me to go to sleep. Let me just say that the game does not disappoint.
Of course, there are the issues on iPhone with the "sound skipping" problems. Audio dialogue will skip in and out, but honestly, I was not really bothered at all by it. The story from the first game had me so captivated to try and complete the game as fast as possible that it truly did not matter to me that the game had faults. The only other problem I encountered was the fact that the game's touch controls were sometimes unresponsive, but maybe it's just me. Either way, in a game that operates in the manner that Puzzle Agent does, I don't think it matters.
If you liked the puzzles from the first game, you will be right at home with this new installment of the game. In fact, I found the puzzles more rewarding, as I was a little more familiar with the way the Puzzle Agent series operated this time around. Instead of randomly guessing what I had to do, this time it felt like I was a little more prepared for what I had to do to advance through a puzzle. Overall, the puzzles do not stray away from the first game's ingenuity.
The story picks off about 2 months after the first game, I think. Don't quote me on that, but it was late night, and the whispers may have altered my intelligence. Although, I'm pretty sure I heard that right. I challenge you to play this game in halves. This game is a little longer than the first game, and my first playthrough was about 5 to 7 hours in length. The reason I make that challenge is that the story rewards you if you play to a certain point and then shut the game off. Just think about what has happened so far in the game. If you're a mystery fan, that may become natural for you to do such a thing. About halfway through the game, I finally went to bed, and just started to ponder about what I thought was going to happen.
It turns out every theory I had was wrong, and the ending of the game did not disappoint for me. In a game where the little things are worthy of being paid attention to, I believe the ending wrapped up everything together in a way that would be satisfying to the fans of the game. The dark comedy is still there. The puzzles are clever. Everything is there that makes this game what it is: a well-told story with a great formula of presentation. The bugs are there, but in time, they will hopefully be fixed for those who are waiting. Overall, I loved it, and $4.99 is a perfect price for what I believe to be one of the better games on the iOS.
Puzzle Agent 1 & 2: 5 out of 5 stars.
Some nice puzzles, missing a "bugs in boxes" or similar though. Very bug free, except for some minor graphic errors (black boxes instead of parts of the screen) at the end of the game.
There also seemed to be a little less variation in puzzles, and less lateral thinking (à la the textual riddles, or the room key puzzle, from the first game). A few puzzles still suffer from poor explanation (the rock-throwing puzzle) or implementation (the batteries puzzle), although this wasn't a huge problem.
The first episode seemed to be an experiment, which led me to expect some significant improvements in the second one. I was disappointed to see this was not the case, despite many people offering good constructive criticism after the first game. Maybe I was expecting too much...
I would have liked a bit less recycled art content, but it's understandable given it takes place in the same town from the first one. At least they (sort of) resolved what was happening on the town.
Overall I did enjoy it, though it wasn't earth-shattering or anything. I'll post a more detailed review tomorrow...
EDIT: Full review: http://www.gamecanary.com/2011/07/review-puzzle-agent-2/
Still a great game, just a minor complaint. Really looking forward to playing it more after work! Favorite thing so far: the extra stamps after completing a puzzle. I like the sound those things make. All the other puzzles have been enjoyable for me so far too.
I only played through the first five puzzles so far and the story as expected isn't exciting, i also found the way the characters talk kind of odd, B-Movie overacting, ... but hey i did expect great puzzles and so far they aren't around:
1) Boring, could have been done way more interesting.
2) Not well defined, there a many valid alternative solutions. Try and error until you find out which route the designer thought of.
3) Nice idea but way too easy.
4) Nice idea again but way too easy again.
5) I tried to enter a name and *boom* the puzzle ended, no idea what happened.
I hope that the riddles will get more challenging, otherwise this will be another dissapointing TT production.
I won't say that I was disappointed. Puzzle Agent 2 can't be as surprising as the first one.
I felt that weird feeling the first one gave me, feeling that even though I don't understand, I have to go deeper...
Still, at the end, it was maybe too much...
Why, when, has Nelson gone mad ?
What about the hidden people ?
Why are there missing people, who killed/kidnapped them ?
Who is the other astronaut ? He doesn't seem lunatic to me...
There are many questions left unanswered, I might find some answers by thinking about it, but I was hoping to understand the first puzzle agent by playing the second one...
The puzzles were good, some were hard and others weren't... I was only frustrated by the puzzle with the coins, which answer is binary... I don't use pennies, dimes or cents, so even though I understood that
Anyway, despite those little problem, it's nice to meet so many new interesting people !
And I didn't get the instructions for the rock throwing.
Finally, I had technical issues with images being replaced with black boxes. The final puzzle became impossible to solve without a restart this way.
As for the story, there was a lot of threads that was forgotten about. For example, it is never explored what Nelson did when he was mad. It is strongly implied that he beat up his own boss. Yet he was the one that didn't get promoted to Siberia? And the hallucinations in the first game was never explained either. There is also the issue of the other missing people, what happened to them? There is also the ending, how come the agents didn't stop Nelson, they where just standing there!
And the uncompletable puzzles just didn't have the same effect as in the previous game. While I admit that the sparks puzzle had a nice interruption, the other ones just felt like he was giving up on them.
And the story felt awfully linear. I don't mind linear stories, but it's the feeling that you got was the issue here. It was pretty much always "go there". And if you talked to someone afterwards it was pretty much "go there".
The controls in the dragging puzzles didn't work well. And why couldn't I move the potted plants?
And the maze is clearly not A*. Following walls is lame.
And the robot puzzles need to have a quicker termination. End the run when the robot gets killed, when the robot meets the girl or when the entered program ends, not always when the input field ends. In addition, it was awkward editing the already input program. There was no way of inserting a new token in the middle of the string.
This was our experience too.
My girlfriend and I are divided on the
Unanswered questions are fine, but Darrel's disappearance seems a bit gratuitous since it was introduced as what seemed to be a relevant plot element that was never resolved (unless we missed something big).
We give it 3.5 crosswords out of 5 (pretty good and well worth the purchase ^_^ ).
I don't understand how there are four people listed in the credits for puzzle design. There are barely more than 30. And like in the first game, the puzzles are a completely unmemorable mish-mash (often poorly explained) that could easily have been cobbled together (the design, not the implementation) in an afternoon. I get the feeling that the designers might think that because they have no trouble solving puzzles like the ones in the Layton series, it ought to be no sweat making some of their own. But that's not the case. There's a skill to making simple puzzles and brainteasers. Without that skill, they've ended up producing another assortment of cribbed and recycled ideas, which are all back-of-the-cereal box easy. Not fun.
Full marks for atmosphere and graphics, but I get the impression that that was their main consideration at the expense of everything else. The writing was ho-hum, and the pacing of the story was dreadful: I don't mind surreal stories, but if you're going to have a thriller (style) plot that deliberately makes no sense, the one thing you can't do is navel-gaze. After almost every scene Nelson recaps the scene we just saw into his tape-recorder. This would be fine if he had some new insight to offer, but he just recaps the action, meaning that we basically have to endure each plot point twice in quick succession. This would make sense in a much longer game, when you might expect the players to take breaks, play in many sessions, and require reminders about what they might have forgotten; but I just played through in one sitting of about two and a half hours, so it was tedious. I don't understand how the previous reviewer managed to stretch the experience out to 5 - 7 hours. I didn't skip any dialogue and missed only one puzzle.
Everything in the gameplay works against enjoying the story. Because it's so linear, and the conclusions Nelson draws are so dubious (because he's going mad, I know, but I'm not, so there's a disconnect there) there's no sense that it feels like we're investigating anything. And a lot of the puzzles were very tenuously linked with the plot. (I don't mind that per se, but if the puzzle isn't integrated with the story then it should be good. I'm happy to accept poor puzzles that are well-integrated, or great puzzles that are shoehorned in, but here we've got the worst of both worlds.) Pretty much all the interactivity feels like a chore to be endured to get to trigger the next cutscene. If you'd rather the game was a video then something's gone drastically wrong. And I don't think this is just an unavoidable feature of the genre: the Professor Layton games are amongst my favourite.
It's a real shame, because a well-executed version of this would be basically my dream game.
But it did make for a pretty good joke involving an anthropologist!
(Otherwise, I agree with you.)
Puzzles: Mainly were a bit easier to figure out this time, but some of them were confusing at first. Some were poorly explained, or else very confusing.
Plot: Very incredible. The Creepy atmosphere complimented the story extremely well, and the characters were well-developed and interesting, although there are still a few loose ends I'm hoping to have tied up soon:
*What happened to Steve and Bjorn?
Overall: A solid game that is engaging and entertaining from beginning to end.
Just one more question, though. Will we get a Puzzle Agent 3? And if so, will it be in Scoggins or
Took me 10 seconds to find out.
My personal review: Great game, still too easy puzzles. Make 'em harder please.
I (personally, no offense intended) call that cheating, and don't feel good haveing to quit a game to play it.
Oh and I feel the same about the formula puzzle, which I think is assuming a level of familiarity with symbols that it's unreasonable to expect of the average player.
I just got the impression that they spent the absolute minimum time possible thinking up these puzzles.
I thought that first bullet point was explained --
I'd like to see this series improve, but the puzzles really need some extra work. I hope Puzzle Agent 3, if it is made, has much better puzzle variety.
I'd give Puzzle Agent 2 a 7/10.
The coin puzzle was not quite as hard as some seemed to believe.
So it was easy to recognice those.
and the quarter was actually labeled as such.
That eliminated 3 coins at once..and since it looked like they were sorted by increasing value that made the coin to the furthest right the dollar.
Overall, I'm not sure if the puzzles were easier than in part one, or if I just got more used to think in the right way.
But either way, I want a 3rd installment.
Preferably in a new location. (And I don't care if there a hidden people..as long as there are good puzzles)
The only part of the game I didn't like was close to the end.
when Nelson was running to the lake.
Mostly because it wasn't a real puzzle but some annoying figure out what you see and move the mouse around fast enough
(And no, it's not that I have problems doing that..but if I want "action" sequences I play different games.)
Okay, it was absolutely wonderful for the first 3/4. Interesting story, perfect atmosphere, (mostly) good puzzles. As soon Isaac showed up, things went far too fast and made zero sense. Far too many loose ends that were completely ignored. It felt like you guys just ran out of time and tried to wrap it up asap.
I was a little disappointed that the end had that same sudden drop off as the first game. You're getting somewhere. Stuff happens. Excitement builds. Nelson's back in his office. Credits roll. Aww...
I dunno I just didn't get a sense that
Alas, we'll have to wait for Puzzle Agent 3! I'm totally looking forward to it.
I liked the puzzles quite a bit in this one. I think they had better explanations overall and some like the split-river puzzles gave you visual aids you didn't have before, which made things friendlier. I actually used hints this time (I initially refused to use them, but those fake/real number sequences got me every time!)
The new characters were really interesting too! The anthropologist in particular was my favorite. He was SO meta. It was amazing.
Now that is a basic language barrier.
Use a dictionary.
Hmmm... throughout the game, Nelson is drawing questionable conclusions. There's nothing to indicate that that theory was any more sound than the others. I also assumed that
I don't agree. In my country,
Saying that players should get a dictionary out probably isn't very appropriate. Ignoring that interrupting the gaming experience isn't a good idea, how many non-US dictionaries have "dime" in them? I was surprised to find that one of my dictionaries did.
Edit: In the puzzle's defence, I really liked that it (like the
The story slightly enhanced, additional characters are more convincing and appear less out of place, still the conversations somehow aren't really part of the gameplay. I love the music in the diner. I want to bomb the motel/hotel whatever, the woman gets completely on my nerves. Great: an astronaut suit and topics like astronomy and math! A few nice riddles but the majority still aren't convincing and some really suck badly. I find this very sad as it seems to be the bread and butter for such a kind of game, if it isn't the story. And not this challenging riddles/boring ones already were critisised in part 1.
I do appreciate that the installation/registration worked this time, i had no crashes nor experienced major glitches. Kind of sad that you have to appreciate this at all.
I do appreciate the overall mood and the Grickle style.
I do very much appreciate a space/astronomy driven story, some screams and two great tunes.
I did not like the extremely poor puzzle design, the lack of interesting variety/any sense of a challenge or simply bad designed puzzles or some puzzles you can't control properly.
I did not like a few characters, the voices in a few cases weren't fitting to the characters, they had boring things to say, didn't play a real role, a few rather awkward animations, the whole bubble gum idea is nonsense the way it's implemented.
The story could have been way more interesting and come with some depth, less stereotypes, same with the characters.
Better integration of dialogues, story and puzzles would be welcome.
If i think about how long i played the game, it was over way too soon.
After Puzzle Agent and the feedback it got from the community i expected a lot more more than just this. It was kind of fun playing a Grickle game again but it always felt poorly designed (no idea if this was due to a lack of inspiration/talent/budget/... ). I would rate it with a 5/10. And if it wouldn't be about Grickle and space then ...
I feel like Puzzle Agent 2 was worse than it's predecessor in pretty much every way. Story wasn't quite as strong, puzzles weren't quite as good and I do believe this game was shorter as well. At least that's what it felt like, it might be due to the first game having harder puzzles. With that said it's still a reasonably good game. I was hoping for more but what I got was... satisfactory, at least. The "Grickle" atmosphere is there and for $10, that's good enough for me.
P.S. The tune from "We Sing the Forest Electric" kicking off at [a certain point of the game] was a nice touch.
On the whole the puzzles seemed easier (and possibly less numerous?) than the first Puzzle Agent game, but there were certainly some good ones in there. I loved Cross the Streams - a nice extension of the usual "three animals crossing the river" puzzle. I got it wrong in all the ways I could just to see all the animals eating each other. Points for the Ghostbusters nod too!
I also liked 'Round the Cosmos, Lander Circuitry, and the two bonus robot puzzles. I'd probably love the King's Challenge if I was good enough to solve it.
My least favourite puzzle was the Coin Box... US people looking at a version using any foreign coins would probably have a similar reaction. The puzzle itself was a good one, but I feel that the international audience was definitely overlooked when the coin values weren't provided in the rules. Hitting the internet to look up US coins or going the trial-and-error route (while ranting internally about US-centrism) definitely breaks the mood a bit.
The story is pretty linear, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I felt like I was helping Nelson follow a trail of clues, rather than that the game was on rails.
The writers did a great job mixing creepiness and humour. Scenes like
There was a lot going on towards the end of the game, and there were some parts of the story I didn't understand.
The two different endings were a nice addition, one that I really appreciate. It's satisfying to know that your success or failure in the final puzzle actually has some consequence on the outcome (even though we end up with the same result, just in a slightly different way).
On the whole I really enjoyed this game, and I'm very glad that Telltale got the chance to make it in between some of their bigger licences.
The puzzles were much easier and less interesting. The logic puzzles -- hotel room assignments and missing persons list -- were dead simple compared to those in PA1. There was one put-the-photos-in-order puzzle in PA1, fine for variety's sake. That puzzle scored about average in this poll, so why were there four of them in PA2? Same with the cut-through-the-chains puzzles. I like shape-sliding puzzles, but these were hardly challenging. There really weren't any new "wow" puzzles.
As for the story, it seemed to me that the tone changed when Korka
Ironically, I find that PA2's resolution totally vindicates PA1 as a terrific opening chapter for the story, setting up characters and foreshadowing events. Bo Murphy wasn't just babbling when he said,
The coin puzzle I got by guessing. I didn't even realise Americans called their 1c pieces pennies too. Had no clue what the other coins were, having never seen them before. I've lived in Britain all my life and we have coins where value and size don't correspond.
There were too few types of puzzles.
The last puzzle didn't say you need to use one continuous line!
The game ended on far too many loose ends and, what with Nelson ending up back in his office when by rights he should be sacked, if not jailed, it left me cold.
The bit that concerns me is that Puzzle Agent 2 was meant to be a full game. It honestly didn't feel any longer than most of the S&M Season 3 and ToMI episodes.
That could be a by-product of the very directed feel of the game, though - instead of being encouraged to explore locations and follow our own instincts, which might have made the game feel bigger and ore open, we were prompted to go everywhere we needed to, and nothing seemed to be happening at alternative locations. For a game that seemed to be presenting red herrings and making you question things plot wise, the play experience was perhaps too linear (that may have suited BTTF, but IMO just doesn't feel right here).
Don't get me wrong though. I enjoyed and still would have purchased PA2 if I had've known what it would be like - I think the Puzzle Agent pilot was a lot stronger and set our expectations a little higher than Puzzle Agent 2 could stand up to.
Snap. I was loving it until this point; the ending felt far too rushed and the story became convoluted and hard to follow.
What I really didn't like was that the game was clearly shorter in addition to being far too linear. I really liked the exploration that made the previous game more in the adventure genre. Ironically, despite the addition of 2 new characters, I feel like the majority of the characters were completely ignored, and many were just cut or only got a select few lines.