By mau64 0 Comments
The first Puzzle Agent was released around this time last year and combined Professor Layton-esque puzzles with a dark and twisted story of the unimaginable place of Scoggins Minnesota. Nelson Tethers, a Puzzle Agent working with the FBI, was sent to Scoggins to investigate the strange locals and why the Eraser Factory has mysteriously stopped production. Telltale Games reeled me in with the first Puzzle Agent and left me eager to find out more about the missing people, the wood gnomes, and the offensive people of Scoggins. I was left satisfied with the experience but felt it could have been a bit more challenging and more variety to the puzzles, which is what Puzzle Agent is all about.
The original Puzzle Agent left me with a lot of questions and set it up perfectly for this sequel. The original story wrapped up, but Nelson Tethers was not satisfied with how things came together. Isaac Davner was still missing, the gnomes were still shrouded in mystery, and the locals were still ominous about everything discussed. Nelson decides to take a “vacation” back to Scoggins to research more into the case of the missing people. When Nelson enters Scoggins, he finds out the town is even more of a mess than when he left.
Puzzle Agent 2 mostly involves Nelson talking to the locals and engaging into puzzle sequences. When you talk with the characters around Scoggins, you have a list of topics to discuss that sometimes leads to puzzles to solve. The characters normally reveal a new clue to the overarching narrative and give you ideas as to where to travel next, which is pointed out to you on your map. Nelson goes around, talking with characters, solving puzzles, and getting into some absurd situations that made me laugh out loud several times. The animations also help with the humor; movement rarely happens but the couple of instances when you see characters running or chasing each other had me giggling the whole time.
The puzzles are mostly a static screen that you must solve by either doing math, moving blocks around, tracing patterns, or simply guiding Nelson through an obstacle room. The quality of the puzzles were a small issue with me. I actually thought this game’s puzzles were much easier in this game than the original, but it could be that I just knew more about what the puzzles would be like. This left me a little disappointed. I wanted to see more variety to the puzzles, since the first game felt like it was on a rotation of about five to six different types of puzzles, but this one does the same.
PA2 has a couple puzzles that I would have had no idea how to solve with the clues given to me, which left me shaking my head once I figured out what it was asking. One puzzle, for instance, had me googling the solution only because it was asking for such a specific number that very little people would know. I wouldn’t even have known where to start if it didn’t have a hint system in place. You are allowed three hints per puzzle as long as you have the chewing gum available, which is collected around the various locations in the gamed. Nelson claims he cannot concentrate without chewing gum, and Scoggins is on a strict non-gum law, so Nelson must rely on the ABC gum left around town.
Puzzle Agent 2 plays exactly like the first game did. It uses the same map, although a few new locations have been added with a couple new characters strewn about. This makes the first Puzzle Agent a necessity to play before you hop into the sequel; you would miss out on so many in-game jokes about characters and would be lost on why people act like they do. The puzzles are set up the same, the audio has been recycled and used again, and you go through the same steps as you did in the PA1. This is both a blessing and a curse for PA2. I was glad to revisit these locations and characters, but wanted more newness to the sequel. In the end though, I was satisfied with the story and hope they can continue where they left off but want them to dive even more into the absurdity. Scoggins is a strange place, and what makes it so abnormal is the characters and how quiet they are with the absurdity that goes on around them.
Not to spoil anything, but this story does wrap up in a nice way but still left a little nugget that they could go back to with a sequel, which I am already looking forward to. I would just like to see more variety to the puzzles and more depth with the story. I want to learn more about these characters; the Valda Inn receptionist, the puzzle fanatic at the diner, even diving more into the narrative around Officer Bahg would be interesting. I could go on but don’t want to get too into the fiction of Scoggins but just want to say the weird gets weirder. If you played the first game and want more of that then you will love Puzzle Agent 2. Just make sure you play the original before playing Puzzle Agent 2.