- Most puzzles are challenging in a
Rubik’s Cube style that won’t frustrate or confuse gamers trying
to solve them too much
- Chewing gum hints are a very welcome feature, although using
them decreases your puzzle score
- Art style and story elevate what really is nothing more than a
mind-teaser puzzle game into an interesting mystery adventure
- A few puzzles need the solver to
understand some mathematics principles, like calculus and pi, so
math dunderheads (like this reviewer) trying to solve them will
be left scratching their heads trying to find the puzzle answer
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Score:8.0 / 10
In the bizarre little town of Scoggins in
frosty-frozen Minnesota, agent Nelson Tethers of the FBI’s Department of
Puzzle Research solved the biggest case of his career.
But too many loose strings were left untied, including the unsolved
disappearance of the eraser factory foreman and what exactly was the
real story behind the Hidden People “myth” – the gnome creatures that
some believed were actually real. So, taking some “vacation” time, the
always inquisitive and never satisfied Tethers
returns to Scoggins to tie up those loose
ends in the PC game sequel, Puzzle Agent 2.
Using the distinctive art style based on the drawings of Graham Annable,
the game has a generally smart and oftentimes darkly humorous storyline
that keeps gamers interested in playing what essentially is a Rubik’s
Cube-type puzzle game. Although the mystery of Scoggins
sometimes can get a bit confusing, what
with bigfoot, red gnomes, astronauts and G Men running all about, it
generally is a very good plot that somehow binds a lot of seemingly
random but eventually connected tangents into a coherent tale. If gamers
haven’t played the first Puzzle Agent game, they may be a bit
out-of-the-loop initially on the background of Nelson Tethers and what
happened before in Scoggins, but the sequel does a good job of catching
unfamiliar gamers up rather quickly by talking to an array of eccentric
and peculiar characters throughout the snowy landscape of Scoggins.
But it’s not the story that will attract gamers – it is the puzzles that
move the gameplay, and mystery and finally the (somewhat) resolution
forward. Although the complexity of the conundrums varies greatly, most
puzzles are challenging in a Rubik’s Cube way that won’t frustrate or
confuse gamers trying to solve them too much. Rubik’s Cube is really an
apt way of describing most of Puzzle Agent 2’s puzzles, as for the most
part many are deciphered by twisting or sliding objects around until
they are arranged in the proper position to unlock the solution.
However, there are a few that require the
solver to understand some mathematic principles, like calculus and pi,
so math dunderheads (like this reviewer) trying to solve them will be
left scratching their heads trying to find the puzzle answer.
Fortunately, there is a generous hint system for stuck gamers. Tethers
finds that if he has a stick of chewing gum being chomped in his mouth,
he’s able to do his best puzzle solving. But Scoggins has enacted a ban
on selling chewing gum, so Tethers is seemingly unable to employ his
chewy conundrum-solving ploy at first.
Luckily and also rather disgustingly Tethers finds all kinds of ABC
(already been chewed) gum lying around town. By using a piece, Tethers
reveals one of three puzzle clues. Three pieces, three clues. That third
clue in some cases is literally a picture of how to solve the puzzle.
But each chewing-gum clue used and each incorrect guess lowers the final
grade gamers get on each individual puzzle, so the grading incentive is
to attempt to solve the puzzle without using any clues and correctly
solving it the first time.
Full of surprises and crazy conspiracies Bigfoot breeding? Lunacy
weapon? Fake moon landings? Aliens among us? Puzzle Agent 2 contains a
decent story along with a unique art presentation and plenty of
mind-taxing puzzles to twist the second tale of Tethers into a title
sure to entertain and challenge casual puzzle gaming aficionados.