Being a sucker for puzzles and brain teasers, casual titles like Telltale Games’ Puzzle Agent 2 are right up my alley. Chronicling the continuing misadventures of Agent Tethers of the FBI Department of Puzzle Research, Puzzle Agent 2 returns to the mysterious snow-locked town of Scoggins, Minnesota. Given the less-than-conclusive ending of the first Puzzle Agent, players finally get a few answers about the goings-on in this secretive village, including its relation to the mythical, gnome-like Hidden People. And to do this, it’s all about the puzzles.
In fact, and not surprisingly, Puzzle Agent 2 is pretty much just a string of 30 or so puzzlers set between a charming series of cutscenes based on the simple and quirky art of Graham Annable. And although the plot is a bit confusing at times, the dialogue is sharp, witty, and voiced with spot-on talent. Controls are simple, since non-puzzle negotiation is mostly a matter of finding “hotspots” in the various locations, and clicking to interact. Short dialogue “trees” are available when talking to the locals, but the lack of branching options makes the conversation much less interactive than it could have been. But at its core, Puzzle Agent 2 is about the puzzles themselves.
The puzzles are a nice mix of logic, spatial reasoning, and “find the sequence” brain teasers, with a few twisty mazes thrown in for good measure. Never too difficult, and for the most part on the easy side, the puzzles offer a casual level of challenge rather than a frustrating brain-burner. Additionally, players can purchase a series of hints by spending wads of chewing gum, a commodity liberally sprinkled throughout the town. Most players won’t need these hints, and using them will result in a less-than-perfect score.
With only a few dozen or so puzzles to work through, players will find their time in Scoggins surprisingly brief. All told, I spent only 3 or so hours working my way through. It was an enjoyable time, but the brevity and lack of challenge was a bit disappointing. Although die-hard puzzle fans will find the game lacking, casual puzzlers or younger sleuths will likely enjoy themselves while it lasts. For the price of a movie ticket (and nearly the same time commitment), players could do worse than invest in Puzzle Agent 2.
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