Puzzle Agent 2 PSN Review

Strange and terrifying things are underfoot in Puzzle Agent 2… and considering how the first one ended, that’s saying something.

Unsatisfied with the closed case, special agent Nelson Tethers cashes in his vacation days and makes a return trip to Scoggins in the hopes of uncovering the mysterious of the puzzle-loving townsfolk. Whereas the Puzzle Agent wasn’t met with the warmest reception from the winter folk last time he visited, Tethers is met with even less enthusiasm from the the Scogginians (Scogginites? This is one mystery yet to be solved)….what little of them remain. The mysteries pile on along with the madness, setting up a darker and more surreal tone as Nelson interacts with new and returning friends and foes…few which are totally sane.

And yet the setting and characters are just as charming as they were in the original; never would have you imagined that anyone could create a cartoonish homage to Twin Peaks, but Puzzle Agent continues to keep things funny and frightening with its smart writing, crude-yet-charming art style, and many, many awkward stares.

Fundamentally, nothing is changed from the first Puzzle Agent; in fact, it would have been better to call this “Puzzle Agent: Episode 2” rather than a full-fledged sequel. The same point-and-click structure of the original is unchanged, as are many of the locations that players must comb over a second time. About the only real difference is a console-specific one; while the PSN edition displayed all of the hidden gum pieces and interactive portions on each screen, the PC version instead reveals that information with a “sonar ping” that’s activated with the click of a mouse. As was mentioned in the previous review, using a mouse is also more preferable to solving puzzles rather than with a controller, although that option is still available should you wish it.

Many of the first game’s puzzles also make a return appearance, in addition to new types of noodle-scratchers. For anyone who struggled with the first game’s somewhat sporadic difficulty, you’ll be happy to know that the difficulty curve is now much smoother… in fact, it’s better to say that the sequel is significantly easier overall, especially with the knowledge gained from the original regarding the returning puzzles. Regardless, there are still plenty of moments where you’ll find yourself staring at the screen for minutes, if not hours, trying to stubbornly work out the solution. If you don’t care about your pride as a proud puzzler, you can always revert to spending gum in order to unlock up to three hints per puzzle… and as if to add insult to injury, there’s a near limitless supply of the chewable clues littered throughout Scoggins, and Nelson still isn’t stingy on the fact that they’re all used. Again…. ew.

So is Puzzle Agent 2 worth your time? If you enjoyed the first one, then that question is an absolute no-brainer. While the lack of entirely new areas or puzzles may be considered disappointing, this sequel still shines with its returning cast and increasingly bizarre story; once you witness Agent Tethers screaming down the forest in nothing but his skivvies, you’ll know that you’ve been rewarded for sticking out this mystery.

8/10

by

Version tested: PSN

Also available on: PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone

Developer: Graham Annable

Publisher: Telltale Games

Genre: Puzzler/Adventure