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Puzzle Agent 2

For:   Also on: iPhoneiPad
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APPROVED

Product: Puzzle Agent 2 | Developer: Telltale Games | Publisher: Telltale Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Adventure, Puzzle | Players: 1 | File size: 142MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Puzzle Agent 2 iPhone, thumbnail 1
Personally, I blame Twin Peaks.

Before Lynch’s seminal series, FBI agents in films and TV tended to be moody, brooding “I am the law” types.

Now they tend to be completely surreal weirdos with split personalities or odd ‘tics’, Zach [no one’s going to get that Deadly Premonition reference, are they? - Ed asides to camera].

That’s not to say the change in archetype is a wholly bad thing, though, as Puzzle Agent 2 aptly demonstrates.

Its surreal plot and likeable main character, who is in fairness more the straight everyman in a twisted world, offer up a fantastic incentive for solving the copious amounts of logic and maths posers.

This is a damn fine cup of coffee

Puzzle Agent 2 picks up straight after the ending of the first game, with Agent Tethers now back at the FBI headquarters, the eraser factory in Scoggins back working, and the case (apparently) solved.

But one loose end remains: the location of the foreman that was reported missing right at the start of the original game. So back Tethers goes to the snowy town in Minnesota, to decipher some puzzles and brainteasers, and get to the bottom of the dark secrets / gnomes the town hides.

Classic sequel setup, then, and one that will likely both please (the majority of the enjoyable and screwball cast make a welcome reappearance) and disappoint (the locations are extremely familiar) fans of its predecessor.

Bound and Tethers

As with the first Puzzle Agent, progression through the game involves chatting to locals, finding bits of chewing gum (that act as ‘hints’), and solving those puzzles. If you’ve played Professor Layton on the DS, you’re on the right track.

This is all wrapped up in one of the most charming and amusing art styles, accompanied by some of the best voice acting you’re going to hear for a long time.

Not one frame of animation is wasted (a good thing, seeing as it animates like a moody European cartoon from the '70s), and not one actor fluffs his lines. The atmosphere is all-encompassing and the humour genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.

Adding to this is is a superb and intuitive touchscreen control system, inherited from the original game. Rather than hunt around for pixels to prod, you create a ripple with your finger that travels a few inches from the point of impact.

Anything interesting or useable that lies within the area of the ripple is then highlighted with an icon, showing you exactly what it is and does (a puzzle, conversation, etc.).

Bang to rights

While the controls may be the same as before, other areas in Puzzle Agent 2 have received small but noticeable improvements.

The most striking, and yet tiny, change is the additional ability to review the method when dealing with maths and logic puzzles.

So, you no longer have to sift through the puzzle description before you get to the ‘Man A sits next to the man with the hat’ part - i.e. the bit you actually need to review.

Likewise, the phrasing of questions has been subtly improved, meaning there are fewer occasions at which you're left bamboozled as to what you’re supposed to do next.

The odd duff puzzle (no one likes sliding blocks around) and the relatively easy difficulty level mean it isn’t a perfect example of the genre Layton made its own, but that shouldn't put you off investigating further.
 
Puzzle Agent 2
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 1 July 2011
Funny and surreal, Puzzle Agent 2 is a case well worth reopening
 
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