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Puzzle Agent Review

  • On June 16, 2011

Erasers. Erasers? Eraaaaaaaseeeers!

Welcome to a new installment of “Explain that Telltale Games Release!”. This time around we have a game that is easier to do a breakdown of: Nelson Tethers, Puzzle Agent. The name says it all: you’re an FBI agent (as in Federal Bureau of Investigation) named Nelson Tethers… and you solve puzzles for a living. You’re even an EXPERT puzzle solver, just to make it be extremely clear that when puzzles are the problem, there’s only ONE guy that can solve them. Think of this as a cross between a bit of Monkey Island and some Professor Layton sprinkled here and there and you’ll get the idea.

The important question now is… how do you play it? Well, you get Dualshock 3 controls which work to some point but I do miss the point and click DNA that got scrambled once the game was set for a trip from the P of the C and into the PSN catalog. You get used to it but Move support would have been nice since the puzzles would have been easier to solve due to a more natural input. You don’t move per-se as is the case with the Back to the Future Episodes or other point an click adventure games from Telltale. On the PS3 you hold R1 to see what can be interacted with on the screen and use the left analog stick to cycle through every option until you find one that interests you… and THEN you click X to have a closer look. You can highlight a dialog balloon, a puzzle piece, a magnifying glass or a squishy pink blob. First one is for talking to others, second one is for puzzles proper, third one is just for researching something and the last one will be explained later. Once inside a puzzle you must read the clues and info you’re given before diving head on into the wonderful world of puzzling and perplexing… puzzles!

Once you have your answer you must submit it and doing so places your selected solution inside an envelope that is sent to the Puzzle Research Department back at FBI headquarters for review. Once it enters the system, your tax dollars are put to work to determine if what has been presented is the correct answer. Failing to provide the right answer means you’ll have to re-evaluate the puzzle, send a new answer and spend even more money. Basically, puzzles is why the economy has been in such a slump lately. Second puzzle in the game will set the mood for the rest of the game and allow you to see what we’re dealing with: lots and lots of fun-fun dialog and games!

Stuck on a puzzle? Then I have the solution to your problems! Ok, it’s not the solution ITSELF, but it helps you out anyway. Ok, come close so no one else hears it. You ready? GUM! Blew your freaking mind, right? Gum soothes and relaxes Mr. Tethers which allows him to think better and move closer to a solution for the problem at hand. It will you from obtaining a trophy or two but if you’re reaaaaaaaaaaaally stuck you don’t have much of a choice… or do you? Where do you find this gum? Remember the squishy pink blobs? The ones that looked like chewed up… oh, oh. That’s just nasty!

Game is sorta like a pilot episode for a new series… or at least that was the initial intention. The design feels different and a bit separated from the Telltale “template”.. which definitely isn’t a bad thing. Puzzle Agent has done well enough for a sequel to be already in development… but not confirmed for PSN just yet. That’s why the game needs as many sales as possible to justify said future release and maybe another one to close this as a trilogy and not as a set of 5 episodes to a season as has been the case for the others.

Colorful cast of support characters that bring to life the snowy town of Scoogins and all of it’s mystic, mysterious and white (reaaaaally white) surroundings. Who is responsible for shutting down the Eraser Factory? Oh, yeah, forgot to mention it, huh? An Eraser Factory that was responsible for supplying erasers to the White House has been closed without an explanation so OF COURSE the FBI has to step in and investigate. That’s a totally plausible premise because the President MUST NOT be without his erasers or a crisis could be at hand!

Animation isn’t silky smooth but that’s in part due to the style chosen for this game, style taken out of the head of the creator and placed into our entertainment medium of choice. To me the jumpy animation is part of the game’s charm and helps set it apart from other releases set before us by Telltale Games. The distinctive artstyle is based on the work of Graham Annable, he of the Grickle series and a talented animator/cartoonist/writer/washer of persian decorative plates. If the game looks the way it looks, feels the way it feels, animates the way it animates and looks the way… did I say looks already? Anyway, you can watch this to better understand how well his work was applied to the game:

Want another dose of humor? Look no further! Or look below:

Whole game is 4-5 hours long if it’s your first time around the rodeo but Telltale Games veterans should be able to cut that down to about 2-3 hours tops. Again, let us not forget that if those 2-3 hours are filled with funny dialog, interesting game scenarios and a great artstyle then it definitely deserves your money (NOW!).

Want to get this game? Then you can:

Buy a $20 PSN Card!

Buy a $50 PSN Card!

Buy Puzzle Agent itself!

[review pros=”Adventure games are here to stay!
Great dialog and voice acting.
Interesting and different artstyle” cons=”Some puzzles repeat 2-3 times” score=85]

Published by Telltale Games
Developed by Telltale Games

Cost – $9.99

Available on PSN


– Game was completed before writing this review.
– All trophies obtained.
– Total amount of time played: 3 hours.
– This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Puzzle Agent provided by Telltale Games.