With Puzzle Agent 2 just on the horizon, the FBIs top puzzle solver, Agent Nelson Tethers, has finally made his way to the PS3.
A full review of the PC version of Puzzle Agent is available here and considering there is very little difference between the two versions, it seems somewhat pointless my covering everything in depth again. However, a brief explanation is in order for those who just can’t be bothered to click a link.
Agent Nelson Tethers, sole member of the FBI Department of Puzzle Research, is sent to the small town of Scoggins, Minnesota to investigate the goings on at an eraser factory. This factory is of national importance as it provides the White House with its stock of erasers, or at least it did until recently. It is now up to Agent Tethers to find out what is going on and get the factory running again. What follows is a story that goes places you really wouldn’t expect.
As the player travels from one key location to the next, they will have two tasks. The first is talking with the locals, who are not the friendliest bunch in the world. Getting information from them can be an uphill battle. The second task will be solving the puzzles. There are some 37 puzzles in the game which come in quite a variety of different types. Anyone who spends time playing puzzle games will find that most of these puzzles are fairly simple. However, every now and again a puzzle will come up that is just plain confusing and will leave the player stumped.
It is at this point that Agent Tethers unhealthy collecting of other people’s chewed gum will come in handy. Players will find pieces of gum stuck to various surfaces around the different locations and this gum will act as a currency for tips. The player can spend one piece of gum on a fairly unhelpful tip, or three pieces to pretty much solve the puzzle. The player is rated at the end of each puzzle according to how many tips they needed and how often they got the wrong answer.
That is the long and short of the game. It has a hand drawn style to it, so looks amazing, and the audio track builds a certain amount of tension, providing a Twin Peaks feel. The game is only short and will likely be finished within just a few hours and has very little reason to play through again, as the puzzles don’t change. But what really makes up for that is the story. Even now, a year since I reviewed the PC version, it remains clear in my head. I still have bad dreams about Gnomes.
But it would seem that the transition from PC to PS3 has not been smooth. Although everything looks and sounds the same, the control method has obviously suffered. Players hold down the R1 button to bring up all of the points of interest in a given location, and then can scroll through them with the left stick. Besides the fact that the player does not have to search for the gum anymore, as they did in the PC version, because it is simply selectable from the points of interest, this control method can make it a bit tricky to select certain options. This is especially apparent in some of the puzzles where things can get somewhat frustrating.
But other than the controls, Puzzle Agent remains a very entertaining, albeit short, puzzle adventure. I would always advise the PC version over the PS3, but if you want to play on the big screen and you fancy a bit of puzzle action, with a most bizarre storyline, then this Telltale title could be just what you need. You may find yourself drawn to the gum-chewing, puzzle solving agent and with Puzzle Agent 2 nearly upon us, there is no better time to try out Agent Tethers first adventure.