January 26, 2016
Over 500 Puzzles
The Epic Games Store have added another free title to their catalogue, this time in the form of The Witness – a first-person puzzle game blended perfectly with an open-world setup. The Witness was released back in January of 2016. While this game is hardly a new addition to the world of console gaming, the new and shiny PC-based free price-tag (compared to the $39.99 it had before), has opened up the game to a wider audience of freebie-loving gamers.
Now, don’t get me wrong, free games are nothing new either. Game developers know all too well that offering free trials and demos can draw in a new audience and this certainly isn’t restricted to console gaming. We have free multi-player games, casino games, online board games and the entire lot. Free plays let a gamer determine first-hand whether that game is their proverbial cup of tea, before making an investment. In a similar way, a completely free game introduces the gamer to a certain developer that they might not be familiar with before, which might build loyalty in the long-run. The question in this case is whether The Witness even worth the price to begin with.
This colorful addition to the world of puzzle gaming offers upwards of 20-30 hours of line puzzles, set against a lush world with some beautiful visuals. Set on an island split into sections, the aim of The Witness is to unlock a box, conveniently latched shut with over seven different locks. Each of these locks can only be released by a beam that is activated by a yellow crate. The yellow crate sits at the end of a big master puzzle right at the end of a collection of smaller puzzles.
That’s a lot of puzzles, right?
Well, the critics would agree with you. While The Witness’s design, base idea and mystery offer something unique to puzzle gaming, it’s been criticized for just how many puzzles there are considering that every single one is of a similar format. Of course, each section has its own take on the traditional line puzzle and some creative rules are thrown in relatively often. Still, it would take the concentration of a saint to get through the game in one sitting, given how heavythe game is.
Despite all that, the gameplay is fun. The adrenaline rush of finally solving a particularly difficult puzzle can take effect for a good few minutes – that is, until you reach the next frustratingly difficult puzzle. The game can be engaging and challenging and the sensation of reaching the ‘Eureka!’ moment is unrivalled, but it can feel like things are dragging on a little too long at times.
Overall, The Witnessis a charming game, perfect for those that love puzzle-based gaming. It is not the perfect casual game, but it certainly provides a fascinating gaming experience and the sense of achievement at the end of each puzzle is almost addictive. However, it is important to dive into the game knowing that you will be getting a lot of the same, even to the point of tediousness. The Witnessis held together by stunning graphics and a scattering of unique audio snippets. It is an odd ands challenging game to play, but one that will keep you coming back for more.