Puzzle Division agent Nelson Tethers is back on another case in Puzzle Agent 2, the sequel to the award-winning game by Telltale Games that combined the artistic direction of Graham Annable with the format of the Professor Layton games. Puzzle Agent 2 picks up right where the first one left off and gives it to you in the same format but with a fresh coat of paint.
Despite being on vacation after cracking the mysterious Scoggins Eraser factory case, agent Tethers can’t resist going back to discover the new set of mysteries the sleepy town of Scoggins has in store for him. If you haven’t played the first game, you might feel a little lost at some of the references in the dialogue. This doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the game and its cleverly written plot, but if you’ve played Puzzle Agent, you’ll be treated to some old faces and revisit familiar places that do a good job at continuing the story.
Like in the first game, the core of Puzzle Agent 2 is in its puzzles. The residents of Scoggins love puzzles, and you will encounter them as you progress through the story or by searching your surroundings. These puzzles range in difficulty and while some can be solved in seconds, others take more concentration and careful thinking. You will play puzzles involving variations of logic games, sequences, and even math problems. If you play the game like you should and take your time with it, the puzzles shouldn’t be too difficult to solve; but if you rush your way through the game, you might miss out on a very pleasant puzzle solving experience. Aside from a letter grade, the game doesn’t provide you with anything after completing a puzzle, so much of the reward comes with a feeling of self-satisfaction.
If a puzzle proves to be too difficult to solve, you can use a limited supply of hints to help you out. You can use up to three hints per puzzle, and you would think the last one would give you the answer, but it just gives you more detailed beat-around-the-bush clues that might leave you frustrated. This is why I recommend taking your time with each puzzle and enjoying it like a game of Sudoku.
Playing the game on an iPhone 3GS, I experienced some loading issues and frame-rate drops during parts of the game, which surprised me since the game lacks advanced animation and feels a lot like an interactive comic strip. I also had some issues with some puzzles that required me to make careful taps on the screen. I don’t know whether the space is too small or my fingers are too big, but it was a bit difficult dragging some objects around in a couple of the puzzles.
Aside from its shortcomings, Puzzle Agent 2 is a great sequel with new puzzles and a great new story to follow. While some of the puzzle types may get repetitive at times, nothing is as satisfying as flawlessly solving one using no hints. Puzzle fans are sure to enjoy Puzzle Agent 2 even if they haven’t played the first one, but I suggest playing them both to enjoy more puzzles and to truly get a sense of the plot.
A copy of Puzzle Agent 2 for iOS was provided to us for this review.