|System: PC, PS3|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: June 30, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
The puzzle types are standard fare, too: What's the next number in this sequence? Can you get all the animals across the river without one eating the others? Can you assign people to hotel rooms without violating certain conditions (Jane can't have a room next to John, etc.)? Honestly, if this is all I get out of Puzzle Agent, and there are only about 35 puzzles total, I'd rather just go to a puzzle website for a few hours and skip the story.
The controls are just point-and-click for the most part, and as long as they stick the basics, they work. However, some puzzles require you to click and drag items into place, and even this simple task is a bit too much. Most of the items seem to "stick" if you don't drag them just right.
One element of Puzzle Agent 2 that actually deserves praise is the art style. The graphics were handled by the artist Graham Annable, who created a world that looks like it was drawn by crayon, with bleak colors to bring out the harsh Minnesota winter. While the writing and acting never make the characters come to life, each of them has a unique look. It's too bad Annable couldn't have lent his talents to a more deserving project. Similarly, the music does a great job of bringing out a creepy vibe, only to be brought down by the game's weaker aspects.
People who love puzzles want more Layton games. Those of us who get sick of Layton's light and often cheesy atmosphere wouldn't mind a clone that had a darker story. Unfortunately, Puzzle Agent 2 isn't the game we've been waiting for. It's bad news that Telltale Games, a leader of the point-and-click genre, saw fit to publish it. If this is what made the cut, were all the other Layton ripoffs even worse? Is it so hard to design a decent variety of puzzles that only Hino can do it?
Perhaps there won't be a whole genre of "puzzle adventures" after all—not because gamers don't want one, but because there aren't enough good puzzles and good stories to go around.
CCC Contributing Writer