When I first saw Puzzle Agent, I had a good feeling. Coming from the same studio that gave the world the generally loved Sam and Max series (TellTale games), Puzzle Agent is a point and click adventure game designed around the graphic novels of Graham Annabelle. This first episode is a pilot, and from here Telltale will decide whether or not the series will continue. Perhaps the games biggest challenge to overcome will be the easy to make assumption that this is a game made for children.
The graphics in PA are nothing stunning or ground breaking, but they are pretty great. The artwork and story of the game are the brainchild of Annabel, creator of the Grickle series of comics. This, coupled with the games choppy animation that resembles poorly done stop motion, along the surprisingly well done voice acting make PA a very aesthetically pleasing experience. The somewhat dark humor of the Grickle series carries over well into the games paranoid delusional characters. The people in town give you mistrusting stares, false information, and are just generally not on your side, but its funny.
Your role is that of Agent Tethers, the F.B.I.’s leading puzzle researcher. Tethers leads a relatively boring life from what we can see, and spends his time at work sleeping in his cleverly decorated office on the sub-basement floor of an F.B.I. building. Tethers is lovably awkward and nerdy, the sort of man who picks up used gum and chews it to help him think. One day, as he is napping, a man in a space suit appears to Tethers in his dream, signaling that things are about to get strange.
Things start to get a bit less fun when you actually get down to solving the real puzzles in the game. If you need proof that this is not a game for kids, here it is. While many of the puzzles are simple and involve space and piecing things together, others are rather complicated word riddles that will take all of your brain power to figure out. The wording in PA actually poses something of a problem in the spacial puzzles as well, since the directions are often vague or leave out key game rules. You collect hints along the way (this is where the ABC gum comes into play) but more often than not these hints do little to really help you along.
Overall this is a good little game, and hopefully if the pilot does well than changes can be made to the problems. For ten dollars, you might as well check it out. For future installments in the series though I would hope to see an improvement on the puzzles in terms of difficulty curve (compared to some of the ones leading up to it, the last puzzle in the game is a cinch) and maybe adding variation to the puzzles to add replay value, once you play through this game, that’s it and the game isn’t very long. I beat PA in two sittings, but I won’t lie and say that I didn’t bomb at least 30% of the puzzles entirely. I could just be dense, or PA could take a different sort of brain than I have, either way I look forward to seeing this series grow.