We review Telltale Games' puzzler sequel...

Since the start of my loving journey into the gaming world, I€™ve always had a huge space in my heart for the old school point and click adventure games. Games such as Monkey Island, Ace Ventura, Broken Sword, Discworld and Simon the Sorcerer. They had such charm in their visual style and comedic scripts that meant they were never flashy with over the top HD, ultra realistic graphics, nor did they need to be. Later on into this genre's life more and more games became more heavily puzzle based, with games such as Professor Layton being an obvious point of fact. This genre may not be as popular any longer but is still alive and doing fine, an example of this is the game I€™ve been asked to review today Puzzle Agent 2. Created by TellTale Games - the same company that brought the popular franchise Back To The Future alive again with a 5 part adventure game series. Puzzle Agent 2 is, as it sounds, a direct continuation from the first Puzzle Agent. You play as FBI Agent Nelson Tethers, who in the original installment was assigned to the small town of Scoggins to investigate the town, with its people obsessed with puzzles, the strange story behind the closure of the eraser factory, and the odd folklore which could be behind the shortage of erasers. In this second part of the franchise we pick up directly from where we left off, with Agent Tethers not feeling 100% right with the investigation and choosing to take some personal time off to go back to Scoggins and investigate further. When he arrives he finds things are even stranger than before, with lots of towns people going missing, and stranger still no one seeming to notice or care! Agent Tethers is then lead on a journey to find out the truth about what happened to Isaac Davner, one of the first towns people to go missing, and delve deeper into the folklore of the hidden people. Ok, so the story is obviously quite strange, but this I think is a huge plus, I thought the odd plot had some comedy value and showed straight off the bat that TellTale aren't taking themselves too seriously when it comes to making games -they're clearly in it for the fun factor. The art direction is the first thing you€™ll notice, all of the artwork is created by Canadian artist Graham Annable, and i think it works amazingly well. The art style makes the game look really old school and has that lovingly hand drawn feel, leaving plenty of room for the games puzzles to take the main focus and again makes the game feel a lot less serious leaving room for some fun and funny dialogue. The actual gameplay itself is reminiscent of both Broken Sword and Professor Layton. Puzzle Agent 2 is an open world game with lots of places to explore, but each area contains a lot of puzzles for you to solve with each correctly solved puzzle unlocking more of the story and new areas to investigate. The puzzles come in varying shapes and sizes, from basic pattern recognition and mazes to some rather left field ideas that will leave many players pulling their hair out! The puzzles however I feel are a nice mix so no one should be stumped (at least for too long) - my only criticism is that some of the puzzles feel rather rushed and really unimportant to the progression of the game overall, which made me think they were just dashed in at the last few stages to bulk out completion time. As I mentioned before some of the puzzles will leave you a bit stumped, if you do reach the point where enough is enough and you€™re sure you just can€™t solve a random puzzle then there is a hint system at hand. Almost as soon as you start the game Agent Tethers makes it clear that he finds it rather hard to think without gum, but Scoggins is in the midst of a cleaning up program which means gum isn€™t readily available. As you go through the various areas of town though you will find pieces of gum lying around to collect, each one of these gives you a hint for any puzzle you are stuck on, up to a maximum of three that can be used per puzzle, problem solved! (...but wait that means Agent Tethers is eating, old pre-chewed gum?....nice!) Well, not quite: each puzzle gives you a rating on your performance based on how many hints you used and how many times you answered incorrectly so using the gum is not penalty free. This hint system I thought was a nice little addition to the game, although some might say it€™s a bit too easy as you€™ll find gum practically everywhere and in large amounts. I don't think this is a huge problem, obviously every gamer is different in how they will tackle any game so this just means every player will have to make a conscious choice as they start to whether they want to finish the game as quickly as possible (in which case the gum is the way) or if they want to 100% the game getting the best score they can (meaning they must use as little gum as possible) Overall I enjoyed my time in Scoggins playing through Puzzle Agent, the artwork was charming and eased me into the game, and allowed me to be sucked into the quirky plot line, with puzzles slowly getting harder. There were genuine moments that left me with some challenging head scratchers but I never felt completely alone or lost, as I always had hints available to me as well as the choice to leave a puzzle for now and return to them whenever I suddenly had a solution. This is definitely a game for those that enjoy a good brain teaser. I think the old school point an click genre fans out there will get a kick out of this too and with the cost of Puzzle Agent 2 ranging between £2.99 for the ipad/iphone version to £6.00 for the PC/Mac copy its definitely a bargain that won€™t break the bank. Puzzle Agent 2 is out now, either in App form, or for the PC & Mac.

Ben Colin Rayner hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.