Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Mar 22, 2016
    The most beautiful IQ test under the sun? The Witness is much more than that. Celebration of human intelligence and lament to the fate that results from it. [Issue # 261]
  2. Feb 3, 2016
    The finished product is just as arresting and enthralling as anyone could have expected.
  3. Jan 25, 2016
    The Witness feels like the fulfillment of that dynamic, a way of ingeniously hiding locks and keys and entire modes of inquiry in plain sight. Blow’s triumph lies in his insight into the thresholds of human perspective, how information travels and agglomerates, and how, given the right frame of mind, any of us might move mountains.
  4. Jan 25, 2016
    The Witness is a game brimming with secrets: daunting and multilayered mysteries that sunk into my subconscious, tracing snaking paths across my brain until I was literally seeing mazes every time I closed my eyes. That’s the kind of power The Witness has. It hooked me in with its masterful puzzle design and gorgeous visuals, then compelled me forward as I began to carve out my own purpose on the island. It’s a freedom granted by a world as welcomingly open to exploration as it is enjoyably challenging to crack open.
  5. Feb 4, 2016
    This is one of those genuinely special experiences that, at least in the case of Blow’s track record, only come along once a generation. Be sure not to miss out on this instant classic.
  6. Pelit (Finland)
    Mar 31, 2016
    The Witness is a “just” puzzle game as much as orgasm is just a feeling. [March 2016]
  7. Feb 19, 2016
    The Witness is highly unconventional but will enchant players who come ready to surrender their imagination to its unusual charms and challenging puzzles.
  8. Jan 28, 2016
    A relatively simple gameplay concept in The Witness was translated into one of the best puzzle games in years, with gorgeous graphics. Hundreds of panels to solve can sound a little monotonous, but there's no time for boredom.
  9. Jan 25, 2016
    It took eight years for Jonathan Blow to create his follow-up to Braid. It was worth it. We're obsessed.
  10. Jan 25, 2016
    Blow does it again. Exquisitely layered puzzles populate a world that will keep you guessing.
  11. Feb 11, 2016
    This world is made to challenge the player and make the player feel proud. That works well on this island full of puzzles, which uses riddles to form an interesting story.
  12. Feb 2, 2016
    The Witness proves how modern video games have spoiled us. This is a challenging puzzle game with a beautifully0crafted world you'll love to explore and is filled with puzzles that will keep you guessing endlessly.
  13. Mar 7, 2016
    The Witness is a unique, complex and brilliantly designed puzzle that won't resonate with every player. It offers over thirty hours of highly cerebral gameplay that will delight every fan of "intelligent" games, yet is open enough to let more casual players explore its landscapes.
  14. Feb 4, 2016
    Some gamers will consider The Witness to be a masterpiece and another proof that videogames are art. In this case the Witness requires you to possess at least two out of these three character traits: superb intelligence, angelic patience and passion for analyzing various cultural works. Everyone else will probably think that The Witness is pretty, but too hard.
  15. Jan 25, 2016
    I'm not upset about how inaccessible so much of The Witness felt for me. I feel sad, because I think The Witness is an experience a lot of people are going to enjoy figuring out, whereas I'm going to need more hints to get through it.
  16. Jan 25, 2016
    It's a beautiful game and knowing that I finished it with minimal help actually does make me feel smarter. It also contains some subtle messages about human potential that I found surprisingly uplifting (when I wasn't pulling my hair out). Despite feeling deeply satisfied by the experience, it's hard for me to ignore how much time I spent frustrated and bored and angry. Maybe contrasting those two ends of the emotional spectrum is essential to the experience of playing The Witness, but an era when they can skip the frustration, I'm not convinced most players will have the patience to obtain it.
  17. Game World Navigator Magazine
    Feb 11, 2016
    Jonathan Blow’s new game is not another messiah; it’s more of an experiment – a big-budget puzzle game where your only reward for overcoming difficulties is the process of puzzle-solving itself. [Issue#206, p.75]
  18. Jan 29, 2016
    The Witness is an intentionally simple game to grasp, but enjoyment almost feels proportional to patience. These puzzles are absolute brain-breakers, so anyone that doesn't have the patience for them will get no enjoyment out of The Witness. I was certainly on the verge of being one of those people, but exploring the sheer beauty of the island and learning more about its central mystery turned out to make returning worthwhile.
  19. Apr 10, 2016
    Video games are unequivocally a form of art. But like all art, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. With 'The Witness' I feel like I’m in an art gallery watching a gaggle of admirers who are looking at a piece together, commenting on its style and how it makes them feel. I’m the guy standing off to the side, not with them but looking at the same painting. I can admit that it’s pretty, but it doesn’t really evoke a significant response, and so I shrug and move on to the next.
  20. Feb 2, 2016
    The Witness is an excellent trainer of a wit and logical thinking. Just don’t expect anything more from this game. Puzzles miss any ideas, they are served without a feeling and -oddly enough- quite illogically.
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  1. Jan 25, 2016
    The Witness juggles the seemingly contrary concepts of precision and ambiguity in ways I've never seen a game, nor a book or play or film, ever do—and that, more than the beauty or the puzzles or the clever twists, makes it one of the most impressive video games I've ever seen.
  2. Jan 28, 2016
    When you are struck by an elegant solution in the game, you not only get the thrill of your achievement, but you can also sense a faint echo of the larger epiphanies that have driven humanity forward. The Witness draws a line from your singular consciousness to a collective spirit—in a limited fashion, of course. For a game, the limits make all the difference.
  3. Feb 11, 2016
    The Witness is a sterile, lifeless videogame. It revels in the idea of knowledge, fascinated by how it’s earned and what it signifies. But it seems uninterested in players and their accomplishments, and with that lack of interest comes a lack of the human touch necessary to make sense of the knowledge it offers...The Witness is like the island on which it takes place: a machine, to the core. Anything within it that seems lifelike is superficial.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 539 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jan 29, 2016
    This game was way too over-hyped. All based on the fact that on screens (and in real life) it looks very pretty. But on contrary to what we'reThis game was way too over-hyped. All based on the fact that on screens (and in real life) it looks very pretty. But on contrary to what we're looking in a one-night-stand, it's the inside that counts. And the inside of this game is shallow and uninteresting, just like the one-night-standee might turn out to be.

    Some 10/10's want to us to think that there's something more behind this whole walking around the island and solving hundreds of maze puzzles. Nope. There are no little story pieces, just some random quotes from famous thinkers, like Albert Einstein. It doesn't give us any background, they're just quotes.

    Then there are the puzzles. At first I thought: "Oh, a maze puzzle, cool." Then I was: "Oh, that was a clever one. I feel smarter by solving this one." But after the 100th puzzle I was thinking: "is that all there is? I'm going to solve hundreds of puzzles to get several ray guns shoot that big thing on the top of the mountain?" Well, I looked it up and it turns out it's exactly that. Apparently you wander the island for hours and hours, solving one maze puzzle after another until you reach the end (which I didn't manage to accomplish, mind you) that makes all the puzzle solving completely futile. Neat. Why not buy a paper Sudoku booklet for like $.99 then, instead of spending $40 on a game which very principle is exactly the same - to get you thinking real hard.

    I won't go any lower than 4, because the game looks pretty. We had a one-night-stand together, but in all seriousness, I don't want to see it ever again.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 26, 2016
    If you like puzzle games and are up for a challenge, The Witness is your game. A beautiful island full of hundreds of little puzzles awaitsIf you like puzzle games and are up for a challenge, The Witness is your game. A beautiful island full of hundreds of little puzzles awaits you. And although all puzzles look pretty similar, if you see them on screenshots, there is a lot of variation. Also, while there is no traditional story, there are little story pieces to be discovered, scattered around the world. The Witness may not be a game for everyone, but it most certainly is one for me. ;) Full Review »
  3. Jan 27, 2016
    I heard you just walk around and solve maze puzzles.

    I thought there was more to it than that, but there really isn't so I checked it out,
    I heard you just walk around and solve maze puzzles.

    I thought there was more to it than that, but there really isn't so I checked it out, but there really isn't.

    You wander around these okay looking but ultimately bland and soulless environments looking for the next maze puzzle to complete. The maze puzzles get somewhat more complex as the game goes on and every now and then there's so extra trick to them like having to look at the environment and/or look at them from different perspectives but most are extremely simple and all boil down to tracing a line from point A to point B.

    Also the worst part about the praise this is getting from journos isn't how it's being treated like it's good, it how it's being treated like it's art.

    Not worth $40, not worth spending time on unless you have absolutely nothing to do.

    Soulja Boy please save us from this indie hell.
    Full Review »