The Witness Image
Metascore
87

Generally favorable reviews - based on 82 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 593 Ratings

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  • Summary: You awaken, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that challenge and surprise you. You can't remember who you are, and you don't remember how you came to be here, but there's one thing you can do: explore the island in hope of discovering clues, regaining your memory, and somehowYou awaken, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that challenge and surprise you. You can't remember who you are, and you don't remember how you came to be here, but there's one thing you can do: explore the island in hope of discovering clues, regaining your memory, and somehow finding your way home. The Witness is a single-player game in an open world with dozens of locations to explore and over 500 puzzles to solve. This game respects you as an intelligent player and it treats your time as precious. There's no filler; each of those puzzles brings its own new idea into the mix. Expand

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The Witness Announcement Trailer (PS4)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 82
  2. Negative: 2 out of 82
  1. Play UK
    Mar 25, 2016
    100
    An intensely satisfying and stupendously intelligent puzzle game that's incredibly well crafted, making it a very early, yet solid, Game of the Year contender. [Issue#267, p.62]
  2. Jan 25, 2016
    100
    The intricate puzzles and tantalizing secrets of this starkly gorgeous, mystical island are enough to lose yourself in for dozens of hours.
  3. Feb 1, 2016
    95
    I don’t think The Witness is a contender of the best game ever, but I do think it’s one of the best puzzle games out there. It does everything a puzzle game should do and does it well. I would like to see a bit more opportunities to interact with objects in the world, but I completely understand why that wasn’t part of the “deliberate” design architecture. Quite simply, The Witness has been one of the best experiences in gaming I’ve had in a long time, probably in about 7 years.
  4. 90
    It’s a brilliant, beautiful, masterfully crafted work, and the more you discover, the more apparent it is.
  5. Feb 4, 2016
    90
    The Witness is an expansive and wickedly smart follow-up to Braid, with puzzles to test even the brightest minds. Its mental gymnastics are well worth the occasional frustration, and you'll come out feeling like a genius.
  6. Feb 3, 2016
    83
    The Witness is one of the most elegant puzzlers around. It'll make you think, it'll make you laugh, and it'll make you yell. Above all else, though, it'll take you on one memorable journey that will stay with you for a long time.
  7. Jan 25, 2016
    40
    It's easy to fall in love with The Witness, and even easier to have your heart broken by the callous indifference of Jonathan Blow's beautiful island. A healthy challenge is good for any game, but the puzzles on display here offer few inroads to understanding for those who can't think exactly like their creator.

See all 83 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 124
  2. Negative: 26 out of 124
  1. Apr 13, 2016
    10
    This is a game unlike any other out there. Original and thought provoking ideas beyond the usual limitations of the medium. Combining the bestThis is a game unlike any other out there. Original and thought provoking ideas beyond the usual limitations of the medium. Combining the best elements from literature, philosophy, meditation, this game teaches how to look for answers both to the puzzles presented and teaches you how to search, and explores the nature of curiosity. To those that say this game only consists of repetitive puzzles of a singular type, that immediately tells me they barely scratched the surface of this game. Come to this game with an open mind and patience and it will fill your mind with wonder and awe. This is a rare gem of a game and deserves all the praise given to it. Amazing. Expand
  2. Jan 30, 2016
    10
    An amazing game, not meant for everyone, but its target audience will devour it. Stranded on a picturesque island, you must solve puzzles viaAn amazing game, not meant for everyone, but its target audience will devour it. Stranded on a picturesque island, you must solve puzzles via a deceptively simple interface. It’s true The Witness consist only of maze puzzles - in the same sense in which languages consist only of words - if you’re willing to learn the words of the language the game slowly teaches you, the satisfaction when you uncover its intricacies can be immense. The puzzles are roughly divided in two types - those whose solution is derived from abstract logical rules and those which require observation of the environment. Sometimes both combine in a very elegant way.

    As for the difficulty - I found that a good strategy was not to give up too easily but also not to try too hard - if you get stuck - change the area - there’s plenty to choose from and you don’t need to solve all the zones to get to the endgame.

    In an interview , the developer said that the theme of the game was epiphany and I think that he has achieved his goal - I doubt it has competition when it comes to the "Eureka!" moments, and I'm not talking only about discovering the solution to a particular problem - I'm talking about moments when your whole perspective shifts.

    Some of the flaws I found - I think the game would have benefited from a dedicated story as opposed to the sparse audio logs with an eclectic selection of quotations located randomly around the island. There were some puzzles particularly towards the end that were visually nauseating. These minor flaws do not detract from the singular experience of The Witness - if you have an inkling you might like it - I advise you to try it.
    Expand
  3. Jan 26, 2016
    10
    The Witness is a puzzle game that essentially revolves around only one type of puzzle. Although there are variations to it, you’ll basicallyThe Witness is a puzzle game that essentially revolves around only one type of puzzle. Although there are variations to it, you’ll basically spend your time going around solving finger maze puzzles. However there is an environmental element to the puzzles where you’ll find solutions in the world around you. That in my opinion is a really clever implementation by Jonathan Blow (the genius who made Braid). But don’t let finger puzzles put you off... play this game, the world of The Witness is absolutely breathtaking and there is a good story behind all the puzzles even though it is quite subtle.
    In my honest opinion this game is better than The Talos Principle and is on par if not better than the original Myst Games. However my biggest concern is the price, 40 dollars is just too much for an indie game with only one mechanic. The game itself however is an absolute joy and possibly one of the games of the year.
    Expand
  4. Jan 28, 2016
    8
    Excellent game design, addicting, leave you think about it all day long, good exercise for brain. Nice colour and findings throughout. PS4Excellent game design, addicting, leave you think about it all day long, good exercise for brain. Nice colour and findings throughout. PS4 need more of those fun and creative games. Expand
  5. Apr 1, 2016
    7
    Decent game was cool in the beginning but got tired of it towards the end. Got to be very difficult and couldn't wait to beat it and bury it.Decent game was cool in the beginning but got tired of it towards the end. Got to be very difficult and couldn't wait to beat it and bury it. Kept working through it cause thought there were gonna be some cool secrets and stuff advancing through the game never really found anything interesting about the island. Thought the ending was stupid Expand
  6. Aug 13, 2016
    5
    After about four hours, I grew tired of the endless iteration on the same basic mechanic. The world is beautiful, but the puzzles are soAfter about four hours, I grew tired of the endless iteration on the same basic mechanic. The world is beautiful, but the puzzles are so disconnected from any real physical process or interaction with the setting that it really does just feel like a couple hundred puzzles you might find in a free to play phone game, plopped into a nice landscape. Bottom line: When I solved a puzzle, I didn't feel intelligent. I didn't really feel anything except relief, until the next puzzle, and repeat that 600 times. Expand
  7. Jun 28, 2016
    0
    I had an issue installing The Witness which resulted in every file on my desktop being irretrievably deleted - yep, every pic, video,I had an issue installing The Witness which resulted in every file on my desktop being irretrievably deleted - yep, every pic, video, document. Absolute disaster. The distributor of the game, Steam, were utterly disinterested and even their parent company, Valve, made no effort whatever to try to help resolve the issue and basically told me to stop bothering them. You don't often come across customer service this bad these days.
    I'm a reasonably tech-savvy person and if it happened to me, it could happen to anyone.
    My advice - don't touch it with a bargepole.
    Expand

See all 124 User Reviews

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