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 609 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: 73 out of 128
  2. Negative: 25 out of 128
  1. Feb 2, 2016
    10
    I've had my mind blown to shatters more times than i can count playing through this absolute, undeniable MASTERPIECE that is The Witness. ThisI've had my mind blown to shatters more times than i can count playing through this absolute, undeniable MASTERPIECE that is The Witness. This is THE best game i've ever played, and i've been a heavy gamer since -89. The staggering amount of love and attention to detail that is present is simply... amazing. I'm at a loss for words, and i get more and more sad that i'm getting closer and closer to finishing everything that is known to exist within the game.

    I cannot find one single tiny thing wrong or bad with it, not a one. This is a unique, singular experience that i wished i could experience again, and again.

    I would even venture so far as to say that this game has made my life better just by me playing it, listening to all audio logs, experiencing this multitude of awakenings when i reveal a new pattern, learn a new rule, figure out a new puzzle just to find another treasure trove of complexity inside. And throughout the experience i'm constantly reminded in various subtle forms to take it slow, be patient, appreciate the journey more than the goal, which is exactly what i hold most dear after all of this..

    Some has expressed a disliking of the end (even the "secret" end), i on the other hand found it to be EXACTLY what it should have been. The goal was never the ending, if you stared at the goal the entire time you missed the whole thing. If you failed to experience the now, each moment, you actually missed out.

    I tip my hat in deepest thanks to Jonathan and the rest of the team at Thekla. Thank you for this amazing journey. 10/10.
    Expand
  2. Jan 30, 2016
    10
    My experience playing the witness:

    First 3 hours: Ok I'm solving puzzles on an island, nothing special. All of these puzzles are solved on
    My experience playing the witness:

    First 3 hours:
    Ok I'm solving puzzles on an island, nothing special. All of these puzzles are solved on an touchscreens by drawing a line through a maze. Isn't this going to be repetitive? And why did it have to be on an island? Beautiful graphics though.

    After 8 hours:
    Some of the puzzles are becoming more and more interesting... Still don't really get why there is so much high praise for this game...

    After about 12 hours (for me):
    Holy ####! Did that just happen???? How ... how did they program this?? I can't believe I did not see this!! This island is not just eye candy, it's much much more than that!!!

    So, if you like solving puzzles (hard puzzles, get a pen and paper because you will have to take notes), if you can be patient and if you have the willpower to try to do this on your own, you are in for something special...
    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. Feb 1, 2016
    8
    THI- The Witness

    When I first heard of this game I was generally excited. It was meant to be a sort of spiritual successor to Myst however
    THI- The Witness

    When I first heard of this game I was generally excited. It was meant to be a sort of spiritual successor to Myst however in the end it didn’t really come off as that but rather a sort of fan boy waving his no. 1 foam hand at Myst’s general direction. Whilst it manages to pull a few brownie points here and there it still suffers from trying to be something that it’s not.
    The Witness takes place on a mysterious island with various sections you can go over to and explore. Sound familiar? Well here’s the problem: whereas Myst had the advantage and amazing idea of making each section the puzzles The Witness falls flat on its arse and cracks the ground. All of the puzzles consist of line mazes on monitors scattered about the place and the only variation between each section are the environments and the symbols used in the puzzles. You see depending on the symbols shown in the mazes the rules of the maze change e.g. if there’s a tetris like block then you have to go around the block in the shape of the tetris image on it. After solving the first 12 you begin to wonder what over exciting puzzles there are on the island and stat exploring to find some only to be brought with the unfortunate car crash that is reality. All the puzzles are the same. The map is fairly large and beautiful to look at but it doesn’t make up for the lack of other types of puzzles making the game more comparable towards the talos principle. The main objective is to complete seven major areas in order to unlock the area’s beacon. With this the beacons’ rays point towards a central mountain which you climb up to reveal a small box with seven locks on it. So your objective is to complete required amount of puzzles to unlock the final area of the game which fair enough is better safe than sorry territory.
    One of the things I was looking forward to most is the finding out this game’s story as Myst had quite an inventive one which you have to read up on or look at things with more detail in order to theorise what could have happened to the island’s inhabitants. The Witness does gain some points by giving you bonus puzzles you can complete in order to find a puzzle solution. You can take these solutions to a windmill in the game and underneath it there are a series of vaults. Each vault has a video and in order to get in you must apply the solution to a puzzle acting as a lock. The reason why I like these videos is because they don’t actually give you lore but rather suggestions on how to see the island. Using the first video as an example it tells you task questions and not theorise until you are sure about your answer. As far as I can tell all of the inhabitants haven’t left but rather were turned to stone. Why? No idea but I would think that it would have something to do with the windmill due to several statues across the island seem to be facing it. I haven’t finished the bonus puzzles yet but this idea that the truth is in there has enticed me to continue playing.
    With lots of hours put into the game I can say that it’s meant to played in sessions rather than in one go which to be honest goes against my code for this sort of game. You see I expected to be captivated by the game and whilst the graphics alone do this it doesn’t take long for boredom to kick in. I got pissed at a few puzzles for not introducing the rules in a simple manor but rather throwing one at you and seeing how long it takes for you to look up the puzzle rule online.
    Overall I was disappointed but not unhappy with the game. Let’s just say it underperformed.
    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. Feb 17, 2017
    5
    I'll update this as I give it more time, but I just found the game lifeless and boring. Who makes a game based on a single puzzle type? ThisI'll update this as I give it more time, but I just found the game lifeless and boring. Who makes a game based on a single puzzle type? This guy, that's who. The game world is nice looking, but so are fan-made drawings on imgur and Deviant Art. There is just nothing to the world or story at all.

    You will walk around a beautiful world, but spend 90% of your time staring at a line puzzle of increasingly obtuse solutions. I did not at all get the same sense of presence and philosophy and that the story bits instilled in The Talos Principle. And that game had such varied puzzles.
    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 128 User Reviews

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