What truly makes The Witness everything that it is lies somewhere between the fundamentals of the puzzles and the deeply philosophical of everything else. These two work in tandem, complementing each other even when they seem worlds apart. There are so many layers of separation between the two that it's almost impossible to perceive or even conceive. But, they're there, working hand-in-hand and, on some level, one in the same. You'd be hard-pressed to declare that one of these components is closer to defining The Witness than the other.
This game is a type of high art in the form of puzzles and contemplation. Very intelligent and thought provoking game. Probably one of the best if not THE best puzzle game ever created. Braid was a masterpiece too.
The Witness is an excellent puzzle game, featuring many complex yet fair puzzles, a great atmosphere, an interesting narrative method and a lot of content. With no hand-holding whatsoever, The Witness certainly is not a game for everyone, but those who are up to the challenge will feel enriched once they solve most of the puzzles included in the game.
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.
The Witness is a game that can easily cause players to eclipse the one hundred hour mark and the vast majority of that time is going to be spent engaging with hundreds of brilliantly designed puzzles. While it won’t have the industry-shifting impact that Braid did in 2008, The Witness will influence video game puzzle design for years to come.
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.
The problem with the Witness is that it has such a simple and pure gameplay mechanic, that there is no margin for error. This is true for both the player and the developer. And while the developer expects perfection from the player--the developer has made glaring errors in judgement and some absolute garbage puzzles. These puzzles come up randomly, and they ruin the experience. I am going to break down one of these puzzles below so that you know exactly how much thought I've put into this.
The game uses nothing but the simple mechanic of drawing lines as both the entire gameplay loop and as the method for communicating how the mechanic works. The first couple dozen puzzles are magical discovery in this regard. You learn the rules through deduction and careful attention.
However, the problem occurs when the developers intentionally breaks more than 1 existing rule at a time, and they do so without warning.
Gameplay Spoiler Below:
For example, in the Marsh area, inside the light blue staircase, you are introduced to a somewhat new mechanic: 4 blue squares grouped into a larger square. So far, the rules for the tetris square puzzles are such:
-you must draw the outline of all yellow shapes depicted
-the yellow tetris blocks must be inside the outline that represents that shape.
-You can fuse the outline of two shapes together so they create one large shape, as long as all the contributing yellow blocks are included inside the larger outline.
-You cannot "morph" the shape of any depicted tetris block. If its a long skinny block, you can't rearrange the squares so that it is an "L" shaped block.
-You cannot overlap any same-colored squares while fusing shapes. They must fit like a puzzle.
Then we are introduced to Blue squares. Blue squares are never depicted as tetris blocks, (until the fateful and horribly designed puzzle.) These are the rules:
-A blue square can be used to delete a yellow square. The blue square must be included in an outline with a yellow tetris image in order for it to delete part of that tetris shape. You can delete any square you like.
-If all yellow squares are deleted by blue squares, you can create any shape at all, as long as all the necessary blocks are included in the shape to produce "nothing". If the entire set of squares produces nothing, outline no shapes and proceed directly to the goal.
We have seen some blue "tetris" blocks, in which I mean that two or more blue squares form a larger shape.
All of the solutions to these fulfill the rule of "you cannot morph shapes made form 2 or more colored squares". As such, the player MUST assume, if they are to beat the game as the developers have taught us, that the rule stating you cannot "morph" the shape of any depicted tetris block applies to both yellow and blue. At no point in any of the previous puzzles are we given an easy to solve puzzle which communicates the idea that blue squares are allowed to be morphed. Through logical deduction, the player is forced to make an incorrect conclusion ABOUT MULTIPLE RULES, which I will detail below.
Then, the developers give you this utterly horrible, completely illogical, red-herring infested trash pile of a puzzle. Second puzzle in from the right, with the group of 4 blue squares:
Look at the solution. You are meant to split the 4 blue squares into singletons and then apply them to individual pieces of two different yellow tetris blocks, and after you do that, THEN you place the augmented yellow blocks on the bottom row. Or perhaps, you OVERLAP the two L shapes so the tall parts meet in the middle, then split the blue shape in half, and delete the short-side of each L shape.
Any way you try to think about it, this puzzle follows none of the established rules, and to make matters worse, it is only ever used once during this entire set of puzzles. A complete logical fallacy that breaks mutliple rules in the midst of a series. These types of infuriating and utterly senseless roadblocks make the game an absolute chore to play. There can be no enjoyment while I constantly wonder whether the developer is being a total jerk to me or not.
I am so glad I got this game for free. This is definitely not worth $40. It has not been peer-reviewed.
.So disappointing. Beautiful world, interesting concept, but the game completely falls short. I LOVE puzzle games. Talos Principle is one of my favorites. But this game gets them all wrong. The beauty of the world only emphasizes how much of the game you spend staring at the same screens. Most of the game is separated into sections by puzzle type so you spend hours solving the same type of puzzle over and over until your sick of it and then rarely see it again until the end. The learning curve for each puzzle type can be great; when you can find the "begginers" level puzzles that you are clearly supposed to do first but the game doesn't guide you to. Instead of that triumphant feeling you are supposed to get after a puzzle, most of the time you just feel frustrated like "FINALLY can I move on now?" Many of the puzzles are ridiculously difficult and you must solve them all with no hint system. Some of the puzzles have vague answers that, even when you find them, don't fit perfectly, so they just leave you frustratedly guessing what it's telling you. It's. only 20 hours but I found myself wishing it was shorter. Not to mention there is zero story. When you complete the final puzzle the game just ends. No way to spoil it since there's not story to begin with. About a third of the puzzles really are good, wellplaced, and fun to play, and when the game shines, it REALLY shines. But that's doesn't happen nearly enough. I feel less frustration when playing Dark Souls.,
SummaryYou 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...