The sequel to Puzzle Agent is still an easily recommendable game but it feels somewhat less inspired. The story is alright and fit to continue the first part but I cannot help but cringe at Nelson's behaviour as he unrelatably quick slips into paranoia. Director Jennings brings it to a point: "Tethers, you're embarrassing yourself." To be fair, Nelson's paranoia pace is sort of explained later in the game.
Well, Puzzle Agent 2 successfully repeats features already in the previous part, likable characters, coherent sometimes creepy sometimes funny story and of course puzzles, puzzles, puzzles.
Since you spend most of your time puzzling it's rewarding to see the puzzle evaluation being polished, more envelopes, more stamping, more feeling successful :)
+ Fell-good pencil graphics from a 3D engine
+ Coherent story
+ Very good voice acting
+ Almost no 'broken puzzles'
+ A puzzle hard to brute-force
! Pause your game with spacebar
! Find hotspots by clicking a scene
! Advance dialogue with left-click or right-click
! Waste even more taxpayer money: 97,864.10$ per puzzle attempt
- Again no skipping of cutscene-y sequences, including a lot of interaction animation
- Less puzzle variety, puzzle classes
- Unnerving susurrus, going into the woods makes my ears hurt
- Buggy hotspotting
- Incomplete sequence puzzles
Puzzles seem less intricate and more repetitive in this game when compared to the predecessor, with the occasional exception. I wonder if development felt the same and then decided to reward you at the very end with a really nice one.
There is a number of puzzles that sort of fall in the same family thus adding to the feeling of repetition. One class I particularly dislike is that of incomplete sequences asking the player to continue a sequence of number of unknown reference and extent. I dislike them because references can be randomly chosen if the sequence is not completed with what the player has to provide.
Think of "What two letters follow MTWTF?" Actually this is asking what two letters complete the sequence. So there are there is a sequence of seven letters with the given five-letter prefix that is a thing which you are supposed to recognize as such. With incomplete sequences that don't 'form a thing' there is some kind of description allowing for every possible follow-up letter or number or digit.
The three puzzles with that problem refer to a part of a no longer everyday object of cultural convention, a mathematical constant that made it into pop culture and a contrivance of an again cultural convention
It seems one major flaw of the first episode has been almost completely eradicated. There appear to almost no broken puzzles, i.e. puzzles with insufficient description or multiple solutions not all of which are accepted. Specifically the very first puzzle accepted three different of the 24 possible solutions. As you hear a ding whenever that puzzle is done even before submitting, I'm assuming all of those dings will lead to an "Accepted".
Insufficient description.The assignment mentions the bouncing of the stone but fails to mention the rock doesn't enter a forest tile when bouncing as opposed to the way light reflects off of mirrors in the brain puzzle or how the snowmobile bounces off of logs in the first game's puzzles.
Me being picky again.
Yeah, the title has "appearance" in it, so I guess this puzzle is 'sufficiently explained'. From the pictures alone there are two possible sequences, only one of which has the gnomes appear, but the accepted solution has the Moon's movement wrong. Just think about how the waxing and waning Moon develops light patterns.
When inspecting the stove for first time the text says "Ms. Garrett" with two 't'. Also, there are a number of discrepancies between written and spoken text.
Sometimes we see inconsistent iconography for hotspots. Again, hotspots are revealed when clicking in the current scene outside of dialogue and puzzle. There is a green arrow for exits from the scene, a magnifying glass for things that can be looked at/investigated and a puzzle piece for puzzles.
- Now, from the main street the way through the alley is marked as a hotspot with a magnifying glass but it is actually the way to the hotel.
- The secretary in Olav Melhaven's cabin with the stars on its backside is sometimes marked as a hotspot with a magnifying glass but no action happens when clicked. Similary you will find 'hotspotted' areas later in the lodge that do not react to clicks.
Not really a bug but bugging me: I like to identify hotspots in a scene before deciding which one to click next. Hotspots don't reveal the extent of the corresponding area. Although usually sensibly bound to an object I found myself time and time again interacting with hotspots before knowing the complete scene.