For its one-year anniversary, The Witness is on sale for $19.99 (50% off) on Steam. I held off on buying the game when it first released but have gotten the impression that its a rather impressive, immersive puzzle game. Given the massive amount of Steam gift money I got for Christmas, it seemed like a good time to finally try it out.
After about three hours in, I will definitely say it marches to the beat of its own drum.
Without going into a deep exposition of game mechanics, I’d say my favorite part of the whole game so far has been the hedge mazes in the castle. It was just one of those brilliant moments where the environment and puzzle solving came together in such a delightful way. It may not have been the most mind-boggling of puzzles, but the harmonious blend of the game’s strengths made it feel rewarding.
Personally though, I wish that balance carried over into more of the game. There’s definitely some intellectual value in learning the abstract rules of the game’s puzzles, but I wish they related back to the environment on a more frequent basis. Often rules are self-contained within the panel puzzles themselves; the environments just end up being eye candy, with your attention focused far more so on the puzzle panels.
So far I feel like this game has great atmosphere and great puzzle-solving logic, but the disconnect between the two bugs me. Maybe it wouldn’t have so much if I hadn’t been treated to that wonderful hedge-maze sequence, but it was almost like a tease that didn’t actually materialize into anything… at least not yet.
So yeah, still have a ways to go. Maybe that next mind-blowing moment is just around the corner. 🙂