Gaming: The Witness

As mentioned in my last Gaming blog post on Rise of the Tomb Raider, I decided to go for a “brain muscle training” game next, The Witness, a game full of maniac riddles, and no action, no shooting, no running, no jumping. Just solving puzzles.

You are dropped on an uninhabited island with panels that convey some riddles that are solved by tracing a line from the entrance (a round piece of the puzzle) to the exit (most of the time a bit protruding line). The simplest one is below on the left, and in the first stage one only needs to solve maze like riddles like the one on the right.

But soon the riddles add additional items, like colored fields that need to be separated. These new items are normally introduced through a series of riddles that by solving unveil their inner working. None of the rules is written down somewhere, each one has to be learned by solving riddles.

These riddle components are then combined to create more and more complicated ones. The rules are often not that clear an it takes lots of iteration to get a good grip on them.

In the later stages of the game I mostly turned on the game, copied a riddle to paper, and shut it down to solve it on paper, since some of these riddles take considerable time to solve!

The island is divided into 14 areas each of which has its own puzzles. These puzzles are usually connected with wires and solving all of them activates a laser pointing to the central mountain top.

Some parts of the island are only (maybe only initially only) accessible via boat, and the views from the boat ride are really nice.

The areas are somehow and explosion of colors and forms, the buildings are often overgrown by plants, wet lands full of flowers and deserts, everything can be found on this little island, next to each other.

These leaf colors are like straight from an Ishikawa tourist guide book 😉

The last steps of the game are entering into the mountain and solving another huge bunch of very nasty complicated puzzles, until one emerges to the final steps:

Overall a great game I enjoyed a whole let – mostly because I like brain gymnastics. The riddles are well prepared, the steps to learning the rules well thought out, I great piece of entertainment.

There are only two points where I had problems: One were the puzzles depending on colors, which due to my color weakness was a major hurdle.

The other problem was due to my restricted time to play: The game is great if you finish it in short time (my total play time was slightly above 20h). But if you do it like me, once in a while a bit, then again for weeks nothing, one (or at least me) tends to forget the rules of some of the puzzles, and has a hard time re-learning them.

In any case, a great and very recommendable game for those enjoying brain games.

2 Responses

  1. pollo says:

    If you like that kind of game, I highly recommend ‘Antichamber’:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antichamber

  2. Jonathan says:

    I keep meaning to pick this up for iPad, if it ever gets discounted I will. Thanks for the review!

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