The original Puzzle Agent was a surprise to a lot of gamers who expected just another traditional Telltale adventure title. What we got was a unique mix of Professor Layton-style puzzles with clever writing and a rather intriguing story. However, many questions were left unanswered by the very end of the first game, leaving plenty of room open for a sequel.
Puzzle Agent 2 picks up shortly after the events of the first game and follows Nelson Tethers, the only member of the FBI’s puzzle division, returning to Scoggins, Minnesota. There, he continues the investigation of a string of missing persons reports that have been popping up ever since the events of the last game. Not only is the writing just as good as the original, but the story actually manages to be more involving this time around. I was very surprised with how deep the story got near the end of the game.
The gameplay is nearly identical to the first game, almost to a fault. As you go around the town of Scoggins, uncovering more of the mystery, you’ll run into a number of different puzzles that are the real meat of the experience. These puzzles are well-designed and usually quite challenging, really allowing you to stretch your brain. The hint system is back, giving you a chance to use three hints per puzzle if you’re really stumped. Just like the first, using hints or submitting wrong answers will lower your overall score on the puzzle. Unless you really care about getting a perfect score on all puzzles, these ratings don’t really affect anything in the long run, but it’s fun to try and go for all perfects.
The main problem with Puzzle Agent 2 is it’s more of the same. That might not be a bad thing, but you will see a fair number of puzzles that are just repeats from the first, which is a bit disappointing. Most of the puzzles are brand new though, but even those end up repeating two or three times before the end of the game. The puzzles are great regardless, but it’s a little disappointing when you find that a good chunk of them are rehashed from the original.
If you liked Puzzle Agent, you’ll like Puzzle Agent 2. The puzzles are a bit improved and the story takes some very interesting turns, but it is essentially the same game. But if you’re really ready for better crafted puzzles wrapped in a well-written package, then this is the game for you.
Pros: Well-crafted puzzles, interesting story
Cons: Basically a second episode, not a step up