A-Z Challenge: Puzzle Agent 2

When I got a hold of Puzzle Agent 2 as part of a Steam sale, I was pretty excited.  The first game was a nice treat… while it was a bit on the short side, the story was quite interesting, and the puzzles were mostly challenging and fun.  It also ended on quite the cliffhanger, leaving me guessing as to what exactly was going on.  For a game I got in a bundle that I had little interest in, it really grabbed my attention.  So, after getting the sequel, I had some pretty high hopes for Agent Tether’s second puzzle filled trip to Scoggins.

…And I’ll be damned if they weren’t thoroughly dashed.

Everything started kind of rocky–After one simple and another overly obscure puzzle, everyone’s favorite agent returns to Scoggins to figure out what exactly is going on.  After the event of the first game, I don’t blame him… the last he (and the player) sees, some supposed garden gnomes kidnap the man he was trying to find the whole time.  However, everything in terms of the story goes quickly downhill.  The garden gnomes are actually aliens, and little that comes with that revelation makes any sense.  It’s really a shame, too… with a slightly better presentation, or more coherent writing, the story would have come off a lot better.  I understand that everything is supposed to be mysterious and off, but there’s a limit.

To make matters worse, you’ll be spending more of your brain power wrapped around the awkward story than you will on the puzzles themselves.  Simply put, they’re too easy.  I’m far from a puzzle freak, but I’m able to solve most of the puzzles easily, the few that I couldn’t not because they were hard, but because the instructions were too vague.  Not only that, but many of the puzzles repeated themselves… a problem that was somewhat apparent in the first, but was forgivable because the puzzles slowly got harder and harder.  However, this time there’s no scale to the challenge, and solving the same five puzzles over and over is far from fun.

Is Puzzle Agent 2 terrible?  Not really, but it’s not as great as those that played the first will be hoping for.  Then again, it’s not recommended that you play the second one without playing the first one first; if you jump right into the second, you’ll be lost as to what’s going on.  In the end, I don’t suppose it’s terrible… it’s just disappointing.


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