“Intricately inter-woven puzzles,” says the headline for The Witness on the Editor’s choice of the iOS App Store. After the commercial success of Braid, Jonathan Blow was able to hire a large team without ceding control over the product. He spearheaded the project, being the Director, Producer, and Designer. He also shared the responsibility of writing and programming the game, which is just brimming with secrets. Its multi-layered, interconnected patterns will result in you seeing mazes everywhere you look. The Witness will hook you in with its sound and magnificent graphic design, and then compel you to play with its ability to invoke curiosity and give purpose to the journey.
Story: The Witness is a first-person adventure game which follows the player, an unnamed character, as they explore an island with several structures and natural areas. The island is divided into eleven regions around the mountain. The objective of the game is to shine light on the top of the mountain. The regions are differentiated from one another with unique themes, and puzzles within each region are similar to one another. The player must solve the relevant puzzles to complete the game.
Play Style: A sense of wonder and mystery is brought by solving maze puzzles at terminals that are distributed throughout the island. They are deceptively easy-looking but the labyrinths quickly become more complex as rules and structure are added in. Even though one might think that roaming around is redundant, the time spent actually helps you clear your head for further challenges. The game allows you to walk away from problems you think you are not equipped to solve and come back to them when you have come upon a solution. The gameplay is intelligently designed and you can see the effort put into it as it not only gives you the freedom to form your own path, but compels you to complete the designated story as it is laid down.
Audience: The Witness is the epitome of indie puzzle games and gamers who love mazes and solving riddles will love this game not only for its content, but for how it allows the player freedom but still makes the adventure enjoyably challenging. The challenges are tough yet fulfilling, so if you are looking for a brain-teaser The Witness will make you pull your hair out with a wicked smile on your face. It is a long game, with even 60-70 hours of play not enough to complete each and every puzzle, but it is enough to achieve the main objective and will leave you satisfied on completing your goal.
Platforms: The Witness is available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nvidia Shield, macOS, and iOS.
Verdict: With exciting, meaningful visuals and a clever layout of the island, nothing seems to be out of place in the world of The Witness. Every corner has its purpose, adding to the enthralling amount of mystery it has to offer. The game will beckon you to play again so that you may be able to complete the puzzles you could not solve before. Mind-blowing revelations await you if you pick up The Witness, whether you play it once or more.