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Review: Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent
by Jacques Hulme

I'm glad to see Telltale are still hard at work on getting some of the most interesting and creative ideas out and about. Their latest, Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, follows the FBI's Puzzle Research Division director and only employee, Nelson Tethers. Receiving a call from none other than the president himself, Tethers is ordered to sort out puzzle-y goings on in the small and intensely creepy town of Scoggins.

If you've ever had the chance to play any of the Professor Layton series, you'll recognize many similarities in the puzzles. You move around a scene in search of answers, and most of the interactive elements have a pop-up puzzle to solve, ranging from directing your snowmobile by placing fallen logs to dictate direction, to untangling a rubber band from innards. However, the large variety became a bit tiresome. Perhaps it's just not my thing, but I think I prefer to combine items in wacky ways. To me, the puzzle elements felt a little... childish.

Puzzle Agent has an interesting art style. Although the snowy landscape of Scoggins doesn't create a huge pallet, the hand drawn, almost crayon-like scenes have an art style which I really enjoyed. Mixed with an extremely creepy narrative, this gives Puzzle Agent a truly distinctive feel. Perhaps what helps the story the most is the lack of population in the town: it really feels as you're the only sane one within a mile of Scoggins, and the creepy gnomes only enforce this feeling.

If a sociopath bunny and a noir-style dog are your thing, then you may not see the joy of Puzzle Agent at first glance. You may miss how the strangely addictive storyline - combined with the wonderfully odd graphics - pull you in; and how, after playing through the game, you'll be left with a feeling of "Hmm.... was that a dream?"

And that's the thing: although the puzzle elements can be a little basic and it may not be up to the quality level of many adventure titles we are all familiar with, it does have certain appeal. It has a strange collection of elements, that brought together create a dreamlike adventure.

7/10 [?]

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- Jacques Hulme

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