Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent

I love Telltale Games. I love the fact that in a market full of fast-paced and competitive games, they’re still bringing out games from the older point and click adventure genre. Laugh at me if you want, but point and click adventure games are still the ‘bomb’ to me. What I don’t like about Telltale is the fact that they release their games in episodes (ARGH!!). But they do such an awesome job on their franchises like Monkey Island and Sam & Max that I can’t really complain. Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent is first game of Telltale’s new and original pilot project – if this one goes well there’ll be a next one.

Basically in Puzzle Agent, you are Nelson Tethers, an FBI agent in the much underused Department of Puzzle Investigation. Tethers sits at his desk all day long solving crosswords to pass the time and hardly ever goes onto the field. However one day he gets a call and receives his first field assignment – the White House is missing it’s erasers. OH NO, WHAT WILL WE DO?!

Well actually, the factory that produces the erasers had suddenly stopped producing them and when people try to get in contact with the factory, all they are met with are puzzles, so it’s Nelson Tethers to the rescue – he’ll bring our precious erasers back!

Puzzle Agent is avaliable on PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad – I can only guess what you guys think it looks like, if it can work on those platforms; if you’re thinking ‘Hmm, it probably isn’t very graphic intensive’, then yes you’re right. This game was made by Telltale in collaboration with the creator of Grickle, Graham Annable. The style is 2D and very distinctive and simplistic, but emotive – you can pretty much tell what characters are like by the way they’re drawn. The animation is choppy, but it matches the cartoony style of the game. I know some people have problems with it, but I don’t think it’s bad, it’s just different and it fits this game’s style, so I don’t really mind it. The dialogue is voice acted with text in speech bubbles.

Onto actual gameplay,¬† it’s nothing new and innovative. If you’ve played the Professor Layton games on DS, which Puzzle Agent is inspired by, you know the gameplay style. Basically you advance the story by solving whatever brain teaser, riddle, or puzzle the game throws at you. From beginning to end, the puzzles range from stupidly easy to difficult, but not too difficult. If you’re struggling (or at some points like me, lazy) you can use a hint for the solution, but it takes up one piece of gum – which basically accounts for how many times you can use a hint throughout the game. Clearly chewing gum helps Nelson Tethers think better – I don’t think it’d work for me though!

Once you reach the correct solution to the puzzle, you’re given a ranking based on hints you used and how many wrong answers you took to get to the right one. Since the difficulty of the puzzles increase as they go along, you might not get 10/10 ranking all the way through the game and that just annoys me, but I’m a bit of an perfectionist initially when it comes to games that give you rankings.

Overall, Puzzle Agent is an average game. I wasn’t a fan of the Professor Layton games, I thought they were okay too, but not great and in terms of gameplay I think Puzzle Agent is pretty much a carbon copy of them. Points for stylistic art and hilarious story (oh gawd, DEMOCRACY CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT¬† IT’S ERASERS!!). You pretty much get what you pay for with Puzzle Agent – and since it was planned to be episodic like all the other Telltale games, the story is technically not finished either. It has an end, but it’s just not 100% done, which might tick some people off. I say give Puzzle Agent a go if you like the Professor Layton games or puzzles, otherwise this game might not be for you.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

About the Author

I'm just your regular gamer! Currently working in the game industry as an artist. I love all manner of things cute, colourful and crazy. I also love lemons quite a lot. c: