The Witness


Rating:



Lots of puzzles

Vast Island

Beautiful and interesting environment

Only one "puzzle-type"



Introduction

The Witness can be described with 3 words: "Beautiful", "Interesting" and "Repetitive". Each word takes up around 1/3 of your playtime. First you think "This place is beautiful", then "What an interesting puzzle" and, lastly, "Why is there another one of these?".


The whole game consists only of puzzles. No combat, no story, no platforms or jumping around, nothing. Only you, the nature, and the puzzles you find. Every Puzzle is solved by drawing a line from the starting point to the end. This can either be done in the Environment itself, or on the common "Puzzle Boards". These puzzle boards are split into their respective area by their type. Example: You learn the "Tetris" puzzle type in the 'swamp' area, but you learn the "Environmental" puzzle type right after the starting area. These types will be combined later and make up a really difficult ending for this game.



Gameplay

The Gameplay is pretty simple: Walk around until you find a puzzle and solve it. Rinse and repeat.
As already mentioned above: This game is a pure puzzle game. No Monsters, no Story. The only things you can do are: Look around, move around, think and solve puzzles. But: There are a LOT of puzzles on this Island. There are even hidden puzzles in the Environment. There are around 600 to 700 puzzles and secrets hidden in the game. The only problem: They are mostly the same. The only puzzle is "Draw a line from a circle to the end". This concept sounds promising at first, but gets kind-of boring near the end.



Environment

The Witness is probably the most beautiful game I have ever played. It is really bright and colorful while still being kind-of realistic. Caves are dark and have a spooky atmosphere. The Forest is really lively and has a lot of wind rustling in the background. The Witness runs smooth, even on my old laptop, and looks great, even though it doesn't have a lot of details. But this kind of "graphic style" is not just because of 'eye candy'. The developers made it look that minimalistic because the environment is a puzzle aswell. Every tree or every Cloud can be a 'Secret' if you look at it the right way. This makes the long walks between areas pretty interesting, because you have to look at your environment and identify puzzles instead of being bored and holding W+SHIFT.



The rythm of repetition

The only real downside of The Witness is it's diversity. There is not much story or other gameplay aspects, only puzzle solving. Some people may not like that, because it is kind of like "Sudoku": Repetitive without much behind it. The Witness has a lot of "puzzle types" like the Tetris, Environment and color puzzles, but they are all solved in the same way: Draw a line from the circle till the end. Some are difficult while others are really easy. The "endgame" is especially difficult, because they mix nearly every puzzle type into one puzzle, which makes nearly impossible to solve.



Summary

I would recommend the Witness, even if it is repetitive near the end. It has a weird feeling, and makes you want more after finally finishing it. I picked it up for around ~20€ and I'm not regretting anything. I finished the game within 20 hours, but i didn't even solve a third of all the puzzles in the game.