What do you think of this?
This actually really pissed me off. I haven’t finished the game yet, I’m on the final area, and I’ve taken far less time than he has. I did all the work in my head with no accompanying notes and almost no hints. throughout the video he attempts solutions that I can tell are wrong, probably selected on purpose to convey his dissatisfaction with the game.
The thing I disliked about Braid was that the puzzles were too easy, and when they were tricky to figure out, it was because they relied on an interaction of the mechanics that was difficult to extrapolate from the earlier puzzles. I have a similar issue with Portal’s puzzles where the thing is playtested so hard that all the corners are carefully sanded down to prevent people from getting stuck.
The Witness was a big step up from Braid in my mind as a puzzle game because it introduces base concepts, then expects you to solve for them in a larger problem set, where the possibility space is big enough to make brute force prohibitively expensive.
Then it combines concepts, like two per area, areas needing to be a certain shape and excluding colors, plus connecting circuits and correcting 1 mistake, and because you know all the simpler rules you can figure out the trick to making this one whole puzzle work. Then there’s a bunch of observational puzzles and it’s like, yeah I can look at the environment or make this thing line up in perspective, give me a real one.
Part of what pisses me off is the way he criticizes it for not having more mechanics relating to the manipulation of simulated space. I thought it was an oddity frankly that jon blow decided to make an island at all, but frankly it’s neat to have nonlinear connections between areas and puzzles. I just wish sprint was faster and you could fall off more cliffs and the like.
Blow is trying to do something really elementary here with game design, with using basic abstract symbols for game rules. He managed to create a ruleset with these simple things that has a massive combinational complexity, then he leveraged it to make a massive fucking number of pretty good and difficult puzzles that almost always have good simple demonstrations of the base mechanics.
SBH whining that he’s not making use of the medium is ignorant, especially given portal 2 removed all the realtime execution components, and could probably be formatted to be solved like a crossword puzzle too. There’s no other game on paper, or otherwise, with rules like this, to my knowledge, and it being digital allows the system to check your answer against the correct one without revealing it to you in the process. Not to mention it allows multiple correct answers when applicable.
Demanding there at least be some sort of narrative thing to justify it is like the ultimate insult here. If you don’t like the game for what the game is, you don’t need this additional narrative thing to try to justify its existence to you, give up! Go back to puzzle games made specifically to coax you through any point you might get stuck or need to think.