Something New – The Witness

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This week I’m once again doing the current free game from the Epic Games Store, so if you like the way it looks, you can get it for free until 4/18/19.

Much like the last game, Oxenfree, this one is very much puzzle solving without any combat. In fact, it doesn’t appear to have a narrative, at least not an obvious one that I’ve encountered.

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The gameplay is almost exclusively exploration and puzzles like this one. You start from on of the big round circles, as there are sometimes more than one to choose from, and reach the little rounded end point. This is a really simple on from near the beginning of the game.

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This is a much more complicated one that I found near the beginning as well. I had no idea what any of these additional things meant and that’s not uncommon. I have come across a variety of different mechanics, some more obvious than others. There have been many occasions where I couldn’t figure out what the mechanic was, and simply decided to go wander around some more in hopes that I would eventually find one of the “training puzzle” areas that let me learn how they work.

teaching puzzle

This is an early puzzle from the training puzzle for what I’ve been calling the “racist” mechanic. I called it that because I’ve been reading some MLK Jr and the mechanic requires you to draw lines that keep the black and white boxes separate from each other. About the time I stopped I was working on a complicated puzzle using this mechanic, but with four different colors. I pretty much quit doing that and started writing the post out of frustration.

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I have managed to complete a couple of “areas” which typically unlock one of these laser things. No idea what exactly they do, but I’m assuming there’s one in each “biome” for lack of a better word. Each of these areas typically has a very distinct visual theme and usually at least unique mechanic that may or may not include a variety of others to complicate it. Not all of them are visual either, as I’ve encountered some logic and audio puzzles as well.

Audio is an interesting component, because you typically only have ambient noise. This makes the odd discovery of an audio log really strange, as the narration present in it feels surreal in such a quiet and calm environment. In my experience these logs are quotes from literature and well known people. The first one I found was quoting Einstein.

the hill

I’ve managed to unlock two of those laser things, and they both point at this structure on a hilltop. I’ve actually been over to the hill, but have no idea how to reach the top of it. Honestly the whole thing has a weird technological vibe to it that’s contrasted by the wealth of nature that surrounds it.

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The visual style of the game is an interesting point too. It’s simple but extremely colorful and vibrant. A lot of attention was paid to how the game looks, as well as each area. Sprinkled among the landscape are signs of humanity, often worn or destroyed by time and/or nature, but not always.

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Indeed, the most striking thing about this game is the sheer beauty of it. Just wandering and poking around the landscape is interesting in and of itself. Each area works well enough thematically that even areas such a rusty old wrecked ship or a castle with a history of siege and later habitation are fun to look around.

autumn gate.png

In fact, I made myself stop taking pictures of most of the landscape. I wanted to capture a few that display the game well without revealing to awful much.

I don’t know how often I’ll be back to this game, though. As much as I like wandering around looking at it, I’ve reached a point where some of the puzzles are outright frustrating, and in some ways reduced to ignoring mechanics and trying to brute forcing every combination until I find the right one. Yeah, I could look up some of the solutions, but in doing so feel like I’ve missed the point.

Y’all take care, I gotta go cook lunch.

One thought on “Something New – The Witness

  1. My suggestion is to look up the rules/hints for the puzzles that are stumping you, rather than the solutions. I got stuck in parts too – memorably a tree top area and some warehouse shack puzzles were completely non-obvious to me.

    Let’s just say it’s worth pushing through to the point of getting to that hilltop structure.

    Liked by 1 person

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