Puzzle Agent 2 HD
Telltale's sequel is a real head scratcher, and not in a good way.
Along with Francis Yorke Morgan, Nelson Tethers is one of the only video gaming characters I'd invite for dinner, if only to exchange thoughts on where Twin Peaks went wrong during the second season.
But much like David Lynch's masterpiece, this is another second helping tinged with disappointment. Having delivered a puzzle adventure of rare fractured genius a year ago, this second helping does what so many Telltale offerings do, and offers essentially more of the same, only not quite as impressive.
Although the narrative retains its resolutely sinister sharpness and the lo-fi cartoon style still captivates, the freshness is lost through the recycling of characters and locations. But it's the game's challenges that provide the greatest source of disappointment.
If the puzzles aren't trying to probe into long-forgotten mathematical prowess, then they're probably tasking you with rearranging maze sections. Worse still, some of the game's least enjoyable ideas get recycled multiple times, as if their mediocrity wasn't enough the first time around.
When matters become so obscure that you're forced to resort to hints, it's definitely not a hallmark of good puzzle design that you may still be at a loss by the third (and final) hint.
And if you're looking to play the game on iPad 1, be warned that the game is appallingly optimised, with horrific slowdown, stuttering audio and a lack of responsiveness from certain sections of the game.
If you thought Telltale had learned its lessons from the Sam & Max Episode 1 debacle a year ago (where no further episodes were issued, so creaky was the conversion), then you're out of luck. iPad 2 owners have no such issues, but then again, this really isn't the sort of graphically intensive game that should stress original models.
Despite some truly awful sections to put up with, enough of the old magic remains to make it worth sticking with if you loved the original. The real puzzle is how Telltale let it out of the door in this state.
Used under license from Eurogamer.
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
What's Hot: Runs great on iPad 2, impressive presentation.
What's Not: Runs poorly on iPad 1, reused characters and locations, disappointing puzzles.