Does this look fun?

The Witness puzzles its way onto the App Store

iOS Universal, PC/Mac •

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a pure puzzle game worth talking about land on the App Store. The Witness, Jonathan Blow‘s puzzle opus, almost fits. It’s definitely a puzzle game, but it’s also big, beautiful, and mysterious. It feels like there’s much more to do than just solving the maze-like puzzles, but when you get down to it, there really isn’t. It’s kind of weird, but I keep loading it up and exploring the world so there must be something there.

The Witness came to Steam nearly two years ago and became something of a mega hit for Thekla, despite being a bit polarizing. Fans of the genre absolutely loved it, whereas those who were drawn in by the beautiful landscapes and exploration of a desolate island tended to wonder if the line puzzles is all there is to see. In other words, don’t let the graphics and first-person perspective fool you, The Witness is a hardcore puzzle game and you’ll be solving puzzle after puzzle after puzzle after puzzle. (after puzzle…)

It’s out now for iOS Universal and it plays pretty great on both iPad and iPhone. Navigating the world is done via a series of gestures on the screen. Tap to move forward, tap with two fingers to stop, etc. It’s okay, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I kind of wish there was a virtual joystick instead. Regardless, I haven’t had issues exploring the lush first island, yet.

If you enjoy not just puzzles, but having to suss out exactly what you’re supposed to do to solve the puzzles, The Witness is going to be right up your alley. If you’re looking for a quick puzzle fix like Threes, look elsewhere. Kelsey should have a full review of The Witness up next week, so if you want to wait and see what a philosopher thinks before you buy (usually a smart move), you don’t have long to wait.

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Notable Replies

  1. js619 says:

    Picked this up late last night and played through the first area. Enjoying it so far - I was looking for a good puzzle game and the eye candy doesn’t hurt.

  2. I’ve been wanting to play this on my PS4 for quite some time. Glad I have access to it on mobile now; I’ll probably pick it up next time I have to drive across the country to visit the in-laws’ farm.

  3. univac says:

    I’ve played a bit of this game on my Mac. I love puzzle games so it has been right up my alley. But the control scheme makes me hesitant on making the leap to purchasing it for my iPad. There are a lot of puzzles that rely on perspective to solve them. By that I mean you have to be standing in a particular place and looking in a particular direction to figure out the puzzle. And the adjustments to view something at just the right angle could be finicky with a mouse and keyboard. The control scheme described by Neumann makes me afraid that it will be an incredibly frustrating experience that will make me want to throw my iPad across the room.

  4. Just a warning, the TA review has a massive spoiler in it. They have changed it, after I said something, but it hasn’t fixed the problem.

  5. js619 says:

    Good to know!

  6. Pitta says:

    Bought the game some hours ago.
    Couldn’t do anything else but playing, I’m really in love.
    Solved about 60 puzzles, activated something something…WOAH.
    I can’t put it down.
    Thanks God for iCloud sync because it really kills your battery.
    Puzzles are incredibly clever and I’m just in love with the visual and sounds, amazing.

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