Calling All Agents: Puzzling Events In Scoggins, MN


Telltale Games is gearing up for a puzzling adventure game that we saw demonstrated at the recent E3 show in Los Angeles. Puzzle Agent is a new property entirely; it's always refreshing to see companies bucking the sequel trend, but we hope that this will evolve into a series of adventures much like Telltale's other episodic releases, Sam and Max and Wallace and Gromit. Doing episodic isn't really the same as doing derivative sequels, it's more like a well-written play told in several chapters. Puzzle Agent may end up being a one-off, but since the main character is on his first case in the field, it would only make sense to send him off on future cases once this one is resolved.

Puzzle Agent uses the distinct animation style of Graham Annable (whose past animation credits include work with Chuck Jones, Nickelodeon, and Disney) to present abstract puzzles reminiscent of the Professor Layton games. The analogy isn't a perfect one, but there are some strong similarities between the popular DS franchise and Puzzle Agent. The idea of building small set pieces that feature puzzles you can uncover through exploring your surroundings is common between both games, as is the idea of storytelling derived from multiple conversations you'll have with the colorful townfolk of Scoggins, MN. The hero of Puzzle Agent is Nelson Tethers, a "stuck in the basement like Fox Mulder" government operative, who thinks best when chewing gum. Tethers travels to Scoggins, MN at the beginning of the game segment we previewed at E3. Scoggins was described to us as "Twin Peaks meets Fargo," a dismal and cold location with at least a few quirky characters.

Agent Tethers only navigated a little ways into Scoggins during our demo, but we had hints of several mysteries that have beset the town, some darker than others. Gnomes were involved. Navigating the town will mean bumping into some tricky puzzles, but Tethers' ability to scope out almost anything on a full stick of gum means you'll be collecting sticky pieces all about town. If the idea of masticating used gum gives you the willies, brace yourself, because Tethers grabs gum wherever he can find it. This subtle hint system hopefully speaks to all kinds of other small-but-thoughtful design elements tucked in throughout the game. The actual puzzle-count is TBA, but we heard there are enough to contribute to "several hours" of gameplay. You can clock it for yourself when Puzzle Agent hits a multitude of platforms soon. The game is in development for PC, Mac, WiiWare, iPhone, and iPad.

Puzzle Agent
Telltale Games