The Witness immerses you into a world where you don’t know the rules or how things work. It throws you into unknown paths and puzzles, with virtually no narrative other than ‘this is where you are now, go explore.’ On the surface, this game is about exploration, discovery, and solving hundreds of puzzles. In reality, the game becomes a transcending experience, with multiple layers of complexity and awe-inspiring realizations. This has been one of my favorite games of this year, but it is hard to go too much into the details, since the game relies so much on discovery. By explaining the specifics, I would be spoiling the best parts of the game.
Spoiler free, this game revolves around the idea of perspective and has hundreds of line-based puzzles for you to complete. The puzzles come with varying difficulty and rules, and a huge part of the gameplay is learning how to solve the different puzzles. All of the answers are there, and you can complete them in any order you want. There will definitely be points you reach where you find a puzzle with a rule you haven’t learned yet, and so you can walk away and go in any direction to either figure out how to solve it or start something new. I found myself walking away from a lot of puzzles, both in game and IRL. The difficulty level can become overwhelming at times, and you WILL get really frustrated while playing this game. When I found a puzzle that started to break me down, I would stop playing for a little while and come back to it – I would usually solve it pretty quickly after that. The struggle is very real in this game, but the payoff eclipses every rage-filled moment.
I find myself sitting here, finding it really hard to continue to write this review – not for lack of content or things to say – but because my favorite thing about this game were the \’OH MY GOD\’ moments. How can I explain how much I loved this game, how many mind blowing moments I have without ruining that exact moment for you? Every inch of this world is calculated and has purpose, and as you are playing different realizations will come in waves. “Oh my god, THAT’S how you do this,” or, “HOLY SHIT, that was there ALL THIS TIME?” This game is more about the experience you go through playing it than the content of the puzzles, it transcends the screen. I found myself grabbing pen and paper to try to hash out some of the solutions to puzzles. This game will challenge your mind and require your patience, but this game is phenomenal if you give it a chance. The Witness is such a refreshing take on how you experience a game, and the satisfying feeling of learning and solving something you didn’t know before is felt on multiple levels. They do an extremely good job of letting you realize things on your own, and in no way does this game feed you content or hold your hand. You\’re all on your own, which makes every success that much sweeter.
The visuals are gorgeous, the world is immersive, the content mind bending. The Witness is not a game to miss out on, and it gives you an experience you didn’t know you were hungry for. If you can make it through not knowing how things work and its unconventional storytelling, you will be supremely rewarded.