Jan 17th, 2017

 

The Witness is the newest puzzle-heavy offering from Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid. It’s a compelling distraction for those who enjoy exploring rich environments while putting their brains to work, and now you can play it on the new NVIDIA SHIELD TV. Here are five things to look forward to as you work to unravel the mystery.

Beautiful Sights

The island you explore in The Witness is a virtual paradise, complete with cascading waterfalls, desert sand, alabaster cliffs, damp caverns, gorgeous forests, and attractive structures that perfectly meld old and new technologies. You’ll witness plenty of postcard-ready vistas, whether you’re standing at the top of a narrow rock trail, scaling a high hill, or even just wandering along canyons. The gorgeous world is anything but subtle, smacking you in the face with its visual appeal at nearly every turn.

Mysterious Happenings

As the game begins, the only thing you know is that you’re standing at one end of a long tunnel. When you emerge through the doorway, you arrive at an island that seems to be devoid of life. There are only the ambient sounds of nature as you explore paradise in suspended motion. Something happened here, you learn as you explore, but it’s hard to tell just what, even after you’ve devoted hours to your investigation. The clues are all there. You just have to look for them and piece them together. No narrator is on hand to do that work for you, and the absence of such a voice is part of what makes The Witness such a special experience.

 

A Puzzling Journey

Jonathan Blow was already known for his puzzles, even before The Witness arrived on the scene, and the new game has surely cemented that reputation. There are a variety of puzzle types, which grow familiar as you encounter them in various instances and their complexity gradually increases. You won’t find any instructions on how to solve anything, but the clues that can point you in the right direction lurk all around you. Everything is a potential resource, from the shadows to the color of panes of glass, so you can’t afford to overlook anything.

Coming to Life

As you solve the devious puzzles, the game rewards you in subtle ways. Cables stretch from one contraption to another, winding their way through the lush environment. Monitors turn from blank slates to new challenges. Electricity spreads, and the elevator that previously was unresponsive now carries you to higher floors. You may be just a bystander, but your role isn’t completely passive. It’s a thrill to see what happens next as the result of your efforts.

 

A Cohesive World

When you first step onto the island, you can’t possibly anticipate the experience that awaits. The Witness eases you into it all, offering a world that gently guides you through its features without insisting that you stick to a single well-worn path. As you wander the haunting paradise, you’ll come to appreciate not only the gorgeous scenery and the sense of mystery, but also the way that solving the puzzles reveals new layers of complexity. The more time you spend on the island, the more you’ll appreciate that nothing exists by accident. There’s a reason for it all, and you’ll come to relish discovering those reasons as you near the end of your journey.

Developers don’t make a lot of games quite like The Witness these days, and you owe it to yourself to experience the unique adventure now, if you haven’t already done so. The game is a perfect example of the sort of satisfying experiences that are possible on NVIDIA SHIELD TV. Go ahead: Download The Witness now on Google Play for $19.99, which is half the price of what the game costs on Steam.

 

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