The Talos Principle is a first-person puzzle game that has you play as a robot tasked with solving complex puzzles in simulated worlds that have been brought to ruin. Learn more about the civilisations that came before you and progress by using your mind to look at puzzles in a way that you may never have before.
The Talos Principle contains ingenious puzzles that are required to be solved from a first-person perspective, making your way through mazes and retrieving the tetromino-like puzzle pieces at the end. With more than 120 puzzles to solve, as well as Road to Gehenna DLC, The Talos Principle: Definitive Edition packs in a heap of content and will have your brain teased for many hours.
As you proceed through the game, you’ll use different key objects and learn new abilities. These help to expand the puzzle variety and when puzzles begin to utilise many of them at once, the game showcases spectacular game design that will have you scratching your noodle a lot.
When in a hub world, entering puzzle levels is seamless and requires no loading screen whatsoever. This leaves a lasting effect that allows for each world to feel interconnected and less like a glorified menu select screen. The only downside is that when entering and exiting the hub worlds, there are very long load times, but you take the good with the bad.
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The HD Rumble is subtle but used effectively. The most notable moments are when you walk through a connected laser which if you block for too long, can cause it to deactivate. The subtle vibration through your palms is a great way to intuitively inform the player without being too intrusive.
Each level is unique in its own way and like any good puzzle game, you’ll come across more and more variety as you progress through it. Each level is thoroughly designed with every possible scenario accounted for, resulting in no accidental victories and consistent feeling of accomplishment.
As The Talos Principle can be played in a first-person perspective, I was pleased to see that the puzzle selection itself takes place in an overworld that is itself a puzzle. The tetromino pieces that you collect unlock new world pathways and items that offer more puzzles and allows you to proceed through the game. This makes the entire experience feel interconnected and provides a much more satisfying feeling of progression.
Rather than the game being centred on a plot, The Talos Principle focusses around the theme of isolation in simulated historic ruins. Therefore, the plot focusses more on a show but not tell presentation, allowing the player to question their surroundings.
As you explore hub and overworlds worlds, you’ll find audio logs and computer monitors that provide context to days since past. The audio logs also provide some incredibly thought-provoking quotes and I simply had to note some down.
Graphics / Art Direction
The Talos Principle is a beautiful and aesthetically calming game, however it certainly takes a hit on the Nintendo Switch. Seeing comparisons between other versions and the Switch’s makes me long for a Nintendo Switch Pro as I wish players didn’t have to sacrifice graphics for performance or vice versa.
However with all that being said, the game still has a picturesque presentation that continued to have me marvelling at some of its vistas. The downgrade to its visual fidelity never hindered my experience and it certainly is a very commendable port.
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack primarily consists of calming tones and soft melodies that aims to match its atmospheric aesthetic. It accomplishes what it sets out to do, complimenting its picturesque setting.
It may be a small detail, but the general sound effects are pleasant and calming, almost like an ASMR video. The best part of it all are the footsteps, hearing the gravel beneath your feet which becomes very engaging when playing in first-person.
Final Score: 90%
The Talos Principle: Definitive Edition is an ingenious masterpiece that simply must be played by any puzzle game enthusiast. Its atmospherical presentation of simulated historical ruins is spectacular, despite its unfortunate visual sacrifices for the game to run efficiently on the Nintendo Switch.
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