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The Witness

PS4 Video Games Windows XBOX
8.7

Great

Game Reviews from around the web

100

An intensely satisfying and stupendously intelligent puzzle game that’s incredibly well crafted, making it a very early, yet solid, Game of the Year contender. [Issue#267, p.62]

Play UK

100

The Witness gathers an incredible amount of puzzles scattered in an open world that many times surpasses the boundaries of the video game. Even though it’s not as climatic as its predecessor, it respects the player as an intelligent being.

100

If the combination of a photo realistic world showered in clay isn’t enough to persuade you to take a leap of mental faith, The Witness offers so much more than gorgeous visuals. Its puzzles and mysteries are so thoroughly thought through, and its open world so deep and intricate, that I cannot do anything but warmly recommend the game to all curious, adventure-seeking gamers out there.

100

The Witness is a game that feels impossible for me to sum up as there are still an overwhelming number of secrets for me to discover. At present, all I can tell you is that I’ve found it to be daunting, confounding, maddening, and beautiful– altogether, in that order.

100

You will struggle, you will curse, you will encounter liars saying they did things ‘easily’, and you will achieve redemption through completion… eventually.

100

The game’s true achievement though is in how it teaches the player its intricacies, with minimal intrusion and subtle hints, allowing for a great feeling of accomplishment when everything clicks into place.

100

The depth of organic interaction, witnessing the world melt seamlessly into itself, makes for a near perfect experience. The Witness is a constant idea just within reach and then, once you grasp it, a new perspective altogether. It won’t be quick nor easy to solve, but you can’t help but be enraptured by its beauty through every frustration and moment of clarity.

100

When I step back and think about The Witness, it is a game that challenged me more than any has before. No matter what though, the challenges were always worth pushing through to find a solution because of the rewards that were hidden behind them. There will be a group of people who love this game for how rewarding it is, and at the same time, there will be a group that loathes it for how frustrating it is. All I know is I fell in the group of the former.

100

Some fans of Blow’s earlier work seem to have been hoping that the mazes they saw in the trailers are just a veneer for a deeper, mind-blowing experience, but really the world and whatever narrative you can find in it are dressing for an incredibly impressive collection of puzzles. Whether or not you find a deeper meaning at the end, the journey will have been worth it. After all, only those who actually enjoy solving the puzzles will make it that far, and even after 41 hours and 358 solved puzzles I’m eager to go back for more.

100

It’s pretty much the best puzzle game ever created.

100

The intricate puzzles and tantalizing secrets of this starkly gorgeous, mystical island are enough to lose yourself in for dozens of hours.

100

The Witness is a game that will genuinely have you punching the air or laughing out loud, just from correctly drawing a line on a grid. If that isn’t the mark of a truly special game, I don’t know what is.

100

Although I really liked Blow’s previous game, I just loved this. I became so absorbed in it, and its beauty complements the way it challenges my mind. I like how simply it begins and how complicated it is at the end but that there’s a logical line from those two points. There’s just a lot contained within, and I’m still finding more. I want that for others, too.

100

The Witness is not only a masterpiece of game design, but one that truly inspires and amazes, without relying on traditional tutorials or restrictive hand-holding. It’s one of the few games that truly respects the intelligence of those playing, rather than guiding them through each and every step.

100

What truly makes The Witness everything that it is lies somewhere between the fundamentals of the puzzles and the deeply philosophical of everything else. These two work in tandem, complementing each other even when they seem worlds apart. There are so many layers of separation between the two that it’s almost impossible to perceive or even conceive. But, they’re there, working hand-in-hand and, on some level, one in the same. You’d be hard-pressed to declare that one of these components is closer to defining The Witness than the other.

100

For the most part, its themes weave themselves beautifully throughout the gorgeous world and wide variety of puzzles, but even when it breaks subtlety in favor of a more heavy-handed approach to exposition, it never detracts from the truly fulfilling moments The Witness offers in terms of solving its physical puzzles and unlocking its deepest mysteries.

100

I’m so caught up inside the world of The Witness that it’s hard to think about anything else. It is one of the best games I’ve ever encountered.

99

You’ll get frustrated, I can guarantee it – but that’s the point. It doesn’t offer tutorials, because the game is confident in your ability to prevail. It’s a treatise on our ability to develop and grow, as we attempt to make sense of the unknown.

95

The Witness is a masterpiece of game design and an early contender for one of the best titles of the year.

95

The Witness is an outstanding game, one that slowly reveals its brilliance and assumes the players intelligence rather than guides it. It is an absolute must play for puzzle fans.

95

I don’t think The Witness is a contender of the best game ever, but I do think it’s one of the best puzzle games out there. It does everything a puzzle game should do and does it well. I would like to see a bit more opportunities to interact with objects in the world, but I completely understand why that wasn’t part of the “deliberate” design architecture. Quite simply, The Witness has been one of the best experiences in gaming I’ve had in a long time, probably in about 7 years.

95

Beautiful and intelligent. The Witness is exactly what we expect from a next-gen puzzle videogame.

95

A masterpiece. The Witness is an amazing and clever experience, rich in details and love. The game design is simply elegant and the atmosphere is out of this world.

94

Hard, frustrating and beautiful. A game that will make you think and wonder why it feels so good to solve a puzzle. You’ll hate and, at the same time, love The Witness. Brilliant.

94

The Witness is a game you should play without knowing anything about it. It will make you feel dumb, it will make you fell smart. The Witness is unique, a modern classic you cannot miss.

94

The Witness is large, beautiful, and exquisitely-crafted. It strikes an incredible balance of difficulty.

GameTrailers

93

The opaque world might be disappointing for some players, but The Witness is about a different kind of discovery. It steers your mind in unconventional directions, and makes you feel clever as you build on your knowledge and uncover new layers about the game’s language and logic. Even when I wasn’t playing it, I was thinking about puzzles that had me stumped. Some puzzles are tough, but all of them are fair, and the fun of solving them is only topped by seeing what awaits you on the next series of monitors.

92

The Witness is an excellent puzzle game, featuring many complex yet fair puzzles, a great atmosphere, an interesting narrative method and a lot of content. With no hand-holding whatsoever, The Witness certainly is not a game for everyone, but those who are up to the challenge will feel enriched once they solve most of the puzzles included in the game.

92

This new masterpiece from Jonathan Blow, author of Braid, is a brilliant manifesto for consistency in game design, and for creating new ways to communicate with the player. It can estrange and bemuse, but it’s an experience that anyone should live.

92

Sometimes, we think that there are no new ideas in video games. So Jonathan Blow comes in and blows hard. The Witness is fresh air in the classic puzzles and mazes. This title draws a quiet and reflective journey, in a beautiful and mysterious island. That’s just what we wanted to we perceive ourselves intelligent.

92

A unique game that’s only recommended to those who are not afraid of finding answers for themselves. Hard, long and different from any other game out there.

91

The Witness is an astounding demonstration of how ingenous a ‘simple’ puzzle game can truly be. Game design in its purest and most ingenious form. [jan. 2016 / page 063]

Power Unlimited

90

A best-in-class puzzler that in no way caters to the lowest common denominator. Punishingly difficult. Extremely rewarding. [April 2016, p68]

Playstation Official Magazine Australia

90

With a meticulously designed world and the elaborate puzzles that reside within it, The Witness is a game you won’t want to miss.

90

An exceptionally beautiful, insanely clever puzzle game that demands only the best from its players. If Mensa did holiday getaways, they’d look something like this. [March 2016, p.83]

Playstation Official Magazine UK

90

The Witness conjures magic from the simplest of components, rustling up a sensational array of experiences without ever deviating from its core conceit. [March 2016, p.106]

Edge Magazine

90

If you have the patience, the perseverance and the inquisitiveness, then, The Witness can be hugely rewarding.

90

The Witness is a beacon of light in the puzzle/platformer genre. It separates itself form the crowd with a unique look and feel, and a no mercy difficulty.

90

Jonathan Blow returns after eight years to deliver us another masterpiece. On the surface, The Witness is a demanding but fair puzzle game with great longevity and beautiful scenery. Look a bit deeper though and you’ll find an almost subliminal philosophical aspect in a way that only the medium of games could deliver.

90

One of the most cohesive and intricate releases you can find, but not for the faint of heart.

90

Jon Blow and Thekla have really created something special here, and while it has been a very long wait (I hope that the next one doesn’t take eight years to complete…), the long development time has been used to good effect.

90

The Witness is an expansive and wickedly smart follow-up to Braid, with puzzles to test even the brightest minds. Its mental gymnastics are well worth the occasional frustration, and you’ll come out feeling like a genius.

90

If you have any interest in logic puzzles and want to explore a pretty interesting world, the Witness is a must own.

90

We’ve been waiting for it for a long time, but The Witness is ultimately worth it. The puzzles offer a lot of challenge and the wonderfully-realized, yet mysterious world is a lot of fun to hang out in. If you’re into the genre, you shouldn’t hesitate.

90

The game allows players to learn and wonder at all the symbolism at their own pace, to draw their own conclusions.

90

The Witness is a gorgeous, colorful puzzle adventure that will offer tens of hours of gameplay. The natural way of introducing new puzzle elements is perfect and as you are free to discover this island full of puzzles, it does not feel repetitive at all.

90

The Witness is an intelligent, expertly crafted puzzle game with ceaselessly satisfying gameplay. It becomes bafflingly complex, yet the free-roaming nature of the island means that you’ll never be stuck for long. In addition, the way in which it communicates new elements is nothing short of masterful. All in all, Jonathan Blow’s latest is an enormous triumph.

90

The Witness is a brilliant, hard, and righteous game. Every pixel of the game will catch you and guide you through different puzzles while telling you a story. It’s not perfect, the price is high and it’ll be a nightmare for some players, but it’s close to perfection.

90

As a follow up to Braid (released in 2008), Jonathan Blow offers The Witness in which he continues his quest to challenge our brains with absolutely brilliant puzzles. This time though, he does it using the exploration of and island that is both mysterious and amazing, all the while taking us with him on a broad reflection about our perception of the world and our own existence. And he did all that with the panache that we’ve come to expect from him.

90

An amazingly intense and brilliant experience. The sheer intelligence of the puzzles created by Blow and his team is staggering, and the beauty of the island impressive by itself. For puzzle game fans The Witness is a masterpiece: a perfectly logical game, but also one that is not scared to be hard, and for once does not treat the player like an idiot. Just play it, it’s worth every penny.

90

Poetic, deeply ingenious and artistically inspired, The Witness shows all the passion and talent of the brilliant game designer Jonathan Blow, able to make a “simple” puzzle-adventure into an engaging and exciting experience.

90

It’s a brilliant, beautiful, masterfully crafted work, and the more you discover, the more apparent it is.

90

The Witness is one of the most challenging games I’ve ever played. During my playthrough, I experienced confusion, uncertainty, and mental exhaustion as I tried to understand this game’s intricacies. At times, I considered giving up. The Witness makes few attempts at handholding, opting instead to convey its mechanics in subtle, cryptic ways as you struggle to make sense of it all.

87

The Witness is a beautiful game that invites the player to explore its island, to live in in it, to look for the challenging puzzles that will allow us to discover this island. Without doubt, it’s one of the best indie games of 2016.

85

Built immensely smartly, the puzzle elements are both captivating and creepily addictive.

85

For all of the precise, rigid design of The Witness, playing in its world remains a human endeavor—one where the rocks aren’t always as solid as they look.

85

The promise of an island full of challenging puzzles makes the Witness feel a bit inauthentic. That is not a problem, as this world is created to make the player feel proud. Always keep learning is the slogan for this game because if you are not willing to understand the puzzle methods, you will not enjoy this game very much.

85

I wish it wasn’t quite as minimalistic and subtle as it is but that’s a minor complaint. At the very least, you will be treated to one of the more challenging and satisfying experiences of the generation. And yeah, it’s a lot different than the satisfaction you get in nailing down an awesome KDR.

85

It’s a simple and ingenious open world puzzle game with great art design. It’s both fascinating and challenging.

85

The Witness is the rare game that boils down to a question of faith. No video, screenshot, or review can really explain why it’s such a worthwhile use of your time without spoiling the experience, so you’ll have to trust me when I tell you it’s worth every second—provided you have a bit of patience and are up for an intellectual challenge.

85

The Witness might be an unforgiving experience, but also an unforgettable one. It’s pure gameplay, and pure puzzle solving. Hermetic, sometimes even elusive, it won’t please those interested in good storytelling, but will absolutely capture every puzzle solving fanatic out there, and will do so with its magnetic setting and clockwork gameplay.

83

The Witness is one of the most elegant puzzlers around. It’ll make you think, it’ll make you laugh, and it’ll make you yell. Above all else, though, it’ll take you on one memorable journey that will stay with you for a long time.

80

The sound from completing a panel is extremely satisfying, and I’ve followed it with a victory dance more times than I’d like to admit.

80

The Witness is not a game you want to rush through. The tempo is, at least compared to most games today, really slow0paced and you will frequently get stuck. But as soon as you start to understand the structure, one of the smartest designed worlds ever starts to unfold. It perhaps isn’t for everyone, but for those who take the time, it will be one of the strongest experiences of the year.

80

The Witness offers challenging, if somewhat repetitive puzzles in a world soaked with unique artistic style. If you like maze puzzles, have the patience of a Shaolin monk and are interested in an experience that can only be described as challenging, repetitive and yet meditative – this game is for you.

80

The Witness is one of the best puzzle games we’ve seen in years thanks to its amazing artistic direction and the particular atmosphere in the game.

80

The Witness is the essence of Jonathan Blow’s work. A difficult, challenging and at times frustrating puzzle game which carries the player on a deserted and mysterious island for an extremely fascinating experience.

80

The Witness is a beautiful, brain-tickling, “puzzle-adventure,” that will manage to both frustrate and awe you at the same time.

80

The Witness is a game that can easily cause players to eclipse the one hundred hour mark and the vast majority of that time is going to be spent engaging with hundreds of brilliantly designed puzzles. While it won’t have the industry-shifting impact that Braid did in 2008, The Witness will influence video game puzzle design for years to come.

79

The Witness is a challenging puzzle experience. It is less adventure but more intensive puzzle marathon with creative tasks sometimes connected over multiple tiers. Compared to Portal or The Talos Principle The Witness lacks a coherent combination of puzzle solving and story-telling, though.

75

Perhaps, then, the most confounding thing about The Witness is that it seems to need something it doesn’t have, but actually needs less of what it does.

70

To truly succeed, a puzzle game needs to be innovative, like Portal or Antichamber. Unfortunately The Witness lacks that quality. [03/2016, p.54]

CD-Action

70

I found the experience about as thrilling as a sudoku book.

70

A colossal achievement in puzzle gaming, with a very cleverly conceived setting and story, but the lack of variety and reward becomes stifling.

70

Games don’t have to be fun. They can have more value than that. And I’m not saying The Witness can’t be fun, but it’s just as often frustrating.

65

The Witness, at the end of the day, revolves around one’s ability to interpret and solve complex puzzles. The island is gorgeous and memorable while the gameplay itself is as smooth as silk, but there’s no way around the constant need to solve the next puzzle. It is the ultimate stonewalling challenge rewarded only by rare success.

60

Unique, divisive, and fiendishly clever, there are bound to be those who love it and those who absolutely hate it. Then there are those, like myself, who fall somewhere in between, able to appreciate Thekla’s achievements but frustrated at how The Witness continues to build a wall around itself, as if guarding a secret from its players.

60

Too often while playing The Witness, I realized that there were a lot of other things I’d rather be doing than playing The Witness. I respect it; I admire it. I just didn’t enjoy it all that much.

60

As brilliant as it is infuriating, The Witness’ ingenious puzzles all too easily have their shine worn away by length and a constantly extending complexity.

50

You’ll either love or hate The Witness as it will either make you feel smart or stupid. If you don’t love puzzles and deep philosophical thoughts, perhaps avoid this one.

40

It’s a careful, intricate, and skillful creation that no one can accuse of being too short. But as a game that does nothing other than teach you how to play, it is perhaps the most meaningless game I’ve ever played. Considering the games I’ve played, that’s saying a lot.

40

It’s easy to fall in love with The Witness, and even easier to have your heart broken by the callous indifference of Jonathan Blow’s beautiful island. A healthy challenge is good for any game, but the puzzles on display here offer few inroads to understanding for those who can’t think exactly like their creator.

Game Reviews from around the web

Frankly, I think I might hate The Witness. Even after hours of playtime, I don’t know enough to tell.

Summary

The Witness is a challenging puzzle experience. It is less adventure but more intensive puzzle marathon with creative tasks sometimes connected over multiple tiers. Compared to Portal or The Talos Principle The Witness lacks a coherent combination of puzzle solving and story-telling.
8.7

Great

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