I’ll just come right out and say it; my favorite video game genre is puzzle games. You can throw in a little survival horror around the puzzles, have me line up tetriminoes to void lines, or give me a portal gun to get through a test and I will be all about it. Logic problems are integrated into most games, but the truly great ones, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, stimulate that part of my brain that keeps me coming back over and over again. The Talos Principle is closer to something like Portal, and it’s a great deal of fun.
I picked this game up many years ago on the PC. Typically, when I hear that an older title has made its way to the Switch I am a bit apprehensive about whether or not the system can handle it even when it’s as old as it is. I love the idea of this one being portable because it most definitely can be one of those pick up and play for a few minutes and try to solve a puzzle types of games. However, The Talos Principle is more than just a puzzle game. It’s sort of a mystery that you get more and more exposure to as you play, thus giving you a reason to continue solving as many puzzles as you have the time for.
I grabbed this description from the Steam page: “As if awakening from a deep sleep, you find yourself in a strange, contradictory world of ancient ruins and advanced technology. Tasked by your creator with solving a series of increasingly complex puzzles, you must decide whether to have faith or to ask the difficult questions: Who are you? What is your purpose? And what are you going to do about it?”
So now that we have an idea of what the game is about, let’s talk about the graphics and artwork. What I really appreciated about this game from the first time I played it is how beautiful everything looks. It has a Greek architectural feel to it. Why is that? Well, Talos is a man made from bronze in Greek mythology. So, it does stand to reason that they would go for that look and feel. After all, what is a man but a miserable pile of secrets, am I right? What I found extremely cool is the fact that occasionally a section of the world will seem to short out for less than a second, making you really wonder what is going on. Maybe we’re all just a part of The Matrix after all? It’s up to you to try and solve these mysteries and ponder the results.
Hand in hand with the graphics would be, of course, the sound or music. There is music in the game, and it does fit the feel and adds a haunting mood to the levels you walk through. There is a narrative as well, a voice thundering as if from heaven urging you to move through the puzzles – commanding you to not be afraid, and forbidding you from entering the ominous tower. Honestly, from the start I looked around for the tower thinking, oh yeah… wherever that tower is, I’m climbing it. “Behold child, you are risen from the dust, and you walk in my garden…” Absolute chills.
The puzzles, of which there are at least 120, plus those from the Gehenna DLC that is included with the Switch version are scattered about the world. I will admit that 120 is a lot of puzzles to solve. There was a time when I got a little tired of doing the puzzles, but what really drove you to do more and more of the puzzles was the story. Yes, the puzzle solving is an amazing aspect of this title, but pushing you to complete more and more of them is the story line that you find yourself getting sucked into and enjoying on a very existential level. It really begs the question: What is it to exist? After playing… I curled up in the fetal position and questioned everything I thought I knew. Okay, not really, but awfully close.
If you haven’t been able to play the PC version of The Talos Principle, and you like puzzle games, definitely pick this one up on the Switch. Even if you own the PC game but never played the DLC it’s worth the price of admission to have the game on the go. There are a few issues with some stuttering and longer load times, but these are so minor that you can forgive them because the game is just that good.
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 9.5/109.5/10
- Gameplay - 10/1010/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
Amazingly detailed Greek architecture world with intentional glitches, haunting music, and a brilliant story make up for one of the best puzzle games to ever grace the Switch or any system.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.