..the landscapes of Minecraft with the palette of Media Molecule combined, with you plopped inside with no option but to explore? Unassisted and unprompted and without a HUD to distract in fact, no screen display in any form but the landscape itself. The Witness is doing this by encouraging you to learn through experience, suggesting a puzzle mechanic to solve, planting the thought process in your mind; ready to apply to the next event. This game will not hold your hand or provide a comical tutorial ordeal, it will instead teach you without making itself known nor its presence felt. You explore and experience the world, solve puzzles and challenges, discover and learn about the world without any interference.
Well the game’s sandbox nature is a free roam puzzle-fest. Think of it like a cross between: those green little silver-ball-maze games from a sweetie fun bag, plus an FPS next gen remake of Crystal Maze. You have a large island occupied by different zones within: Forest, Desert and Mountain (Crystal Maze); however, inside those zones puzzles are spread throughout that consist of maze tablets that need completing (Fun Bags). Simple right?
More Than Meets The Eye
The ‘mazes’ are not as simple as you may have first have thought of them as, first time around. They involve the world itself, can be open to interpretation, requiring you to observe the area you’re in for clues to solve the maze ‘correctly’. This is purely based on being observant of the environment around you, as the only way you learn how to complete the more complex open ended puzzles is to learn from experience; prompts will not be there to hold your hand. For instance; in a given meadow the way certain fruit bearing trees are aligned in relation to the maze you have before you, is the clue required to solving the maze officially.
I am looking forward to this greatly. While aesthetically it borrows from Little Big Planet, ultimately it reminds of playing and indeed exploring Shadow of the Colossus. Left to your own devises with the simple premise of: Everything you need to know is out there, so look around and have your questions answered. It has that genuine feeling of discovery and unique knowledge, games rarely provide, plus it helps that you are left alone; unprompted and uninterrupted. Perhaps the first truly immersive game to come out for quite some time.
What do you think? Leave a comment.