The Witness is a game where you explore a mysterious island and solve puzzles. Thematically, it’s a game about epiphany, that leap your mind makes when you instantly go from confusion to understanding.
The Witness takes place in an open world, so that you can go wherever you want.
For a puzzle game, this is nice, because it means the developers can include real puzzles that challenge and surprise you. In a linear game, if you get stuck on a puzzle, you are usually just stuck unless you look up the answer; this is why many linear games shy away from puzzles with non-obvious solutions. In The Witness, we can make puzzles as difficult or as subtle as we want, because if you are stuck in an area, you can simply go somewhere else.
Some puzzles in The Witness are hard, but some are easy. However, even the easy puzzles are interesting, because every puzzle has a little bit of communication wrapped inside it. So when you work through a bunch of puzzles in the game, you have also experienced a flow of ideas, presented to you at a high density.
Unlike most open worlds, which try to be as big as possible, The Witness takes place on a compact island. You can run across the whole island in 1 minute 10 seconds, yet it contains 25 hours of unique puzzle gameplay with no filler and no repetition. The developers have designed it so that wherever you are, if you want to change paths and go somewhere else, there are three or four different places to go, all within 20 seconds’ walk.
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