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Puzzle Agent 2

To start with the conclusion, as that's what most of you care about: It might have its niggles, but Puzzle Agent 2 is a fun game, one that could stand toe-to-toe with some of LucasArts' better ones. This is a much needed home run for Telltale -- after a year of rather eh offerings -- one with an atmosphere and a story, both being spot-on, and one with some mindbendingly fun puzzles.

Consider Puzzle Agent 2 a challenger for "game of the year" here at Mojo.

Hyperbole? Not at all. Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent was a great game in itself, one that appealed to anybody, from fans of classic adventurers to Twin Peaks fans to casual gamers alike.

Don't believe me?

I certainly fall in the first category, and my girlfriend, who's not a gamer, flatly fits into the second. And the third? My nearly 60 year old mother, someone whose only previous connection to video games was to tell me I played too many of them completed the game and loved it. For a year she has kept asking me when the next one would be out.

That's a wide span of fans.

Not that Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent was flawless; the puzzles, in particular, could be unfairly vague. But the story was there, and the puzzles that did work were fun.

Puzzle Agent 2 continues where the first one rather abruptly left off, and it's an improvement of the first game. The vague puzzle descriptions have been tossed aside for something more sensical, and thank god for that. OK, so the infamous American football puzzle has a cousin here, one that involves American coins. How Telltale expected the rest of the world to solve it is beyond me, but at least it's just a secondary, non-plot puzzle. It's also the exception that confirms the rule.

The plot-specific puzzles are easier this time around, and better explained, with better hints and more gum to go around. This game is definitely a step up for those who see puzzles as something standing in the way of them completing the story.

And the story is good, with more depth than I had expected. We're not looking at a simple pick-up from the first game; there is a lot more depth to this one than that. Those who like the work of Lynch or the Coen brothers should feel right at home. It's all mindbending, and in a good way.

The initial screenshots from the game would suggest we'd be seeing a lot of repeat locations from Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, but that's not really the case. Some, sure, but they make sense and aren't much different from an episode of Twin Peaks, where there were plenty of staple locations. The new places and characters nicely pad the original story.

Much has been made of the polish in recent Telltale games, and luckily, the polish is just fine in Puzzle Agent 2. There are some minor glitches in graphics here and there, but nothing major, and nothing anyone sane would raise an eyebrow over. The only thing worth mentioning are the voices, which are well acted, but horribly compressed. The "s" sounds could drive one insane.

All in all though, I'm nitpicking here. Nelson Tethers is a character as interesting as Manny Calavera or Guybrush Threepwood. The story here is great as are most the puzzles, and those of us who consider Graham Annable a great artist will love this game. I've played it on both iPad and PC, and control wise, the iPad works better and it's cheaper, which might be another blow to the platform of yore.

Conclusion?

Just scroll up.