Top Critic Average
Putting many unanswered questions aside, The Witness is one of the most interesting games of the last decade. The world is designed beautifully and with an incredible amount of hidden details. Although the riddles can become annoying at some points, you definitely should visit the mysterious island.
Review in German | Read full review
Jonathan Blow's The Witness is an interesting experience, eliciting emotions that push me away yet draw me in at the same time. The Witness exists as a fully 3D open-world, offering mystery and intrigue that is answered only by exploration and solving two-dimensional puzzles. It is both compelling, and incredibly frustrating at the same time.
more, everything about the game—its puzzle structure, its philosophical leanings, its mysteries—eventually comes together in pretty arresting fashion. Part of this is thanks to the game's multiple layers of puzzle-solving gameplay. We've been asked not to say more about that part. Players may need as little as an hour or as long as two weeks to figure out one of The Witness's coolest parts, but however and whenever players get to that point, it's a pretty clever one. (Some of the game's most incredible aesthetic trickery comes as a result of this part of the game, by the way. Kudos to Thekla for pulling it off.)
The Witness is a very interesting game, when you first hear the premise for it. You're just a person going around an abandoned island, solving puzzles, and learning the story along the way. How that is portrayed is wonderful, but the execution is downright sloppy.
The Witness is one of the most fulfilling games I've played in yonks and it accomplishes a rare feat. It's varied, playful, elegant, mysterious, challenging, and intensely focused all at the same time.
An engaging title that will encourage you to think outside the box and look at it from some very obtuse angles. It won't take too long to complete but you won't breeze through it either. No DLC that I have heard about so far but there's enough to keep you occupied. Thought provoking, challenging and above all else entertaining in it's own way.
The Witness has a power and pull that carried me throughout the more than 40 hours it took to complete it for the first time, and that, even now, beckons me back to confront the mysteries I left unsolved. Its graceful combination of tangible goals, obscurity, and freedom creates ample opportunity for small victories and grand revelations alike. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is not much to say; and in no way is that a mark against The Witness. On all accounts The Witness exceeds as a puzzle game; in a visually satisfying and perfectly challenging way it presents puzzles for the player to solve. I want to rant and rave about all the puzzles I solved, I want to convene with others and pick their brains over the challenging ones, I want to describe in vast detail the great variety of challenges The Witness presents. But all of this would do a disservice to The Witness; a truly marvelous game which, to the curious problem solver, simply must be played. I wish there were more to add but there is no story, there is no soundtrack, there is no combat, there is no antagonist, there are no upgrades, there is nothing except line puzzles. And in that regard The Witness is a perfect game.
This Xbox One version of the Witness stands shoulder to should with its PC and PlayStation 4 counterparts, delivering the same content we saw in those releases with a comparable visual fidelity.
Thus, I highly recommend The Witness. 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.
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.
Truthfully, I wish I didn't have to score The Witness. I don't want to set people up for that expectation; I don't want a voice in the back of their head that says "Okay, when does this become a ten?" In a way, that's unfair and detrimental to how the game should be experienced, which is as open-minded and unassuming as possible. Don't go to The Witness. Let The Witness come to you.
The Witness is perhaps the best example of a puzzle game I have seen yet, and it is also one of the most effective instances of interactive storytelling that I can recall. For this game, I have nothing but the utmost respect.
The Witness is a masterpiece of video game design. It presents a mysterious and fascinating world to explore, full of puzzles that will confound the player, but also delight them as they figure out the solution. The island setting is both fun to explore and endlessly enjoyable to look at. 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.
With the involvement of Jonathan Blow, there's been a lot of chin-stroking and borderline pretentious articles going up about The Witness - understandably, given it's such an arthouse project. But there's no need for that here: the game is very good, and if you've even an inkling you might enjoy solving 600-plus puzzles in a gorgeous island setting, we'd heartily recommend The Witness.
Following on from the massive success of Braid, The Witness is an engrossing and hugely satisfying experience that should solidify Jonathan Blow as one of the very best active game designers.
They really don't make 'em like this any more. The Witness is an amazing game that you'll love to hate for its challenge, cursing it, wondering why you made the purchase, and then something will click for you, and it'll become one of the best games you've ever played.
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.
Review in Italian | Read full review
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.
This review is slightly vague, but that's for the reader's benefit. "The Witness" is at its best when it's discovered within an isolation chamber. It's not going to be a game for everyone. For those who are impatient or who are unwilling to test your mental moxie, then steer clear of "The Witness." If you're looking for a beautiful brain teaser that rewards as well as it punishes, this should be the next game you play. It's unlike anything else out there.
The Witness is a masterpiece of game design and an early contender for one of the best titles of the year. Boiled down to the basics, it's just a series of increasingly complex puzzle-mazes, but the presentation and execution are stellar, and the sense of exploration really adds to the game. It captures just the right sense of maddening and enticing to keep you moving forward. Its high price might scare off some gamers, but those who give it a shot will find it to be a worthwhile experience.
Somehow Jonathan Blow has once again managed to prove that his elevated opinion of his own abilities is 1000% justified. Though I am admittedly well within his target demographic, it is hard to shake the feeling that The Witness was a game that was made specifically for me.
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 handholding 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. After all the delays, Jonathan Blow and his crew fully delivered.
The Witness has taken hold of my brain, both waking and sleeping. If I'm awake, I'm playing. If I'm not playing (for whatever reason) I'm inking possible solutions into a pad of graph paper. Writing this review I've solved two more puzzles and I think have a lead on a third. It's compulsive. When I'm done and this is all filed away, I'll go right back to playing.
The only question gamers will have to answer is if they're okay with playing the game for its own sake, not necessarily to have their questions answered. Thinking back on those overbearing in-game quotes, perhaps that is the point.
The Witness is an example of superlative game design. Carefully crafted and mentally challenging. Everyone should dive into this world, it is the perfect game for several players to sit on a couch and solve. It will make your head hurt, it will tease your brain more than any game before it, but it also delivers satisfaction in solution better than anything else before, and perhaps after it. Play this game.
I may never figure out what's going on inside the head of Jonathan Blow – or what the deal really was with that "piss jug" picture he posted on Twitter – but there's no denying his savvy when it comes to game development.
The Witness, then, is an exploratory puzzle game with very limited mechanics and has the tendency to make you pull your hair out in frustration as you begin to reach the limits of your own comprehension. In spite of this, it is an excellently crafted world, with a huge amount of brain teasers to attempt. Some people may not like the lack of immediate feedback when making your way through some of the areas, but the varied nature in solving the puzzles that ultimately combine with each other in such a way make figuring out The Witness an experience without parallel.
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.
The Witness is a difficult yet rewarding puzzle game that will keep your mind occupied for a very long time. If you like puzzles, you'll love The Witness. But if don't like puzzles, then don't play it as it'll make you feel stupid!
Review in Persian | Read full review
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.
I never thought I'd like a puzzle game this much, and I can't believe a game that isn't a JRPG is a game of the year contender to me. 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. The Witness is so much more than puzzles in an open world. It is itself an enigma and puzzle, and something far greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Brennan Dyal lives in Baltimore, and actually likes it. When he's not playing games, he's disappointing his teammates on the basketball court, or going to Popeye's in disguise so they don't ask "Weren't you just here yesterday?"
The Witness is a profound experience, unlike any other and certainly intimidating in its refusal to give away its secrets for free. However, those with the inclination to buy-in and delve deep will find a trove of excellence, in the way it utilizes simple mechanics to convey greater themes. One of the most cohesive and intricate releases you can find, but not for the faint of heart.
t’s a pure puzzle game and is happy to be a puzzle game, though with simplistic controls, excellent environment, and well developed puzzles. It’s worth checking out even if you aren’t a major puzzle fan.
The beauty of The Witness is that the puzzles transcend language itself. They pull you through a broad range of emotions – anguish, despair, desperation – but, once you finally solve that seemingly impossible puzzle, you can raise your fists in the air, victorious, and maybe taunt the game a little bit.
The Witness is an excellent and unique puzzle experience that will put you to the test. Not only will it challenge you with beautifully designed puzzles but it will also task you with marshalling yourself; patience, sticktoitieveness, and a continually churning mind will be rewarded. Eventually.
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.
The Witness is, above all else, a designed space. And while all videogames are designed spaces in their own right, The Witness does away with the façade that it's anything but a designed space.
I found The Witness to be a fascinating idea that shows an incredible sense of scope. Solving the game's myriad puzzles almost always delivers an incredible sense of satisfaction - an impressive feat when you consider just how many there are to tackle. The island is a truly interesting place to explore and the vast majority of the puzzles work incredibly well with one another and the environment to create a unique if methodical experience that I can easily recommend to fans of puzzle and exploration video games.
This is an intricate, beautiful, masterfully crafted game that surprises and delights on several fronts. Unfortunately, it also becomes incredibly and relentlessly punishing in a way that could put many off.
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.
If you like puzzle games and haven't played The Witness, now's the perfect time. If you're curious at all about it, definitely give it a try. If you know you do not care for puzzle games or something as slow-paced as The Witness, be sure to steer clear for your own sake.
The Witness is at once beautiful, intricate and alluring whilst being obtuse, unsympathetic and draining. It's not for everyone and few will see all it has to offer. It can punish as much as it rewards. Yet there is little else like it in the field of games, or indeed anywhere else, and whilst these small blemishes may prevent The Witness from being an outright classic, it remains a peerless example of videogame form.
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.
I also can't be upset about how hostile The Witness often felt, because the game taught me a lesson that was worth the pain—about how intimate puzzle games are. I think they represent a more direct relationship between creator and participant than most genres, and that's an aspect of puzzle games that I've never really appreciated before.
Even though The Witness can become a bit of a slog at times with an obscene amount of puzzles - which border or repetitive - and the ability to easily lose your bearings, it's definitely one you should at least dip your mind into, if only for an hour.
The Witness is a brainchild of Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid. It's praised for being more of an art price than a game. That's not good. The Witness might look interesting, might have a story that we ought to figure out by ourselves, it might even be on of the best. The only thing is that it's a nice puzzle game and nothing more.
Review in Polish | Read full review
Its insistence at not providing answers and straying away from the safety of regular rewards can be off-putting. The Witness wants to be more than a game filled with puzzles, but Blow's singular vision lets it down.
I admire a lot about The Witness. It is a beautiful game. It is a clever game. It is a big game. But all of its elements, mazes, exploration, and philosophy didn't really come together to express some greater theme. Unless I was meant to question why I hurt my brain to solve a series of difficult mazes for no real award.
The Witness is an intentionally simple game to grasp, but enjoyment almost feels proportional to patience. These puzzles are absolute brain-breakers, so anyone that doesn't have the patience for them will get no enjoyment out of The Witness. I was certainly on the verge of being one of those people, but exploring the sheer beauty of the island and learning more about its central mystery turned out to make returning worthwhile.
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.
Video games are unequivocally a form of art. But like all art, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. With 'The Witness' I feel like I'm in an art gallery watching a gaggle of admirers who are looking at a piece together, commenting on its style and how it makes them feel. I'm the guy standing off to the side, not with them but looking at the same painting. I can admit that it's pretty, but it doesn't really evoke a significant response, and so I shrug and move on to the next.
Despite occasional pangs of belittlement, The Witness refuses to release its hold on me. Although there are aspects of the game that I clearly dislike, part of me longs to be immersed within its fascinating world. It feels strange, therefore, to try and put a score on this review, given how each individual will react differently to it. That term may be overused but if you were to spend just an hour or two with the game, you would know it to be true. 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.
When The Witness can give the player just enough of a push, it communicates these ideas in beautiful ways. When it leaves the player to their own devices, or throws too many rules into a single area or panel, then its philosophies and ideas wind up lost in translation.
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.
I really wish that I could have enjoyed The Witness in the way so many others seem to. I tried, really I did. I attempted to see what was so "mindtwisting," "transcendental," or how it provokes "natural epiphanies." I just couldn't though. All I saw were endless line puzzles which felt like endless padding, like the creation of the island itself was as far as the developer got in planning and then realized they had to have some sort of driving mechanism to justify it. The depressing thing about it all is that it's such a waste. The island is a lovely place, and its oversaturated colors give just the right touch to a world that is vaguely fantastical. If Blow had put some variety into the puzzles, preferably using the excellent environment to its fullest, and actually telling a story instead of the lazy minimalistic mess that we got, this title could have been a Myst for a new generation. Instead, it's a dull, frustrating, pointless hike through a lovely, colorful, dead place. If you're looking for the same effect on the cheap, I recommend a box of crayons, a puzzle book, and a nice coloring sheet. You can use the money you have left over to get a game worth your time.
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.