Reviewing games is full of obvious perks; from the fact of having a job in the games industry, a dream of lots including mine, to the fact of getting games for review. One of the best perks of the job is having a title for review which is not that hyped, but after playing reveals itself a gem, hidden deeply under the advertising of giant developers and producers who are lately relying on their history and not their present feats to sell games. The Talos Principle is truly a gem, and although it was mentioned a little in the media in the last months, it almost slipped under the radar of many if there were more big budget games scheduled for release in this period. Luckily, there are none and Talos does more than enough to solve this shortage.
First and foremost, The Talos Principle fuses two of the most intriguing subjects into the game together, coming out with one, beautiful result. Joining puzzles with philosophy was an exceptional move, and this shows in the experience after playing the game. This is because apart from the excellent mechanics, which we will come to later on, The Talos Principle is incredibly thought provoking. In fact it probably takes a lot of pride when it is described as a game which challenges beliefs and norms. It is also a reality check, as the many quotes in the computers scattered around the levels indicate. The game is also filled with lore, and people with a large enough sense of seeking the truth will surely feel compelled to search under every rock imaginable to discover everything the game has to offer, which is plenty. After a brief introduction level, where still no instructions are given and you have to figure out for yourself, you are greeted from a voice which spreads through the whole place. The voice presents himself upon you as Elohim, and from a terminal you discover that Elohim means God in Hebrew, which instantly takes the game to a whole new level in terms of belief and scale. Apart from the mental challenging that the game brilliantly does in the form of story, there is also the part which makes it a game and not a book, which is gameplay. The Talos Principle arms itself with intelligent puzzles and varying mechanics, although pretty much the same concepts, throughout its different worlds. After the introductory level, players are taken to a kind of church, within which reside portals to new locations where you find tetromino blocks with which to unlock new abilities and also new locations. The game does not restrict progress, meaning one can venture wherever he desires to. Elohim also tells you that there is no need to finish off all the puzzles in an area, but you can just go to get that final tetromino piece you need to unlock an ability or a door.
Gameplay is fairly simple, most of the times concerning opening gates, taking the piece and leaving the little area through the purple particle opening where you once came through to start the level in the first place. These puzzles often feature either jamming the gate’s signal using a jamming contraption or connecting laser beams from start to finish, there being some obstacle or a wall which blocks the path of the beam from making it across. Each puzzle has a different name displayed as soon as you enter through the purple door, and although subtle the name may give a clue as to what one must do to solve it. There are also hidden collectibles, mainly stars, in the game. Stars are secret items used to open Secret Star Gates, and ten of the former are required to open one gate. There being thirty stars means that there are three secret gates to discover, where one can entice themselves in more brain teasing puzzles.
To be honest, the excellent gameplay is a bonus, due to the depth that the story can reach. Being a philosophical game, this story is also an offer from the developers to the players the philosophy being that players are once again choosing. This is because since the game can virtually be played with minimal contact with the computer, one can read just the vital parts of the game and keep on progressing as if this were some normal puzzle game without context or anything. Personally, this further enhances the philosophic qualities of a game built with a focus to deliver the most brain wrecking experience it can, while at the same time inviting those curious or logically sound enough to keep on nabbing little by little and learning more and more, on their way to perhaps solving how the game ends. Or does it end?
The Talos Principle’s puzzles, which even though do not change are still fun enough to replay more time, do not lead to a single ending. Thus, there being multiple endings is probably the most sound reason to replay the levels. The more endings there are to a game, the more excuses one can formulate to play the game even more, and when the title in question is one which teases the player with such philosophy, there is almost no reason to be in doubt. The fact that the environment is gorgeous and all the features are beautiful, as well as fitting for the landscape, are huge bonuses.
Then there is audio. The music in the game is a thing of beauty, adding to the experience in a way which compares to adding bacon to a sandwich; it is THAT good. The music by itself is so good that, having to do a couple of chores while playing the game, I felt guilty leaving such a great soundtrack as the background song for dusting off the room. Still, turning it lower would have been an even greater crime, and so the music still accompanied my small act of cleaning for the day.
The Talos Principle can be a catalyst for puzzle games to come. it is probably on the same level with the highly acclaimed Portal, to which a lot are comparing Talos to, and with good reason. If the gameplay in Portal may have the edge due to its gun mechanic, the point from the story is taken by The Talos Principle. Truly, this is a game which has to be played to be understood. For fans of logic puzzles like me, this should be a no brainer, and considering this is the season of Steam Sales, waiting on a price decrease should not be long. That said, it is surely worth its current price tag, thus even the more reason one should just buy the game.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.