The Talos Principle – Puzzles In Olympia

Nov 5, 2017

The Talos Principle is a puzzle-solving enigma game that puts you in a beautiful, dystopian prison and tasks you with collecting shapes.

The Talos Principle is an odd game to describe, as it somehow manages to be both a dystopian hell and a fairly inventive platformer – do you comment on the gameplay or the implications of the story?

In Talos Principle, you are a seemingly fully sentient robot tasked by an omnipotent God to collect shapes to unlock gates. There are numerous philosophical implications of this: who is this God? Why are you forced into this life? Why are the shapes important?

What on earth is going on? Sadly, it takes a while to find that out.

What on earth is going on? Sadly, it takes a while to find that out.

Talos Principle was originally released three years ago on PC, allowing users of traditional keyboard and mice to explore this virtual reality jungle gym, but it’s taken this long to transition the game to mobile.

Part of the reason for this is most likely the adaption of the controls – simple movement is easy enough, just tapping on the screen to go where you’ve clicked, but in an effort to encourage the player to get periodical cramps in their hand, you can twist two of your fingers to perform more precise movement back and forth, as well as shift your perspective.

One can imagine a large number of meetings concerning the proper adaption to touchpad controls, deliberating whether or not this is the right way to go forward. Unfortunately, the controls can feel extremely clunky to manoeuvre, often leaving you suddenly stranded facing an exploding robot that wants you dead.

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These lovely robots are the obstacles you need to overcome, placed there by your lovely, ever-present God. Whether it’s a turret that will destroy you from a distance, or a floating orb that appreciates its personal space thank you very much, it doesn’t matter – it feels like everything is out to kill you.

The clumsiness of the controls is thus an impediment to properly enjoying the game, as it can sometimes feel like the game is working directly against you, instead of guiding you to the right path.

The opening puzzles are simple enough – deactivate the floating orb to pass it, or time the deactivation of a laser field to make an orb go away. The primary tool in getting through a level is utilising your limited deactivators to manipulate the set paths of the obstacles you encounter.

The levels become gradually more complex as you go through, adding a subtle layer of manipulation over time, encouraging you to have to time your – albeit  clunky – movements properly to avoid horrible death.

Talos Principle is a puzzle game that attempts to tie in a mysterious and somewhat dark story into the puzzle genre. The puzzles are kept in beautiful 3D, with layers of complexity that range from “Oh, that was easy” all the way to “Oh god, this is my 7th hour on this puzzle”.

... that range from “Oh, that was easy” all the way to “Oh god, this is my 7th hour on this puzzle.”

Both the puzzle and story elements of Talos Principle are excellent, encouraging a lot of head scratching and self-control to not look up the solutions.

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If only the controls worked as intended, Talos Principle could be a fantastic puzzle platformer for mobile. As it is however, it feels a bit clumsy and makes you wish for a mouse and keyboard.

Our Rating

Puzzles are intriguing and challenging. The graphical style is eerily beautiful and satisfying.The controls are clumsy and difficult to use properly. The level design sometimes leaves you both scrambling to understand what’s going on.
The Talos Principle
The Talos Principle
Price: $4.99
The Talos Principle
The Talos Principle
Developer: DevolverDigital
Price: $4.99
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