Friday, 08 November 2019 04:04

Agent A: A puzzle in Disguise Review

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Edited by: Jade Swann

Serving as an homage to spy films, 60s artwork, and FMV games of the 1990s, Agent A: A Puzzle In Disguise is a fun, carefree scavenger hunt game meant to give the player a real feeling of outwitting the bad guys and being the best secret agent alive. 


One of the most charming aspects of Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise is how unique the clues are while still, for the most part, managing to be fairly clear and concise in how each item should be used — even for the more bizarre items, such as a fish. This adds to the most appealing part of the game as a whole: the different array of puzzles to solve. They can range from just putting a proper item where it needs to be, to more complex puzzles, such as properly setting a rotating object into the slots it needs to go in. The title requires the player to really explore the space of where they are, and be willing to look under every nook and cranny for something that may lead to another progression. While there are instances where this can be a bit frustrating, it does help to keep you interested in exploring whatever the game has to offer.

This leads to the major question about the game: are the puzzles challenging? Not necessarily. If the player is willing to click on every possible thing, it is possible to quickly figure out what is supposed to go where. However, the puzzles do require a bit of hard work on the player's part, such as being willing to study and connect the dots to what is meant for what when ambiguous clues are discovered. This brings into focus the main skill necessary to win the game: being observant. The player needs to be willing to explore and be methodical, otherwise they simply won’t be able to complete an objective if they just try and plow through the game.


The personality of the game is one of its core strengths. It evokes a 1960s art vibe, the heyday of the James Bond films. The entire story is played in a tongue-and-cheek manner, winking at the audience with silly little observations from Agent A, usually like the famous 007 he's modeled after. It helps that everything has a minimalist approach in its design, ranging from the rooms, the items, and the characters. It gives the overall experience a cartoony feel that fits right into the charmingly goofy and groovy vibe the game is going for. It never feels cheap, but deliberately simple for easy consumption. 

The music sets the mood fairly well and helps to create a feeling that heightens the mysterious atmosphere. The title makes the smart decision to keep things simple and quiet in order to give the player a low stress environment to contemplate their next move and how to approach a problem. The only time the music begins to pick up is almost entirely saved for cutscenes, which don't require the player to think.


While the aesthetic presentation is excellent, talking about the story is a bit tricky. It plays as a very typical espionage story, but, in spite of this, it doesn't harm the experience at all. The story manages to flow along with how the puzzles are slowly revealed through investigation and exploration. Ultimately, the story stays fairly simple throughout the runtime, only with one real twist that doesn’t change much of the game, if at all. So while the story isn't deep in any capacity, it functions to keep the game moving at a brisk pace to avoid boring the player.  

The only real frustration the title presents is that by having to click on everything, it can create a tediousness that makes the player feel less like a spy and more just like someone who is trying to luck into success. While this does create a fun way to appreciate the work put into constructing the environment, if the player runs into a puzzle they can’t figure out, it can lead to a substantial amount of backtracking, immediately killing the game’s flow.


The Verdict: Good

Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise is a fun experience that manages to almost trick the player into seeing what all the game has to show. While the puzzles can be somewhat surface-level and may require backtracking, the colorful visuals give enough entertainment to never bore. It's a game that sets out to challenge the player with quirky and simple puzzles, and it does that well.

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Liam Cunningham

Hailing from Maryland, Liam spent his college years studying all kinds of media, granting him an Associate's Degree in film from Anne Arundel Community College and a degree in Simulation and Digital Entertainment from the University of Baltimore to learn narrative game writing. He has worked on his own internet serials for many years, including Colorless Commentary (a review series of classic Hollywood films) and A Look Back with Lac! (Reviewing classic Anime). Also, he has voiced and wrote for many anime parodies for fun as well as creating, writing and directing a Batman fan adaptation, The Gotham High Radio Drama. His favorite games include the Kingdom Hearts series, Sly Cooper, Metal Gear Solid, The Stanley Parable, and Super Smash Bros.