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The Witness review: Beautiful and cerebral, The Witness is an existential journey for everyone

MSRP: $39.99

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It's a good thing I really like notebooks. Specifically graph paper. For around 25 hours now, I've been playing The Witness in front of a desk, simultaneously holding a pen and a DualShock 4 controller. It must look like I'm some kind of detective, hot on the trail of a fugitive. But I'm not. Instead, I'm wandering around a peculiar island that is completely uninhabited, save for an endless number of maze puzzle.

That's the best way I can describe The Witness, a new first-person exploration game from creator Jonathan Blow. He's the one behind 2008's Braid, a time-manipulation 2D platformer that essentially gets credit for kicking off the age of independent video games.

Aesthetically speaking, The Witness is completely different than Braid in nearly every way imaginable, but it still forces the player to think their way forward, rather than blast or shoot their way through.

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The game starts without any sort of standard tutorial or hand-holding. You're presented a door that opens up to an island. Your next move and where you go from there is up to you. The environment creeps towards constructing a story and the maze puzzles you encounter act as a silent teacher, helping your gradual ascension to the next level of puzzle-solving.

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