After starting off as a mobile-exclusive title, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise has brought its secret agent-style puzzling over to PC and consoles just in time for the release of its fifth and final chapter.
Players take on the role of super-spy Agent A as they look to track down the dastardly Ruby La Rouge, a vicious foe that has just assassinated the chief of the organisation that Agent A works for. Catching her will require more brain that brawn though, with the player tasked with solving a myriad of tricky enigmas in order to infiltrate Ruby’s home and evade the many traps that she has set for them…
The story progresses through the use of neat little cutscenes as you reach certain points of the game, with plenty of (albeit predictable) twists to encounter as you work your way through. There’s plenty of clever writing to be found on the adventure though, with Agent A’s quirky observations standing out as you interact with the environment and its objects. It’s full to the brim with clichés from spy movies, but they do a good job in helping fleshing out the game’s personality.
Gameplay-wise, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise feels like a blend of a classic point-and-click adventure with the first-person perspective of Myst that has also been shaken up (definitely not stirred) with an espionage twist. Essentially, you’ll be exploring a selection of different rooms, carefully examining every nook and cranny, collecting any useful items you might find, and then using them to solve all of the puzzles that come your way.
It’s a simple setup, but it’s one that works well. The sharp visuals of Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise ensure that nothing goes unnoticed, whilst objects that you can interact with are always pretty obvious as well. That’s not to say there won’t be some moments of frustration – I got completely stumped for a good twenty-minutes at one point just because I couldn’t figure out that I could move a cushion on a sofa, though in fairness that’s probably down to my own lack of observation as opposed to being a flaw on the game’s side.
The puzzles are all cunningly designed and require some satisfyingly clever thinking to solve. Admittedly, a handful of them have pretty obvious solutions thanks to the fact that they’ve mostly been designed with logic in mind as opposed to having to think ‘outside of the box’, but they’ll still require you to keep your wits about you if you want to stop Ruby La Rouge. Be warned though: you’re going to want to keep a pen and paper or your mobile phone handy, because a lot of puzzles will depend on you noting down the information you find around you. This was something I LOVED; it reminded me of some of the old-school puzzlers I played in my younger days, so it brought back plenty of good memories where you can’t just rely on a menu in-game to keep track of every piece of information you find.
I played through Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise on the Nintendo Switch, so I had the benefit of playing on the handheld mode with the use of touch controls. This is probably the best way to experience the game – whilst using the analogue stick to move the cursor around is certainly a viable way to play, it’s definitely a whole lot slower than just being able to touch objects to interact with them. Either way, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise definitely works well on consoles, though you should probably get it on the Nintendo Switch if it’s an option.
If there was one flaw I had to bring up about Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise, it’d be all the backtracking you have to do. There are a lot of different locations to explore in the game, with some requiring you to interact with different objects to gain access to – having to go through these areas over and over again when solving puzzles could drag things out a bit, and whilst it is something that’s been common in these kinds of games in the past, I do wish there was some kind of fast-travel option in place. It’s a minor flaw in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re stumped on a puzzle and trying all options, having to manually go through room after room again to try and figure it out can be a pain.
One thing I will give some props to is Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise’s presentation, with the environmental design on point throughout. I really felt like I was exploring some elusive villain’s hideout, with all of the different traps and futuristic technology setting the scene perfectly. The fact that it all happens to look pretty in-game helped too though, both from an admiration and a gameplay perspective.
With its blend of satisfyingly designed enigmas and its slick Bond-like presentation, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise will tick plenty of boxes for puzzle-solving sleuths.
It does have a few flaws thanks to its emphasis on repeatedly traveling across the environment, whilst the controls can be a little sketchy when playing outside of the Switch’s handheld mode too. However, neither of these issues prevent Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise from being a tantalising little puzzler that will totally grip players in during its five-hour runtime.
Developer: Yak & Co
Publisher: Yak & Co
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC