The Talos Principle originally came out on PC in 2014, followed by most other systems from Android and PS4 in 2015 to finally landing on XB1 in 2018. So naturally I’ve had no excuse to have not checked this gem out except I never got around to it, so like so many other games it landing on Switch in late 2019 was finally release the plopped it on my lap, and boy am I glad I have finally experienced it.
The Talos Principle kicks off with you waking in a being’s garden who speaks to you vaguely, essentially telling you to prove your worth with an unsubtle Garden of Eden-esque analogue. What you need to do for this being is make your way through the puzzles that have been laid out in front of you to get more information about your existence and the world itself. The twist is that you are a robot and the aspects of the world you need to deal with are technology based.
To play you need to move jammers around to open force fields, to stop bombs from exploding, and gun turrets from firing at you. You also need to use refractors to shoot light around corners into switches and more. What I enjoyed about these puzzles is they are mostly built as if they could be in a top down puzzle game, but experiencing them in first person makes for a fun twist on a known style.
You can play the game in 3rd or first person, but after dabbling with it in 3rd person I felt it added no value to any puzzle solutions and quickly jumped back to first person where it is at its best, but it’s an option and options are good. In third person the robot you control doesn't look that fantastic, owing to the game’s age but in first person on a small Switch screen I was happy with the game’s graphics. The destroyed world with decrepit walls that give a clear post apocalyptic vibe with good quality tech portray a feeling where AI have taken over and they absolutely nail the aesthetic.
The story itself is OK and you will get the most value from reading terminals as you progress. The terminals access a library AI who answers your predefined questions which makes the process of reading terminals a lot more engaging. You quickly learn you are in a virtual reality world where the point is to prove your worth as well as learning about how the humans in the world get wiped out. I won’t touch on the story much more because it does act as a good motivator to make your way through puzzles and it has enough depth to be worthwhile, but it also felt a little like an amalgamation of stories I have heard plenty of times before.
Early puzzles are far from hard, but let you learn the game’s mechanics well. I early on tried to position things near gaps hoping I could pull them through from the other side but the game has been built well to ensure you beat a puzzle its intended way and I knew it wouldn't let me break the puzzles early on. By the end I definitely felt some of the puzzles could have been shaved off to make the experience a little tighter but at the end of the day it’s a puzzle game and that criticism is saying it should have less puzzles, so most people will disagree with me there.
The game is also packaged with the DLC Road to Gehenna which takes place near the end of the initial game story. In that story you control another AI who has to free other AIs to help provide data to the main game’s character. It is hard to talk much more about it without spoiling the original game’s story. For the most part though it is more puzzles and that’s a good thing.
I shouldn't have waited so long to play The Talos Principle because it is an excellent puzzle game. The new take on classic puzzle gameplay is excellent, and the story is good enough to help keep you interested throughout, but the payoff at the end is probably the best part. If you haven't checked it out on all the other platforms, then this is a must play on Switch as I couldn't have been happier with its performance and it’s fun to dive in and out of puzzles on the go.