Freebie Feelers is a series where we download the free monthly console-specific or newly released free-to-play games to test their worth. This series will contain some useful information as well as plenty of personal opinion. While these articles may not be reviews, we hope that you will be able to use them to help decide whether that free download is worth it.
What is it?
April’s Games with Gold is starting off with one hell of a puzzle game. Offering up over 500 challenges found across an open world for the player to explore, The Witness is packed with brain-teasing content. The lack of any clear narrative or gameplay loop beyond solving puzzles might turn some players off, but this title is not trying to be anything that it shouldn’t be. From start to finish, The Witness will test your ability to think outside the box and come up with unorthodox solutions to seemingly simple puzzles. With each trial adding some new rule or restriction, players will be hard pressed when it comes to completing them all.
What did you think?
I am completely torn on this particular title. While I generally enjoy puzzles and brain teasers, The Witness was simply too difficult for me to ever wrap my head around each and every challenge. Between the rules changing so drastically to me simply forgetting what I did since the last time I played, this game doesn’t work for players with a busier lifestyle. How are you supposed to make any progress when you can only play an hour or two every few days and have to remind yourself how this certain set of puzzles work? The game has a brilliant art style and the puzzles can be extremely fun to solve, but unless you plan on playing the game religiously, it is going to be a bumpy ride when you have to come back after a long break.
Is it worth downloading?
Clearly a love of puzzles is required before I can wholeheartedly suggest this game to anyone. If you’re the kind of gamer that prefers to ‘shut your brain off’ before shooting some bad guys or play a few rounds of football, you will want to pass on The Witness. This is the sort of experience that demands your time and attention. After taking over 13,000 steps in game, I’ve only solved 166 of the ‘over 500’ possible puzzles if that gives any idea of what to expect. In short, I can only say the puzzle fanatics out there should consider picking up this title while it’s free as Xbox’s first Games with Gold title for April.