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Review: The Talos Principle review – Another excellent first person puzzler comes to mobile

You could look at The Talos Principle as an interesting counterpoint to The Witness. Both are console-first puzzlers, both of them are first person, and both of them reveal their story and world to you gradually.

But where The Witness is almost wilfully esoteric, The Talos Principle is a little friendlier. It might not have the bright aesthetic of Jonathan Blow’s head-scratcher, but it still feels more more welcoming.

And while this mobile port isn’t the perfect way to play the game, down mainly to the occasionally fiddly controls, it still shines brightly on an App Store that sometimes feels bloated by more lightweight experiences.

In principle

The game sees you waking up in a serene garden. You’re a robot, and you’re challenged by an AI to solve a series of puzzles.

These start off reasonably simply. You learn that the strange devices you discover on tripods can be used to interrupt the patterns of the robots that are patrolling the garden. Knock them out to get past them.

The controls are reasonably solid. By default they’re tap to move. Swiping with a single finger lets you look around, swiping with two lets you move in smaller increments. Double tap and you’ll run. Poke an object to interact with it.

This is a more necessarily tactile game than The Witness, where your movement is essentially just for exploration. Here it’s a key part of solving the tasks given to you, and that means the limitations of the touchscreen are a little more obvious.

That’s not to say that they’re terrible, far from it in fact, but there are times when they’ll kick you out of the experience a little as you stumble about trying to get in the correct position.

The deeper you get into the game, the more challenging the puzzles become. There are around 120 of them, and new ideas are added regularly. The game isn’t linear though, so if you get stuck you can go and find something else to try and fathom out.

Philosopher’s mettle

There’s a deep and interesting story behind The Talos Principle. It deals with life, death, and what it means to be human, and it handles it really well. It’ll keep you playing to the end to discover the secrets behind the world you’ve woken up in.

Is this mobile version perfect? No. But at the same time it’s just a fiver, and it plays well enough that you can look past its problems.

If you’re yet to experience one of the most intriguing puzzle games of its generation, then picking it up for your iPhone or iPad is pretty much a no-brainer.