The Talos Principle makes you think, really hard in fact about puzzles and philosophy. It’s a disjointed pair but that’s what makes The Talos Principle stand out. Although it doesn’t always strike the right cord and can feel disjointed in its two-prong approach, both aspects on their own are enough to make this game have meaning and stand out.
It’s really hard to believe that this game is from the same people that brought you the Serious Sam series but it’s definitely present in its visuals. When walking around the virtual world of The Talos Principle, you can imagine metal music kick in and swarms of enemies rush to your position but that never happens. For fans of Croteam, this can be kind of jarring for a few minutes but once that period is over you’ll really notice how relaxing The Talos Princple is.
The main aim of the game is to complete puzzles. If you collect a section of pieces, known as tetrominoes, from this puzzle, you will receive rewards like new equipment to utilise in tougher puzzles. When you start, all you have is a jammer which can essentially jam a number of things in the virtual puzzle spaces. You use the jammer to jam and break down shields, switch off surveillance guns as well as a floating ball that will explode if you get too close to it.
You can make some clear comparisons to games like Portal as both puzzles and narrative are central to the entire experience. While Portal focuses on your character in particular, The Talos Principle wants you to focus on humanity and the human condition, despite the fact that you’re a robot.
You see, The Talos Prinicple is a relaxing experience with puzzles that make you think but never force you to react too quickly to any situation. The music and visuals help accommodate the tranquil experience but it makes you also feel isolated and along, asking the purpose of what you are doing. This extends to you as the player, asking what you are doing in your life and why are you anyway. For a game, it can actually make you sit back and reflect on your own life, and those around you.
It’s intriguing to say the least, a feeling that will only grow the more you delve into the world that’s laid before you as a voice stating to be God lets you explore this virtual world but asks you not to climb up the tower. As you make your way through the game there are computers to access that give you more reading material that enhances these themes.
Possibly the most impactful aspect is that there are no big conclusions to the world or narrative. The lengthy journey is filled with contradictory knowledge making you feel as though humans, despite their impressive progress have still yet figured themselves out leading to you further questioning the whys.
The Talos Principle’s puzzles never quite bore although a number of puzzles have the same solution with slight permutations but within is a much deeper world that you just want to explore every inch. It makes you think, question, and in a lot of ways reflect which is probably something you don’t expect from a puzzle game from the Serious Sam team.
It’s an absolute treat from start to finish, it’s material treats you as an adult and it’s completely unique in its look and approach. Its memorable themes will stay with you for some time. It’s a fun puzzle game with an incredible representation of the human condition and the questions we ask.