Review – The Talos Principle (Switch)
The Talos Principle is one of those games that will always sit in mind. Releasing four years ago on PC, it came as a huge surprise to me blending some of the best sci-fi story telling with a puzzle game that rivals the likes of Portal 2. During the last Indie World Direct, The Talos Principle was surprise dropped on Switch with an immediate release date.
Back when we reviewed the Xbox One version last year, we praised the game for combining intelligently designed puzzles with a thought provoking story that explores humanity. Of course the Switch version keeps that entirely intact with the full experience as other platforms, with only a few drawbacks.
“What truly defines a person? And can anything else with the same parameters be considered a person?” These are the question at the centre of The Talos Principle and one that constantly challenges your answers. Throughout the world you will find terminals in which you will discuss this question with something else. I don’t want to delve too much into the story here since it’s best left for the player to discover themselves.
Where The Talos Principle truly shines is in its pacing and puzzle design. Introducing new elements and then lets you understand how they work with smaller puzzles before bringing in more complex puzzles that require some outside the box thinking and exploration of the environment. Starting off with simply using jammers to keep doorways open; things will quickly progress to pointing lasers and using fans to propel yourself and objects.
Everything is impeccably designed with so many “aha” moments when you finally figure out the solution. Sometimes they can be precise; requiring careful exploration of the environment and planning what to do. Whilst other times they can be deceptively simple with red herrings leading you to believe in one possible solution when the actual one is staring you in the face. The best puzzles though are the ones that use all of the games introduced mechanics for some really clever design.
One of the best things about The Talos Principle is how the game is structured; you travel to each of the game’s worlds to solve puzzles. It’s up to you what order you do the puzzles and worlds, so if you are having trouble with some puzzles you can come back later once you’ve done everything else you can. Though a certain mysterious tower will remain inaccessible until you’ve reached the requirements. The reward at the end of each puzzle is a small tetris piece that fit together on a board that will unlock doors or new gadgets in later puzzles.
Admittedly when I first booted the game up on Switch I was incredibly underwhelmed with the performance. It felt sluggish and uncomfortable to play with some sharp stutters. Thankfully when I dove into the settings I did find a performance mode thought it’s still not perfect with some regular drops. It is still very much playable.
As for the visuals itself, The Talos Principle as always been a somewhat pleasing game, even if it isn’t the most graphically intensive. The Switch version keeps most of the visual features intact for a satisfying visual game. Though I noticed quite a lot of pop-ins on the game’s performance mode which I would still highly recommend playing it on. Some of the text could have been enlarged though. I didn’t have any trouble reading it on the small screen but I understand some might.
Whilst there isn’t a lot of sound other than the ambiance, what is there is generally quite good. The character is guided through the world by Elohim. Whilst a small handful of audio logs are present, they are generally well voice acted and help build up the world and its mysteries perfectly.
The Switch port is also includes the DLC, Road to Gehenna. Something that I never played before so there was something new there for me. Without spoiling too much, you play as Uriel in a new adventure set after the events of the main game, whilst new areas are present. It provides even more challenging puzzles with its own gimmicks and tricks.
It’s been a treat revisiting The Talos Principle. One of my all time favourite puzzle games is a perfect fit for the pick up and play nature of the Nintendo Switch even though it’s not a superb port. Now here’s hoping The Talos Principle 2 is around the corner.
There’s a lot of pop-ins and even in Performance mode, as well as some heavy FPS drops. Underwhelming port.
Some of the strongest puzzle design in gaming.
There’s not a lot of sound in The Talos Principle, but what is there is generally really good.
A successful Switch conversion of one of the all time best puzzle games.
Final Verdict: 9.0
The Talos Principle is available now on PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of The Talos Principle was provided by the publisher.