Step aside 007, there’s a new agent in town, Agent A. Instead of an FPS or action-heavy experience, Yak & Co have delivered a suave secret agent puzzle adventure game in which you must thwart the evil villain’s plans and save the day before it’s too late. Originally released on mobile devices in an episodic fashion, today sees the release of the fifth, and final chapter on those devices as well as a collection of all the episodes bundled together on consoles and PC. So, although it’s a five-part adventure, you get to play the entire experience without having to wait for the next episode to launch.
Although playable on consoles with the controller and a mouse on PC, I feel I had the chance to play the definitive version of the game, the Nintendo Switch edition, as not only can you use your Joycons but you can also use the touchscreen in the same way the game was originally designed – as a mobile game. So, grab your martini and give it a shake as we track down the wrongdoer in this bright and colourful puzzle adventure game which will test your skills of logic and perception…
You take the role of the titular Agent A as you desperately seek out the evil Ruby La Rouge, a spy who infiltrated and destroyed a ship along with all of its VIP attendees (which included your boss). You’ve tracked down her current location to a high-tech seaside mansion, a mansion that has more secrets and contraptions than Inspector Gadget! After finding your way inside by using your powers of logic and problem-solving, you must now traverse through the many rooms within the building looking for clues as to how to proceed next. Although a simplistic game in its appearance, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise is rather crafty and clever in its puzzles, it’ll have all avid puzzle fans scratching their head numerous times.
The mansion isn’t unlocked fully from the start and each chapter seamlessly follows on from one another, offering increasingly more complex puzzles which unlock new areas and locations for you to investigate (all based around the building). However, you are required to remember almost everything you see as there’s also a lot of backtracking and trial-and-error as you remember you’ve seen something previously which could really help you out in the new location you’ve just entered. This is why I’m so happy that we got the whole experience rather than received it in parts as mobile users did, it makes it easier to recall where you’ve seen something earlier on.
The story itself is held together with some great voice acting, nice cutscenes and story narrative/plot points which you’ll find as you investigate each area. Although the story was a little predictable at times, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can easily see myself replaying the entire game once more on the PS4 (maybe even twice as I believe it has two platinums, one for NA and one for EU). As the game was episodic, you can actually jump into whichever of the five chapters you wish, but obviously – my recommendation would be to play them in order and without any kind of guide or outside help for the most satisfying experience. It’s not that hard, in terms of the puzzles, but it is satisfying when you solve something you were stuck on.
As I played this on the Nintendo Switch, I played it 100% in portable mode (as usual), but I did try out the Joycons to see what it would be like playing it on a TV. The game works fine, it’s very simplistic in its controls with only a single button to look or use something and one to go backwards, two actions which are replicated by a single tap and tapping with two fingers at the same time respectively. Although playing with the Joycons was okay – it reminded me of other point-and-click games like Silence, Deponia and The Secret Files, the definitive way to play the game, for me, was by touching the screen – as you would have done when playing the original on mobile devices.
Why? The game looks and feels like a mobile game – not in a bad way though. you can tell the game was created with touch controls in mind first, thus touching everything feels much more natural and satisfying than clicking.
Agent A does have one major flaw though, there’s no option to highlight all of the interactive elements on the screen. Again, as this was originally a mobile game, tapping everything was encouraged as even the items which you wouldn’t expect to be able to interact with could possibly hide the key to the problem you’re facing. This creates a pixel-hunt game when using the controllers as you’ll have to click on everything as you move the cursor around. This is yet another reason why tapping is much easier, more efficient, and faster.
There are even some hidden easter eggs for those with a keen eye – for example, our dastardly evil villain is a cat fancier and someone sent her a YouTube video link – try putting this link into a web browser and see what you get…
I know why you’re interested in this game, it’s all about the puzzles, right?! The game even states it’s a “Puzzle in Disguise”. I’m very happy to say that the puzzles within Agent A are brilliant. I don’t recall seeing the same puzzle twice throughout my five-hour playthrough. You’ll come across both environmental and inventory puzzles which require you to think, recall where you’ve seen a solution previously, and maybe perform a little trial and error, in order to get past them. Each puzzle gave me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as I completed them, I’d thought outside of the box and gone with my instincts in order to find the answer (when I wasn’t just lucky and found the answer by accident!).
I think I only found myself stuck/lost at one point within the game, a point where I wasn’t too sure what I had to do next (as there’s no hand-holding or guidance outside of maybe a cutscene of a few lines of text which hints at what to do). But, it never stopped me from being able to find my way and progressing onwards. I’ve had the game for about four weeks now, long before the general release, so I had to work everything out for myself – Sure, I could have looked up guides for the first four chapters, but where’s the fun in that?!
The inventory puzzles simply require you to drag the items you’ve picked up onto the thing you wish to use them with, such as a screwdriver or cogwheel. Once again, most of these interactions aren’t advised or hinted at, it’s all down to your intuition as a secret agent puzzle fanatic! This is what I loved about the game, it had a good narrative, interesting locations, clever puzzles, and a hands-off approach in letting you freely explore your surroundings in order to work out the solutions for yourself. There are no ‘skip’ or ‘hint’ options here!
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise looks great. Sure, it has a low-poly look and feel to it, with a lot of bold colours, blocky shapes, simplistic textures, and non-detailed designs, but it fits the game perfectly and looks really good on the Switch’s small screen. In a way, I imagined that our protagonist is actually within the real world, looking at a location that looks like real-life looks to us, but because they’re such a puzzle fanatic, they see things differently. Instead of seeing complex designs, items and decorations, in their head all they can see is a simplistic breakdown of what’s around her so that they can locate and solve puzzles with relative ease – that’s my take on it anyway!
As I mentioned previously, the voice acting in the game is really good. There’s chatter throughout and the cutscenes are all fully voiced as well – although anything coming from our protagonist (narrative or inner monologues/thoughts) is only subtitled. Speaking of subtitles, there are eleven languages in which you can play the game in! There are German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Japanese and both Chinese simplified and (I think) traditional. So, anyone can enjoy the story whilst solving the puzzles (which are universal in nature as they don’t require language to understand).
I’m a massive fan of puzzle games and Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise is now one of my favourites. It has a fun and entertaining story along with a bunch of thought-provoking puzzles which really make you think in order to come up with the solution. I’m happy that we got the full product today, rather than the episodic releases which have been happening for a while over on mobile devices. However, if Agent B (which has to be made) comes out in episodic fashion on the Switch or other consoles, I’ll be grabbing it and playing each time a new episode comes out. Some people may not be too keen with the pixel-hunt nature of the game, as there’s no highlight all interactive points option, but after a few hours, you’ll want to click everything anyway, just to see what it does! It’s a delightful family-friendly puzzle game crammed with clever puzzles.
If you’re looking for a casual game to wind down with that’ll take you around five hours (maybe more if using a controller or trying to get all the trophies on other platforms), Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise will easily fill that void for you. Everyone of all ages will enjoy it, nobody will find it too hard, and even those who are avid puzzle fans will find a few of the solutions thought-provoking.
Agent A: A puzzle in disguise£12.99
- - Entertaining story with great voice acting
- - Clever puzzles which make you think
- - Contains all five chapters
- - Lots of funny moments
- - Visually the game looks really cool
- - No option to highlight all interactive spots
- - Easy to sometimes forget what you were doing if you have a break
- - The protagonist ins't voiced yet everyone else is