By Jonathan Blow
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You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you.
You don't remember who you are, and you don't remember how you got here, but there's one thing you can do: explore the island in hope of discovering clues, regaining your memory, and somehow finding your way home.
The Witness is a single-player game in an open world with dozens of locations to explore and over 500 puzzles. This game respects you as an intelligent player and it treats your time as precious. There's no filler; each of those puzzles brings its own new idea into the mix. So, this is a game full of ideas.
* OS: OSX 10.11.6 or later
* Processor: Intel Core i5 @ 1.8 GHz
* Memory: 4 GB RAM
* Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
* Storage: 5 GB available space
The Witness requires Metal for rendering. Metal is a graphics technology from Apple that allows faster and more fluid graphics. A list of Mac computers that support Metal is available here:
For the best graphics quality and performance make sure to install the latest OS updates.
A Beautiful Game with Few Problems
The Witness is an open exploration game with beautiful visuals and fun puzzles and varied landscapes that you just itch to explore. The only issue I find with the gameplay is that it doesn’t explain the rules and requirements for certain gimmicks. Though most are obvious and easy to learn on your own there are a couple gimmicks in the game that do not make logical sense and will frustrate a player uninitiated with the puzzle rules.
The other problem I had was the dropped FPS in numerous spots of the game (examples of specific areas include the bamboo jungle, the color swamp, and the Monastery). I have a Mac with a 3.1 Ghz Intel i7 Core Processor and 16 GB of RAM, but as powerful as this desktop computer is I still experience framerate drops in this game. Even when I set the graphics to the lowest possible quality all across the board there are still frequent lag spikes that will freeze the game for a second of two, though still vastly less often then when I set the graphics to HD, it is still a present issue no matter how you set the options. I suggest for the developer to look into this some more and if this can be remedied then work on pushing an update of the game in the future.
Overall though The Witness is a great experience, looking past the afformentioned issues. Even if you get stuck on some of the puzzles the vast environment will compell you to explore as much as you can.
Great fun so far! (updated)
I’ve only solved about 60 puzzles so far, but it has been running just fine. As others have mentioned, it is slow to load, but it runs beautifully at full-screen resolution on my MacBook Pro (2015) with max graphics settings.
Update: Now I have finished over 400 puzzles and completed the game. This game is beautifully well done, and has an increible amount of content. I wasn’t able to solve every puzzle, but the ones I missed turned out not to be necessary for completing the game. Many of the puzzles are easy, once you get the hang of it, but some are very hard, even (purposely) exasperating. Don’t give up! The feeling of breaking into new areas after solving tough puzzles is very rewarding.
I made the mistake of tackling the town area first, but those puzzles are based on puzzles eslwhere on the island, so I had to come back to some of them later, after I had been through the rest of the island and learned how to do those puzzles.
The Witness was fun on Playtation and I’m glad I can put it on my laptop for airplane entertainment for memories of the old Myst days. I’m not a fan of some puzzle logic on the island or the timed ones later in the game. Some are just too random or solutions a little too obscure, trying random paths occaisionally will gret you more success than following any method you believe the puzzle points you to. A few puzzles are just a relief when you get through rather than make you feel smart and don’t look too deep. The Witness is basically just a very complicated version of a Denny’s kid’s placemat maze but there’s plent of time to be sunk here. For $40, I believe you will get your money’s worth.