Developer/publisher Thekla, Inc Format PC, PS4
It’s everywhere you look. Every component, every surface of Thekla, Inc’s beguiling island has significance, and has been placed with unprecedented deliberation. Few, if any, games are so multifaceted, or unfurl to such a degree, surprising you each time you reach what appears to be the end of one rabbit hole, only to discover a line of enquiry that runs even deeper. Even on its most superficial level, in the hundreds of line-drawing puzzles that decorate the island, Thekla wrings astonishing variety from its core idea. While initially just labyrinthian, point-to-point navigation, an assortment of ostensibly simple rules complicate conundrums to the point that they initially seem impossible. Gradually, the environment around you becomes an increasingly important consideration in solutions, too, before the idea extends much further than you imagine it ever could, enveloping the entire game in the process. To regard The Witness as too difficult, or too obtuse, is to miss the point entirely: this is a game that truly believes in the player, and actively seeks to draw out the best in them.