The Switch has been adding a lot of puzzlers to its library recently. This means it is becoming a little oversaturated and harder than ever to stand out. Well, welcome to the fray, Yak & Co. The indie developer has ported their mobile game, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise, to Switch. Can the spy, espionage, and comic aesthetic set it apart from the competition? Let’s take a look.
Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles
Unsurprisingly, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise has you play as Agent A. You are tasked with finding the deadly Ruby la Rouge, who has just blown up a cruise liner. After arriving at her residence and gaining entrance, you find out that she is on to you. She soon traps you in the house. What follows is a series of puzzles to solve so that you can escape and catch your quarry.
Most of these conundrums require you to find either a useful tool, key, object, or code in another room and then utilize it in the correct location. For example, in one of the first rooms you come across, there is a key in a fish tank. You will need to find a magnet in another room in order to retrieve the key from the tank. This leads to a simple minigame where you must lead the key through a basic maze with the magnet. The difficulty in the game comes from figuring out what you can interact with and what to use to do it.
The majority of the puzzles are not that challenging. However, you will come across points where you will be scratching your head for ages trying to figure out what you are missing. In fact, I have not yet completed Agent A. I will happily confess to being stuck about halfway through the final chapter. Knowing that I’ve missed something can be a little frustrating, but I also know that when I crack it I will feel like a champion. It’s this hook that has gotten me through the rest of the game. Getting stuck is just par for the course. The satisfaction you get when you do finally solve it is kind of addictive, though.
She’s got the look
Visually, the game is pretty basic, but it works within the aesthetic it employs. There isn’t much animation except for moving between rooms and a couple of rooms that transform when you hit switches. This doesn’t feel lazy, though. It just seems like that’s the way Agent A is supposed to be. What does feel a little rough are the cutscenes. Shown on my 55” TV, they look a little ropey, with fuzzy edges and very few clean lines. It’s not as bad in handheld mode, which does reflect the game’s past on mobile.
Speaking of playing in handheld, this is one of the games that I have really taken to playing undocked. While you can play with a controller, the touch screen on the Switch makes far more sense. You can just touch the location where you want to go or an object you want to pick up. Moving back (which is mapped to ‘B’ on the controller) is done by touching anywhere on the screen with two fingers. It just feels really intuitive and much easier than using a controller.
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise is a fun little puzzler. It has fairly simple puzzles, but the real challenge is connecting the dots and figuring out what you need to use and where. I may be stuck in chapter 5, yet I can still happily recommend it. The visuals may be a little underwhelming, but it’s more than serviceable for the type of game this is. I would heavily recommend that you play it in handheld mode, too, though using a controller is not inhibiting. However you choose to play it, Agent A will take you on an adventure and make you use your brain along the way.