How far into the darkness would you go to save your child? That is the quintessential question in Tetragon, a recently released puzzle game. Developed by Cafundó Creative Studios out of Brazil, Tetragon tells the story of a woodsman whose son vanishes after entering a mysterious portal in the woods. The woodsman is Lucios, who after following his son into the mysterious nexus, must literally and figuratively solve the puzzle of what’s going on, and how to get his son back.
After a brief introduction of gameplay mechanics, players will quickly have their hands full solving the puzzle of getting from point A to point B in each room. And the general aesthetic of the game is a puzzle that can be looked at from multiple sides, but more like a one-sided Rubik’s Cube than Fez, for example. Moving platforms, rotating the screen 90 degrees at a time, levers, hazards, and deathly falls. All are mechanics that players will need to learn and overcome to succeed. But the game doesn’t pose too much of a challenge for the first couple of worlds. In other words, it really finds a great balance of its challenges.
Then the difficulty ramps up substantially for the third world out of four. Some might enjoy this level of challenge, but more often than not, it leads to frustration. Not only frustration for the puzzles suddenly becoming substantially harder in an instant, but the clunkiness of Lucios and the gameplay mechanics become much more apparent. In general, Lucios moves, jumps, and climbs slowly. Sometimes, he won’t do anything at all. On numerous occasions, Lucios wouldn’t move after a nearby platform had been moved or wouldn’t jump to an area above. Platforms can be really finicky with their responsiveness and the pseudo elevators basically error out if you attempt to move them when you are inside. And as if things hadn’t gotten bad enough, the final level is nothing short of rage inducing.
The visuals have their own charm with their painterly quality. Each of the four unique areas have well developed themes and motifs that come across really well, visually speaking. And a nice graphical touch occurs when moving towards a wall, resulting in a crumbling effect. As for the audio, it’s pretty lackluster. This includes the conversations, which are basically short grunts. The music isn’t very active, feels monotonous, and will occasionally cut out before suddenly reappearing. This leads to a disjointed and disappointing experience in the sound department.
Overall, Tetragon is a great idea on paper, but the end result is frustrating and underwhelming. With the shift in difficulty and mechanics halfway through, it’s hard to say if it’s worth persevering through the second half until the end.
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