Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Looker

While The Witness initially released in 2016 to critical acclaim, it wasn’t without fault. Said faults were then taken and exaggerated in a parody known as The Looker, which was released earlier this year. As a fan of The Witness, when I first heard about The Looker, I thought I might get a kick out of it and decided to give it a try, the main motivator being that it was released for free via Steam. After going through the game mostly blind, I certainly got the entertainment value I was expecting out of it, possibly even more.

The gameplay is very similar to that of The Witness, with the island being more condensed to not stretch the joke too far. The puzzles have a similar sort of approach, except instead of trying to draw lines on a grid, you are literally drawing a line from Start to End, with its own clever and creative twists on the original gameplay loop. I won’t go into too much detail to prevent spoilers, though I will mention that using a drawing tablet for these puzzles provides some extra precision over a mouse and, although the puzzles are generally easy to solve, a handful of them require some out-of-the-box thinking.

While not having the same graphical fidelity as The Witness, The Looker has it own visually appealing style that shows a great level of care in emulating the game it is poking fun at. Another level of the parody is the various audio logs hidden throughout, throwing shade at the pretension in some of the original game’s narration. The audio also comes into play in other humorous ways, though I don’t want to give too much away.

For a parody game, the visuals are on-point.

If you’re a fan of The Witness, consider giving The Looker a try, especially since it’s short enough to not overstay its welcome and is available for free. Additionally, those seeking to play The Looker without having played The Witness should consider playing the latter game first to get the most out of the jokes. That said, while it is best to go in blind for the best experience, I would highly advise staying after the credits roll.

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