Taiji analysis –
You could say that Tail , Matthew Vandevander’s first commercial game, is a the likeness-like, if such a thing existed. For many people (among which I include me) that label may be sufficient, but you run the risk of underestimating the work that Vandevander has done to give his own personality to his game; which is inspired by The Witness, yes-here the long explanation, in the very interesting develop-but which is also part of a process of analysis and learning, experimentation and exploration of curiosity, well documented: in text, in text Video and even in games, Puzzle script through. It is not a process that we have not seen before, much less, but personally it is always stimulating to see the fruits of this put into practice what they learned and studying.
Thus, Tail is, indeed, a puzzles game set in an open world in which (almost) everything is puzzles. Distributed on screens with which you are crossing as you explore the map, these puzzles always share the same mechanics: you have to activate or deactivate boxes in a series of grids of different size until you reach the figure that you meet the rules of that challenge concrete. Those rules are Tail’s key; Understand them, learn to solve the puzzles that use them and then understand how they interact with each other, once the difficulty increases and the combinatorial of symbols becomes bigger and twisted, it is the key to the game: understanding the rules serves, obviously, for Complete the puzzles and move forward, but also to open shortcuts, to find new ways of moving by the map, to locate secrets. Everything is done intending; In Super Mario he skips and in Tail it is understood.
It is, again, an idea that is probably familiar with anyone who has played The Witness. And although on paper the similarities seem so great or obvious to enjoy Tail without thinking about The Witness, as the type of meme that walks with one as long as it does not take an eye that passes by its side, the truth is that a Once within this world it is difficult to think about something else, at least for a few days; Another resemblance that plays in his favor. From the central zone where you flow after the brief but effective tutorial (a first collection of puzzles that the game already takes advantage of its first secrets, difficult to locate in a first pass) the roads that take the nine large areas that They make up the map, each recognizable by a symbol. These symbols represent different rules that you have to learn to interpret; Some refer only to what is seen in the panels that contain them, but others are related to their surroundings, which surrounds the panels, even with the nature you can see from a specific activator. It is often cryptic, but Tail is never more cryptic; Even in the moments when the nature of the tracks is ambiguous or obtuse (it happens with the trees, for example, or with the columns) it is possible, if you stop to look for it, find a logic behind each solution.
Nothing is left randomly, of course. I imagine that Tail needs those most ambiguous or obtuse puzzles to fulfill his ultimate goal of being all puzzle, to integrate into his worldview everything in his world and not only the abstract rules contained in the panels, but it is also true that The best puzzles are those that use the rules that depend only on their container. It is those that best allow Vandevander to show off and offer stimulating challenges, often leading to the extreme what the rules can do, twisting the puzzles in very surprising but always understandable ways; of the 3 × 3 or 4 × 4 panels or even 5 × 5 raisins to other giant to live in the same solution. The best thing about Tail is the way he has to take you to those progressively more complex and imposing solutions, memorializing gently when he needs it but without fear of forcing you to think hard if that is what is needed so that you understand well what is happening or What is expected of you. Thus, by the time you get to these advanced puzzles you are not afraid, you are not lazy to unravel that tangle of dots and rhombuses and flowers; Very opposite, it is an almost always surprising and fun process, and in which a friendly attitude and a genuine interest are always noted that you enjoy understanding what you have to do to get to the solution.
By the time you want to realize (in my case, almost twenty hours after starting; it is not a precisely short game), you are in the final stretch and Tail proposes a last turn before deploying their final credits. The final section is more or less brief, but it turns a way to the way you have played during the fifteen or twenty hours that is not only interesting by how it introduces a new but perfectly understandable challenge but also by how it summarizes and confirms that the Main theme, Tail’s key is ENGENDER; The main verb of it, tested in this last section in a way that works exceptionally well as a conclusion. It is not a necessarily more difficult or more complex final challenge, but it hugs or wraps everything you have done so far in a very satisfactory and ingenious way; Checking at the same time that you know how the rules that have made you reach that final area work and allowing you-Of the set.
Returning to the beginning (if something has to have in common this analysis, Tail and The Witness, that is that: the importance of returning to the beginning), I suppose that Matthew Vandevander seeks a specific audience to bring his first great game closer to Jonathan’s second Blow. The comparisons are hateful, of course: it is not the same to make such a first person and 3D game than in 2D, although it is noticed in the pixel art detail attention that does not seem incomparable to that of the island of The Witness. There are effects of effect, of course, and there are secrets of different calibers; It occurs here, again by association, something like a transfer of knowledge that makes these discoveries have in Tail less draft because The Witness has taught you to wait for them, a surely less desirable side effect of having your influences so clear. I have trouble mentioning the influences when I write about Tail , and I imagine it is normal, but I would also lie if I did not recognize that the time I have spent with him (with 350 punctured puzzles, of the 445 that is supposed to In total) it has been much more marked by its own virtues than for how much or little it reminds me of others. It is a game with enough force to not need to be subordinate to anything; In the absence of what is missing to arrive in 2022 (I think of Aurora, for example, the almost debut of Jason Newman, who recently signed the great Riga), is one of most interesting puzzles games of the year. If you do not place vandevander among the big names of the genre, of course it makes a few boxes progress.