The Talos Principle 2: A Philosophical and Challenging Puzzle Game
It was 6:30 in the morning, and I was capital-S Stuck. I’d breezed through every other puzzle in this area, but I was one step short of a solution here, and it was driving me insane. I finally decided that I needed to go to bed – but as I was brushing my teeth, I suddenly realized the answer, and rushed back to my computer once again. The Talos Principle 2 is full of moments like this, making you feel like Tom Hanks creating fire in Cast Away every time you solve a particularly challenging level. This is a truly incredible puzzle game, but what stuck with me long after the puzzles were the philosophical questions The Talos Principle 2 explores and the story it told alongside them. When the credits finally rolled, I found myself deeply moved, and I’ll be thinking about both that ending and that breakthrough moment for a long time to come.
The Sequel: Thousands of Years Later
I’ll try to keep things as spoiler-free as I can here, but it’s impossible to discuss The Talos Principle 2 without talking about the original. This sequel interestingly decides to pick up thousands of years after the events of the first game. The android at the end of the original Talos Principle, now known as Athena, has created several other androids, and together they built the city of New Jerusalem. While Athena has since gone missing, the androids of New Jerusalem (who consider themselves human) have collectively worked toward fulfilling The Goal: the completion of 1,000 new humans – and you step into the shoes of 1k, the 1,000th and final one.
The Challenging Puzzles
The Talos Principle 2 is set in an intriguing island with a colossal pyramid called the Megastructure. The goal is simple: Solve enough puzzles to activate three towers in the region you’re in, which will then grant access to the Megastructure, where you’ll solve even more puzzles to unlock the next region. Solving the puzzles themselves is pretty simple in theory. However, the challenge comes from all the devious ways you’ll need to guide 1k to a specific, puzzle-ending pedestal in each area.
Every puzzle feels like you’re missing one more item until you solve it. Move a block close to a ledge, and you’ll be able to jump on the block and then jump to the ledge. Use a Connector, and you’ll be able to link an Emitter to a Receiver via laser in order to do things like open a door or turn on a Fan. Each puzzle presents its own unique set of challenges and obstacles.
Smart Level Design
The islands in The Talos Principle 2 are smartly designed, and even if you’re stuck, wandering into any given puzzle will probably give you a clue as to what you need to do in another one. Each island contains only eight Main Puzzles and two hidden Lost Puzzles. You need to do some combination of eight total to activate that island’s tower, but generally you’ll have access to more than one island at a time. That means you’ll rarely be in a position where you can’t progress even when you’re stuck on multiple puzzles.
Difficulties and Solutions
When I got stuck, I often found it helpful to go try another puzzle that forced me to examine both the scenario and my tools in a new way. The Talos Principle 2 also provides Sparks that can be used to “clear” a puzzle without solving it, but these come at a cost and are hard to find.
The Talos Principle 2 is more than just a puzzle game. It poses deep philosophical questions, and the story it tells is captivating. The challenging puzzles keep you engaged and make you feel incredibly smart when you finally solve them. This game is truly a masterpiece that will leave a lasting impact on players.