6 spoiler-free tips for success in The Witness

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6 spoiler-free tips for success in The Witness

Get a leg-up in Jonathan Blow’s fiendish new PS4 adventure

The Witness is out now. I’ve played and finished Jonathan Blow’s eight-year opus (twice!), but I still haven’t discovered all of its deepest secrets. I’d advise anyone playing The Witness to go in as blind as possible, but having become relatively knowledgeable about the game I’ve come up with six pieces of advice I’d like to share with you.

These tips will not spoil anything about the game’s story, locations, mechanics or secrets. Rather, they’re simply things I wish I had known when I first started playing. Enjoy!

The Witness

  1. Stock up on graph paper
    You’re gonna need it. Sure, you might be able to solve most of The Witness’ puzzles in your head, or by workshopping ideas directly on the panel you’re working on, but there are a number of challenges that will be very, very difficult to solve without a pen and paper for anyone with an IQ under 150.
  2. Use that Share button
    Building off the last point, there are lots of things you’re going to see in The Witness whose function may not be immediately apparent. As luck would have it, PS4 has a built-in screenshot button! Take lots of notes, not only with that graph paper I mentioned above but in the form of visual reminders you can refer back to when you inevitably experience one of those “wait a minute…” moments.
  3. The WitnessThe Witness


  4. Play with headphones
    (Or a very good sound system.) There may be no music in The Witness, but its sound design is some of the best in the business. Not only does the game’s already-impressive sense of isolation really kick in when you’re enveloped by its top-notch ambience, certain sounds are subtle enough that you won’t even notice them without a nice, loud setup.
  5. Don’t overthink it
    When I found myself struggling with a particular puzzle in The Witness, all too often it was a simple case of assuming the solution was going to be more complex than it ended up being. Think back to what you’ve discovered that area’s ruleset to be and try to attack it from different angles, rather than falling into the trap of continually elaborating on an assumed solution that just doesn’t seem to be cutting it. That said, some of these puzzles are merciless, which leads me to my next point…
  6. The Witness

  7. Don’t be afraid to walk away…
    You’re going to get stuck. I promise. The difference here is that getting stuck in The Witness is okay, maybe even intended by its creators. Thankfully, since you have instant access to most of the island right from the get-go, you’re never trapped in any sort of linear progression system.

    Feel free to give up on a particularly challenging puzzle and explore elsewhere for a while — chances are something you do somewhere else will make that missing solution *click* into place. If all else fails, simply coming back to it with a set of fresh eyes will likely help.

    Finally, you don’t need to complete every puzzle in the game to reach its conclusion, so if one has got you well and truly stumped, don’t feel like you’re reached a dead end.

  8. …but don’t give up
    This one’s going to be tough, but please do everything you can to avoid spoilers for The Witness, including solutions to puzzles or explanations of mechanics. So much of The Witness’ magic lies in the sense of discovery and accomplishment that you experience when finding a new area, solving a puzzle you thought for sure was impossible, or finally activating one of those weird laser beam things.Like I said before, you’re going to get stuck. You’re going to want to look up the answer, “maybe just for this one puzzle” to keep things moving along. Don’t do it. You’re only going to be able to experience The Witness for the first time once.

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  • 6.1 use youtube its better and quicker

  • …..but then you wouldn’t be playing any form of game? It would be pointless!

  • I got this yesterday, I’m loving it! One of the best looking games I have ever played and it make you think.

  • Great game so far. Using screenshots can sometimes be really helpful, my memory is not good enough for some of the more complicated puzzles.

    Masterclass of puzzle and game design, that’s for sure.

  • 7: don’t assume your logic/explanation is always right.

    There may be multiple ways to solve/explain some puzzles which may lead to the wrong conclusions and as a consequence has you stuck later on even though you thought you had it figured out. Happened to me already in the very beginning with the blue puzzles (top screenshot). Solved them all, yet couldn’t solve the very first occurrence where you need to apply that knowledge. I thought I needed more info from elsewhere until I unknowingly spoilered myself to the proper explanation.

  • I played for about 3 hours last night. And the gauntlet of emotions went:

    a) This is pretty
    b) Is this it? Seems a bit dull.
    c) Ooo! Now it’s getting interesting.
    d) What?! WHY DIDN’T THAT WORK!?
    e) Oooooo! Clever! I get it now.
    g) That’s it, I’m going to bed!

    The amount of “out of the box thinking” is brilliant. Just when you think you’ve nailed one area it throws you a curve ball. And I’m totally staying away from guides. Without the puzzle aspect, what’s the point?

    • Gamut of emotions!! What the hell is a gauntlet of emotions. I am a fool.

    • ROFL perfect, that pretty much described my experience on it last night. I got to nearly 1am before I realised I was spending a bit too much time it. The “greenhouse” bit is a lot of fun with a pretty funky “ah ha” moment :-D

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