Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent
To many, Telltale is the king of not only the point-and-click adventure, but episodic gaming as well. With their work on Sam & Max and Tales of Monkey Island, the developer has proven themselves capable of pumping out regular content and hitting release dates better than almost anyone else in the industry. One thing they aren't known for, however, is moving outside of their episodic point-and-click adventure style. That's not really a problem, per say, just a statement; no one complains that Valve and Bungie stick to making first-person shooters, either, it's just what they do. It's because of this that their most recent release, Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent, is so unique.
The release is part Telltale's Pilot Program, an change in their way of development. Instead of committing to an entire series before releasing the first game, they're planning to first release a pilot to test the waters, and to see if it's something people seem to want. They say it will allow them to take more risks, and try new things that they otherwise wouldn't be able to attempt. There's no doubt that Puzzle Agent is a step in a different direction for the publisher, though it's one that I hope to see taken again.
Developed in coordination with indie comic artist Graham Annable, Puzzle Agent is definitely something different. Besides featuring a unique, illustrated art style, it also has a much different tone than their typical games. While maintaining the Telltale style of humor, it's a dark story, bordering on horror at times. It follows Nelson Tethers of the FBI’s Office of Puzzle Investigations as he's sent into the field for the first time in years. Apparently, an eraser plant in Scoggins, Minnesota has ceased production, and inquiries as to the cause have returned nothing but strange puzzles. While this usually wouldn't be something the FBI deals with, Scoggins Erasers are the preferred erasers of the White House, meaning it's an issue of national security. Or something.