Reviews from

in the past

Incredible game, truly a masterpiece of Game Design. While this isn't a game everyone will enjoy, it's gameplay and visuals will make those who will LOVE this game

I am so unbelievably conflicted about this game. What it does right is brilliant and genuinely some of the best things I've ever experienced in a game. What it does poorly, however, is unfortunately distracting. Regardless, I genuinely deeply respect this game.

"Oooh... Ahhh.. yes, yes. I see... I SEE now! It appears I have become... The Witness" ~ You, transcending gameplay itself!

good game for terminally online people

What do you mean look at it through the tree.

Played this with my girlfriend. We made it probably 5 or so hours in and then had to give up out of frustration/boredom.
I'm already not particularly much of a fan of puzzles in games, and this is strictly puzzles. I thought I'd try it out anyways due to peoples general praise of it.
I see why people love it, but at some point the puzzles just become too annoying to care anymore.
I will say some of the things that we did figure out we felt pretty great about. It's just that those great moments were surrounded by moments of wandering and confusion.

I don't like the word pretentious. I very rarely use it to describe something. It feels condescending and dismissive of an artists' effort but The Witness? Yeah it's super pretentious.
Simply inserting philosophical quotes/passages/ramblings by historical figures in a game otherwise completely devoid of any narrative direction and leaving it "open to interpretation" does not make your game smart. It's cowardly. The Talos Principle is a puzzle game with similar vibes and a similar desire to convey heady themes but it does so in a self-assured, confident manner without resorting to cheap vagueness.
Narcissistic, superficial trash from a narcissistic, superficial developer.

shut up jonathan you pompous PRICK shitty arse waiting around doing fuck all while 50 bajillion parts slowly move into place for one stupid ass puzzle. dont make a map with an artstyle that looks cool if ur just gonna make me look at fucking monotone screens 95% of the time you smelly moron

Mostly great puzzles but certainly an interesting choice to have such a pretty overworld just to end up with grids taking up the entire screen 90% of the time lol. I know the creator Blow is controversial - I definitely got a sense of how highly he thinks of himself from the game itself through audio logs - but putting all that asshattery aside (separating art from the artist blah blah), I had a good time. Also I shouldn't have forced my way through Quarry as my third laser, that was brutal lmao

To be fair, The Witness stands on the shoulder of giants in the 3D explorative puzzle genre, yet it manages to fall flat in comparison to the likes of Myst (1993!), The Room series, The Talos Principle, among many others. The puzzles feel like something I'd play on my phone while waiting at the doctor's office, almost nonsensically strewn together. The environment is pleasant and I'm sure there is some deeper meaning somewhere, but the lackluster gameplay forced me to quit early. My advice: go play The Looker, a parody of the Witness; or better yet, play Myst. You'll have more fun sorting through Myst's 10 floppy disks than any puzzle in this game.

This review contains spoilers

Uma obra prima, a filosofia do jogo é simplesmente incrível, e é muito satisfatório fazer os puzzles, para mim é um 10/10

why do people hate jonathan blow serious question idk anything about the guy
besides the hilarious name
great game tho 10/10 i like it

I am trapped between two worlds
World 1) my partner walked in on me playing this. "it's a puzzle game," I said, remembering how much he enjoyed playing through return of the obra dinn with me. "you like puzzle games. do you want to try this together?" anyway, he sat behind me for a total of five minutes before throwing up his hands in despair and walking out. "I'm not gonna fucking sit here and watch you play snake for hours," he said.
World 2) My friend, who recommended I play this, is very excited to watch my progress as I make the way through; this has been a harrowing experience where he makes soft noises of disapproval as I attempt to lizard brain my way through the puzzles. it is destroying my self esteem and it's not like that was in a good place to begin with
so like, i'm not at a point where i can review this but: please send help

One of the best puzzle games ever made.

I completed this game without looking at any guide or walkthrough online. I'm really impressed by the game especially with how much better it was than I excpected it to be with how much negativity I heard about it online. Instead of being frustrated all the time, I got one of the most clever and fun puzzle games I've ever played in my life with how it was able to twist and bend it's simple system in new and intresting ways.

It's just line puzzles. Can't I do that on my phone?

my favorite part was when jonathan blow made that guy roleplay falling and hurting himself like a big oaf, classic blow move

Individual puzzles in each area range from boring and stupid to revelatory and awesome (usually averaging out to be pretty good), but take up so little time on average that they kind of go in one eye (or ear, should be so unlucky) and out the other. The (attempted) interesting part of The Witness is the use of space and ways the spaces the puzzles inhabit “bring it all together" with the walks between the maze screens presenting their own complications, and often times resulting in a sort of "final boss puzzle."
When looking back several months to when I first played the witness, this part of the game completely dwarfs individual puzzle experiences in my mind. I’m pretty sure I didn’t care for the individual puzzles in the treehouse level but who cares, the bridge puzzle is the coolest thing in the game. I vaguely remember liking the individual puzzles in the hedge maze fort, but who cares the final puzzles are stupid time wasting memorization. I absolutely hated the individual mazes that incorporated the tree branch shadows, but loved the way they synthesized both themes for the final puzzle. The greenhouse color puzzles were kind of cool at first, but the final elevator was so dumb that I can only look back on the area in contempt.
The volatility of this dynamic defined my emotional experience with The Witness, as the conceit of the game’s world is that it was solely and specifically constructed for the puzzles. When the environments fail to significantly enhance the puzzles, or use their teachings in interesting ways, they have nowhere to hide like they do for me in a Myst, a Riven, or an Outer Wilds, with their Lewis and Clark-sy fascinations with exploring the details of their own worlds. In The Witness, more than all of the aforementioned games, the trees, mountains and rivers are nothing more (outside of a not insignificant aesthetic appeal) than extensions of those puzzle boxes. When The Witness’s world and environments fail, it's a total failure, and to me, The Witness totally failed with disappointing frequency.
Final note: this game didn't Tetris Effect me at all, like not one time did I see a circle or line out walking around and think of The Witness. This kind of makes me really hate the final cutscene, it called its shot and missed really bad.

This game is amazing but I am never finishing it.
As far as puzzle games go this game has some extremely good ideas that makes for really enjoyable puzzles ramping up in complexity, and the simple choice to force you to figure the puzzle mechanics out on your own gives you a deeper engagement with the game that makes it fulfilling in a big big way.
... and I really just wish they were put into a more accessible game. For as much as I love it I just keep getting gated by that one puzzle that hits my brain limit. Some particular points are too insane for me and I keep finding a point like that no matter how many times I try to come back to this game, so it's a shame that I have to say this game as much as I enjoyed it isn't one that is getting finished. Like I said, I hope more puzzle games take inspiration from this one just more accessible, I may unfortunately have been too dumb for this one.

I'm weak. I cannot remove the art from the artist.

Jonathan Blow walks into an art gallery saying he's got the biggest, deepest art you've ever seen, something only his incredibly intelligent mind could create. This will redefine the entire concept of art.
He unveils it and it's a video of a bunch of bright colors flashing wildly, immediately giving any epileptics in the room a seizure. He says that they are not interpreting his art correctly.

I view games as a dialogue between the creator and the observer - and along those lines, I dont think The Witness is a bad game...... I think its a callous and confrontational game that wishes to express its fascinations only to the most patient and accomodating.

This review contains spoilers

This Puzzle game is no where near as good as people have been calling it, that I can't even call it positive. The Interpretation of the game is that you are actually a man testing the game that is being made, until you finish your true task and leave the game, and afterwards, the tester sees patterns for a while from playing the game, causing a Tetris effect, and after checking the game out, the hidden meaning I got from this game is that it is a warning about perceptions, but the problem is the way they get across it is very lazy, the puzzles only hint at a bad perception of playing games, that easily go away when life gets in the way, and the only things that give the meaning of meaningful perceptions are just tapes and videos inserted into the game for players to find, listen to, and that's it, the thought process is as confusing as 1-getting examples of my meaning, 2-copy, 3-paste, 4-sell it for a lot of money, that is not an impressive way to show different perceptions in any way other than "How to do a hidden meaning without imagination being put into it" and when the whole point of the game, the thing that makes the "nothing but the same task" gameplay meaning is lazily done, that makes the game BAD and lazily done. The Graphics are beautiful, very simplistic, but the art style's shows off it's tools in a stunning island to travel through. The Gameplay has you travel around the island solving different types of line puzzles, but you have to learn the answers to them for yourself to discover, and the many types of ways in each various area can be easier or harder depending on the player, well also finding environments that look like parts of the puzzles as well if you look hard enough, until the 2 endings, the puzzles themselves can be fun, and interesting of how to beat them, but it could also bore people depending on the type of player, and the biggest problem with the gameplay is that not all of the various areas use the environment is a different way to solve them, which is bad since the majority show a different way of including the environment to them, but a few random places don't for some reason, and it feels out of place, especially since the hidden meaning I thought of behind this game suffers from whole areas that don't focus on using the environment, since the Hidden meaning of the game relies on seeing the real world in a certain perception, but they decide to only do that for certain areas, and skip that format on others, and even without that, there is nothing between the different areas of the game for an interesting transition, it's just do 1 area to activate a beacon, now walk to any other one and do the same, until you done enough areas to activate the mountain area, that isn't enough for interesting rewards or goals, also the line puzzles at the end of the Jungle area don't sound like the size of the dots they represent to me, the Town's light puzzles can be confused for the light puzzle "that was introduced better" from the greenhouse, and will cause you to get this puzzle wrong, and I hate the Town panel with shadows that is actually supposed to be solved by finding an area that light shines off of it. The Music is very peaceful to hear, gives off an relaxing island atmosphere that benefits the environment surrounding the game. The Witness is an example of how lazy meanings can trick people into thinking a product is good, and only exist to make it easier for intelligent critics to show how to tell the difference between doing meanings/themes right or wrong.

Woah wait, people actually clicked on those audio logs?
I played this game with a group of friends, and we would not have stuck with it if any of us had tried it independently. One was color blind, one was tone deaf, and we each had brains that clicked with different puzzle sets separate from the puzzles that we were physically incapable of perceiving. But together, there was enough variety for everyone to feel involved and contribute.
Gameplay wise, the concept of The Witness is unimpeachable. Some of the puzzles were fun! Some of them were incomprehensible! A lot of them felt mean! But the mean puzzles felt so in the way where a human was challenging you to a bar bet. Even if you won, the impression was that you saved face more than you gained anything valuable. (At least the developer had the decency to make its most evil puzzle designs completely untethered from game progression.)
One of our party, upon learning the name of the developer associated with this game, claimed Johnathan Blow to be one of the greatest video game villains of all time. While there are no characters in The Witness, it definitely feels like you are fighting against something. Something that uses your compulsions for pattern seeking and completionism against you in novel and obnoxious ways.
Overall, we had a solid A-rank, 4 star experience with the game. For such a simple concept, the iterations and creativity kept our interest through to the end. The art design was tasteful and lovely, even more necessary for a game that heavily leans into environmental puzzle design. Completing the certain challenge at the end felt like triumphing over a nerd fight in the best and lamest ways.
That being said.
I am shocked that anyone could be fooled into taking this game's stapled-on pretentious bullshit seriously. The audio logs, the movie clips, the incredibly self-indulgent secret ending - it was all so removed from the delightfully aggravating experience of the gameplay as to be entirely optional. Merely mentioning its existence already feels like I have drawn too much attention to something that has null value.
The Witness is not "about" anything. It is a collection of puzzles. I am not someone who thinks you should not look into the meaning of games, their gameplay or ludo-narrative dissonance or harmony. I think about such things a lot. I actively seek out new connections and perspectives. And in my not un-trained, not inexperienced opinion, The Witness is not about anything external to the experience of solving simple yet satisfying line puzzles.
You would have an easier time convincing me that Elvis got facial reconstruction surgery and is currently President of the United States than you would that any of the media sampled in The Witness even remotely matters. To try to provide arguments against such an absence of value is so prima facie absurd I don't know how I could navigate that discussion with more respect or nuance than to politely affirm that everyone gets hoodwinked sometimes. If the island of The Witness was devoid of puzzles, and only had the audio logs and video clips to find, The Witness would be labelled so incomplete as to not have earned the right to be mocked. And I know exactly what that kind of experience feels like.
Annoyed I had to clarify something on an otherwise extremely solid puzzle collection, highly recommend.

Jonathan Blow is the Elon Musk of indie games