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The puzzles are a bit of a disappointment too, coming off of the first game. They're easier on the whole - only a handful gave me any real trouble, whereas I got stuck for some time on a solid half of the original game - and while the new mechanics are interesting, there are too many of them and not enough puzzles to explore them to the extent they deserve.
The new way of handling secrets, exploring open worlds, is not my preferred gameplay but it was done pretty well - I didn't find all the stars in the end, but I had fun looking for them. I still had a good time, and the last bit of the game really made me come away with a better impression than I was expecting.
I compared it to La-Mulana 2 while playing and realized later that Portal 2 is an apt comparison as well. A sequel that tries to do too much, adding a bunch of wacky characters, and fails to see what made the first game great - clever puzzles, focused design and a sense of mystery. I appreciate what they were trying to do, but for me, it didn't land.
I'm mad though because I was gonna go back to get all the stars I missed at the end but when I finished it hadn't saved since like 14 puzzles ago and I can absolutely not be bothered to do them again
I'm also a big fan of the plot and atmosphere. The mystery slowly unravels at a pleasant pace and it never gets in the way of the gameplay. When I first played it years ago it gave me my second major existential crisis that lasted like a month so it must have been doing something right