Jan 26, 2017
Much has been made of the puzzles featured within The Witness, the recent release from Jonathan Blow (developer of Braid), and they deserve any admiration they receive. The game is more than just a series of mind benders, however. It also offers the chance to tour a beautiful island paradise, one that comes to breathtaking life on the new NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
Rather than go the hyper-realistic route, the developers at Thekla Inc. adopted the cel-shaded style memorably used in a number of other games. In The Witness, that simple but effective art style is used to perhaps its greatest effect yet, turning the varied island environments into a true wonder to behold.
As you explore the island, you’ll encounter a variety of trees. Some are naked, black skeletons that rise toward the sky while the desert sand stretches around them like a blanket. Others are covered in foliage: greens and oranges, even pink. Their hues bring to mind the cycle of the seasons, and they contrast beautifully with the surrounding foliage and architecture.
Water is also rendered beautifully, whether that be the placid shoreline as it plays over the shallow sea bed, or the foamy caps of waves colliding with boulders. There also are cascading waterfalls, and turbulent rapids. Water greets you at every turn, constantly in motion, not the lifeless backdrop to which gamers have often become accustomed.
The island’s attractions, though a pleasure to view up close, often look even better when glimpsed from afar. As you climb the cliffs near the center of the region, you can see roots embedded in the clay wall, protruding the patches of soil that rest between large boulders. Continue along the trail and, at several points, you’ll find yourself looking out over a sea of trees, to distant towers and the endless ocean beyond.
Such views have rarely been so beautiful within the medium, and the knowledge that you can walk virtually anywhere you see adds another layer to the experience. It’s a seamless experience that makes every boulder, fern, and stretch of rocky trail feel more genuine.
The Witness is available now on NVIDIA SHIELD TV for $19.99 (half the price of the PC edition). As you solve the island’s puzzles, enjoy beautiful sights such as those pictured above and find favorite places of your own. There are plenty to go around…
This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partner’s.