A puzzle game about a fox, who would otherwise be condemned to a life of servitude, is a classic example of the ability of game design to use mechanics to explore the unconscious. And the game’s protagonist, Abrion, is one of the most intriguing characters in recent gaming history. It is his plight, and his struggle to overcome it, that make The Talos Principle such a compelling game.
In The Talos Principle, the player assumes the role of a young human girl named Brion. Brion is the daughter of a wealthy Chinese businessman who has only recently returned from a long absence. Now at the age of seven, Brion has been tasked by her father to leave the United States and travel to a floating, technologically advanced island in the Pacific Ocean called Talos Island where she will live with her mother, Serena, while her father returns to China.
Brion awakes on the island in “The Polar Regions” and is immediately placed in charge of a small team of orphans and their caretaker, Preston Ashmore. Their task is to rescue the Japanese captain, Dr. Shaw, who has been taken prisoner by the AI TALOS and has escaped to this remote island.
Brion begins her adventure with her trusty robotic companion, Charlie, and other members of her team, including Albert, a member of the orphanage staff; Matthew, a translator who is both a mathematician and a linguist; Adria, a tracker, and Mason, the lead scientist in the laboratory. Together, they try to escape their captors and escape the island before TALOS can make its way into the Arctic.
As the team is escaping TALOS, they encounter puzzles and challenges that the player must solve, and solve… at a rate of knots! There are several different puzzles that Brion and her team must solve to progress along the island, and these are presented in a sequential fashion that makes the game’s puzzle design highly challenging for the player.
And each puzzle is not only the most difficult but also the most vital, as the whole structure of the game hinges on these puzzles. Thus, to keep playing the game requires considerable time and patience.
Unlike many other game puzzles, in which you can easily outwit the puzzle to get around the challenge, solving a puzzle in The Talos Principle forces you to face your fears, and work through your fears, which is not something that any of us, living or dead, enjoy doing very often. Thus, the game requires you to become a sort of mental robot who is willing to face your most complex fears. These are the kind of challenges that require our utmost concentration and focus, and such games only thrive on that.
The Talos Principle is an amazing game that is full of innovative design. It’s a perfect example of a game that makes the best use of design elements to create a mind-bending and intense experience.