In my earlier post on Zero Time Dilemma, I mentioned my fondness for puzzle games and how I enjoy that sense of accomplishment upon having solved a particularly challenging obstacle.
One thing I appreciated about Zero Time Dilemma was that it never really hands you the solution on a silver platter. Granted, some puzzles may be a bit easier or the solutions more obvious than others, but it was still up to me to find the pieces, analyze the information given to me, and put them together correctly. The characters do offer small hints in the form of dialogue as you go along, but it’s never in a way that clearly points out the solution or simply hands you the answer. The task of figuring out the puzzle is still very much reserved for the player.
One minor frustration I found myself running into once or twice was being confronted with a part of a puzzle and, at a glance, knowing what the game wanted of me to solve it, yet not having yet picked up a necessary clue or progressed far enough in exploration to actually have the option to solve it. For example, in an early puzzle in the game, one team finds themselves in a locked room and they must take pictures of “keys” in order to unlock the door and escape, essentially. I spent a large amount of time in that room, noticing anomalies and strange patterns created by various objects. I knew these were the “keys” the game was trying to get me to obtain, but because I had not yet found the camera with which to take pictures, I was at a standstill, even though I knew the solution.
It wasn’t until, in my increasing frustration, I began tapping small, random buttons on a console in one corner of the room that a compartment opened up, granting me access to the digital camera I needed to take pictures of and obtain the keys. It was mostly my fault for not being as thorough as I needed, but the camera was hidden away and the button to unlock it was so tiny and not apparent that I spent a bit of time wandering around that room, being exasperated because I could see part of the solution to the puzzle, I just could not obtain it.
All in all, despite a few instances of getting temporarily stuck in certain puzzles, I still appreciate the fact that Zero Time Dilemma does not go out of its way to hand over the solution. While some answers to puzzles may be more obscure than others, it still did nothing to diminish that sense of accomplishment I felt once all the pieces had finally clicked into place.
Zero Time Dilemma will release for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita in North America and Europe on June 28th, and in Japan on June 30th. The PC version for Windows will release worldwide on June 30th.