I will freely admit that puzzle games are not among my strengths. As HVN will be able to attest from my attempt at playing Portal 2, me and puzzles tend to result in frustration simply because I tend to resort to brute forcing my way through them if the solution isn’t immediately obvious to me. With 2D puzzles, this isn’t QUITE as big an issue, but, well, you’re not going to see me covering puzzle games a lot, to say the least.
So why am I talking about Missing Translation, considering it is basically a puzzle game at its core? Simply put, it’s because it is just a great game. Not a flawless one, but I can’t help enjoying it enough to recommend it. Which is high praise indeed when you consider my…less than stellar skills with puzzle games.
The game is interesting in that it doesn’t have any dialogue to it: the story (which isn’t a lot, admittedly) is told through the on screen visuals only, which makes it a game which is very capable of being enjoyed by just about any audience. The aesthetic is also quite interesting, aiming for a black and white movie vibe with a somewhat pixelated appearance that is JUST enough to be somewhat retro, but doesn’t overdo it to the extent of being somewhat gimmicky.4
The puzzles are also fairly challenging, as far as I could tell. They weren’t so challenging that you’d have to be an expert at puzzle games to beat them, but they offer enough challenge to make the latter ones genuinely require some thought to beat. While it IS very possible to brute force them, you’ll usually find that the higher difficulty puzzles require you to take some time to look over them to spot the solution, and sometimes even that won’t prevent you from making mistakes that require you to go over the puzzle again to see where you went wrong. I like these kind of puzzles whenever I come across them, as the solution is genuinely on the board and the solution is usually one where you can spot where you went wrong very quickly and correct it, but it doesn’t sacrifice challenge either. It’s challenging, but it’s not an unfair challenge either.
I know this is going to be a short review, but, really, my only main comment is that the game felt like it could have gone on longer without any difficulty, and I’ll admit that I deliberately didn’t play every single set of puzzles in the game, so this is more a comment at the game when played at the bare minimum rather than the game as a whole (because, well, there ARE more puzzles available than the default 3 required to beat the game!). For a free game, it’s genuinely worth a playthrough and could easily keep you engaged for a good amount of time if you’re determined to play through every puzzle available. It’s a short review, but simply because I don’t have a lot I need to say about the game: it’s a fun game, it’s got an interesting aesthetic, the puzzles are tough, but fair, it tells its story without dialogue…not really a lot more I need to say, in all honesty! If you like puzzle games, give it a shot!