There’s a lot to like about Tron: Identity, the new title from Bithell Games that’s out today. But for us, it’s its puzzles that we can’t get enough of.
Based on the popular Disney property, Tron: Identity is a visual novel that sees players step into the shoes of Query, a detective program who’s been tasked with investigating a serious crime. Query’s world – the Grid – has been seemingly abandoned by its creator, and without user intervention, programs are left to face unprecedented situations. The one that you’re dealing with is a break-in and explosion in The Repository, the heart of the Grid.
As Query, you’ll need to talk to characters, asking the right questions and getting to the bottom of what’s happened. There are branching decisions for you to make, shaping the outcome of the story, and so you’ll have to think carefully about how you act. Do you want to get friendly with the people you meet, or do you want to stick to business? It seems that everything might have a consequence, and so you’re going to have to tread carefully.
It’s safe to say that Tron: Identity‘s story grabbed us from the get-go. This is an intriguing world, and it’s brought to life with well-written, three-dimensional characters. You’ll quickly want to delve deeper and find out more about the people – sorry, programs – you meet. Even if you’re not too familiar with the Tron franchise, this is a story that stands on its own two feet.
But as well-written and excellently-presented as Tron: Identity‘s narrative is, it’s the puzzles that are going to keep us coming back for more. It’s not a surprise that we’re loving them so much, really. After all, this is the studio that brought us Thomas Was Alone, one of the most beloved indie puzzle games of the 2010s. And The Solitaire Conspiracy, Bithell Games’ last title, offered a similar blend of storytelling and puzzles. Good puzzles are part of the studio’s DNA, and Tron: Identity solidifies that further.
Essentially, puzzles are presented as a way of accessing characters’ memories. Each time you solve a puzzle, Query is reading someone’s Identity Disc and ‘defragging’ it. A puzzle is a circle made up of blocks, with each block having a number and a symbol. Your goal is to clear the circle of blocks, until you’re left with the target number – typically two or three.
To clear a block, you need to match it with another block that shares the same number or symbol. But here’s the kicker: it can only be matched with a block that’s adjacent or three blocks away. And so, starting a puzzle is typically very simple – but as you progress, it’s all too easy to find yourself in a deadlock situation. Don’t worry, though: for those moments, there’s an ‘undo’ button.
Tron: Identity‘s puzzles are incredibly simple in design, then, but they’re oh-so satisfying to complete. As you progress through the game, these puzzles will get more complex by adding in new symbols, higher numbers and obstacles, such as blocks which can’t be cleared. But no matter how many blocks are in your circle, the goal is always the same: clear as many as you can.
We’re very grateful for the ‘endless’ puzzle mode accessed from Tron: Identity‘s main menu, which lets us dive into as many puzzles as we like. You can tinker with the settings, making them as complex or easy as you’d like, and you can choose to add a timer if you want to work under pressure. There’s also a daily challenge, giving you reason to jump into the game every day to test your skills.
The puzzles in Tron: Identity aren’t the only reason to jump in. There’s an excellent story here, fantastic design and a killer soundtrack that perfectly sets the scene. But when we’re long done with the narrative, we know we’re going to keep playing just for these wonderfully designed, simple little puzzles. We just can’t get enough.
Tron: Identity is available now on PC and Switch.