The Talos Principle II Review

The Talos Principle looks to be exactly my kind of game – first person puzzling with all manner of tricky scenarios is right up my street. Which makes it all the stranger that I somehow missed playing it when it was released back in 2014. Needless to say, I didn’t want to repeat the same thing again when The Talos Principle 2 was revealed, so I’ve spent the last week or so working my way through it – and I’m glad I didn’t skip this one over too, even if it’s not quite what I expected.

The crux of the gameplay in TTP2 is indeed puzzle solving. Within the worlds lore, these puzzles act as tests from the inhabitants creator, a way of showing your worth and intellect within the society. There’s a surprisingly well written and philosophical story told throughout the game, with questions of reality, higher powers, the end of the world, and rebuilding civilisation that goes pretty in depth when setting up the journey we go on. We play as 1k, the supposed final creation in this new civilisation, as we set off to discover the meaning behind a newly discovered Megastructure that holds clues to the past – and possibly the future. There’s a lot of lore to discover, conversations to be had, and dialogue trees to follow; maybe a tad too much, though most of it is admittedly optional. I enjoyed the majority of it, but must admit began skipping over the more in-depth conversations after a while.

Inside the Megastructure, we’re treated to a slight change of pace – but fret not, the puzzles don’t stop

But back to the puzzles themselves, and it’s here I had far more interest in seeing what was next. In order to unlock each section of the Megastructure, we need to solve at least 24 puzzles, split out over three semi-open worlds. Each of these has eight main puzzles, a couple of extra puzzles, some challenging hidden objectives, and a lab to find to further flesh out the story. As long as we solve any eight puzzles, we can then enter each areas tower (via another bespoke puzzle involving lining up Tetri-style blocks) and activate that area’s laser to open the Megastructure.

Each area tends to base its puzzles on a different mechanic (though all revolve around different coloured lasers and locks), and they gradually get harder and require more ingenuity to solve using the same rulesets. One area might have us combining colours using a RGB mixer, another gives us one or more extra humanoid beings that we can transpose ourself into to be in more than one place at once, while another still forces us to swap items in and out of a useable state.

Get used to seeing this sort of cacophony of colour – this is one of the simpler examples…

What I love about these sorts of puzzle games is that initial feeling of intrigue as we enter the area, looking at the tools before us and figuring out where to start, then feeling the flow of the cogs turning in my head as I place this here and that one there, then ding ding, success. Talos Principle 2 nails this feeling and then some. It’s far from a straight forward set of challenges, and entering each of the puzzle locations rarely failed to give me that same thrill of the unknown.

As well as the tools available to us, we also need to be mindful of a few other rules which can trip us up from time to time. The lasers, for example, cannot cross as this will cancel them out. So we must find a way to elevate or alternate them when required. This was the first time I got truly stuck, with all of my brain power having clearly been exhausted on getting the solution in order – all I had to do was move one of the laser repeater nodes back a touch and I’d have been fine… Crucially, each puzzle layout – even when we’re banging our head against the wall – is fairly laid out and well designed. There’s never really any ambiguity or ‘but this should be working’ that isn’t our fault, and solving each puzzle is just as satisfying as the last.

What would a first-person puzzle game be without some way to create these handy holes that things can pass through?

The Talos Principle 2 is a pretty great looking game too, using Unreal Engine 5 to create some stunning looking scenes at times. The main hub world of New Jerusalem especially caught my eye, but each of the puzzle locations are lovely to look at too. If I had to pick fault with anything here though, it’d be that – as nice as they look – the open world sections are a bit too busy and empty at once. See, the puzzles are laid out on a linear path (complete with handy directional signage), and the extra puzzles and bits are spread out within the area, marked with a ? on the compass. Outside of these though, there isn’t much to find except a lot of foliage, some more foliage, maybe a wild animal or two, and a bit more foliage. For how wide they are, I’d have liked to see a bit more to discover to make exploring more worth while. There are hint tokens to find – small balls of fire that blend into the background a bit too easily – but there’s not many, and chances are we’ll spend minutes at a time running about with nothing to show for it.


Stick to the main path though, and The Talos Principle 2 is about as rewarding a puzzle game I’ve ever played. It’s smart and challenging while not being overly obtuse and difficult and the depth to the story and writing is a nice surprise. Trimming some of the bloat down a tad wouldn’t be a bad thing, but as it is, this is yet the latest hit in a stellar year for game releases.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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  • Smartly designed puzzles
  • In depth and interesting story
  • Extra puzzles and exposition there for those who really want more
  • Very good looking
  • Open worlds could use more to find to give them a purpose
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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