Jonathan Blow's "The Witness" is what mobile puzzle apps strive to be. It's a series of puzzles, mostly using computer nodes to navigate through a maze, which will power up the node. Powering up enough nodes will open locked areas.

There are about 600 puzzles in the game and not all of them are required to complete the game. This gives a decent replay value. If there were a mobile app version of "The Witness" it would look like "Candy Crush," accomplishing one puzzle to the next until you hit the final problem.

The game is devoid of background music. It allows focus on solving the puzzles, which increasingly becomes complex the more you go further into the game. It becomes a realization the first few dozen were somewhat a tutorial zone. The ones to follow are brutal and merciless.

It may seem at times that the game mocks you for being unable to solve a puzzle, where the answer is in plain sight. But the absence of the music has a therapeutic effect. It lets minds wander while exploring the colorful island where you are trapped in. It brings in a soothing focus, a time to think back not only about the game, but yourself as well.

"The Witness" is a spiritual journey itself.

Lately, a few videogame developers have taken the risk to put out games of treacherous difficulty and the responses from the community were phenomenal - specifically From Software's "Demon's Souls," "Dark Souls," and "Bloodborne." I would put "The Witness" on the same level of those games when it comes to building focus, molding patience and crafting skill.

Asking help in forums and checking out online guides defeat the purpose of "The Witness." It's like going over the Internet to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube, which was a big thing in the country around 2006 to '07 (as if the young had discovered it for the first time). This approach only reflects impatience, laziness, and outright moronic. There is nothing much to gain or achieve in "The Witness" than complete puzzle after puzzle, and learning from a third-party source how to unravel the secrets of the game would mean pointless. You did pay for the game, so you might as well play it right.

The temptation to seek answers from the Internet will rise as even more complex puzzles start showing up. If you've made it this far, these are the puzzles that will eat you up and spit you out like a piece of trash. Yes, it's brutal in that way. And this is most likely part of Jonathan Blow's design for the game. And I'd like to point out that he's such a bastard for having us grind our brains into bloody pulps before breaking through toward the next puzzle.

Remember, "The Witness" is a spiritual journey, a meditation that one must master to reach enlightenment. Looking at game guides takes away the purpose of playing the game, but it also measures what you as the player in the real world is. Are you going to pursue this course or shout out loud "Fuck it!"?

"The Witness" is a one piece of an art. The other is the player. The game is peaceful, and yes, frustrating, but what you are witnessing here is yourself achieving things beyond the scope of violence and destruction.

About the author: Jon Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.

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