You can now play a slice from The Talos Principle for free, if you like. Which I think you should, because a philosophical first-person puzzler from the makers of Serious Sam that seems genuinely awesome is as rare as a kirin in France. Editorial overlord John Walker says that The Talos Principle is a “surprising new direction” for Croteam. Gone are the guns, the manic humor. In their stead stands writing from Jonas Kyratzes and FTL’s Tom Jubert, neither of whom seem to be very frantic nor very frivolous. The “public test” will let you explore “four increasingly difficult complete puzzle levels.” Why? Because the developers want to use you and thousands like you for their additional stress and compatibility testing.
Why should you play this? Because it involves traversing a mysterious island in pursuit of answers to an omnipotent voice’s cryptic designs. This is also a game that questions your similarities to a frog. It checks to see if you’re human. It investigates you, even as you’re investigating it. Additionally, the game presents you the option to sift through consoles for metaphysical discussion and academic literature on ontological philosophy. Honestly. Just look at that.
Look at that. Is that not charming? Does it not make you want to break out the hipster scarf and the black-rimmed glasses, the old books on Greek poetry and the contemporary science manuals?