Get ready to hate Jonathan Blow on the bus, on the train, on your lunch at work, in the queue at the post office…
Apple have been quietly going around, hoovering up brilliant games to adorn the beautifully revamped and pleasantly curated iTunes mobile store. From (timed) exclusives like Monument Valley 2 and Sky, the latest from Journey developer Thatgamecompany, to adventure games like the brilliant Thimbleweed Park, they’re working hard to make the Apple ecosystem more than just a constant churn of Candy Crush clones.
The latest, which really is a bit of a coup, is Jonathan Blow’s The Witness.
It’s been on the cards for a while – we seem to remember J-Blow showing off a prototype iPad build of the game way back in 2012 – but when The Witness released on PC and consoles last year? It just seemed too advanced, and far too pretty, to run on lowly mobile hardware.
And if you’re wondering about some of the tech and design secrets that went into making The Witness so pretty, this deep dive into the grass (yes, just the grass) from programmer Casey Muratori is a great place to start.
The Witness is also a rather good game. Yes, it’s bloody frustrating – and if anybody’s beaten it without referring to a guide or YouTube video at least once we’d be mighty impressed – but it’s one of the finest puzzle games of recent years, mixed up with a compelling, mystery box setting and gently-delivered story.
But what really catches the attention for the iOS release of The Witness is the price. This is a game that originally cost thirty quid (and people got really upset about that) that you can now pick up – in arguably its most convenient format yet, on mobile, to be played on the move with an intuitive, touchy-swipey interface – for a tenner.
Specifically, that’s £9.99 in the UK, or $9.99 in the US, for an enormous game you could pour dozens of hours into. You’ll need an iOS 11 device to play it, but other than that? The release of The Witness on iOS is the most compelling reason to pick it up yet, if you’ve managed to avoid it so far.
It will make you mad, though. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.