Puzzle Agent 2 is the sequel to last summer's Puzzle Agent. It picks up right where the original game left off, with you playing as FBI agent Nelson Tethers (of the Puzzle Research Division) as you once again visit Scoggins, Minnesota. This time your task is to figure out what happened to the foreman of the eraser factory, plus other citizens of Scoggins who have disappeared over the years. Your investigation leads you to forest gnomes, astronauts, and dark conspiracies -- plus lots of puzzles -- and it's handled in an odd and charming way. If you (like me) didn't play the original Puzzle Agent, then you can read Agent Tethers' journal to learn about the first game and jump right into the action.
Unlike Telltale Games' other titles, Puzzle Agent 2 isn't really an adventure. You visit locations and talk to people and hunt for used wads of gum, which Agent Tethers chews when he needs help with a puzzle, but for the most part these elements are just window dressing to move you from one self-contained puzzle to the next. The puzzles themselves are a little bit on the easy side. They involve things like figuring out sequences, arranging photographs into the proper order, sliding furniture around, and using math, but I didn't find them to be challenging. I only had to use a hint for one of them (and ended up sort of embarrassed when I saw what the answer was), and most puzzles I finished in under five minutes. Of course, I'm pretty decent at puzzles, so your mileage may vary.
As a puzzle example, early in the game you're given the sequence "11, 12, 1, 2," and you're asked what the next number is. I came up with the answer right away, and for a while I sort of figured that the game was just trying to ease me into things, and would later ramp up the difficulty, but no. Most of the puzzles are only slightly more challenging, and I finished the game and its 33 puzzles in well under five hours. I typically have more trouble with the daily Stickeler in my local newspaper.
Fortunately, the other parts of the game work better. The story is quirky and amusing, the voice acting is surprisingly good, the point-and-click interface is easy to use, and the graphics are functional in a cartoony sort of way, although I'm guessing the game would have looked better if I had played it in a window rather than stretching it to a 1600x900 resolution to fit it on my monitor. Still, the "extras" to the game are nice enough that you'll probably enjoy yourself even if you cruise through the puzzles.
Overall, Puzzle Agent 2 is something of a mixed bag. If you're a hardcore puzzle solver who misses the complexity of games like The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour, then Puzzle Agent 2 might not provide you with anything to get excited about. But if you're a casual gamer looking for something more charming than challenging, then Puzzle Agent 2 might be right up your ally, and well worth its $10 price tag.