The Witness makes low-key debut at PAX

The first public appearance of The Witness, a new game from Braid designer Jonathan Blow (and a small team of independent designers), almost went unnoticed. Its presence at last weekend's Penny Arcade Expo wasn't announced by an enthusiastic press release or trumpeted by a flashy trailer. It didn't even have a sign.

"PAX is a huge show, with tons of stuff to see everywhere; if the game could hold peoples' attention under those conditions, purely on its own merits rather than by hype or pedigree, then I would know that it was really working," Jonathan Blow wrote on The Witness blog. "Happily, the game worked very well - despite the fact that the visuals are still in an early prototype stage. People tended to play for a long time, and they liked what they played."

Kotaku's Stephen Totilo compared the first-person exploration and puzzle-solving to Myst. The game's beautifully lit and serene world hides abstract enigmas, such as boards that require you to trace the correct route. What's most interesting, however, is that there don't seem to be any prompts or instructions for the player -- making this understated PAX reveal seem very appropriate indeed.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.