Review: Jigsaw

(A rather small review of a very long game. I think I had set my expectations too high for this one. Jigsaw - Details (

20th Century Tidbits

I remember getting a very intimidating book as a present when I was a small child. I was amazed that it had more than a thousand pages. It seemed impossible that anyone would get through such a huge story. It turned out to be a “365 Bedtime Fairytales”-book, with a 3-page story for each night.

What was a relief in the case of the bedtime book turned out to be a disappointment in the case of Jigsaw , a game I had been looking forward to playing for a long time.

Instead of a sweeping epic story taking me past the turning points of recent history, I got 16 smallish (but hard) bedtime puzzles barely held together by an overarching plot. Just as with the bedtime-book, Jigsaw took a long time to finish. I would hardly call it a big game though. More a series of historical vignettes, to be experienced and enjoyed at the player’s leisure.

As for the overarching plot, anyone’s guess is as good as mine. Here’s what I made of it: Black has a plan to change the past to mold the present and/or future to Black’s priorities/preferences. You don’t want that. (Even if some of the changes Black tries to make are really good ideas , like preventing World War I. Your task is to find and reverse the temporal disturbances Black leaves in his wake as he visits certain important times in the 20th century. Black’s and your motives for all of this remain in the dark (to me, at least).

After a confusing introductory sequence (where you need to find an unmentioned exit to progress, not for the only time in this game…), you arrive in the central hub/control centre. From here you can access the different time-areas where you need to solve a puzzle.

Fortunately, the time-areas are mostly independent from each other. As you enter one, you should be able to find everything needed to fix the temporal disturbance. This makes the puzzles merely hard, instead of impossible. Allthough the number of rooms and available objects is limited in every area, you have to time your actions carefully and execute them in a particular order. SAVE and RESTORE are necessary parts of the gameplay.

Most of the historical vignettes were very enjoyable, clearly well-researched and very satisfying to solve. Some were either too hard, or were solvable but took me far into try-everything-on-everything terrain.

I missed a cohesive backstory tying this game together as a whole. However, it’s well worth exploring and trying to solve the puzzles independently. As I said: very satisfying.


I agree with your general sentiments here about “very satisfying” but also “I had set my expectations too high for this one.”.

Curses! is my favorite game ever, so I thought that a ‘grander’ game by the same author would be even better, but Jigsaw is not even in my top 5%. It’s really well-made but it’s really fiddly and (for me) hard, and the genre kind of veers around a lot (super serious events but also kind of a weird rom-com with the incorrigible Black plus some puzzles that verge on the mundane). I guess it would go on my (hypothetical) list of ‘epic games I would consider great and include in lists of important IF but probably won’t play for fun’, like Christminster or The Legend Lives

I’m really impressed you beat it with only a few peeks at the walkthrough! I followed that thing step for step after the first world. Your puzzle-solving skills are great!.


I loved Christminster! After cheating to get the timing on the first puzzle right, that is.

Solving Jigsaw took about 8 weeks on and off. Some puzzles were hard but logical once I had sufficiently explored the area (the moon), some I had to look to the walkthrough to get the order right (the Titanic), sometimes I had to try all sorts of combinations (East Berlin).
I had to retrace my steps to a previous SAVE when I entered the one area that is dependent on an object from another time-zone, and I needed a small nudge in the endgame.

And you reminded me of the lightsource I forgot.

More than puzzle-solving skills, I think it was patience to do the footwork of try-fail-repeat.

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