The Talos Principle 2’s demo is a “specially tailored” intro to its gorgeous sci-fi puzzles

Fans of grassy stone megastructures, winding scholarly backstory, and dinky robot guys are in for a treat this week, as Croteam and Devolver Digital have released a demo for The Talos Principle 2, offering a “specially tailored” assortment of first-person puzzles and philosophical musings ahead of the game’s November release.

As in the 2014 original, which Philippa Warr (RPS in peace) rather liked, the sequel mixes tidy spatial conundrums involving blocks and laser beams and the like, with an ornate “philosophical odyssey” penned by writers Jonas Kyratzes (whose other credits include The Eternal Cylinder) and Tom Jubert (whose other credits include Subnautica), plus new scribe Verena Kyratzes (whose other credits include Serious Sam 4).

On the puzzling front, you’ll now have to wrestle with the applications of mind transference and gravity manipulation. The narrative, meanwhile, follows on from the events of The Talos Principle and takes you to a “city on the brink of a paradigm shift” and a “mysterious island that holds the keys to the future”. It has multiple endings. For context, Philippa described the previous game’s world as sort of like the Crystal Maze, that totempole of existentialist daytime TV, but with zones consisting of “Mediterranean, Desert, Ecclesiastical and Big Hulking Tower”.

The demo – which you can download here, in advance of Steam Next Fest – treats you to a few puzzles from the very beginning of the game, then jumps forward to roughly the halfway point, so you can see how things evolve. Bear in mind, however, that saves don’t carry over to the full game, which releases (somewhat bravely, given the competition) on 2nd November.

I missed the original game, but I’ve chinstroked and headscratched my way through the likes of The Witness, The Forgotten City and Portal, and both Talos Principle games look like worthy additions to that crowd. Going by Matt Cox’s thoughts from 2017, there’s a split between players who like the series most for its sage backstory discussions and those who just want to make refracting laser beam go brrrr. Do you have a preference?