So things carried on much as before. Puzzles that were impossible were suddenly solvable if I went away somewhere else for a bit and came back. I found more lasers – seven of them, in fact – and triggered the puzzle at the top of the mountain. A puzzle that took over an hour to solve by itself, I should point out. This (spoilers!) opened the inside of the mountain, and here there were even more puzzles. Because of course there were.
A lot of the puzzles here were corrupted in some way. The screens were broken, flashed, scrolled or had incorrect colours. One of them even span round, faster and faster as I got closer to completing it. Frankly, the whole area was a bit hard on the eyes as well as the brain, but I persevered and eventually made it to the base of the mountain and even here – right at the end of the game – they devs found yet another way to reuse the same grid puzzles in a different way by wrapping them around pillars.
With those completed, I was treated to the end of game island flyby, and then was plonked back at the very start of the game again – only I noticed a secret environmental “circle and tail” which involved the sun, and activating that allowed me to enter the most bizarre end of game credit sequence since… well, The Stanley Parable, I suppose. And after that, there was a FMV sequence which I won’t describe as it really is a spoiler. It was all very odd.
Now, I’d finished seven lasers but I’d been told there were eleven. I knew where the missing four were, and most were very close to being activated so I reloaded a save from just before completing the game, and didn’t take long to get three of them. The area in the desert, however, I’d not even started so it took a little while to work through there. With all eleven lasers pointing at the mountain (one needed tweaking with a mirror in the town, I noticed), I found The Great Glass Elevator again and triggered it only to be given the same ending. I thought I’d missed something, but it appears not. Aside from Challenge Mode, which I found and opened up. Oh god.
Challenge Mode then, is a set of puzzles you trigger by playing In The Hall of the Mountain King on a record player. Each puzzle is random, and you have until the song finishes to do them all. None are especially taxing, but you’re under pressure. Many hours passed. So many attempts. Then, finally, everything clicks and I make no mistakes (that require you to redo puzzled) and I make it to the final secret – a box! And in it, the solution for a puzzle in the theatre! And that’s it. Apparently the video it unlocks is an hour long. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I went back and solved a few missed puzzles, found a handful more environmental puzzles, and wandered through the caves a bit solving all the puzzles there, but I think I’m now done with The Witness. It was beautiful, it made me feel very clever, and even though there were over 400 puzzles – all of which are essentially the same basic premise – somehow it never got too frustrating, too repetitive, or too boring. I don’t think I want to find every hidden puzzle in the game, but what I’ve done has been throughly enjoyable.