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Desert Ruins (Walkthrough)

Symmetry Island is a puzzle area in The Witness.

Symmetry Island Hints[]

Symmetry Island introduces concepts that go beyond simple mirrored lines. If you don't quite understand, here are some things to think about...

Part 1 (Optional)[]

The hints here are for the optional single-panel puzzles woven throughout Symmetry Island.

  • Hint 1: Material: There's a reason these panels are made of translucent glass.
  • Hint 2: Environment : Look at the rocks and trees jutting from the ocean.
  • Hint 3: Perspective : If you can't get things to match up the way you want, try looking at them from a different angle or perspective.

Part 2 (Required)[]

The hints here are for the first set of required puzzles in Symmetry Island, which let you unlock the second gate.

  • Hint 1: Colors: For this sequence, the line you draw will always be blue, and the mirrored line will always be yellow. Think about how they correspond to the blue and yellow dots on the grid.
  • Hint 2: Multiple Start/End Points: If the path you're taking won't work, try experimenting with the different start and end points. The right path might be impossible to achieve depending on where you're starting to draw.
  • Hint 3: Fading Lines: Experiment with previous panels in this area to get a good understanding of how mirrored lines behave. This way it'll be easier to see it in your head. If it's still hard, don't feel bad about using a pen and paper to work it out!

Part 3 (Required)[]

This hint is for the final sequence of required puzzles in Symmetry Island, which feature two sets of three panels facing each other across a pathway beyond the second gate unlocked in Part 2.

  • Hint 1: Mirrors: You've been working with mirrored lines up until this point. Think about the way the sequence of blue line panels and the sequence of yellow line panels might relate to each other.
Spoiler warning! The screenshots below contain solutions for every puzzle in the area.

Symmetry Island Solutions[]

Part 1 (Optional)

There are two gates you need to unlock to get inside the final part of Symmetry Island. The first gate must be activated in the Glass Factory.

After leaving the last area, you'll happen upon a red door with a puzzle similar to those solved before. This time, there will be little shapes that you have to collect in order to unlock at the end. This puzzle is relatively simple, and once unlocked, will open the next area.

Symmetry Island 1.jpg

Once you open this gate, go down the slope to the left side. Once you reach the bottom, swing a tight left (almost a U-turn) and continue down the path until you get to the first single activated panel in this area. This introduces the role of the environment in solving puzzles.

Symmetry Island 7.jpg

This first one is fairly straightforward.

Symmetry Island 8.jpg

The first rock in this puzzle is obscured by the tree in front of it. Get a peek around it to determine its height.

Symmetry Island 9.jpg

You'll have to look at this one from a different angle to match it up with the rocks on the right.

Symmetry Island 11.jpg

You'll see reflections come up as an important environmental concept in later puzzles, too.

Symmetry Island 12.jpg

For this last one, you'll need to go behind the panel and match it up with the palm trees on the other side.

Solving this sequence doesn't activate anything in the game world, but it should have taught you how using the environment can play a major role in solving puzzles in The Witness.

Now you can move on to the required section of Symmetry Island.

Part 2 (Required)

If you're lost, return to the first gate in Symmetry Island, but this time head down the slope on the right side, swing a tight right at the bottom, and find the first required sequence of puzzles overlooking a patch of palm trees. Go down the left path first, following the lines hanging on trees, to find another row of panels to solve.

Unlike in the Glass Factory, there are no dead ends in these grids other than the mirrored lines, but you do have to configure your path just right to grab all the black dots along the way. Learn more about this on our Puzzle Types page. The first set is easy:

Symmetry Island 2.jpg

For the next sequence, color is important. You'll be drawing a blue line and will need to make sure you only grab the blue dots, while the yellow line grabs the yellow dots.

Symmetry Island 3.jpg

The sequence after this is challenging, because the yellow line will slowly fade with each new puzzle, requiring you to visualize where it is in your head so you can still meet all the conditions of the puzzle.

Symmetry Island 4.jpg

Part 3 (Required)[]

Once you've completed Part 2 of Symmetry Island, return to the start so you can unlock the second gate. The solution is as such:


This will lead you to the next area, with a lot of panels and a bright yellow wall at the top of some blocks. The puzzles in this area mirror each other, so the path you take on one side must be symmetrical to the path you took on the other. You can solve these panels in any order you like, but the solutions below will start with the right-most front panel, continue down the right side, and then continue in that fashion with the left-most front panel.

Symmetry Island 5.jpg
Symmetry Island 6.jpg

Once you're done here, you're ready to activate the laser in this area. The final part of this area is simple - just drag up and to the right. This will start to extend a hidden apparatus which will fire a blue beam across the sky. Continue on to the next area.