Half-Life: Alyx is primarily an action game, but like other games in the Half-Life series, there are some light puzzles to solve along the way. In more standard Half-Life fashion, there are environmental “puzzles” that require you to pull levers, push buttons, and operate machinery–since you’re playing as Alyx, you’re also a hacking whiz who can rewire electronics using her handy multitool. But Half-Life: Alyx has even more uses for the multitool, including solving some traditional spatial puzzles.
You’ll encounter a number of multitool puzzles while playing Half-Life: Alyx. They come in many forms and are often used to lock access to important devices, like Combine fabricators and supply lockers. There’s also a special one for disarming laser tripmines.
These puzzles are randomly generated each time you encounter one, but the logic to solve them is always the same. Below we’ve broken down the common multitool puzzle types and explained how to solve each one. Again, the exact solutions won’t be the same, but the method of solving them will be. Some puzzles have “lose” conditions, but there is no consequence for failing a multitool puzzle–if you do fail, you just need to start it over.
Please note, these puzzles were all solved using both hands. Half-Life: Alyx offers a number of accessibility options, including a one-handed mode. We haven’t tested the multitool puzzles in one-handed mode proper, but they can all be solved one-handed regardless.
Electricity And Rewiring Puzzles
Rewiring electronics is one of the main things Alyx’s multitool comes in handy for, and it’s one of the major environmental puzzles you’ll encounter. If something is powered off, just locate the electrical panel, button, or mechanism that needs connecting and hover your multitool over the wall. The wires will start glowing.
Trace your multitool along the wall to follow it (you may need to walk or move to fully follow along), and if you come across any wiring intersections, you may be able to rotate them by pressing trigger on your multitool. You can do this to reroute power along the path you need.
Laser Web Puzzle
This is one of the more complicated puzzles you’ll come across. You have to use your multitool to grab the glowing white orbs and reposition them so that the red lasers shooting out of them align with the red orbs.
Every single red orb must intersect with the red laser to fully solve the puzzle–when the lasers are touching a red orb, that path will turn blue. Once the web of lasers is all blue, you’ve solved the puzzle.
This is a simple matching puzzle where you rotate a glowing sphere to match different colored shapes. It’s straightforward enough, but you might need to turn the orb to connect certain markers together–a forcefield will prevent you from linking unless you adjust it.
Orb Laser Tube Puzzle
If you were wondering, no, these are not the official names. I’m trying my best.
This puzzle requires you to guide a laser through a tube so that it perfectly aligns with a red orb on another axis. To do this, you have to use a free hand to grab and rotate the floating orb until the laser crosses through it, then slowly tweak the orientation until the laser shoots out the other end in a way that intersects with the red orb. This one’s all about positioning and being able to make very slight adjustments.
Bullet Hell Puzzle
To solve this puzzle, you have to bring the lock and key points together by picking either one up with the multitool and guiding it through a dynamic maze of “enemies,” like a bullet hell. You do this by activating the multitool above the point you want to control, then tracing it along the face of the globe. You also need to use your other hand to rotate the globe.
There are a couple varieties of this particular puzzle and they ramp up in difficulty. They start with static “enemies,” which requires only your own precision. You’ll eventually encounter ones with moving “enemies,” which require a bit more dexterity; and in the late-game they have moving “enemies” that also leave a deadly trail behind them. Touching any of these obstacles mid-puzzle is an instant fail and you will need to start the puzzle over.
Tip: You can drop the lock or key at any point if your arms or wrists get twisted up. The red “enemies” won’t terminate the puzzle if your multitool is detached, giving you a chance to rest and take your time. But be careful when re-engaging the multitool and make sure you’re clear of where the bullets are moving!
Laser Tripmine Puzzle
There are a few ways to get past a laser tripmine in Half-Life: Alyx. You can shoot them so they explode. You can throw something in their path so they explode. You can walk into one, I guess? (Not recommended.) Or you can disarm them using Alyx’s multitool.
You’ll find yourself in situations where having a tripmine explode is not ideal. To disarm it, carefully approach one without intersecting its laser and use the multitool on it to activate the puzzle. The puzzle requires you to guide a tiny orb through a series of hoops, sometimes while being chased by dangerous red particles. If you don’t solve this puzzle correctly or get caught by the red particles, don’t worry–the tripmine will not explode. The only way to set off a tripmine is to cross the path of its laser, so be extra careful of your arm and hand placement when trying to disarm it.
If you’re having trouble with crouching down for long periods or are unable to, check out our accessibility options guide and a guide to playing Half-Life: Alyx seated for a list of height adjustment options.
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Don’t forget to check out our weapons guide, Easter eggs guide, and of course, our full review of Half-Life: Alyx.
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