The game structure resembles a linear adventure game - the player doesn't have an inventory, but can traverse into dialog trees with other characters. Some items or choices of dialog result in puzzles to be solved, although in some cases the puzzle has no consequence in the game's progress. The types of puzzles vary from jigsaw through mathematics to logic puzzles. Each of them has a basic short description about the objective of the puzzle, while some have a basic set of rules and conditions that help the player deduce the solution. The player can request three hints for each puzzle, and each hint costs the player a piece of chewing gum - gum is on shortage in the town, as the hotel clerk explains, but Nelson can collect pieces of used gum he finds at each location. The puzzles don't automatically approve the players solution, even if the player provides the correct answer - Nelson must send the answer back to HQ where it is either approved or rejected. If the solution is approved, the player is given a score depending on how many hints he used and how many failed attempts he had (the latter is represented in taxpayer dollars), and an optional further explanation is provided on how the puzzle can be solved.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Puzzle Agent, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puzzle_Agent, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.