25.2 MB

Cogs is a great, new, and innovative twist on the typical sliding puzzler for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This sliding puzzler is unlike any other brain challenge game I’ve played thus far. First of all, Cogs‘ beautiful graphics and Lego-inspired steampunk design is a sight for sore eyes. The art style oozes from every facet of the game, from analog widgets and the odometer-style counters to the revolving puzzle descriptions and the massive iris in the background that opens to reveal each new puzzle. Third-gen iPod touch
and iPhone 3GS owners can take advantage of their speedier hardware by cranking up the visuals in the options menu.

Pitched as a “groundbreaking puzzle game,” Cogs challenges you to build complex machines using sliding tiles in 2D and 3D environments. Both 3D-shaped and flat 2D puzzles can be rotated around in 360-degree freedom. You really need to take the game for a spin to fully appreciate the utmost care and attention that went into challenges, game mechanics, and the overall execution. Unlike other games built around a single concept, Cogs is a puzzle collection of astonishing variety.

The game packs in over 50 puzzles ranging from gears, contraptions, and music machines, to steam tubes, roving tanks, and jack-in-the-boxes. Gears require you to rearrange the gears so they turn the gold gear. Later levels involve 3D machines that must be set in motion by setting up the gears in motion on multiple sides. Music boxes require you to set the pegged gears to simultaneously strike the chimes, but take into account that the gears turn as you slide them around.

I’ve found pipes where you redirect the steam the most difficult puzzles, but that’s just me. One thing is sure, though: Cogs taps cognitive areas of your brain unlike any other game. As if the sheer amount of puzzles weren’t enough, three distinct modes of play up the replay value. The basic mode, the Inventor, has you exploring the widgets such as gears, pipes, balloons, chimes, hammers, wheels, props, and more. Each puzzle you finish in this mode will be unlocked in the Time Challenge mode where you must reach a solution in 30 seconds using as few moves as possible.

Or, how about the Move Challenge mode that tests your ability to figure out each puzzle in ten moves. Although puzzles can be completed in many ways (hint: you can swipe multiple tiles in one go), each mode is based on a distinct logic. The relaxed, exploratory approach of the Inventor mode doesn’t work in timed challenges or when you have just ten moves to reach a solution.

I usually first explore a puzzle in the Inventor mode before figuring out the quickest way to build the contraption in the Move Challenge mode. Having memorized the solution, I then play the puzzle in the Time Challenge mode. Three modes of play, varied puzzle styles, imaginative inventions, and 2D/3D modes, all result in an unprecedented breadth rarely seen on the iPhone.

Cogs is the first game to support Chillingo’s new social gaming network dubbed Crystal. Similar to Plus+ and OpenFeint, Crystal features online leaderboards, challenges, Facebook and Twitter integration so you can brag to your newsfeed, and more. A customizable interface sets it apart, allowing developers to fit Crystal into their games’ art style. When it comes to Cogs, you can unlock achievements, upload your score to online leaderboards, and check your ranking against other puzzle solvers worldwide via a comprehensive scoring system.

Cogs ships with just ten puzzles and the rest are provided as $0.99 downloadable packs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Since Apple enabled in-app purchasing with the iPhone OS 3.0 update, a lot of games have incorporated this feature but only a handful have explored it for the benefit of gamers. If the developer crammed 50 levels into a $4.99 download, the price would put many folks off. This way, you’re paying just 99 cents to sample ten levels and then buy $0.99 puzzle packs if you like the game.

Cogs has no serious design flaws. In my opinion, it’s a great challenge for your grey matter and worth your attention – even if you’re fed up with puzzlers. The game sets itself apart with varied content and distinct play modes so it never feels repetitive. 

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