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‘Device 6′ for iOS game review

Mobile devices have infiltrated the gaming segment in a big way to the point where they are now the primary gaming platform for a lot of people, even if they don’t realize it yet. We now have games from all genres available on the mobile platform. But while several of them try to emulate console gaming experience on the small screen, some are designed from the ground up for the touchscreen.

I have said repeatedly in the past that it is this category of games that interests me the most. The joy of playing a game designed with the attributes of the touchscreen in mind and actually takes advantage of it rather than being crippled by it is quite something. Device 6 for iOS is one such game, and today we are going to take a close look at it.

Title
Device 6
Developer
Simogo
Platform
iOS
Release Date
October, 2013
Content Reating
12+
Size
137MB
Price
$3.99

Gameplay

If you have seen the screenshots of Device 6, you may have noticed that there is a lot of text in the game. That’s because the game primarily is text based, where majority of the time is spent reading. The experience is similar to reading a novel but with some interactive puzzles in between.

The game tells the story of a woman named Anna, who finds herself waking up in a strange castle all by herself. She has no idea how she got there, where everyone else is and how she’d escape. She has no choice but to explore the place, solving puzzles and moving from one location to another, hopefully getting close to making sense of the situation she’s in.

There is no guiding the player here. The game is already written for you, you just read through what Anna is doing and thinking. The story is told from her perspective and you know as much about the place as she does. Yet, occasionally you are taken to this different place in between levels where you are referred to as Player 249 and made to answer some questions, giving feedback about several things, including the game itself. It’s all quite wonderfully vague at the start and leaves you curious as to just what exactly is going on.

While the game is told through text, it’s not just simple text thrown in front of you like a book. As you scroll on the screen reading the text, the character is moving with you as you read and doing activities that you are reading at the very moment.

The game also does this wonderful thing where it plays sounds at the right moment depending upon where you are at the point. If you are reading about the character walking along a corridor, you will hear her footsteps as you scroll, with the sound stopping as you stop scrolling. This way you sort of feel you are guiding the character even though her fate is already decided.

The text also flows in different ways. If the character is taking a left turn, the text turns left and then you have to turn the device and scroll in that direction. Imagine moving along a path on a map, except the path here is made of text. During the course of the game, you will end up turning your iPhone or iPad in every possible direction. Sometimes, you have to go back and forth while solving puzzles to gather all the clues, which is when all the swiping on the screen to move around can get a bit tiresome.

Speaking of puzzles, each chapter has one puzzle to solve after which the chapter completes and you move to the next one. It usually involves entering some sort of a code on a keypad and the clues to what you should enter are provided through audio clips that play in the background, hidden messages in the images and riddles.

In terms of difficulty, these range from moderately challenging to “What is this I don’t even”. You really have to pay attention to what is being said, either through sound or text and interpret the meaning behind it to be able to solve some of them, whereas others require you to memorize a number and being able to do some basic math.

Unfortunately, there are just seven chapters in the game, and the last two don’t have any puzzles, so you have a grand total of five puzzles in the game to solve. On an average, you should be able to complete the game in 2-3 hours and once you know the answers you can finish it in one if you play it again. It’s not necessary that a game has to be supremely long to be enjoyable but you wish an enjoyable game is long and that is the problem with Device 6. It gets over way too soon for its own good.

Graphics and Sound

Visually, Device 6 is mostly text based but the way the text is laid out and flows in different direction, suggesting where you should move next is what’s so great about it. The game also features some graphics that make terrific use of parallax scrolling that move as you move on the screen, sometimes showing hidden clues that you’ll be needing later.

The sound consists of slow, dramatic music placed cleverly across the chapter that adds to the creepy vibe of the game. Best part is the way sounds such as music or audio clips fade as you scroll away from them. You can hear them playing in the distance as you continue reading, making you feel like you’ve physically moved away from the source of the sound.

Verdict

The unique text-based gameplay makes Device 6 an experience unlike anything I’ve had before. It feels more like reading a really good mystery novel but with some interactive puzzles in between that will wrinkle your brain. The presentation is also top notch, with superbly laid out text and imagery and an awesome sound to provide the backdrop.

It’s far from perfect. For one, it’s way too short and gets over just when you get the hang of it. Secondly, sometimes moving back and forth to solve the puzzles can get a bit tiresome.

That aside, this is still an excellent game and worth a shot if you enjoy solving riddles or just want to try something different.

Rating: 8/10
Pros: Superb layout and presentation, intriguing story, challenging puzzles
Cons: Short, moving back and forth to solve puzzles can get tiresome at times

Download

Device 6 was reviewed on an iPad mini.

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