Cogs iPhone Review

   29/01/2010 at 09:04       Phil May       6 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Chillingo, Cogs, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
One of the worst presents I ever remember getting as a kid was one of those nasty little plastic-tiled slider puzzles that seemed to find their way into the bottom of everyone's Christmas stockings at some point in their lives.

After hours of trying to reconstruct the rather jolly picture of a snowman, I gave up, grabbed a screwdriver and levered all the tiles out before putting them all back in the right order.

I took a similar approach to my first rubiks cube. Unfortunately in Cogs you don't have the luxury of being able to cheat in a similar fashion but before you run screaming out of the door at the prospect of yet another iPhone slider game, hold your wheest and give Cogs a chance.

Cogs has previously enjoyed a cult following on PC, and is even up for an IGN Indie award this year. Meshing together curious Victorian steampunk with fiendish slider problems might not seem like a great mix, but Cogs works by slowly building up the complexity of each level without requiring you to grab a degree in Engineering in the process.

Each puzzle is rendered in 3D and on the iPhone you can manipulate the puzzle object with a two-fingered stroke. Each of the puzzle tiles slides around the surface of the object, and getting them in the right place to trigger an event is what the game is truly about. The early puzzles require you to mesh cogs together to turn wheels, propellers and other machinery - but in later levels you'll also control steam pipes, water and even cute little musical bells and ringers to try and emulate a tinkly tune played back to you.

There are 50 varied levels on offer in Cogs and two separate game mode. Inventor mode is a straightforward "solve the puzzle" mode with no harsh rules or regulations. You simply solve the puzzle in the shortest time / lowest number of moves with medals awarded according to how successful you are.

Challenge mode is tougher. The puzzles are the same but you're given a set of criteria you must fulfil in order to succeed (a time limit, or a limited number of moves). Exceed these and your game is over. Challenge mode does give the game a little more longevity once you've solved all the puzzles, and it's quite addictive seeing just how tidily you can see off a level.

Cogs also features the by-now-standard online scoreboards and achievements - these are becoming more and more common in iPhone games but it's a shame to see OpenFeint ignored here, meaning you've got yet another cloud gaming network to sign up to. Still, if online willy measuring is your thing the process is simple enough and you'll be connected in no time.

Cogs is very nicely presented, with very little of the graphical polish lost in translation. Gameplay is smooth and intuitive and the touch system works beautifully - and there's something extremely satisfying about seeing the finished puzzle going through its animated machinations at the end of each level.

If you're not a great fan of slide puzzles, this probably won't convert you but it does offer an extra dimension to just sticking together a picture of some boobs or something equally rubbish (the iTunes store really is chock a block with these games).

For 59p it's a bargain, and instantly sweeps aside the cheeky clone that's been sitting on the apps store for a while, (Toy Mechanic at £1.19) with a bit more spit and polish than its imitator.

Puzzle games are ten a penny on the iPhone but this is a really nice version of a PC classic, so grab it while it's still cheap.

Cogs on the iTunes Store (59p)
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