Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cogs demo

I also downloaded the Cogs demo from Steam to try out on my SEA –> BOS flight. It was a sliding tile puzzle game (arrange the tiles to complete a pattern via a series of moving them into the empty slot) with a few additional puzzle elements.

It wasn’t nearly as approachable and usable as Everyday Genius SquarePuzzle. The player is immediately thrown into time-pressure situations while still learning the basics of the game. As it turns out, it didn’t matter if time ran out in the demo mode…. But the artificial pressure made it a much more stressful introduction to the game than was needed.

The demo also seemed to be structured more towards showing a breadth of puzzle styles which meant that I was introduced to interesting looking, but ultimately too frustrating to figure out, puzzles. My initial reaction was that “if I’m already stuck on the 5th puzzle of the demo, will I be able to solve ANY of the puzzles in the full retail version?”

Because I was a captive audience (stuck on a red-eye flight) I actually gave the game more time. And once I discovered an important rule that I missed (the sliding tile mechanic worked in a slightly looser fashion than other versions that I’ve played) and discovered how to rotate and view 3-d puzzles the game started to pick up a bit. These “eureka” moments combined with very satisfying “mission success” puzzle/object animations to reignite my interest in the game and I went back and figured out how to solve some puzzles that had previously frustrated me.

Will I buy the game? Probably not unless it is super cheap. I still fear that the puzzles will be too difficult for my liking. Although it’s true that in the free play mode I can make as many moves as I like to solve the puzzle, I find that I just don’t “grok” these kinds of tile-sliding puzzles the way I “grok” math square puzzles.

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