This week was an odd week because I found myself alone for several days as the male matrimonial unit went to Indianapolis for Gencon. As much as I am totally an introvert and like to be left to my own devices quite often, I hate to be left completely alone. So, within about 5 minutes of getting home from work on the first day, my brain sought out new distractions. Steam is typically great for finding low cost, well made, video games that you often can’t find anywhere else because it has largely become “the place to go” for indy developers. So, I logged on and started poking around to see what I could find that would interest me. After a minute my brain said “I want something puzzle-y”. What I should have done is taken this as a sign of emotional distress from hubby being gone and immediately lie down in bed. I am horrible at puzzle games and the usual result of me trying to play one is getting about 3-5 puzzles in and then cursing for a few hours, giving up and then repeating that pattern for a few days until I give up for good.
Instead of saying, “there must be something wrong with my brain; this is the most horrible idea ever”, I downloaded Cogs. Cogs is a 3d slide puzzle with a steampunk-ish vibe where you slide the tiles around to place gears and steam pipes in the appropriate places to make nifty machines work. The game looks really good for something so simple, the sound effects really go toward giving it that “Steampunk inventor” feel, and the music is simply beautiful. To my surprise, I did not get 5 puzzles or even 10 or 15 puzzles in and have to throw down the gauntlet but at the same time, I would not call cogs an easy game. The puzzles get progressively harder, but the game is really good about introducing elements to you a little at a time. So, for example, by the time you get to a balloon puzzle with 2 different colors of steam and 4 heights of gears on a 3d pyramid shape, you have already seen steam/pipe puzzles, balloon steam puzzles, balloon steam puzzles with different colors of steam, gear puzzles with gears of different heights, puzzles with gears and steam, 3d puzzles and puzzles of different shapes.
The other great thing about cogs that keeps it playable for me is the unlocking system. In cogs, you do have to unlock higher level puzzles, but instead of only being able to unlock by solving the puzzle immediately previous, the game goes by a “stars” system, which is basically a point system. The game gives you a certain number of stars/points for every puzzle you finish based on how hard the puzzle is, how fast you finished it and how few moves you took. The more stars you have, the more puzzles you unlock. Typically, after the first few puzzles, you have enough stars that you always have a few puzzles ahead unlocked. This means that if you really get stuck, you can skip one. Also, if you really really get stuck, you can go back on previous levels and try to beat your score for more stars. There is even a challenge mode where you do the same puzzles you have already beaten but concentrate on either finishing them in 30 seconds or finishing them in 10 moves, which also gives you stars.
This game is extremely well designed, lots of fun and really cool looking. I keep finding myself coming back to it and enjoying every second despite the increasing amount of time spent yelling “I can see the solution why won’t it slide into place?!” at my computer screen.
Cogs is an extremely enjoyable experience and I would recommend it to anyone with even a fleeting interest in logic or puzzle games. I have a feeling I will be into this one for many weeks to come… but maybe one week soon I can take some time out to be into telling you about the awesome costume I made for play on con!