App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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I'm always up for a bit of brain training - goodness knows I need it - and that's exactly what Box of Enigmas delivers through a series of complex mini-game challenges. It's a sleek-looking collection, but the controls and pricing structure are oddly problematic.
Each of Box of Enigmas' initial ten mini-games are designed to test one of three different brain traits: Attention, Reaction, and Memory. Each game has three rounds, and players can earn medals by reaching the end without any mistakes. They can still make it through with a ton of errors, but that will drastically decrease their overall score. Most of these games are no joke. They can be particularly brutal in the third round. And, of course, since different challenges are designed to test different parts of one's mind there will be some discrepancies between what different players consider "easy" or "insanely tough."
Individual players' interest may vary, but Box of Enigmas is a nice collection of brutal mini-games. The whole package looks pretty sleek, too. Each game is explained thoroughly before the first round starts, and players can pause at any time in order to take a breather and get a reminder of the rules before jumping back in. There's also a handy stats page that breaks down the player's successes and allows them to share their medals (i.e. brag) on Facebook. And there's even an online game of Reversi that lets them challenge their friends just because.
Box of Enigmas has its fair share of problems, though. I was surprised to find myself having so many issues with the controls seeing as all of the games are so simple. And yet, many of them need a bit of work. Dragging a finger to trace a path between squares feels too slow and has resulted in errors for me more than once, but the game that involves tapping on numbers in sequential order under a time limit is a particular sore spot for me. I've wasted entire rounds because a tap wouldn't register without me realizing, which led to me tapping my way through over a dozen numbers before realizing (way too late) that I had to go back and start again. Then there are the game's monetization methods. On top of the initial $0.99 cost, players can buy "cheats" to skip a particularly tough round or entire level. The catch is it costs two cheats to do either, and players are only given one. So they have to buy more cheats if they get stuck on one particular task, and they only come in odd-numbered packs. In other words they're designed to siphon money.
Overall, Box of Enigmas is an interesting idea wrapped in a nice package. But it's also held back by spotty controls that can make progression frustrating and a questionable pay structure.