Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
I love what Simogo is doing in 2013. While the studio has always been a purveyor of a different kind of experience on iOS, this year their releases have been centered around story-telling and puzzle solving. It started with Year Walk and now continues with Device 6. They’re creating unique and intelligent experiences that deserve to be seen and heard.
Now, much like Year Walk, this is something that is best when not spoiled so I’m only going to touch on cursory details of the plot and scenario: this is a sort of interactive piece of fiction that players read through that frequently wraps around the screen, requiring players to rotate their device to keep up with where everything is going. The story is about a woman named Anna, who wakes up in mysterious circumstances. To advance the story, certain puzzles, whose hints are embedded in the narrative and visuals, must be solved. The challenge comes from solving the puzzles and putting together the hints – have some pen and paper or some kind of writing app on a computer or other device open to take down notes to solve everything and to advance the story.
I suppose there’s an argument to be made for as to whether Device 6 is a “game” or not – all the interactive elements are there primarily to drive the story and to pace out the discoverability of it. But, the world is more effective because it’s not just a book. The interactivity, the fact that the player is directly interfacing with Device 6, is a crucial part of the experience. While there’s no punishment for failure other than being stuck at that point in the story, that interactivity at the core qualifies it as a ‘game’ in my book. Though really, as a vehicle for an emotional experience does it really matter what we call it?
Simogo’s style seems to be one of meta-fictional references and sometimes trying to make their point rather bluntly. The other edge of the sword is that it’s kind of nice to know that this is a game whose puzzles and messages are not hidden in obscurity. Device 6 is there to be discovered. And that’s the thing that’s so great about it: there’s little else like it. It’s a story, but one that takes advantage of sound and visuals, and being on a touchscreen device rather than just ink on paper.
Device 6’s emotional response may not be as affecting as Year Walk was for me, and the depth of replayability is certainly more obscured than Year Walk was, if it does exist (I haven’t quite figured it out yet!). But Device 6 was engrossing for the entire time that I played it, and give it my highest recommendation. Simogo’s doing something few others are doing, and it’s wonderful that someone is both providing great experiences and testing the limits of interactive media.
Tagged with: $3.99, Device 6, Interactive Fiction, Simogo