Developer: Moonshot Games
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Third Eye Crime is a game that’s initially quite appealing. It’s a stealth-based game with an interesting tool given to players: a psychic detection ability that the protagonist has to see where enemies that detect him are most likely going to go, thus allowing him to evade his opponents from capturing or killing him. This all takes place in a noir environment, lovingly rendered with cel-shading and featuring a line-drawing control scheme that allows for elongated paths to be created and easily modified on the fly. On paper, it’s a great idea. So why did I struggle with enjoying the game?

TEC_02I think the innate problem with Third Eye Crime is actually with its psychic detection mechanic. See, stealth games are at their most satisfying when the player uses intelligence and trickery to sneak past their opponents. This game feels quite satisfying when tools and intelligent tactics are used in much the same way. But so much of the game is built around the sensation of getting caught and then using the psychic detection to get to the exit. But in stealth games, that idea of just escaping by the skin of one’s teeth produces not satisfaction, but relief. And when the emotion that a game produces is relief, it makes me less likely to want to come back.

TEC_04Thus, Third Eye Crime most of the time winds up being a frustrating experience to me, being built around managing detection in a stealth environment rather than the satisfaction of being hidden. It’s that occasional mission where the possibility of getting through entirely undetected comes in and sinks the rest of the experience: these missions are so satisfying that I wish they appeared more often. It feels way too much like Third Eye Crime is built around servicing the psychic detection, rather than letting that be a part of a larger game. At least the level progression allows for missions to be skipped, with only so many necessary for advancing to the next chapter, but this is merely a consolation. I shouldn’t feel like the level skip is a necessary component, but instead it should be a helpful element of last resort.

I certainly appreciate the artistry of Third Eye Crime and think it’s got a unique idea at its core. I just didn’t find it to be very satisfying.


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