App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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We’ve seen plenty of phone games emulate virtual phone interfaces to create their gameplay, but few games require you to use your phone’s features to the extent that The Company Game does. This game is a relatively straightforward puzzle adventure game, but its puzzles are designed around tons of little phone features that you must exploit to progress forward. When these puzzles are at their best, The Company is wildly compelling, but the game occasionally throws some lackluster puzzles at you, which really drag the experience down.
Find the truth
The Company is a puzzler that puts you in control of a hacker of some kind. Although there is an overall narrative, it’s extremely simplistic. All you really need to know is there’s a company, it’s evil, and it’s your job to stop it. This also means that a lot of your puzzle-solving will be characterized as some for of pseudo-hacking as you decrypt files that clue you into what this evil company is really up to.
Unlike some other narrative puzzlers, The Company is actually divided up into single puzzles that you can hop between like levels. There are 25 of these puzzles in all, and most of them are unique. By unique I don't just mean mild variations on a theme; I mean to say thatThe Company’s puzzles are fascinating because they have you doing all manners of weird stuff with your phone to solve them.
Instead of matching three colored tiles, sliding blocks, or making words, The Company forces you to use your phone in bizarre ways to find solutions. Certain puzzles need you to use your accelerometer, for example, while others require you to close the game to figure out additional information before returning and entering secret information.
I’m hesitant to give much more away about The Company’s puzzle design because discovering what you’re supposed to do in each puzzle is all part of the fun. Many of the levels give you a minimal amount of information, and from there, the fun comes through thinking about your phone’s features to figure out what to do next.
Phoning it in
The Company does a great job of turning your phone into a little puzzle box. Once you get a tidbit of information, it’s then up to you to poke and prod at your phone to see exactly what holds the key to your way forward. The only bummer about all of this is that a certain subset of of The Company’s puzzles don’t follow this formula, and the game is worse for it.
In particular, there are some grid-based puzzles in The Company that don’t take advantage of your phone’s capabilities at all. This would be ok if these puzzles were a bit more unique in their own way or seemed as cleverly designed as the rest of the game, but they easily the weakest and most frustrating portion of the game. For a game that’s main focus is creating novel ways to use for phone on each puzzle, The Company’s repetitive grid puzzles are weird inclusions that definitely bog down the experience.
The bottom line
The fun of The Company is in using your phone in weird and creative ways to solve puzzles. Even when you immediately figure out what you’re supposed to do on a given puzzle, actually using your device’s full feature set to to solve puzzles is incredibly satisfying. If the game was only these kinds of puzzles, it would be a must-buy, but—unfortunately—The Company also features some not-so-great puzzles that really drag down what is otherwise a stellar puzzler.