I'm sure that at some point pretty much everyone has played with or at least seen one of those little plastic puzzles with tiles numbered from 1 to 15 in which the object is to slide the tiles around until the numbers are ordered consecutively. If you're among those that are familiar with these puzzles, then you're already familiar with the basics of Cogs. Cogs takes the concept of the sliding numbers puzzle several steps further, replacing the static numbers with gears and pipes that must be interconnected in the right way to power a machine or perform a task. It even takes the old flat puzzle into the third dimension, with multifaceted puzzles that require you to solve a puzzle on one face to engage a gear or mechanism that drives the puzzle on the next. And all of this comes in a package with a cool Victorian and almost steampunk vibe to it.
|The puzzles can be fiendish
Each puzzle not only requires you to move gears into place to drive gizmos or connect pipes to deliver steam power, but to do so in as few moves as possible and in the shortest possible time. Upon completion of a puzzle you're given a rating based on these factors that translate into a number of stars. Collecting stars is important because subsequent puzzles won't become unlocked until you accumulate a required number of stars. Herein lies one of the game's biggest shortcomings – the puzzles very quickly ramp up in difficulty and within a few puzzles they become quite tricky to solve. Inevitably this will require some trial and error to solve the puzzle, and this means that it will take some luck to solve a puzzle for the first time under the target time and move limits. The satisfaction of putting the last piece into place and watching your creation come to life is tempered by the fact that you're probably going to have to solve the same puzzle again (and remember everything that you did correctly) in order to collect more stars and unlock more puzzles. The game offers time and move challenge modes that give you the opportunity to replay solved puzzles under these limits, so it's unclear as to why you're forced to complete the puzzles in the main mode under similar constraints before you're given access to new puzzles. Because of this I have to caution you that you may find the game too frustrating, especially if you have trouble solving a puzzle that's preventing you from unlocking new ones. And there's no built-in help or hint feature in the game to give you a nudge in the right direction when you're stuck. If on the other hand you're the patient and meticulous type who appreciates challenging puzzles, you'll probably find yourself enjoying the time that you spend with Cogs.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 74%. A unique but challenging puzzle game that is best left to the patient.