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I find it interesting how all of the different video game consoles seem to perform different functions. You have the PS3 with its superior graphical capabilities, the Xbox 360 has pretty much perfected its online presence and the Wii offers family fun, perfect for when the relatives are visiting, or after a night down the pub. The DS has really mastered mobile gaming, with something for everyone, and even the troubled PSP has something to offer, with its multimedia capabilities and the great range of Minis becoming available.
Then we come to the iPhone. No one can deny that it has become a viable gaming platform now, the sheer number of games available is astounding. But, as with the other platforms, the iPhone seems to be excelling in one particular area. Quick-hit, simple, casual games seem to be where the iPhone is doing especially well, at least for now.
And here we have Cryptose, the latest game from Insurgent Games, the Indie game studio that brought us the internet culture filled Teh Internets – When Memes Attack and the retro platformer, Aeropack.
Well, true to form for Insurgent Games, Cryptose is nothing like any of their former games. What you get here is something far simpler than anything that has come before, and seemingly far more serious.
Cryptose is a cryptogram game. Players are given a cryptogram puzzle to solve. Like working through a Sudoku puzzle or a cryptic crossword, cryptograms are designed to give the player a decent brain work out. Presented with a phrase in which all of the letters have been changed according to a random substitution cypher, players must try to work out what the phrase says by replacing letters and looking for patterns.
Word games are fairly easy to come across on the iPhone and Cryptose is certainly one of the best. The layout is very simple as the player is presented with just the phrase and the alphabet through which to work. There are three themes that alter the way the screens look; Hacker, Detective and Spy. With thousands of phrases to decrypt, owners of Cryptose will certainly be kept busy for a long time to come.
The game really is that simple. With the exception of the themes offering different coloured backgrounds and different text styles, there really is not much else to look at. But there doesn’t need to be.
There are, however, a couple of little things that I found lessened what could have been a perfect Cryptogram experience. Firstly, the availability of hints is unlimited, making it far too easy to get some help. Secondly, the phrases are so obscure that, more often than not, the player has to get to the last couple of letters before they can work out the phrase. I would have preferred some phrases that I could recognise half way through, thus providing that “eureka” moment.
But, for a simple word puzzle game, Cryptose offers a nicely polished package and, most importantly, a challenge. Whilst not to everyone’s taste, those wanting to excercise their grey matter will find that this game ticks all of the boxes.
Cryptose is available on the App Store, here, for just Â£1.19