Cogs PC Review
The puzzler genre has more or less been defined as soon as it began. Whether a renowned title like Tetris or a cult favorite like Bust A Move, nearly every puzzle game has followed the same basic formula of combining and manipulating shapes and objects together until they disappear.
Cogs, an indie title by Lazy 8 Studios, takes a unique spin by making use of its shapes, rather than destroying them, to solve a larger and more detailed puzzle. The result is an experience that feels different, but also familiar, and it’s a good kind of familiar.
Fusing its aesthetics and its gameplay together, the goal of Cogs is to manipulate the various gears, pipes, and other objects in order to give life to the object in question. Combining a set of gears, for instance, will power an antique Jack-in-the-Box, while arranging some pipes together will direct the hot air into a balloon, which then flies away from the screen. More advanced levels require the manipulation of multiple parts at once, in which the object must be examined in multiple third dimension angles (freely controlled with the mouse), and even trickier puzzles have objects that could potentially conflict with one another.
Players are given all the time needed to solve these puzzles, but achievement-enthusiasts will work to solve the puzzles as quicky as possible and with the fewest amount of moves. In fact, the game features modes for both styles of play, with timed levels that must be finished before time runs out, and levels with a limit to the number of moves allowed.
Cogs’ visuals have a quaint, unique style to them, focusing heavily on clockwork mechanics and steam-powered toys (rather appropriate, considering it’s available on Steam) to give the game an antique store feel to it. The music is simple and underplayed, but adds to the grandfather clock aesthetic. While the game lacks widescreen support or advanced resolutions, it still features a charming graphical style that helps encourage players to actively work on solving puzzles and watching the contraption in question come to life.
50 levels and three different game modes assures a longevity that will last several days, but once players have memorised the solutions to each puzzle, Cogs loses a bit of its steam. There is an option to create your own levels, but this requires editing the files, the details of which are available in the developer’s homepage. Hopefully an expansion pack will be available where anyone can effortlessly create and share their original puzzling creations.
Regardless, the budget price and quaint visual style makes Cogs as addictive and satisfying as the old-school toys it references. It’ll certainly last longer than a ball-in-a-cup.