Safecracker PC Review

Apart from dabbling occasionally in the newspaper, or joining in with someone else’s game, it is probably fair to say that most video games players do not indulge in the puzzle genre on their PC. Many of us enjoy a good puzzle adventure and there are many games available, but Safecracker from The Adventure Company is more akin to those books you pick up from WHSmiths; it is just puzzles, no frills and if that’s your bag, then you may want to check this out.

This no-frills approach can categorically be witnessed by the story accompanying the game; it is minimalist to be sure. A wealthy oil tycoon has passed away and you have been hired to follow clues that lead to his will and the important subject of his inheritance. These clues lead you through puzzles that ultimately require you to crack thirty five unique safes… that’s it. It is not exaggeration to say the story feels tacked on. However, it could be fair to say that The Adventure Company were not aiming to tell the greatest story ever told, merely to create a good, honest puzzle game that can appeal to a wide audience. As such the story is simple; there are neither side quests nor fabled achievement points on offer here, just puzzles.

This straight forward approach would be useless if it were not easily accessible and playable. Thankfully one can find no fault with Safecracker in terms of gameplay. Once again things are basic and efficient with only the mouse required for play. This not only makes for an easy-to-use interface, but arguably also aids the appeal of the title to non-gamers. Those who like puzzles and unwrap this title on their birthday may well be encouraged by not having to remember one thousand and one controls. This simplicity really aids the player to get into the game quickly and get a feel for what the title is all about. The puzzles come thick and fast, requiring a calm head with a rational and logical brain. The first puzzle sees one having a number of beads that have to be placed in a certain fashion, but the board in which they are set limits their freedom of movement. There is a small clue as to where they go, but it is not immediately obvious. A puzzler who gets frustrated quickly may well find this more challenging than those of a naturally calm and patient disposition. This style of puzzle solving requires the use of the brain rather than quickness of reflex; it is an exercise in thinking. Such gameplay is undoubtedly more appealing now to the masses after the success of such titles as Nintendo’s Brain Training on the Nintendo DS and this could well play to the publisher’s advantage. However, it is important to stress that this game should not just be attempted if you are simply waiting for the next instalment of Brain Training, this is a solid puzzler in its own right. The gameplay is simple, but effective. There is a clear aim: make challenging and entertaining puzzles and this has been achieved.

Graphically Safecracker is not unlike the rest of the game in terms of presentation, in that the graphics are adequate and solid, but not amazing; this game is not trying to sell itself purely on graphics. The lighting effects are good and the reflections nice, but with so few animations compared to top titles it is difficult to rate Safecracker graphically high. What the game does, it does well, it just does not do an awful lot. This can also be said when examining the audio within the game; the audio is fair, but one could easily see an individual sitting down to play along to his favourite CD rather than listening to the in-game offering; the audio, like the graphics, are not why one would play this title. Though this is not necessarily bad, as previously stated this game is not trying to be flashy, but just an honest puzzler.

To conclude, Safecracker is a decent puzzle offering pure and simple. The puzzles are challenging, but by no means impossible and the game itself very easy to play in short bursts. However, the lack of anything else really about the game will not help it avoid the inevitable fate of a coffee-break game for this title. This game is not going to put neither publisher nor developer on the gaming map, but it may please their parents.

Puzzling, but not mind blowing.

6.5 out of 10

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