|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Lazy 8 Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Lazy 8 Studios||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 14, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Cogs' presentation (which lacks a story, cutscenes, dialogue, or other accoutrements) may be a little too bare for some tastes, yet the way the mechanical themes are worked into the menu navigation is truly remarkable. The menu itself is a machine of sorts; every button you press or selection you make causes gears to crank and grind as sub menus whirl around and click into place. The developers' inherent creativity and obvious appreciation for both sliding puzzles and mechanical constructs is readily apparent in every facet of the game's unique design. Beyond being tricky to complete, the puzzles are visually interesting and will frequently inspire awe. Unfortunately, this head-scratching sense of wonder will, more often than not, fall into the "they expect me to do WHAT?!" category.
The game's complexity and difficulty catapults to staggering heights well before its conclusion. In fact, less hearty puzzle gamers may throw their hands up in frustration within the first dozen puzzles. Imposing time and move score restrictions substantially increases the intensity of the game, and the constant drive required to complete the puzzle with a high enough score to unlock later levels can be a bit much at times. The stress this induces can quickly override the fun, particularly in most of the levels past the first quarter. Countering this slightly, two secondary play modes let you focus on either completing puzzles within a set time or completing them within a set number of moves, not both. Points earned in either mode all go towards your overall totals in the main game, which still lets you unlock new levels and progress a bit further after you've inevitably reached a roadblock. However, without cheats, you'll be hard-pressed to make it to the final puzzle.
Cogs is a highly commendable effort, due to the creative spirit and drive of its two-person development team. Slide-puzzle addicts with a steampunk fetish will undoubtedly find themselves in heaven. Casual puzzle players may find Cogs easy to get into, but they'll just as quickly wind up bludgeoned into submission by its grueling difficulty. The lack of a hint system is a major oversight. Still, players who enjoy brain boggling challenges will derive some measure of enjoyment from this quirky puzzler. A high threshold for frustration also helps.
CCC Staff Contributor