Developed by the guys behind the excellent Year Walk, Device 6 doesn’t disappoint. Indeed, if I’d reviewed it upon release, it would’ve rightly featured heavily in my Top smartphone games of 2013 countdown. Let’s right that particular wrong now with a few hundred words about the awesomeness that is Device 6.
Like Year Walk, Device 6 is available exclusively from the App Store. Throw in the Infinity Blade series and the likes of Threes!, and you’ve got a pretty good reason to go grab an iDevice for gaming.
Device 6 is perhaps best described as an interactive book, but that really doesn’t do justice to the innovation – and the downright weirdness – on display here. As the App Store description says, Device 6 “plays with the conventions of games and literature”. That's putting it mildly.
Starting with the story, you control Anna, who wakes up in a castle on a remote island with no recollection of how she got there, only to face a series of increasingly bizarre tests.
In terms of atmosphere, Device 6 demands to be filed under ‘Creepy as hell’. Mannequins? Check. Dolls? Check. Weird guy in a butler hat? Check.
One of the most interesting concepts explored in Device 6 is the entwinement of story with geography. I wasn’t sure what the hell that meant when I read about it beforehand, but it’s actually really cool.
See, the words physically turn corners, descend stairs and branch off at points, so deciding to swipe up versus right, say, will effectively explore different parts of the castle.
Scattered here and there are little windows, holes in the paper, behind which you'll find all sorts of weird contraptions and stuff.
Ultimately, Device 6 is split into six chapters (plus epilogue), with the first five serving as self-contained puzzles. In order to solve said puzzles, you’ll have to navigate back and forth across the words, and at times re-read sections in order to figure out what’s going on.
Predictably, the puzzles are incredibly abstruse, but that just makes them all the more satisfying when you eventually figure them out.
The use of audio is seriously impressive, too. In one particular Device 6 puzzle, you have to listen to a riddle of sorts, as a guy explains how a series of houses is laid out: “B is south of A,” “A is next door to C” – that kind of thing.
Clearly lots to love about Device 6, and personally I did indeed love it. A few users have pointed out that having to spin your iDevice as the words turn corners is potentially irksome if you’re a) charging, and/or b) using headphones, but I had no such trouble.
Similarly, some people weren’t particularly turned on by the surreality of it all, but it’s a firm 5/5 from me.
- The ‘story as geography’ thing
- The use of audio
- The creepy atmosphere
- Potentially irksome if you’re charging
- Incredibly abstruse puzzles
- Too weird for some, perhaps
Summary: Device 6 is an insanely weird, incredibly challenging, seriously innovative game slash book that’s easily deserving of your £2.49. Excellent.
Price: £2.49 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.