What we liked:

+ Cool steam-punk look
+ Puzzle gameplay is fresh
+ Lots of Puzzles

What we didn't like:

- Music is limited
- No help feature
- Some puzzles are just unforgiving
- Really wanted a make your own puzzle mode

DEVELOPER: Lazy 8 Studios   |   PUBLISHER: Lazy 8 Studios   |   RELEASE: 04/18/2009
Just another cog in the wall.

Cogs, I have a serious beef with the creators of this game, first they give me a puzzle where I must slide blocks into place to make a bunch of gears turn so that the propellers will turn and the object will fly, when I finish that they don’t tell me not to recreate said object! Now I am lying in a hospital with a broken back all because I tried to make a block sliding flying machine and jumped off the roof with it, and let me tell you, it did not work…..

Cogs is another indie game that mixes steam-punk looks with grid sliding puzzles, for hours of hair pulling fun. With each puzzle that you finish your rewarded with one even harder than the last, it’s like work without pay! But first let’s talk a little bit about how this game looks, I know, I know this is an indie game, I shouldn’t be so shallow and base marks on looks alone. However when I make a jack in the box puzzle work, by combining gears, and pipes of steam and then a crazy monopoly man steel head pops out, I feel an urged to tell you guys how cool this game looks.

It reminded of two things, the first one was reboot, the Canadian TV show about sprites in a computer, and Steam-Punk as I said earlier. The reboot part comes in, in the gloss and shine of the graphics, you’ll be hard press to find any bad jaggies in this shiny boy and it really shows a high level of polish by the team. Even the different menus keep the steam-punk look, represented by gauges and knobs to be turned. One thing that I thought fell a bit below the graphics was the music, there are a ton of nice little noises for all the different parts, and the main theme music is nice, but that’s pretty much it, you’ll be listening to the same instrumental loop for the entire show, which isn’t so bad if you play in short bursts, but when I felt like really burning through the game, I found myself muting the sounds so I could just play stuff from my Zune.

Now onto the meat and potatoes of this review, which is the all important gameplay! OOH AHHH. Cogs is a puzzle game based on the block sliding mechanic that everyone has done before, where you slide blocks around to complete a picture. However in this one, your instead greeted with a score of different task, like getting all the gears to move, making a pipe system, fuelling up a rocket, or even making a music box. Your sometimes even told to do a bunch of these together, but how you might be asking is it possible to say get a line of gears to the moving one AND get a line of pipes to a balloon? Well the answer my dear readers is 3D.

Cogs doesn’t just work on one flat surface but can be top and bottom, 4 sides and the bottom, or sometimes (in the case of the rocket) 6 sides, all containing their own little puzzle that either needs to link up with the rest of the puzzle or just work. This can lead to some really mind bending puzzle solving skills, but the payoff from figuring out how to connect a 6 sided rocket ship without a single leak is well worth the effort.

My big problem with this aspect of the game is you can get to the last side and figure out that you mess up the first side and have to redo the entire puzzle, which can lead to pulling of hair, head banging and the destruction of one’s monitor or keyboard. One of the other issues I have with the game is that there is no form of help what-so-ever, your left to your own devices and if you can’t figure out what to do in a puzzle, don’t go looking for a hint button cause it isn’t there, this can lead to some real rage moments that will surely cause you to walk away from your computer, I know I’ve found myself opening and closing this game 6 or 7 times in one hour because I got so mad, but then I woudl want to figure it out as well!

The only other real downside that I can find with this game is the lack of game modes, you have the main one where you solve the puzzles and progress onto harder ones, and then a challenge mode, which is just for those of you out there that are prodigies at these kinds of game, and that’s pretty much it. I would have loved a mode where I got to make my own puzzles, the game seems perfect for that, just give me all the little pieces, let me figure out a system and then re-jig all the boxes! This could have led to online sharing, and something that the community could have gotten behind, but maybe if this title sees enough success we’ll see a feature like this in a later instalment.

Overall I had a fun time with Cogs, it’s a fresh spin on puzzle games, and while some puzzles are scream-inducing hard, in the end you feel a huge sense of victory when you solve a super hard puzzle, and who out there doesn’t like to see a rocket ship take flight, after you’ve connect a system of pipes to its 6 engines!

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