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iPad  header logo

Cognition: Episode One

For: iPad

Use your brain

Product: Cognition | Developer: Phoenix Online Studios | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Cognition iPad, thumbnail 1
It takes more than a good story and some decent puzzles to make an adventure game. You need to build a UI that makes sense, and which lets the player interact with the world you've created as frictionlessly as possible.

Unfortunately, Cognition: Episode One only has two of those important components. It weaves a gripping tale, and presents you with plenty of mysteries to unravel, but a clumsy control system left over from its time as a PC title will leave you frustrated.

Cogs are whirring

The game tells the story of FBI agent Erica Reed, a young investigator who finds herself embroiled in a series of chilling murders. Luckily, she has a psychic ability that lets her discover the recent history of certain objects by touching them.

It's up to you to piece together the clues at a series of murder scenes while keeping on top of Erica's turbulent visions. Her dark past, most of which involves murder, and some of which you get to play through at the start of the game, keeps rearing its ugly head as well.

There's certainly enough death and mystery to keep amateur sleuths entertained for a couple of hours, but the game's sticking point it its clumsy UI. Objects you can interact with show up when you touch the screen, but you have to tap again to select them, and again to choose what to do with them.

It feels like there are two extra taps for everything you want to accomplish, and just selecting an object can be cumbersome too. It's a system that makes sense with a mouse, but with your finger acting as a literal cursor it feels clumsy and unintuitive.

Violent cases

If you can look past the controls you'll find an intriguing and entertaining game that plays around with the building blocks of the adventure genre and often comes out with something unique in the process.

There are variations on quick-time events, puzzles with ever-ticking time limits, and a cast of characters that, while sometimes veering a little too close to cliché, are engaging enough to keep you intrigued to the end.

Add to that mix an atmosphere that calls to mind classic noir and the adventure games of the early '90s and you're left with a package that, if it weren't for the annoying controls, would come highly recommended.
Cognition: Episode One
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 5 March 2013
If it weren't for the controls, Cognition: Episode One would be a must-buy. But it's worth playing all the same
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