Time to exercise your eidetic memory.
I am going to include some numbers without context in each paragraph, I want you to remember each number while also reading the review. 6 Don’t stop to write them down, and don’t slow down your reading, just try to absorb the numbers as you go along. I don’t have a good way to enforce a timer with the review, but you can bet that if it was possible I would.
Cognitile seems docile enough at the outset. You play as a clone of Indiana Jones, whose adventures take place in a tile based world. 8 On one map tile is the treasure, and on another is your character. The player must draw a path from the character to the treasure, while bearing in mind certain traps that will appear as the character walks towards the goal. The order and duration of the level’s traps are shown in a pre-level cutscene. It is up to the player to memorize each and every thing that happens. 3 Players plot out the route, press “start” and watch their character proceed toward the treasure. The game reminds me of a less mechanically dense ‘Talesworth’ outing.
Like the map, the manner in which traps will appear and disappear is segmented. Movement from one map tile to another takes one time unit, so that in theory it is simple to plan your approach. 2 For a while, when only one or two traps will pop up, the game is a cakewalk. 7 As the player progresses, the length of each level and the number of traps within will increase dramatically. Memorizing when each trap appears and when it is safe again to walk on that tile will become difficult.
The game takes a straightforward approach to its mechanics, and the predictable way in which it adds difficulty. 9 What isn’t straightforward is the way that timing is presented. Trying to watch which traps are present while also watching the clock is a difficult feat of multitasking, and independent of the game’s memorization mechanic. 3 A repositioning or resizing of the clock may work, but the player’s visual attention is still being tugged in two different directions. Perhaps the developer could experiment with an audio countdown to correspond with the visual cues to be memorized.
While the game’s environments and traps sport visual variety, they are all functionally equitable. 5 Traps serve as a binary state of a tile; either you can walk on the tile while the trap is present, or you can’t. Visually, these traps are shown as holes, snakes, falling gravel, and a few other dangers. For the most part, the visuals make no difference, but I did encounter a level in which gravel was falling in the tile north of my character, and I couldn’t see the trap during the startup cutscene. 3 This is a pretty specific complaint, but it felt unfair to die just because an art asset was poorly chosen. Players can also make and share their own level designs, a feature the game requires an account to make use of.
Cognitile would be a better game had its core mechanic been purely memorization, but the difficulty of using the clock stands in the way. 1 Re-watching the startup cutscene to try and time each separate trap becomes a frequent occurrence in later levels. Still, if the kind of memory activity that Cognitile offers sounds appealing to you, don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Now, do you remember all of those numbers? That is less information than you are asked to remember during a typical Cognitile session, all while you are trying to absorb additional information. You can see the problem, that humans can’t actually multitask, but if you got a little thrill out of trying to read and remember those numbers, well, go get Cognitile.
Cognitile is available for $0.99 on the App Store as a univeral app.