Only A Truly Devious Villain Would Make You Solve Riddles To Destroy Him

I was the sort of child who always had a bunch of brain-teaser and riddle books lying around in her room, and I grew into the sort of adult who enjoys Professor Layton games. The Curse, for me, is a natural extension of that impulse to solve everything.

In fact, The Curse could be considered sort of a second cousin to the Professor Layton franchise. It's a series of logic puzzles with a story wrapped around it: you have, in your hands, an evil book.

The puzzles are mainly nothing new -- tangrams, riddles, magic squares, slider puzzles, and all the rest -- but for those who like brain-teasers, it's a pleasant diversion. The most frustrating puzzles are perhaps the ones requiring precise timing; in the midst of working mainly with your brain, having to switch to working with your reflexes can be frustrating.

The framing story is silly, but also surprisingly well-executed. When the villain Mannequin "calls" your phone, even if you're actually using an iPod there's something believable enough about it to be worth a chuckle. His "Phantom of the Opera"-style mask and Dracula-esque bearing are charmingly, rather than irritatingly, ridiculous.

The structure is fairly forgiving; players can flip through pages of the "book" in order to solve easier puzzles first and build up to harder ones. (We all have our weaknesses; while I'm good at slider puzzles and riddles, the whole "make 4L with a 5L and 3L container" set-up will get me every time, in every game.) Finishing the game requires solving a final puzzle, but access to that puzzle must be earned by winning 20 cogs -- one for every five puzzles in the book.

Developers MojoBones and Toy Studio promise an Android version should also be available soon.

The Curse [$0.99, iTunes]


    Fill the 5.
    Tip it into the 3 and then empty the 3.
    Tip what's in the 5 into the 3.
    Fill the 5.
    Tip into the 3 until the 3 is full, and then empty the 3.

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