I have stared and poked at this image for more than an hour over the past two days. I touch it, a red card pops up and a buzzer sounds. I have no idea what to do here, and The Icarus Box isn't keen to tell me.
The Icarus Box is a puzzle/horror/mystery game for the iPad. The story revolves around a man discovering the history of his family after inheriting the family home, located a short walk away from the cliff that a large percentage of his forebears have thrown themselves off of. Armed with that knowledge I would have avoided the home altogether and just let the lawyers deal with selling it to another family of lemmings, but the main character here, concerned there might be something valuable lurking inside, decides to check it out first.
Much like The Room, The Icarus Box is a mystery game involving a puzzle box, only instead of a 3D view, each puzzle is presented as a full-screen affair of marred wood and gears. They call it steampunk — I suppose it fits.
The story unfolds through a series of documents, letters written or discovered by your character during his exploration. The faded imagery is enhanced by creepy audio cues — headphones and a dark room are in order here.
The puzzles, those that I managed to complete, were simple affairs littered with little scary surprises that it's best you experience for yourself.
And the ones I did not complete? The official app description boasts 95 "nearly impossible" puzzles. I am inclined to agree with the impossible bit. I've been banging my head against the one up top for what seems like an eternity. Then there's this one.
I touch the parchment area and electricity sparks. I try tracing symbols. I try touching the squares at the top. Eventually the red card appears, the buzzer sounds and I fail.
Honestly I am not sure if I am even failing. The game's interface doesn't give me much in the way of clues. There's no help feature, outside of an option to ask Twitter.
It's driving me mad. Perhaps that's the point.
Developer Brick Singularity's co-founder Robert Hamm offered to help me with the puzzles in order to show me more of the game, but I declined. If I cannot beat this game on my own, then I cannot beat this game.
The Icarus Box has bested me. Even if I do manage to poke on through to the other side, I'll always know it kicked my arse.
The Icarus Box ($5.49) [iTunes App Store]