Cognition is the latest point and click adventure game by Phoenix Online Studios, and takes the tried and tested PC techniques of point and click and adapts them to today’s tablets and smartphones.
The player plays the lead character Erica Reed, who is a Boston FBI agent who has the power to see the past.Cognition is an intense adventure game that follows the path of four different serial killers. As in all these types of adventure games, a series of clues have been left along the way, and with Erica’s ability, the game unfolds as a who-done-it in the most traditional sense. Episode 1 has you trying to find out the fate of Erica’s brother, and is entitled “The Hangman”. Right from the outset, Cognition plays out like a traditional point and click adventure game, and the game is instinctive to all those who have played any similar games in the past.
The premise is simple, you are on a screen which either just appears, or scrolls or zooms into view and there are numerous objects over the screen. As you have special abilities, you can access these and the screen goes into a sort of negative mode, showing up objects that may be of help to your quest. Simply move to an object or click on it and the character and or object will let you know if it can help you. It’s an arduous task, and in this world of quick and instant action, some may find it a hard-slog going through screen after screen of looking for clues, and working out puzzles hard work these days. But those who stick with the game will find a quite long and deep game that will really have your grey-matter working overtime. It’s not a fun quest, but a quest that can be rewarding, and very entertaining and interesting on times.
The graphics in the game are not at all realistic, and indeed take a “Walking Dead” approach to how they look. It’s all very comic book, but that adds to the feel of the game and makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd. Because of this graphic novel approach to the graphics, the game also doesn’t have the best animation. At times characters can look clunky, and moving objects just look like cardboard cutouts moving on the screen. Colors are subdued, trying to add to the tension of the game, but everything is a little flat.
Sound is one of the games good points, as a lot of the interaction comes with some good quality sound effects which really do add to the tension of the game. However, there was so much opportunity in this game where speech could have been used a lot more than how it actually is. The same phrases are repeated over and over again, and it would have been nice for a few extra sentences of speech to be added to the game. The voice acting in the game is a bit hit or miss, with some of the voices sounding very good while others sounding not too good. However, after all is said and done, it’s nice to have an mobile game with so much attention paid to the sound.
Cognition is an old fashioned adventure game in every essence of the word. The controls are intuitive and the interaction with objects and other characters is enjoyable. Cognition though seems a bit “safe” in an age where other titles are pushing the boundaries. For fans of adventure games, Cognition is a great alternative to spend your money on. There’s plenty of challenge, loads of puzzles and clues to examine and everything is done nicely. The game therefore can be described as “nice”, and for some that may be enough, but others will no doubt want a lot more from a game.
A copy of this game was provided to Gaming Illustrated for the purpose of this review.