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The Guides


(13 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (6) | Views (6,877)

The Guides

DoraIf you've got an Android or iOS device and you like your puzzle games cunningly cryptic, then The Guides, by Kevin Bradford and Luke Lisi, is fluttering its eyelashes and dropping hankies in your direction. You find yourself receiving a series of strange pieces of communication, each with little context and no instructions, and figuring out what's required for you to progress only leads you deeper into the rabbit hole. You may need to figure out what to tap onscreen, or you may need to decipher a code, obvious or not, and enter its solution in order to proceed. You could be faced with personal correspondence, lines of Morse code, flickering columns of digital letters, to name just a few, all rendered with an elegant, minimalist presentation. In each stage, you'll want to tap things, drag to move the screen around, and generally just experiment to see what you're supposed to do. The stage's title will often provide a clue, vague as it may be, and as you progress, you'll unlock various decoders, though of course you may prefer simply to solve stages through brainpower alone. While the game is completely playable on its own, if you want a bit of backstory and potentially an obscure hint or two, you may consider the optional Compendium companion app, which is an illustrated novel in the process of updating, though there are connections to be found within the game itself for the observant...

The Guides is one of those games that encourages quiet contemplation, sinking into something comfortable and letting your mind drift with the game. For such a comparatively simple presentation, The Guides is gorgeous in an understated way that serves the thoughtful atmosphere the gameplay crafts. There's no hand-holding, no direction, just you and your brain looking for patterns and clues and trying to figure out what each level requires of you, though some puzzle types are repeated. It's a very understated approach to the genre, and one that will frustrate players who prefer having at least some sort of help or guidance (heh) to fall back on, but others will appreciate the way this serves the concept. Figuring out a particularly obscure level can be extremely satisfying, especially since the game is never unfairly vague or cryptic, and adds to the feeling of peeling back layer after layer on a mystery. You could be deciphering Morse code one moment, or simply spotting an irregularity in code the next, and all of it has a fantastically simple, clean user interface that doesn't get in the way of the atmosphere. It's a little disappointing that so much of the real meat of the story is off in a separate app (with its own price), since folding it into the game would have only enhanced the experience, but it's not necessary to enjoy The Guides for what it is... an understatedly lovely and smart puzzle game that fans of riddles, mysteries, and even treasure maps of a sort would do well to check out.

Download on the AppstoreThe Guides (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)


Google PlayAndroid:
The Guides

6 Comments

There's a compendium as well, designed as a narrative for the game, as well as a hint book. $2 for the game, $1 for the compendium, not bad if it holds up to the hype I see.

Stuck on the second puzzle already. Not complaining, really, but it does seem to have a higher difficulty compared to other puzzle games, which seem to be rather simplistic nowadays.

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OK, cancel that, was easier than I had thought at first...

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For the record, you can send three SOS emails a day from a button within the app. These will reply to your email address with a hint for the level you're on. For me, it took something like 12 hours for a reply, though.

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Thanks, did not know that. I managed to get to Section 2, level 22, without using any outside help.

I am very pleased with the utilities built into the app as well, they make solving the puzzles a lot easier.

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I like this very much, it's like the classic online riddle games I played 10 years ago. The thing that irks me is the interface - they tried to jam way too many things on one screen and it's just extremely messy with multiple close boxes and stuff. I do appreciate the in-game decoding tools, but find it odd that, although the game saves your answer to the previous question (something you don't need anymore), it doesn't save the text you typed into the decoder when you suddenly realize you forgot to first select which decoder you meant to use.

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I agree with Andrea that the interface is way too clunky. It's almost as though the developer tried to make figuring it out a puzzle in itself, which shouldn't be necessary if the "real" puzzles are good enough (and they are). Still, a solid purchase. Looking forward to part 3.

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