Last year we got word that the steampunk puzzler Cogs was coming to the iPhone. Not much more was known at the time about it other than the developers were working on a port, although later we found out that it was being published by Chillingo. Today we got a beta of the iPhone version in our hands for the first time, and it is awesome.
The basic premise of Cogs is very similar to games like Pipemania in that you are moving pieces around a game board to accomplish a task. These tasks can involve arranging gears to transfer rotational energy from one point to another, move bells around to create a chime that matches the target sound, or even move pipes around to transmit steam power from one place to another. These tasks combine in later levels to build contraptions such as this tank:
While it's true there is no shortage of Pipemania spinoffs on the App Store, Cogs is in a class of its own when it comes to the amount of visual flare in the game. Everything is beautifully rendered in 3D with wonderful steampunk graphics, and the amount of animations and different flourishes that cover nearly aspect of the game from the puzzle pieces themselves to the menus is something I've never seen in another puzzle game on the platform. (Or maybe any puzzle game, for that matter.)
The version of Cogs we have comes with three game modes: Inventor mode, which starts with simple puzzles and slowly builds in difficulty in addition to two challenge modes which allow you to solve partially-completed puzzles you have unlocked in inventor mode with different goals. In time challenge mode, you have 30 seconds to solve the remainder of the puzzle, and in move challenge mode you have ten moves to find the solution.
Aside from the different challenges, your progress is tracked in each puzzle with a move counter and a timer. Completing puzzles fast enough and/or in a small amount of moves gives different awards. It even has achievements and high scores which are tracked by Chillingo's Crystal which should provide a decent amount of replay value if you're the kind of person who enjoys going for achievements or competing online.
Puzzles in game start as simple 2D puzzles, but quickly graduate to 3D monstrosities where you need to solve multiple puzzles on each face of a object which is turned by swiping with two fingers on the screen. A simple swipe moves pieces around, and overall the controls work very well aside from a few instances where the game though I was trying to spin the cube instead of move a piece-- Although it's hard to say if the game's beta status or my fat fingers are the culprit.
The trailer for the PC version of the game will give you a good idea of what comes in later levels, and is worth watching just so you can get an idea of how good of a port this is. Here is some video of the first few puzzles in Cogs for the iPhone, just keep in mind that this is still technically in beta so things will likely be tweaked or changed prior to launch:
Cogs is due to be released sometime this month, and when the game comes out you can expect a full review. In the meantime, if you have a PC you can check out the free Cogs demo on Steam or buy the full version for $9.99.