“Device 6” Review

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Device 6 is a text based adventure game that reads like a mystery novella. It pretends to be a choose-your-own-adventure story while playing like a puzzle. In fact the whole experience is a singular puzzle. Device 6 is one of those rare games that combine presentations, gameplay, and narrative into one cohesive and thematic experience.

Device 6 casts you as Player249, an observer to the struggles of a woman named Anna. She wakes up in a strange room with no memory of how she got here. She quickly discovers she’s trapped on an island filled with bizarre things like talking bear statues, men in deep wells, and guitarist automatons. Anna’s story plays out like a novel that you read. As you scroll through the text sound effects are triggered to mimic the action in the words. If Anna turns a corner, so too does the text. Device 6 forces you to constantly reorient the phone as you progress, even going as far as to make you hold it up to a mirror to read backwards text.

As Anna explores the island she encounters puzzles that you, Player249, must solve so she can continue. Solutions can be discovered by collecting clues from the text. Device 6 is impossible to play without a notebook. Here’s what I mean:

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Clues must be gathered an analyzed until they click into place, which usually means looking at them from a new perspective. Each puzzle is fair, but requires cleverness. They leave you feeling accomplished, not relieved from frustration.

If Device 6 is worth anything it is its refusal to behave like the standard cellphone game. You can’t pop in and out at whim, there’s no high score to chase, it isn’t a time waster. Device 6 demands attention and brain power, for that it needs to be celebrated.

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