A few months ago I reviewed the iPad version of the first ‘episode’ of Cognition, the adventure game series from legendary developer Jane Jenson and Phoenix Online Studios. Now we have Episode 2 of Cognition, and are on the case of the Wise Monkey. Let’s take a look!
Type of app: Adventure Game
Platform/where to buy: Mac or PC; available in the Phoenix Online Studios Store
Developer: Phoenix Online Studios LLC
Here are some of the features:
– Play as Erica Reed, FBI detective
– Solve a deep and intriguing mystery that involves your twin brother
– Investigate crime scenes, interact with other detectives, and hunt for clues
– Use Erica’s special powers to uncover the mystery
– Your choices have consequences!
Once again you are playing as Erica Reed, a special agent for the FBI. In the first episode she lost her brother in the prelude, and it haunted her throughout as she sought the Cain killer. Now she is on a new case, and has a new boss in town. But in the opening minutes she faces potential poisoning, meets the new boss who is less than enamored with her performance, and … her friend and sometime love interest is kidnapped right out of the squad room – and his ear is chopped off and left behind. Now Erica takes over his ‘Wise Monkey’ case to find the connection!
Immediately we have subterfuge, mistaken identity and more. The writing and characterizations are even better than before – in the first episode there were a few fully drawn characters, but here most characters you meet are more than one-dimensional. As a result you will immediately like or dislike someone based on interactions (often with Erica), but then will learn more than can completely change your feelings.
Throughout the game you will be weighing evidence, looking for clues, asking questions, using Erica’s powers and more in order to get to the conclusion. And because you have choices, you can alter the path … well, it is more like choosing side-roads, because everything ends up at the same place – but the ability to have an impact on the game flow is immensely satisfying.
Ease of use/Overall performance:
As an adventure game, you click to move around, talk to people, choose actions, and so on. Throughout the game you will encounter puzzles you need to solve to progress. The puzzles are challenging enough to keep you engaged without ever becoming overly frustrating.
The graphics are stylized and well designed to draw you into each locale. You need to investigate each scene for useful objects and combine and interact items. Everything is detailed and easily visible, so you will never fall to random clicking.
The game is fully voice acted as before, and the actors do a great job with characterizations and conveying emotion. My only hang-up remains the Boston accents.
Would use again/recommend?: Definitely! I love the intriguing story, chilling scenes, detailed characters, great writing, and fun sense of controlling my own path through the adventure. The full voice acting and details visuals just add even more to the experience.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: The accents – if you are actually FROM Boston … turn off the audio.
Source: Publisher provided review code
Price: $9.99, or get the entire season for $29.99.
Here is the trailer: