Puzzle games are all over the iPhone. Sadly, most of them are crappy match three games that feature almost no innovation on the part of the developer. However, every so often, a puzzle game comes along with high production values and a new, interesting mechanic.
It is that game. It has a mechanic that is fresh, exciting, and downright fun. It has great visuals, an engaging story and the general high production quality you hope to see from any game.
MacGuffin’s curse follows the tale of a magician turned thief who gains the power to turn into a werewolf when he enters the moonlight. He uses these abilities to solve puzzles as he navigates the world. The story is well written, comical and enjoyable.
Visually, MacGuffin’s Curse is well put together. Navigating the world is presented with a top down view, and the levels and characters look quite nice. Of course, the visuals are not as technically beautiful as a game like Infinity Blade II, but the art style is well done, and it suits mobile devices very well.
Much of the story is presented through dialog popups between characters. The dialog is well written and actually had me laughing at loud in some spots. Some parts of the story are presented through comic books sections, and these look gorgeous. The style is very dark, and it is a joy to read when one of these sections come up.
I cannot say I loved the controls in MacGuffin’s Curse, but it is also hard to say I hated them. Some things about the controls are less than stellar, but I have certainly seen worse. You slide your finger in the direction you want MacGuffin to move, and he moves in that direction. This works well for moving straight, but I often found myself having a hard time making him turn without lifting my finger off the screen and starting over.
I found that if I kept swiping the screen instead of holding a direction it more or less fixed the problem. The other issue with controls is the mechanic for moving large objects while playing as the werewolf. You have to swipe two fingers in the direction you want to move the object, and this just felt awkward, and was far less than intuitive.
MacGuffin’s Curse is a room based puzzle game where your job, as the player, is to guide MacGuffin from room to room using the mechanics available. When he is in human form, you can fit through small openings and cross shallow waterways. When MacGuffin steps into the moonlight and becomes a werewolf, he can smash fragile things in his path and drag heavy objects around the level.
The idea is to combine the two to make your way through the level. You will be dragging batteries to power sources, moving heavy safes, crossing water, flipping switches and more. The goal is to make it through the level and rid MacGuffin of the cursed amulet that is making him into a werewolf.
The gameplay mechanics are fun, and the later levels are incredibly challenging. It always warms my heart to see game developers put some effort into puzzle games. The folks at Ayopa Games clearly thought about their level design and succeeded at making a fun, challenging puzzle game.
The controls keep this game from being as great as it could have been. As I said previously, they are not the worst controls out there, but they take what could have been an excellent game and make it great. Sure, there is nothing wrong with being great, but who wants to be great when you can be excellent?
MacGuffin’s curse is a well done puzzle game. It is so refreshing to see a puzzle game on iOS that is not a Bejeweled or Tetris clone. It has a beautiful art style, a witty story and some challenging gameplay. If you are looking to break away from the same old puzzle game, check out MacGuffin’s Curse. 8/10