Agent A: A Puzzle In Disguise in Review: Spying Is Cool Again

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take on the role of Agent A and help track down the nefarious Ruby LaRouge.  Is the game full of cliché?  Yeah.  But that’s part of the charm.  Whether intentionally or not this game pays homage to the greats like James Bond and Get Smart, with an attitude akin to modern classics such as Carmen Sandiego.  There was never a moment where I felt like banging my head on the wall, though at times things felt a bit too easy, but in the end it was all orchestrated in such a way that I never wanted to put it down.  There are a few stellar examples of tap and click genius among the horde of Hidden Object variants, and Agent A is certainly one of them.

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All you have to do is infiltrate Ruby’s lair and bring her in.  Sounds like a piece of cake, right?  Well, it seems that for some odd reason Ruby just doesn’t want to be brought in, though you might not know it given that she seems to leave all the tools necessary to capture her at your disposal… as long as you can interpret the clues, crack the codes and solve all the puzzles.  There’s plenty of that to do, because even though you’ll pretty easily conquer individual trials the game still takes more than an hour to play.  While I’m certainly not an advocate of puzzles that make you tear your hair out, especially since mine is already turning grey, I would have liked to have seen at least a few puzzles that were a bit more challenging.  That’s probably my biggest gripe with the game.

The game does offer some object based puzzles, which usually require you to unlock something so you can get yet another key or play a mini-game to advance even further.  The mini-games are a nice variety of puzzles that you’ve probably played in some manner in another game somewhere, but they are presented in such a way that they make sense with the whole 60’s spy vibe the game exudes.  There were a couple of times where it felt like you were simply randomly pushing items until the answer fell in place, and then there were a couple of occasions where I was pretty impressed with the way the puzzle was engineered.  I particularly like how the developer handled your character having to retrieve the key from the shark tank.  I think that was my favorite puzzle in the game.

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The interface was basically a combination of tap and drag.  Tapping allows you to move between locations (with a convenient “back” button when there is no immediate place to advance to within the scene) and is also used for zooming in to a particular area or for picking up items.  To use an inventory item you drag it onto the area where you want to use it, and there were a few other instances where you might use a drag or rotating motion to accomplish something.  It would have been nice to see the game take a bit more advantage of some of the iDevice features like pinching or the gyroscope, but maybe that will come in episode 2.  Sadly once you’ve completed the game there’s not much replay value, but there are six achievements to earn if you need that sort of thing in an adventure game.

As if it wasn’t already an incredible enough package, what really pushes Agent A over the top is the audio / visual presentation.  Sure I’ve played other iOS adventure games with stellar graphics, but it’s not just that everything looks great in Agent A.  The overall style of the visuals is unique and alluring.  Add on to that all the nice little details and abundant animation and I would say this is one of the best looking adventure games I’ve played on my mobile device to date.  The game’s no slouch when it comes to sound effects either.  Whether it’s one off actions like turning a key or ambient background noise such as a crackling fire or trickling waterfall, everything sounds just right.  The voiceovers are well done too.  I also like the background music, though it would be nice if you could make it just a bit louder independently of the sound effects.

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If you are an adventure game fan, Agent A is a game not to be missed.  While there’s nothing particularly challenging about the game, there’s enough content that it feels like a complete, fully fleshed out episode.  The puzzles were fun, the 60’s spy atmosphere as a great change of pace from the typical fantasy, sci-fi or horror backdrops that permeate most adventure games, and the audio and visual elements of the game were top notch.  I can’t wait to see what the developer has in store for the sequel.

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App Summary
Title: Agent A: A puzzle in disguiseDeveloper: Yak & co
Reviewed Ver:1.0.0Min OS Req: iOS 7.0
Price:$2.99App Size:88.30MB
  • Great spy theme
  • Plenty of puzzles to solve
  • Unique visual style
  • Excellent audio
  • Not much challenge

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