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Film noir combines beautifully with graphic novel aesthetics and stealth puzzling in Third Eye Crime, the debut effort from the ex-Bungie team at Moonshot Games. With a story full of twists and turns and a smooth lead character, it's a super-slick offering, and there's plenty of great level design to back up the style. This iOS original turns one particular film noir convention on its head, casting you not as a private detective but as Rothko, a telepathic art thief dragged into a mess he'd have rather avoided entirely.
Rothko’s uncanny ability to read minds enables him to anticipate where guards will look for him. Glowing red trails show where they think you are—or might be—while shaded blue arcs reveal their line of sight. Rothko moves along the paths you trace for him, either ahead of time or on the fly—often both, as you quickly adjust your plans. Your job, of course, is to stay out of sight whenever possible and never be where the guards think you are when they arrive at that point. It's easier said than done, though, and each of the 118 levels leaves less margin for error than the last; the second act (of three) especially ups the ante.
Third Eye Crime never gets too tough, though, as there’s a consistent logic to the design and plenty of leeway for individual play styles. There are multiple ways to solve every level, while optional goals—such as not being seen or collecting all the loot—add an extra element of strategy and challenge for anyone eager to embody the master thief persona. You’ll soon learn that there’s an art to misdirection, and it provides a special thrill when you pull it off perfectly.
These are not your typical video game guards; they’ll hunt you down relentlessly and intelligently, working as a team to methodically search every nook and cranny for you (and also, when you have one, your accomplice). The chase is every bit as thrilling as the sneak, and a jazz soundtrack you’ll be humming for days backs a noir-inspired story told beautifully in sliding panels—graphic novel-style—between chapters.
The bottom line. Third Eye Crime serves up a masterful blend of stealth puzzling and noir-inspired storytelling, with misdirection cleverly applied on both counts.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later
Smooth, slick aesthetics. Great music. Stellar level design. Guards act intelligently and consistently. Compelling, well-told story.
Minor issues with small movements and using items while stationary. Need to complete all but two levels in each chapter, which prevents less-able players from progressing.