The Night­mare Co­op­er­a­tive

This takes the idea of close part­ner­ship a tad too far

Mac Format - - RATED - £2.49 De­vel­oper Lucky Frame, luck­yframe.co.uk Works with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Ver­sion 1.2 Age 9+

The ‘lo­cal coun­cil’s reck­less spend­ing’ has re­sulted in your team of two be­ing dumped in a dun­geon. Your aim is to pil­fer bling from psy­chotic monsters, try to not get killed, and sur­vive 16 screens of turn-based may­hem.

Each of the al­go­rith­mi­cally cre­ated screens takes place on a small grid, pep­pered with walls, chests, gold, power-ups, traps and monsters. Open a chest and more haz­ards ap­pear, de­ter­mined by the num­ber on said chest; a moves count­down adds to the ten­sion, fur­ther foes ar­riv­ing when it hits zero.

Prob­lems are ex­ac­er­bated by the ‘co­op­er­a­tive’ as­pect of the game – swipe and your en­tire team moves as one. Ad­di­tion­ally, you can re­cruit doz­ing al­lies en route, and so be­fore long you’re faced with tricky de­ci­sions – a sin­gle swipe could mean riches for a mage and a speedy exit for a ninja, but your archer get­ting a beat­ing and your miner tak­ing a dip in an acid pool.

The game’s turn-based na­ture means you can take your time, and health pick-ups and po­tions are help­ful for ac­ti­vat­ing spe­cial pow­ers that are unique to each team mem­ber and fun to dis­cover.

Ini­tially the game seems tough, but once you fig­ure out its me­chan­ics, you’ll have a ball blud­geon­ing your way through dun­geons. Its fi­nite struc­ture means you’re not faced in ev­ery game with an end­less trudge to bet­ter your strat­egy and high-score. In all, this is a fan­tas­tic, pol­ished blend of puzzling and ev­ery-chang­ing dun­geon-crawl­ing. Craig Gran­nell

The best iOS puz­zler we’ve seen since Threes!, com­bin­ing smart game me­chan­ics and beau­ti­ful de­sign work.

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