The subject of difficulty is a minefield for games reviewers.
Some of you will no doubt breeze through 7th Guest: Infection’s Reversi-esque gameplay at the hardest difficulty level, before going on to lambast me in the comments section for the ineptitude I'm about to disclose.
So it's important to stress from the outset that, in this particular case at least, I'm far from inept. I’ve played these types of puzzles countless times before, and am a fairly dab hand at Reversi in the first place.
If you can breeze through 7th Guest: Infection, you're most definitely the exception to the rule.
According to the ‘lab notes’ on the main menu, Infection is based around a game designed in 1988 that has gone on to feature in a number of home computer, arcade, and console titles - Spot (with the 7UP mascot) and the original, non-iOS version of 7th Guest being two such instances.
Players (up to two humans or AI) take it in turns to spread their cells across the board, either by multiplying them (moving one adjacent or diagonal space) or by ‘jumping’ them by moving two spaces at once.
Any enemy cells located next to the moved piece are instantly swapped around to your colour - there’s no need to ‘trap’ them, as there is in Reversi.
Play continues until there are no moves left, at which point the cells are counted up and the victor is declared.
Scoping the target
Because the cells are placed on the corners of the board at the start, a lot of the emphasis with Infection is on taking up a strong position to initiate the first attack.
This gives the game a more chaotic feel than Reversi, with ‘battles’ taking place across a wider area of the board.
The presentation is typically 7th Guest, with the familiar skull lurking at the top of the screen and the creepy Stauf relentlessly mocking you for being crap.
It’s also very nicely put together, with controls kept to simple tap-and-drag movements, and the cells themselves glowing an eerie red or blue depending on their owner
While the game itself is very easy to grasp, Stauf is certainly not an easy adversary to beat.
On ‘average’ intelligence (four of seven) he’s an absolute monster, ripping apart any bad starts and constantly pulling off seemingly impossible comebacks.
Even on the easiest difficulty level he has an uncanny knack of seizing on a bad move and making you pay, right up until the final stages of the game.
His mocking may be funny at first, but it’s sure as hell going to annoy you after the hundredth time he stomps all over your cells.
If you have a friend nearby then you can avoid this particular form of frustration by roping him in, and 7th Guest: Infection provides some solid multiplayer boardgaming fun.
But solo gamers who don't enjoy being mercilessly beaten may not find 7th Guest: Infection quite so inviting.