App Army Assemble: Crux: The Great Outdoors - "Should you scale this precision-based puzzler?"

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Crux: The Great Outdoors - "Should you scale this precision-based puzzler?"

Crux: The Great Outdoors is the latest entry in Mindgames Studios' climbing series that takes you from climbing indoors to scaling outside in nature. It's billed as a puzzler that requires precision to successfully climb through each of the stages. We decided to hand the game over to our App Army to see what they thought.

Here's what they said:

Jojó Reis

I liked the game, it's that game that makes you relax and break your head at the same time, it has relaxing music. About the game, you have to climb the right way and over time it becomes more complicated and that's where the challenge is the desire to continue playing. The game is very fluid and intuitive.

Isaiah Stuart

I didn't really expect much from this in all honesty, as I wasn't terribly impressed with the first game. I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. The revamped visuals are absolutely gorgeous, especially with the added depth and detail and the different environments. The sound design is much improved as well. The gameplay did not change much between the two games, as far as I can tell, but the added sights and sounds really did it for me. They made the game worth playing.

As for the gameplay, it's still solid in it's simplicity, and in some ways does capture the rock climbing experience, though as a rock climber myself I think the timers are unrealistically short and some of the limitations don't make a lot of sense. No matter. These things can be forgiven. In the end, Crux: The Great Outdoors just works. There is much beauty in simplicity. Would recommend.

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

Oksana Ryan

I love a game that challenges but I don’t know if it was me, but I hit a wall (pardon the pun) before I even reached level 10. At first I thought I could see a pattern to gameplay, but with timed elements introduced it became more and more impossible to play. I wanted to like this game because it seemed different against most of the puzzlers I play, but it was so frustrating to watch the little climber constantly falling, that in the end I gave up. It might have been easier if the timed levels started further into the game - giving the player a chance to get to grips with the basic mechanics. In the game’s present form, I’m afraid I won’t be spending any more time on it.

Torbjörn Kämblad

Climbing is a sport/activity not often seen in gaming. In Crux Outdoors you have to scale different walls using hand- and footholds. You get to control the hands/upper body, and feet/lower body independently using touch screen controls. Some holds are too weak to hold your weight, and if you take too long you will fall onto the ground. No blood or gore though.

I found the game to be quite relaxing during the first levels, but then it quickly climbed in difficulty. I found myself falling quite a lot until I found a good rhythm to the movement of feet and hands. The best part of this game is the vibrant relaxing presentation. The style could be said to be that you get to climb the mountains you blaze past in classic arcade racer Outrun 2. I recommend the game as it is something unusual, looks good and has quite a few levels to traverse.

Mark Abukoff

I like the simple mechanics and look of this. And the idea of a climbing game as a puzzler is interesting. The music is pleasant. I used virtual onscreen controls that worked fine. So there’s enough that I liked about it. But it didn’t take long before I reached a frustration wall. The timer. At a reasonably early point in the game, the time you’re allowed seems more suited to an advanced level, and after failing three or four times, I stopped trying. I picked it back up on practice mode, and sure I was able to take my time. But in practice mode you can’t unlock new levels. So ultimately I had the choice of level after level of frustration or level after level of the same thing. I like this game. I like the idea of it. But the fast timer and frustration it brings just kills my desire to keep playing. Fix that and you’ve got a winner.

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on

Robert Maines

Crux at first seemed awfully familiar as I had not realised it was a sequel to Crux: A climbing game. Anyway, it’s a puzzler with the climbing mechanic as guide your climber up a rock face using arms and hands to grab on to handholds that look like diamond shapes of various sizes. As you progress, timers kick with certain holds that only let you hold on for a limited time.

It’s a nicely presented game but the controls let it down, especially when the timers kick in. Swipe controls are at times unresponsive and even switching to on-screen buttons doesn’t help much. This means the game becomes incredibly frustrating to play and I soon got sick of failing time after time. A thumbs down from me.

Paul Manchester

As a bit of a part-time recreational climber, I was definitely drawn to this one. The idea of puzzling through a set of bouldering scenarios in a beautiful rending setting certainly ticked the boxes. The animations are good and adequately represent the movement of real climbing including heel hooks. The controls take some getting used to, but I thought added to the feeling of progression like real climbing from awkward at first to then stringing together a number of flowing movements. It felt nice and relaxed. Then the timers came in...

Whilst I appreciate this is to add a needed level of jeopardy to each climb when combined with the movement controls I felt it was overly punishing at times. Especially when although you can practice without them, you cannot unlock more stages. What went quickly from a zen experience felt more like a lesson in frustration. Climbing is a more slow and considered sport and this felt jarring in its implementation.
Nice game, well presented, but those anger-inducing timers mean it's not one I am going to stick with.

What is the App Army?

The App Army is Pocket Gamer's lovely community of mobile game experts. As often as possible, we ask them for their thoughts on the latest games and share them with you.

To join, simply head over to either our Discord Channel or Facebook Group and request access by answering the three questions. We'll then get you in right away.