Game Reviews

The Voyage

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| The Voyage
The Voyage
| The Voyage

The setup to The Voyage is pretty much the same as it was in Mojo Bones's last puzzle compendium, The Curse.

You open a book filled with 100 brainteasers of increasing difficulty, which you can solve in any order you like. Only instead of a creepy masked villain, your adversary this time is a mischievous pirate bloke called Bucklebeard.

As such, the whole thing has been given a Monkey Island makeover with Caribbean music, parchment pages, and bizarro mini-games involving talking parrots.

A pirate I was meant to be

The puzzles are a mixed bag, varying in discipline, and in quality.

Some really stretch the definition of the word 'puzzle' - like a dopey marble-rolling game that's about as cerebral as a Michael Bay movie - while others challenge your memory, or your logic, or your timing, or even your mathematical skills.

While most are new, some will be familiar to players of The Curse. But the fun word play riddles of the last game are sadly no longer present.

Of the roughly 30 unique puzzle ideas (with the remaining 60 being more difficult versions of previously played templates) there are a handful of good ones and a bunch that just aren't much fun and feel like rejects from a Professor Layton game.

It's handy then that you can skip puzzles and play them in any order you like, but you'll need to complete most - if not all - of them to see the full story.

Trim the sails and roam the sea

The Voyage requires concentration and dedication. Each puzzle, for example, comes with a lengthy instruction screen which you must read and digest. Plus, certain puzzles obscure helpful info so you have to do the brainwork yourself.

In one where you have to place galleons on a map - but aren't allowed to have two ships on the same nine squares - Mojo Bones decides not to show where you are and aren't allowed to place galleons.

Or a triangular maths puzzle that could show you the total of your additions, but doesn't, so you have to do the arithmetic in your old noggin.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but just ties into the general theme that The Voyage is fiendishly, cursedly, tough. And after a few starter puzzles, the difficulty ramps up considerably.

Pieces of eight

Which is as good a time as any to bring up the fact that Mojo Bones sells hints as in-app purchases. So make of that what you will.

It also, and this is kind of weird, randomly teases you at one point with a mysterious locked box, and charges you a doubloon (the cheapest pack is 69p / 99c) to buy the key and see what's inside, which is a pretty cynical bit of money grubbing.

But, even with some lame puzzles, a few rampant difficulty spikes, and those icky IAPs, it's hard to stop playing The Voyage when you know something interesting is going to happen for every five or ten puzzles you complete.

It might be a weird mini-game about making a sandwich, it might be some cryptic new clues for your overarching treasure hunting mission, or it might be a new map piece for your collection.

Whatever the case, the thrill of the chase will keep you turning pages and solving puzzles - even if that means putting up with some dud riddles along the way.

The Voyage

The Voyage is an intriguing, vexing puzzle collection from the maker of The Curse, but is let down by some less-than-enjoyable puzzles and a few unwelcome IAPs