9 Elefants Review (IOS)
9 Elefants is a puzzle game that takes place in 1920s Paris. An innovative professor has vanished, and it's up to his daughter Laura to solve the mystery of his disappearance. It's a great premise for an app, but unfortunately the execution is a bit of a mixed bag.
As Laura, you will travel throughout the different sections of Paris and solve various puzzles. Once a puzzle is solved, you will receive various elements that lead to the building of an item or the completion of a grander mission. In the first two levels, your goal is to collect enough gears to build mechanized mice that will guide you through different environments.
The app's main selling point are the puzzles, and if you want a bit of variety with your brain twisters, 9 Elefants has that in spades. Your mathematical, analytical and listening skills all come into play, and during my time with the app the puzzles were never poorly constructed or executed.
The app's moniker refers to the organization that kidnapped Laura's father. Since he created a time camera which could take pictures into the future, the professor is a highly valuable resource. Time films, which are pieces of strips that were taken from his camera, can be found throughout the city and once these strips appear on the screen, simply tap the screen and collect as many of these pieces as possible.
Once you've grabbed a healthy share of time films, they can be used as currency to bypass puzzles which are simply too hard to solve. It's very easy to collect these strips, and you can simply spend most of your app time picking them up and earning puzzle rewards without even properly solving anything. Although this may come off as a big cheat, some of the puzzles can get a bit tricky, so a bit of extra help can go a long way.
Although 9 Elefants didn't immediately transport me back to 1920s Paris, the game's visuals are definitely eye-catching in a quaint and subtle fashion. I can take tons of screenshots from my gameplay and use them for a screensaver or banner, and credit goes to the developers for infusing the app with a lovingly rendered design. Whether it's capturing a brightly lit hotel lobby or a shadowed and intimidating Paris at night, 9 Elefants is a wonderful game to observe.
After completing the first several stages and solving a plethora of puzzles, 9 Elefants becomes a bit of a bore. The dialogue between Laura and the city's denizens are simply uninteresting and serve as simple lead ups to the puzzles. While such a construct is understandable, tapping the screen to continue meaningless conversations takes its toll.
Since the biggest puzzle of 9 Elefants is to find the professor, quick witted or charming verbal foreplay could have seduced me to keep playing the app. If you're a pick up and play type of gamer, 9 Elefants is perfectly fine in doses, as you can solve a couple of brain twisters and move on with your day.
Since 9 Elefants is $2.99 to download, I expected a bit more of an addictive experience. Instead, I solved a few puzzles, checked out a few pretty pictures of Paris and had a decent enough time. For a free to play title, that's all fine and dandy. But when money is involved, the puzzles take on an entirely different meaning.
This review was completed with a downloaded copy of 9 Elefants for iOS.