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16 January, 2014

Is Device 6 2013's Journey?

Each year we see more and more unique indie titles reaching the kinds of critical heights normally reserved for big budget triple-A console games. The breakout hit of 2012 didn’t come from a Naughty Dog or a BioWare – it was the downloadable indie gem Journey, the thoughtful piece for the PlayStation Network by developer thatgamecompany. At the 16th Annual D.I.C.E. awards it won Game of The Year, toppling Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and another indie classic to rise above many of its more fancied console rivals in 2012, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. 

2013 built on these foundations to deliver a stunning twelve months of exciting new gaming experiences. A quick look at our 50 Best iOS Indie Games of 2013 will give you months of gaming goodness to enjoy. But there is one special title that resonated so much with gamers around the globe that it has risen above the App Store to push for top gong honours at most of the major awards. That game is Device 6 and it’s shaping up to be the Journey of 2013.

Device 6, the mystery-noir-game-novel hybrid from Simogo, has garnered a lot of attention from critics all over the world praising its ingenuity, its tone and the way it effortlessly uses the best of what touchscreen devices can accomplish to its advantage.

Device 6 is as much an intriguingly told short story as it is a complex and rich puzzle game. It requires careful observation of the text and surrounding imagery to solve its puzzles, but the real joy is simply found in interacting with it. With its minimalist swipe-to-read interface, Device 6 reminds us that even artistically simple games can leave us feeling profoundly satisfied.

The thing that most helps Device 6 shine is the way it works with, and not against, the capabilities and limitations of the platform. It gives players meaningful and interesting ways to interact with its world, and never once feels like a title you could play on any other platform. Console-like experiences with woefully shoehorned touchscreen joysticks can't even begin to match the elegance and simplicity of Device 6's “map-text” navigation.

Device 6 is a game that represents the shifting landscape of iOS development. We'll always have our Oceanhorns and our Infinity Blades; large scale, 3D affairs that cater to the desires of the traditional console market and cater well. But it’s games like Device 6 that really push what the platform is capable of.

Now that the Best of 2013 nominations are starting to roll in, we’re seeing Device 6 get recognized alongside some of the biggest names in the console business. It’s just deserts for Simogo, who could just as easily be receiving the plaudits for another stunning iOS game it released in 2013, Year Walk. No wonder the developer won a place amongst Edge’s three best studios of the year – alongside The Last of Us’ Naught Dog, and Grand Theft Auto V’s Rockstar North. In fact, we have published the Top 10 of 2013 game lists for a number of major developers - including République creator and ex-Halo 4 creative director Ryan Payton and the CEO of Unity Technologies, David Helgason - all of which included Device 6 on their lists.

In a year when two next-generation console launched, could an iOS game sneak in and steal the limelight? 

Make sure you check out our exclusive interview with Simogo co-founder Simon Flesser in our free sample magazine, available now.

Reference Purchase Links:
- Device 6
- Year Walk
- The Walking Dead: S1
- The Walking Dead: S2
- Oceanhorn
- Infinity Blade III
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

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