Game Day: Pocus

Pocus is the latest mind-bending puzzle game from Ankara-based developer Gamebra.in, a husband and wife duo that is known for their challenging puzzles. The game shares a common visual style with Gamebra.in’s earlier titles but has the most in common with the hit game Hocus as the names of the two games suggest.

Whereas Hocus is about navigating a cube around a variety of Escher-like geometric structures, Pocus is always played on three sides of one or more 3D cubes. Each side of a cube is composed of a 6x6 grid. Most of the squares in the grid are gray, but others are black or other colors. You play as a red with a black dot on it. The goal is to move your red square across the three sides of the cubes to collect green squares.

Of course, there’s a catch. Where your square can go depends on the gravity at play in each puzzle and the obstacles placed in your path. The black dot on your red square indicates the direction of gravity’s pull. A circular icon with arrows at the top of the screen shows you which ways you can swipe to advance your square given the gravitational forces. The black squares on each cube act as barriers that you need to get around on your way to the green squares. As you advance through Pocus’ 60 levels, new challenges are introduced like yellow squares that reverse the direction of gravity.

When you swipe, your square is propelled in that direction and continues until it reaches a barrier or edge. Considering gravity is important as you plan your moves because it’s possible to get stuck along an edge of a cube where you will be unable to get to where you want to go because gravity has pinned you to that edge. If you get hopelessly stuck, you can tap a rewind button to start the level over.

The difficulty of Pocus’ puzzles advances at a comfortable pace giving you a chance to understand the unique physics of the game before getting too difficult. I like Pocus’ mellow soundtrack a lot too. It fits perfectly with the pace of the game, which doesn’t keep score or penalize you for starting over. Instead, Pocus feels more like playing with a Rubik’s cube or similar puzzle. The main point is to experiment and discover new strategies, which is the type of relaxing puzzle game I like best.

Pocus is available on the App Store.

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