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Review: Decipher – an interstellar brain training puzzler

Is this a puzzle game or a brain training app … or both?

Developer: WebAvenue Unipessoal Lda
Price: Free (+ $2/£2 removes ads and unlocks everything)
Size: 148 MB
Version: 1.1.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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Brain training has become a big deal on the App Store thanks to apps like Elevate, but then again, so have fun puzzle games. Decipher is an app that slickly combines both genres, offering an interstellar brain training app that doubles as a relaxing puzzler.

The aim of the game in Decipher is to rotate a range of glowing circles in order to connect different objects in outer space. When a path is revealed, these interstellar objects will be connected by a beam of light and you’ll advance to the next level. But of course, as with most puzzlers, it isn’t quite as simple as that.

The aim of the game in Decipher is to connect interstellar objects with rays of light.

Different circles have different properties. Blue circles rotate together — if you spin one, you spin them all. Purple circles will also rotate the circles housed within. And those yellow circles you can see in the screenshot above rotate everything on screen.

You need to rotate objects to reveal pathways, but the different colored circles in the game behave in their own unique way.

This means that revealing a path between those interconnected black dots on your iPhone’s screen could prove to be quite the task. You need to think carefully, use a bit of trial and error, and anticipate how each object is going to behave in order to move on to the next level.

More game packs are available which pose even higher levels of challenge.

The million dollar question, of course, asks, “Is this really brain training?” Decipher doesn’t challenge you with arithmetic or grammar exercises, opting for a more abstract approach. It definitely offers a solid workout that tests your reasoning skills, logic, and working memory – and the more you advance through the app, the more challenging each puzzle becomes. Rules constantly evolve in Decipher, meaning circles end up behaving differently as you progress further.

Decipher’s relaxing environment, twinned with its charming, soothing music (best enjoyed through a pair of headphones) adds a relaxing, mindful element to the game. You can lose yourself quite easily in Decipher and, while your brain is clearly receiving a workout, the music and visuals don’t leave you feeling stressed.

When all the dots are connected, you’ll move on to the next level.

The game’s in-app ads do interrupt the peace from time to time, and it is definitely worth disabling these if you enjoy what Decipher has to offer. A $2/$2 IAP removes all ads for good and unlocks all of the extra packages available in the app.

Decipher is, overall, a great piece of indie software. If you’re looking for a stress-free brain training experience with a sci-fi edge, this is definitely the app for you.