Developer: Glitch Games
Size: 712 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
If Incoherence’s static environments and quietly clever locked-box puzzles seem to have come from an earlier age of iOS game development, that’s because they have.
Developer Glitch Games has been making its deeply atmospheric point-and-click puzzlers (think The Room, only a little more low-key) for a decade now. If you’ve played previous titles such as Forever Lost, All That Remains, or Veritas, you should have a good idea what to expect.
As the first part of what the developer is calling its ‘Glitch Broken Dreams Collection’, Incoherence puts you in the shoes of Jason Bethlam, who awakes in a mysterious room filled with assorted objects from his past. With only a handy camera, a briefcase, and a scrapbook to aid you, it’s up to you to piece together the fragmented shards of his memory.
Walking through various scenes from Jason’s past in what appears to be a futuristic simulator, you’ll encounter various locked box puzzles. The solution for these generally involves observing some other telltale element in the room, or even solving another nearby puzzle to reveal the key – either literal or otherwise.
Your camera can be used as an in-game screenshot function to catalog important details, which can then be accessed and scrawled on through the scrapbook screen. The briefcase, meanwhile, can hold a handful of special-use objects that you’ll find on your journey. Some of these objects might even be usable between scenes.
You’ll also encounter objects from Jason’s past that trigger brief snapshot memories, accompanied by a line or two of voice-acted dialogue from the protagonist. These, together with some nicely composed background music, combine to create a subtly compelling atmosphere that draws you in even as the static artwork remains somewhat functional.
Incoherence has a comprehensive hint system that can be accessed at any time, and it does a pretty good job of tracking where you are so that you’re not scrolling through reams of meaningless text. We did come a cropper at one point where the hint system skipped a stage, which had us taking to Google for a solution. Generally, though, everything is logical and simple enough to follow for the methodically minded.
Incoherence slips confidently into a lineage of gently taxing room escape puzzlers, joining the likes of The Room, Agent A, and The House of Da Vinci. It perhaps can’t be counted among the very best of these, but its intriguing puzzles and subtle storytelling mark the beginning of a mysterious new narrative, and we’re eager to find out what happens next.