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IT & Systems Management

You Should Play: Third Eye Crime, Act 1

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game  You Should Play.

From the muffled horns accompanying the opening spotlight to the steady sense of claustrophobia that permeates the gameplay, Third Eye Crime: Act 1 is a lovely ode to the noir genre and the golden age of crime films. In this mobile stealth game, you play as an art thief with a unique gift: The ability to read minds. But despite your supernatural talent, the dozens of game levels are packed full of tense moments, diligent guards, and sweat-soaked escapes. 

If you're a fan of the stealth genre--or just love a game that nails an aesthetic--Third Eye Crime is for you. Just keep three things in mind:

Tread lightly: Like any good caper, this one opens with a heist. You guide your suave, hardboiled thief through a guard-infested museum by tapping a route for the character as he navigates the alleyways and gallery halls of the museum. But the guards won't make your burglary a breeze, as they will respond to alarms, investigate dark corners, and find you in no time if you're not careful. Your thief, while smart, isn't the fastest of runners, so timing your sneaks is essential to survival.

Third Eye Crime does a good job of establishing the mechanics of the gameplay before ramping up the difficulty. It first gives the player guards, then alarms, then goons with guns to circumvent as you grab the loot and make for the level exit.

Dial "M" for "Mind Reader:" Third Eye Crime is rendered in a third person, bird's eye perspective. The conceit of the game is that your thief can anticipate the guard's moves, and in game terms this means you can see the areas they'll investigate next. As seems to be the norm for stealth games, these areas are highlighted in red.

Later chapters bring you to warehouses and hotels, with enemies that now have armaments. You'll pick up some toys and additional mind abilities along the way, including decoys, shields, speed boosters, and the ability to freeze your enemies in place. Even with the extra powers, the game never feels like a synch. Every mission is right in that sweet spot of challenging without feeling impossible.  

Noir to its very bones: The soundtrack (muted horns, cymbal taps), the artwork (full of dark lighting and liberal use of red), and even the font (comic sans) are clear homages to gumshoes, gin joints, and dodgy characters from the noir genre. And like any good noir film, you play as a morally ambiguous glass of water with a dry sense of humor and a bitter outlook on life. His art museum heist earns him a visit from a mysterious, unreadable woman who gives him an assignment to fetch a painting of "sentimental value." Nothing is ever that easy, of course, and the resulting heists get more complicated and more challenging.

Seeing what's next in the beautifully rendered, swipe-friendly screens is part of the joy of this tale. You'll want to see how this ball of yarn unfurls.    

Developer: GameblyrPlatform:  iOS (Universal)Price: $3

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