App Review: “Photographs”

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Platform: iOS

Cost: $3.99

Many mobile games in today’s market are little more than shallow time sinks that can be enjoyed on the bus or during your lunch break but are ultimately forgettable. “Photographs,” developed by Luca Redwood, is unique in that, despite its veneer as a puzzle game, it is actually a series of short stories.

“Photographs” is a relatively short experience; there are five different scenarios that the player must complete, and each has its own unique narrative and challenges. The charming puzzles start off simple, but there is a steep increase in difficulty near the end of the game. The mood is set through beautifully rendered pixel art and pensive background music, but it’s the stories that really set “Photographs” apart. In one, the player guides an alchemist as he desperately tries to find a cure for his sick granddaughter. In another, the player takes the role of a diver dealing with the moral misgivings of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

If you think these issues sound heavy for a mobile game, you’d be correct! In fact, the only element that connects all five stories is that they are all tragic. While some players might be averse to tragedy in a simple puzzle game, it is this melancholy that actually separates “Photographs” from its peers.

In all, “Photographs” is a contemplative, pretty puzzle game that guides the player through a series of melancholy short stories. If you’re looking to try something new, it’s definitely worth a try!

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