Third Eye Crime Review | GIZORAMA

Third Eye Crime Review

May 2, 2014 by

With Third Eye Crime bring developed by Moonshot Studios, a team that consists of ex-Bungie talent, there’s no mystery as to why this mobile game is impossible to put down. Read our full review to find out why.

Developer: Moonshot Games
Publisher: Gameblyr
Review Copy Provided By: Gameblyr
Review Platform: iOS
Release Date: April 24, 2014

You got it all wrong, see. Unless, of course, what you you just got was the epic, noir puzzle app Third Eye Crime. In which case, proceed…but watch your step, kid. With a graphic-novel story board that harkens to Frank Miller, this overhead stealth game is absolutely compelling. Developed by Moonshot Studios, a team that consists of ex-Bungie talent, there’s no mystery as to why this mobile game is impossible to put down.

Spy toys, anyone?
Spy toys, anyone?

Enter Act One, where players are introduced to expert larcenist and telepath, Rothko. Rothko has a story that needs to be told with a stuff drink in hand, and through a thick veil of stale cigar smoke. A consummate pro and cat burglar, Rothko’s skill in high-end theft is complimented by telepathy; his story begins here, in the throes of a 459.  Rothko’s mission is pretty simple:  don’t get caught. Until she walks in to his office, that is, facilitating Act 2. This smoldering and sultry redhead solicits Rothko for another heist while his fence and only friend, Bernie, is incommunicado. The saga continues, and it would be a disservice to the game’s virtuosity to narrate it further. True to noir, however, there’s double-crossing and kidnapping and looting in spades.

Gameplay, however, is more about evasive maneuvers and stealth. Here’s where the premise of Rothko’s “third eye” mind reading powers come in to play. Navigating a handheld maze of dimly lit corridors, Rothko maneuvers around security cameras and guards in higher and higher stake missions. So what? This is nothing new, right? Think again, sweet cheeks. Rothko’s telepathic ability manifests itself on-screen as red trails; these trails are deepest red where the guards most think Rothko might be, and gradients to lighter shades where the coast is more clear. Rothko’s third eye makes guessing your opponent’s moves a gajillion times easier, helping players guide the good-hearted criminal to victory.

Collect the loot and evade the lumbering henchmen and the reach of their flashlights.
Collect the loot and evade the lumbering henchmen and the reach of their flashlights.

Beyond creeping and slinking, players guide Rothko to jewels and other stealables to pilfer. Remaining undetected isn’t the only challenge in Third Eye Crime. Some levels require Rothko to misdirect guards by triggering alarms or nearly stepping into a guard’s line of sight and then scurrying for cover. Along the way, Rothko gets his hands on a few tools, as well:  speed burst icons can be collected and used to help keep Rothko’s activities a secret, and wifi-shaped icons called tumblers detonate a sound to attract (well, distract) guards.

There are challenges to give the levels replay value even after they’ve been beaten once. Lead your shifty professional hack to victory using a single path for example. Make it through a level without being detected or shot. Or complete a level having been sighted but once, or under a certain time goal. All of these challenges keep players coming back. Or, if you can’t wait for strategy to come naturally, Moonshot offers micro-transactions within the game; players can purchase credits to freeze lumbering henchmen in their tracks, shield Rothko from minion’s bullets and bodies both, purchase more tumblers to throw ’em off your culprit’s tail, or a combo of all three enhancements.

Swiping right drags just a little more content onto the screen--dialogue, transitional effects, or just plain cool pop art.
Swiping right drags just a little more content onto the screen–dialogue, transitional effects, or just plain cool pop art.

Players are seduced by classic, pitch-perfect detective jazz as the backstory tutelage plays out in the most delightful cinematic I’ve ever seen in a mobile game. (Just another quick word about the game’s music:  I loved it so much that I played the main menu’s background music over my car speakers in gridlock. Being stuck in traffic in the rain, which is a pretty common occurrence in sunny Washington, felt infinitely more melodramatic and satisfying thanks to Third Eye Crime. I really enjoyed glancing sidelong at other drivers and narrating their dark pasts to myself in a gravelly Batman voice.

Not enough good things can be said about the graphic-novel style, pop art cinematics in, either. Players are introduced to Rothko via swipe-thru screen plot that unfolds into Act One. The artwork has depth, is progressive, and it’s simplicity is complimented by heavy reds, blacks and silhouettes that exude sophistication.

From the hoods dressed to the nines (I imagined Brooks Bros. suits donned the flashlight and gun toting henchmen) to sultry broads with a switch in their step and a pouting pate, Third Eye Crime is reminiscent of hard-boiled detective movies like “Dick Tracy” and “Cool World” from yesteryear.
From the hoods dressed to the nines (I imagined Brooks Bros. suits donned the flashlight and gun toting henchmen) to sultry broads with a switch in their step and a pouting pate, Third Eye Crime is reminiscent of hard-boiled detective movies like “Dick Tracy” and “Cool World” from yesteryear.

Review Overview

4/5

This game will not soon be deleted to clear way for other apps. The difficulty of the maze-style corridors Rothko must sneak through increases with each Act. While Acts must be purchased separately to keep the story going, Third Eye Crime is one of the most unique games I've ever played in a handheld. Every once in a while you come across a game that you want to tell people about; for this reviewer, that was this title. The music, the “Sin City”-esqué interactive clips, and the good sense of developers not to make a game with limited action too challenging or too simple, all of these qualities puts Third Eye just a step below The Wolf Among Us. If this game's objectives were any more developed, or if there were more freebies, this game would be an automatic 5. I can't wait to see what else comes out of Moonshot studios, and am looking forward to seeing more great things come from this developer.

About Mariah Beckman

Mariah lives in Seattle, and is really 3 midgets inside a lady suit.