We’ve all played a few puzzle games growing up, like IQ Peg, where you jump pegs over one another in an attempt to leave only one peg remaining. Author Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code saga is probably full of things that were not in your childhood, namely captivating mysteries and murders for idealist causes. Sony Pictures Television takes the IQ Peg concept, throws in the production, glitz and polish as only Hollywood can, and comes up with Angels & Demons, based on the book and upcoming movie, for the iDevice.
Angels & Demons takes IQ Peg and makes cranks up the intensity. The game is set on a board with a number of pegs sitting in holes, with only a few holes left strategically open. By jumping one peg over another into an open hole, you remove the jumped peg, and so on until one is left. Angels & Demons replaces the pegs with a variety of different pieces, ranging from stones to Illuminati eyes to pieces representing the four elements. And speaking of Earth, Wind, and Fire, this game supports iPod playback — The in-game music does a good job of setting the mysterious mood, but we prefer Serpentine Fire.
Angels and Demons offers Story and Challenge modes, but Story is required to unlock any challenge sets. The Story is a great take on puzzling, breaking each puzzle set up with plot segments from Angels & Demons. It’s an easy way of rewarding success while encouraging you to unravel more of the plot. The puzzles have varying types and goals, from the original IQ Peg goal of finishing with as few pegs as you can, to eliminating a certain element from the board, or trying to amass a certain score. Points are gained by jumping rows of the same element. Occasionally the puzzles will even correspond to the plot, like when Professor Langdon is trying to fish a Cardinal out of the Piazza Navona fountain. Your challenge is to finish the puzzle with as few water pieces as possible, and hopefully not a dead body.
The plot segments between sometimes only consist of one line of dialogue, which is probably on purpose given the time between the game’s release and the movie’s opening. But it still leaves you feeling somewhat cheated despite your hard work. As each puzzle increases in difficulty, the more frustrating they get. With no hints on how to complete a puzzle, there can be times where you just want to give up and let the Vatican solve its own mess.
Angels & Demons may be an unlikely combination of papal murder mystery and an antiquated board game, but it provides a good distraction, especially to fans of the book. The game is limited in scope, however, and it can be very frustrating. And with the amount of time it demands of its players, along with a $4.99 price tag, Angels & Demons may be asking too much.