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Third Eye Crime Hands-On: Mobile Noire

Looking for a new mobile puzzle game in the vein of "Angry Birds" or "Cut the Rope"? Then you'll probably like "Third-Eye Crime," an upcoming iOS puzzle game from developer Moonshot Games coming out on April 24 for $2.99.

Players control telepathic art thief Rothko (who seriously channels Humphrey Bogart in 1940s crime films such as "The Big Sleep" and "The Maltese Falcon"), with the goal of safely navigating him through mazelike levels viewed from a top-down perspective. Guards and even shadier types will block your way, but Rothko's telepathy shows him where they intend to move next, which helps players plan their escape.

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We checked out the game at the video game conference PAX East in Boston and loved the game's puzzles, quick pace and film noir-inspired art style. "Third Eye Crime" also stands out with a more well-developed story than usually found in mobile puzzle games.

Each "stage," or set of levels, corresponds to a different heist Rothko takes on, and begins with a comic book-style introductory story. Impatient players can swipe right to the action, but we liked the punchy (if stereotypical) dialogue and stylized art.

Each level takes only a couple of seconds to complete, not counting failed attempts when the guards catch you, and time spent pondering your strategy. In later levels, Rothko can use noisemakers to send guards to the wrong place, but he'll also have to worry about motion detectors and even armed guards that can gun you down from a distance.

Adding to the difficulty, the enemies don't move in prescripted paths; rather, they react dynamically to the player's actions. Damian Isla, the president of Moonshot Games, was previously the lead artificial intelligence programmer on "Halo 2" and "Halo 3," and used his expertise to design the challenging enemies in "Third-Eye Crime." 

If you like "Angry Birds" you'll like the quick pace and increasingly challenging puzzles of "Third Eye Crime." If you used to like "Angry Birds," but you got bored or you wished there was more of a story, you'll like "Third Eye Crime"  even more.

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Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She previously worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation.