Ciphertext by Mete Özgüz icon

Ciphertext ($0.99) by Mete Özgüz adds a cryptic take to the classic Minesweeper game. But instead of choosing random squares to search for mines, you can only move to adjacent spaces.

A number will show when you move to the next square. That number indicates how many mines are touching that spot.

Get a zero and you can breeze to the next square without worry. Anything else, and you’ll need to use your logical skills to determine where your next move should be.

Ciphertext by Mete Özgüz screenshot

Selecting a square with a mine results in your cursor fading, along with the text “Your hopes faded out.” The puzzle remains the same on the next try, meaning that the same mine that killed you previously will stay on the same spot.

It may take you multiple attempts to clear a level, but you should be fine as long as you remember where not to step.

After a while, it is possible to move diagonally. This is done by tapping the flashing cursor. An icon will appear, indicating that you can make that move.

While moving diagonally is a welcomed idea, what I don’t like about it is that touching the cursor is also how you bring up the menu. If moving diagonally isn’t an option, then you’ve brought up the menu for no reason.

This game is about as basic as it gets. With computer-terminal-like graphics, no sound, and easy gameplay, this couldn’t be any more bare bones. Yet it’s the strategy and subtle hints dropped along the way that provide the challenge.

I’ve seen my share of puzzle games, and this one just didn’t do it for me. I suppose what really turned me off was that there’s no story or character to identify with.

That, and I’m not much of a Minesweeper fan.