Cognition Episode 1 iPad Review

By , on March 6, 2013

Cognition Episode 1
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Drops you almost immediately in to a dark thriller; not afraid to pull the punches when it comes to its disturbing theme.
  • Main character given a lot of time to develop; keeps you invested in the story.


  • Performance optimization problems; starts out smooth, but quickly lowers in framerate, ruining the otherwise tense atmosphere.
  • Few exciting challenges outside of Erica's 'cognition' mechanic.


Cognition Episode 1 is an otherwise dark and engaging adventure game that's left feeling crippled thanks to a poorly optimized adaption.

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A good adventure game is a magical thing - through something as simple as solving minor puzzles, the player becomes invested in the story and is dragged along for the ride. Some are amusing, others intriguing, but Cognition Episode 1 by Phoenix Online Studios is a much darker story, taking you down the rabbit hole as you chase down a disturbed killer.

FBI Agent Erica Reed has more than her detective training to call on when running down suspects - she's somewhat psychic and through training she develops the ability to recall the past in various ways. As the player this means you'll be able to extract more information from a crime scene, uncovering clues to pursue new lines of inquiry.

While the psychic ability concept is used well, you'll be spending a lot of the rest of your time exhausting dialogue options in order to find your next story point. This would be a lot better if the game made the other characters more than repositories for exposition; Erica is considerably fleshed out, but the same can't be said of everyone else.

Still, this is less of a concern compared to the poor adaption of Cognition to the iPad. The game has retained its otherwise simple to use point-and-touch interface, but without optimization the game's performance suffers greatly. Pathing regularly becomes confused, walking back and forth to reach the object you've selected, while the framerate plummets from smooth to unbearable.

Without these concerns Cognition Episode 1 would be a lot easier to recommend - thankfully a PC version is also available, so if the game intrigues you it's probably best to go down that path instead.


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