A brainteasing classic
It should be no surprise to anyone what this game is all about: busting open safes. Now this might not seem the most exciting premise for a game and it should be difficult to spin an entire one out of it, but Safecracker does the job admirably and provides some original and truly head-scratching puzzling enjoyment. There is a nice bit of background provided and the story sees you as an ambitious security consultant who has been charged with entering your eccentric employer's huge mansion and locating and opening his 35 safes, while remaining undetected. Track them all down successfully and you'll collect a code which allows you to open one final safe which contains your contract. The game plays out very much like Myst or Amerzone, with players exploring a series of pre-rendered environments in first-person perspective, solving puzzles as you go. The puzzles are wonderfully varied and provide challenges on everything from maths, cryptography, mazes to pattern recognition and which vary from easy to immensely difficult but which are never less than immensely satisfying to solve. There are a couple which rely slightly on trial and error but on the whole they really test your brainpower rather than your luck. The visuals too are splendid, with beautifully rendered environments that are wonderfully detailed and atmospheric and which are simply a joy to explore. While some might bemoan the lack of story, this omission does allow the game to concentrate on simply providing high quality puzzles without worrying about narrative development and which means that for serious brainteaser fans, this is tough to beat. It's only real issue is it fairly low number of puzzles, but while the ride lasts, it's a fun one.