The Satisfying Tactility of an Old-School Puzzle game

7th Sector is best played with a notebook and possibly a copilot.

There’s something beautiful and deeply satisfying about playing a puzzle game with a notebook next to you. While I’m always rocking the usual devices (and writing this on an iPad, next to my Switch) I’m the kind of person who just enjoys taking notes on a chunky little pad with paper and ink. Using these old school tools to accomplish the business of puzzle games — like 7th Sector — just feels right.

Largely the work of a sole developer, Sergey Noskov, 7th Sector is an atmospheric, moody puzzler set in a sort of low-key cyberpunk world. You spend much of the opening hours as a spark of electricity, jumping through cables, taking over TVs and small devices like RC cars, and generally progressing through labs, homey spaces, industrial environments and such. I’m playing it with my partner, and a trusty notebook for, say, jotting down symbols and working slowly through the game’s logic.

7th sector notebook

I’m not sure I’d have made it as far without an enthusiastic partner (or the notebook) — really, my experience of the game is reflected almost entirely through them — but I also don’t think that’s any kind of negative. Just working details out on paper is wildly satisfying, teaming up to do so is even better.

Right now, we’re working through a puzzle that involves an electrical gate, an RC car, and a weighted elevator. I think we need to figure out how to trigger a remote from the car, but who knows. One thing I’m confident in is that we’ll keep tag-teaming the problem, sitting cozily together, trying a new solution as soon as one of us comes up with one.

And the notebook will forever be at our side.

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