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Is your climbing gym still closed under COVID lockdown? Or can you simply never get enough boulder problem solving, fantasizing about working out the crux sequence both day and night? Crux is a new mobile game designed to satiate your beta-obsessed brain.
Crux is a puzzle game of sorts, where you must swipe the screen to move your hands and feet to the next holds. Each hold has it’s own timer—hang on too long and you fall off. As the holds get smaller, your climber can cling to them for less time and the pressure for figuring out the sequence is heightened—just like pushing your own limits in real life on the thin crimps of your project. The game simulates climbing cruxes by linking a series of quick moves on small holds between large rest holds. As you progress in difficulty, the sequences get longer and more complex. There is also a practice mode that allows you to hold on indefinitely while you get the feel for the game.
Crux has over 100 levels of ranging difficulty, from beginner to expert. If you’re into creating your own problems, there is a Route Setter mode that lets you build, test, and share your own levels. The game has achieved a solid player base since launching, with 75,000 climbers completing 3.3 million attempts to date and 2,300 routesetters creating 3,000 new problems to date. It also features online competitions where players can try to complete as many problems as possible from selected levels within a set timeframe. Whoever completes the most problems with the fewest attempts wins.
Playing Crux is pleasantly intriguing, especially as the levels increase in difficulty. Just like real climbing, as the routes get harder the sequence becomes more precise, and dialing in beta as your avatar climber fights the pump mimics the real-life problem solving process. The game is clearly well-made by climbers and for climbers; the movement and body positioning of the avatar are accurate to the sport.
In the six weeks since the game has been released, it has been installed 30,000 times, and over one million climbing attempts have been made. Eight-hundred players have gotten into routesetting, creating around 1,000 new problems. Crux is free to install and free of advertisements, and players can purchase additional gyms for more problems.