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I Played the New Climbing Smartphone Game Crux, Here’s What to Know

A great game to keep working on boulder problems while gyms are closed

Crux is a new smartphone rock climbing app that will keep you busy solving puzzling boulders. I’m no gamer, but I can appreciate an engaging video game that lets me work through tricky problems.

Here’s how it works: Download from an app store, open and play. First, you chose a player from the list and then select a circuit of problems. Grades range from V0 to V17, include pre-made problems and community-made problems. You can play online and take part in comps. You can pay to unlock problems and to buy new outfits for your climber.

To play, you swipe on either side of the screen to move your hands or feet to a new hold, but each hold will only let you hang on for so long. Find the sequence of moves that get you to the top and execute them. If you time out before you move then you fall off. There are big diamond holds and small ones, the crux is figuring out whether you should move a foot or hand first and where to move them. The beta matters and as the problems get harder, the beta is trickier to figure out.

Once you send, you can rate the problem, suggest a grade, see how many attempts it took, see your move count and win some points.

The game is simple, stylish, and it encorporates core climbing concepts, like movement, rhythm and flow. The gameplay nails the problem-solving side of bouldering from start to finish. I had no problems navigating the menus and levels. Once you’ve sent all of the problems, you can design your own routes to share with other climbers.

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Tip: During the game, hit pause to bring up a menu. In the menu select “practice” to turn off timing. That way you can work on strategy without ever falling off.

I solved problems on Crux for an hour and I’m hooked. It’s probably the best climbing game that you’ll play this season, so if you’re looking for a brain tickler try Crux then download it for free onto your phone from here.