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Vanished is a unique and compelling iPhone game

I'm not much of a gamer, but every so often one comes along that grabs my attention. Vanished for iPhone has a unique premise, clever execution, and until Oct. 1, it's free.

Here's the scenario: You awake in a dark room and hear some noises. To make the effect complete, you close your eyes, and the game requires headphones so you can hear the directional clues.

The game depends on your built-in compass. I heard a siren and walked toward it by moving my iPhone horizontally until the sound was centered, then tapped the screen to walk forward. As you move the phone, you can hear the sounds change. Don't get frustrated. You may have to do a lot of walking. Around me were some low rumbles and a hint of some evil-sounding entity. You will encounter some nasty beings, so you engage in combat by shaking the phone, which lets you use your knife.

This is a very clever and original approach to gaming. It will take your full attention. The more creatures you kill, the more experience and strength you will have.

If you are looking for fancy graphics and flashing lasers, this is not the game for you. It reminds me a bit of the Colossal Cave text adventure of long ago, but with sound instead of text. I applaud the creativity of the developers, who say more expansion modes are on the way.

Vanished is iPhone only and requires iOS 4.0 or later. Your phone will need a compass, which means an iPhone 3GS or later.

Vanished is worth a look, or really, a listen.