By Mento 1 Comments
13/05/12 - Game #12
The source: The Indie Brain Pack, one of the many bundles in the Xmas 2010 Steam sale.
The pre-amble: Prolific Indie adventure game studio Wadjet, perhaps better known for the Shivah, the Blackwell series and (most recently) Gemini Rue, previously created this more kid-friendly escapade about a quintet of odd adventurous robots and their equally eccentric human inventors. Invoking that slightly misleading nomenclature of mine once again, this is an "episodic" adventure game where smaller, self-contained scenarios are presented individually without a persistent inventory carried over - rather, the puzzles are set up in more of a "Lost Vikings" style, where the player must use each robot's special talents to proceed.
The playthrough: This game was a breeze. But not necessarily in the pejorative sense; it had plenty of charm, even if it's the sort of charm you'd find in a well-crafted Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network show. In fact, there are many clues to indicate that this is a game intended for a younger audience - its goofy family-friendly jokes, bright and colourful artwork (and an oddly familiar animation style - reminiscent of Ctrl-Alt-Del, in fact, though with fortunately way less B^U expressions) and the afore-hinted simple puzzles that will even helpfully tutorialize each of the robot's special abilities before letting you run amok with them. So when I say a breeze, I mean a gentle, pleasant experience that passes all too quickly.
Yet again I'm faced with illustrating my experience with a game that's entirely a series of set-piece puzzles without wanting to describe those puzzles in any detail in case I spoil the solutions to any of them. I will say that there's some interesting applications for the robots' powers - especially where the aquatic robot Ibi (who pretty much has to solve every puzzle going on underwater) and the main protagonist robot Hero are concerned, since there's some variation in what they're able to do. Others tend to have one specific job, so it's usually obvious from the context when they're needed - if there's a cracked wall, you use the Bomb Robot and if there's a flammable item in the way you use the Flamethrower Robot, and so on.
I guess I can recommend this game if you've got kids around that you want to ease into the world of adventure gaming, or if you've always wondered what Mega Man would've been like if all the robot masters were gregarious and helped each other solve puzzles. Otherwise it's yet another slight Indie adventure from a developer that has plenty of more intriguing examples of the genre to show you.
The verdict: Beaten.