With the constant stream of puzzlers that are coming out now, developers have to try and do something in order to make their own game stand out. Neko Entertainment and Swing Swing Submarine have collaborated for the release of Tetrobot and Co., a puzzle based game with a simple concept that lead into some pretty complex puzzles.
Tetrobot and Co. sees you enter the world of Maya, a girl who has a little collection of robots that need a little bit of TLC. Cue Psychobot, a smaller robot that you take control of in order to manoeuvre yourself through the puzzles to fix each of the robots. There are 5 levels to complete per fixable robot, with an extra level unlocked for each when you fix them, which allows you to collect a special key for later use. With around 8 different robots to fix, this means 40+ levels for little over £6, which is really decent value for your money.
Tetrobot and Co.: Xbox One [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, PC, Wii U
Developer: Swing Swing Submarine
Publisher: Neko Entertainment
Release Date: 16 March 2016
Price: £6.39 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
The levels themselves all look fairly similar, with a greyish dullen background which could have been a little more imaginative. As Psychobot, you must make your way through various pipes and round different obstacles and enemies, and at its core, simply requires you to pick up and move a bunch of different blocks in order to clear your path. These blocks each have different qualities that can help you or hinder you, such as wood burning when it goes through a laser, or obsidian not being able to be picked up. A nice unique touch is giving the blocks their own facebook pages, in the form of “faceblox” where the blocks have their own posts, likes and groups. It is the little touches like this that add a nice strain of humour into the game, and make it stand out just that little bit more.
In order to get through the levels and move about them easily, you have to be able to think a little outside the box. The levels almost act as one big puzzle, and you will continually be going back and forth between the rooms in order to pick up extra blocks and go back to an area that was previously inaccessible to you. Whilst they will start off fairly simple to begin with, the game gradually introduces you to moving obstacles and things to manoeuvre round, such as water that you can only go through with a cannon and jam which all blocks that you throw will stick to. There’s a fairly gradual learning curve for the game, which means it should appeal to both novice and veteran puzzlers, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself aimlessly staring at the screen sometimes with no clue what to do.
As you journey through the levels, you’ll also come across memory blocks that you need to collect. If you collect all of them for each of the broken robots levels, then they will be fixed and you will unlock that robot’s associated achievement. These are often easy to see in the levels, but not quite as easy to get to. You might have to use blocks that were saved for level progression, and make a detour in order to collect them. These blocks add a little exploration to the levels, and means whilst you may see the exit, you might have to backtrack in order to be able to get all of the blocks and finish the level properly. Unfortunately, you have to get all of the three memory blocks in one run in order for it to count as you collecting them all, which is a little annoying if you find two in one run but don’t manage to get a third.
In between the normal levels for fixing the robots, you will find letters to open that tell you a little more about Maya’s life and her friends. There’s also a diary and pictures to tell you a bit about Maya’s early life as well, which help to give you a bit of back story to the game without forcing you to read about it if you don’t want to. There’s also “bosses” of sorts in between a few of the levels, in the form of Mama and Mamarina, and these levels play out mostly the same of the others with the addition of having to destroy a bigger monster with blocks as you complete it. These levels don’t do much to stand out from the others, but the bosses add a little extra and make you feel like you achieved something a bit more when you beat them.
The game has a simple but cutesy look to it, that fits in nicely with the overall theme of the game. Whilst the bright colours may be limited, the blues and reds of the water and the jams do well to break up the slightly less inspiring backgrounds and level designs, as do the beams of red lasers and blue electricity. All of the game’s achievements can be unlocked by completing all the levels and collecting all of the memory blocks, so they simply suggest that you try and finish everything to 100%.
Whilst Tetrobot and Co. may not jump out at you, the game is original and does well to make itself stand out. The cute robots, the well judged learning curve and out of the box thinking puzzles all combine to make the game a pleasure to play through. While after a while the levels may all start to look the same and the puzzles might get a bit tiring and seem impossible, it only serves to will you to try harder to complete it. This is definitely a puzzle game that, like many others, is best taken in small bursts, but you’ll want to help Tetrobot and Co. get themselves back in full working order, and the journey to doing this is definitely a fun, if not slightly challenging, one.