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GAMEX 2013 Indie Game Spotlight: CoBots

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So what’s CoBots? The game whose preview I’m going to spend gushing, that’s what. This coop-focused 2D side-scrolling puzzle game stole my heart. It is time to tell you why.

CoBots (PC)
Developed by Digital Tuna

CoBots can be played either on your own or with a friend. Having tried both variants, I strongly recommend you do not waste this wonderful experience by going at it alone unless you simply cannot wait. Discussing the puzzles you encounter with a friend as you come across them is a big part of the entertainment value.

Each player (or each hand if you’re going solo) controls one of two space-faring robots. You can travel in any direction on the 2D play field, with an additional button that allows you to instantly stop your adorably cute robot in mid-air. That is literally all you need to know about the controls.

So what do you do? One of the best parts of CoBots is how it doesn’t really tell you that. There are no messages telling you what to do or even teaching you how to play the game. Yet since the base gameplay is so simple, you will not need anybody to hold your hand. The levels are carefully crafted according to their atmospheric yet minimalistic stage design to ensure not only a pleasant visual experience, but also making sure that you always know where to go and which things in the environment can be manipulated.

Speaking of manipulation, one of the core mechanics of CoBots is a unifying beam attached to the two ‘bots. This stream of energy allows them to interact with objects as it overlaps with them. It also limits just how far away from each other the two ‘bots can go, making for a very organic solution to the age-old coop-problem where one player progresses faster across the screen than their friend. It is restrictive, yes, but it does not feel problematic since said restriction is part of the game’s core design.

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The game is very forgiving even though it never coddles you. There is no such thing as skipping puzzles, but you can also try again as many times as you like. Should a failed puzzle-solving event end with the destruction of a required item or one of the two CoBots themselves, the game will not waste any time in putting you back into the position you were in before you attempted the puzzle. This means whatever frustration you may feel upon screwing up is alleviated by your immediate returning to the task at hand – hopefully with a new approach to the situation.

You may notice I don’t really mention much in the way of samples of puzzles you’re going to face. It is definitely on purpose. You deserve to play this masterpiece of a game without knowing the solution to anything. I’m not one who adores puzzle games normally, but this game completely blew me out of the water and was easily the best game I got to play during my four-day stay at Gamex. Who needs AAA when you’ve got CoBots? The first thing I did when I came home from the show was buy it myself. And so should you.

 

award-cobots

CoBots is available for purchase on cobotsgame.com

 

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