When it comes to puzzle games, they seem to be a dime-a-dozen. It’s hard to go more than a week without seeing a new puzzler pop up on the indie console scene. Tetrobot & Co is one of the newest puzzle games to hit Xbox One, previously on PC. Thankfully in this flooded market, Tetrobot & Co provides excellent puzzles, sharp visuals, and a whole lot of charm. When you get stuck in an area, there’s often a very obvious solution that makes you ask yourself, “How the heck did I not realize that?” By the end of this review hopefully you will realize whether you want to add it to your gaming collection.
Developed by Swing Swing Submarine and published by Neko Entertainment, your job is to guide a microscopic robot named Psychobot through the innards of other robots, repairing them in the process. Other Tetrobot owners rely on you because Psychobot is the only tool that can repair robots from the inside. Psychobot looks like a floating eyeball, he can move through stages and swallow items with his telekinetic powers. He can hold up to six items such as matter blocks, pipe pieces, and keys. Psychobot can also shoot those items left or right to solve puzzles. In each level there are three memory blocks to collect which adds more depth and challenge. As the player you will need to use gravity, switches, and often Psychobot himself to place matter blocks where they need to go and reach the end of the level.
In a typical stage the player controls Psychobot with a cursor, just point to an unblocked area and he will go there. Oftentimes you will use pipes or canons to move between rooms, but even going from room to room can sometimes be part of the puzzle. A pipe may not have its end piece, preventing you from entering; or it may be missing a piece in the middle which keeps you from reaching an area.
Finding the right pieces and figuring out what goes where is a large part of the gameplay. Another example, in world 2 you use cannons to shoot yourself and objects between rooms; think of Donkey Kong Country’s barrels, you shoot from cannon to cannon. Things change when the canon is already filled with a matter block, you will no longer go into it and instead you will stop, leaving you free to move around in an area you might not otherwise be able to reach. You can also shoot matter blocks at Psychobot which will cause them to stop and can then be placed appropriately. Parts like this can lead to frustration at first; but once you understand how gravity works, how blocks of the same type attach to each other, and how cannons are manipulated, it gets easier.
While playing the game there were two minor annoyances that stood out. The first is the cursor, while it’s easy to use and doesn’t move too fast or too slow, it seemed to move on its own when I would come to a sudden stop. It was so noticeable that I even tried using a second controller to make sure it wasn’t some kind of malfunction of my control stick. That being said, it’s only a minor gripe as it doesn’t actually cause you to make mistakes. Another choice by the developers that bothers me much more is how the collectable memory blocks work.
In every level there are three blocks to collect, and you can progress through a level collecting zero, one, two, or all three. When you replay a level, all of the collected blocks are transparent, showing you that you previously collecting them. If you replay a level and only collect the blocks you missed, you won’t “100%” the level. You are required to play a level and collect all three memory blocks in one attempt to get them to fuse together. If you collect all three separately they wont fuse together and the level isn’t considered fully completed. It makes much more sense to handle the collectables like the New Super Mario Bros games do. If we know we are missing something, we should only have to go find that collectable when replaying a level. Unfortunately, this design choice caused me to look up guides on YouTube often when I got stuck, as I didn’t want to have to replay the level again and reacquire the memory blocks I had already earned. This may or may not bother you, but with the achievements tied to full completion of each world, it was a priority for me to get every memory block and key.
Tetrobot & Co won’t wow you graphically, but it is stylish and sharp. Swing Swing Submarine did a good job mixing up the worlds so that you are never in the same area for too long. Each world is represented in the game by a new robot in need of repair. Some levels have water walls that you can blast through, some have pudding walls that any block will stick to, and others just looks normal with electric barriers and traversal pipes. Each stage has music that fits nicely and the sound effects are high quality as well. The stage music never gets repetitive across the near fifty levels in the game.
Tetrobot & Co is a challenging puzzle game that’s different from most I have played on Xbox One. The point and click method of movement is quick and a refreshing control style. The use of gravity and environments to solve puzzles and proceed through the levels is creative and thought-provoking. Priced at $7.99 in the United States, you are getting a lot of content and replay value with dozens of levels and collectables to conquer. If you like puzzle games even a little, you should check out Tetrobot & Co. The game does so much right and I’m excited to see what developer Swing Swing Submarine comes up with next!
+ Challenging puzzles
+ Great content-to-price ratio
+ Charming characters and art
– Requirement of earning all collectables at once for full level completion
– Cursor seems to move on its own occasionally