Except for Telltale, there aren’t a whole lot of development houses out there making adventure games. Wadjet Eye Games, however, numbers among the few with the recent release of Puzzle Bots. From the title you might expect a pure puzzle game, but what you get is an adventure game with a heavy puzzle influence. There is a story told complete with separate acts instead of a menu screen with a set of levels, and Puzzle Bots is better for it.
Puzzle Bots is light on system requirements without looking like it. Puzzle Bots has a cartoon aesthetic that fits the tone of the story and the bright primary colors work really well to differentiate each of your robots and different elements of the current challenge that need to be worked on. Individual characters are all voiced well and have their own unique visual style. The good writing along with the distinct looks and sounds of each character makes for a great set of characters.
Gameplay mechanics are a little different from your run-of-the-mill adventure game because instead of taking a single character who learns more skills throughout the game you will start with one character and build up your roster to five robots by the time the final challenges come around. Taking a single character who can pick up and then teaching him how to push, throw bombs, and use a flame thrower would feel strange, but having new robots join your team that were designed with those motions in mind feels organic and allows for a great ramp-up in difficulty and complexity of challenges. While more adventure games degrade into trying everything in your inventory on the new challenge because something has to work there Puzzle Bots never strays from figuring out how to use your bots and their abilities to complete the puzzle. If you are presented with a boat sitting underwater you know that you’ll need Ibi (whose specialty is working underwater), Hero to load cargo (picking things up and setting them down), Kelvin to burn up some garbage between the boat’s resting place and the launch (flame thrower), and UltraBot to push the whole affair off (pushing objects).
Puzzle Bots difficulty curve is great, and if you ever get stuck just pay attention to the dialog between the different robots as they will talk about the challenge at hand and may give you the push you need to succeed. If your helpers aren’t quite greasing the wheels enough there is a hint function that will point you in the right direction without ever giving you the answer outright. And if that fails you can resort to trying each bot against each item. With a maximum of five bots you should stumble upon the next part of the solution and be back on your way to puzzle solving in no time.
Puzzle Bots is challenging without being frustrating, visually appealing without requiring a supercomputer to run it, and the whole thing is enjoyable from beginning to end. Additionally, if you are looking for a game to play with a little one, Puzzle Bots is an easy recommendation.
Pros: Great difficulty curve, good hint system
Cons: Low replay value