3Bot in Review – Q*Bert As A Cyborg

3bot is kind of like Q*Bert in a 3D world with a 50’s sci-fi twist to it.  The game is fun, and between the levels being timed and certain other restrictions on given levels, you’ll face quite a challenge to get every level perfect.  The visuals are neat, the audio is good and the controls are easy to execute (though not necessarily easy to master).  Now if I could just get my brain to think more quickly in 3D…

In 3Bot you play a cute little tripod robot with a big oval head that must light up all the tiles on an increasingly complex set of geometric shapes.  You do this by dragging to spin the scene around so that you can see tiles that have not been lit up.  You then tap on a tile to move the robot to that tile.  The interface works well for the most part, but where I seem to run into problems is that I never appear to have the screen rotated enough to truly tap the tile I want to go to, even though I can see it on the screen and it looks like I’m tapping on it.  The other problem is that sometimes because of the way things are moving I accidentally tap on a tile that I didn’t mean to, and unfortunately there’s no delete.  The game needs a delete.

The levels are well designed, if not a bit devious at times (like the times when I’m playing the game, for instance).  The shapes are made up of a series of pyramids, and because of the way they all interconnect it’s often hard to get the big picture of where you need to go.  That wouldn’t be too big of an issue, as you can always work your way through to touch every surface, except that you can’t touch a given surface more than once without being penalized.  On top of that you’re timed, which makes levels where anything out of the ordinary (shrinking pyramids, disappearing tiles, surfaces that change back when you step on them twice) becomes even more challenging.

3Bot contains 45 levels in its current incarnation and eschews the traditional gold, medal and silver rankings for phrases like “good” or “maybe later”.  There are rumors that a rating called “Excellent” exists, but I have as yet to validate that particular rumor.  There are, however, several different achievements you can earn through OpenFeint, and thankfully some of them are attainable just by completing a certain number of levels.  Otherwise will keep you hopping for a while to try and complete.  If you want you can even compare progress with your friends via leaderboards, but I’ve learned early on not to go out of my way to embarrass myself.

The overall look of the game is fairly simple, but I really like it.  The level tiles are simple shaded triangles. The background kind of reminds me of the opening sequence of the Twilight Zone, with a bunch of random stuff just floating around.  The robot actually looks cool and I like that the expression on its face changes when it is not happy with your progress.

The sound effects are pretty basic as well.  The noise the robot makes when it walks is authentic enough, but it would have been nice if the robot made sounds once in a while when it reacted to things or maybe a springy noise when it’s bouncing up and down after completing a level.  To further dull the audio aspects, there is no music except during the menu.  It bugs me when games do that.  I don’t want to be entertained when I’m picking an option; I want to hear something when I’m in the midst of actually playing the game.

As you continue to unlock levels and new puzzle elements 3Bot feels more and more like a modern Q*bert, except more fun and with no enemies.  The more complex a level gets the more frequent I seem to have issues where I think I should be able to tap on a tile and I can’t, but it never gets frustrating enough to make me want to quit playing.  I would be hard pressed to be able to come up with something else on the App Store that plays quite like 3Bot.  Just be sure that you’re ready for an intense combination of thought and reaction – this is no causal player’s puzzle game.

App Summary
Title: 3botDeveloper: DevKid, Ltd.
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$0.99App Size:Size: 28.8 MB
  • Original concept
  • Slick visuals
  • Fun robot
  • No undo
  • Controls sometimes touchy
  • Audio is lacking

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