RoboSockets, a clever new puzzle game from Tatem Games, is now available from the app store. Combining elements of several popular game styles, RoboSockets makes for a fun twist on some old favorites.
- Great mash-up for several popular game styles
- Soothing, ethereal background music
- Easy-to-use drag controls with smooth animations
- Robots have distinct looks; several fun powers that affect game strategy
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
- Gameplay is repetitive and not overly difficult, gets boring after a bit
- Tiny power-up buttons are out of sight, out of mind
Robot civilization has been thrown into chaos by an abrupt and devastating meteorite crash, knocking out power to all essential services. Broken robots containing small amounts of battery energy must be connected into chains of 5 or more to release their energy into the energy store. Once the energy store is full, one of the non-functioning services can come back online. You must work through 16 levels in Story mode to resurrect the community and return everything to status quo. Each level sees robots falling one at a time into the collection area, which can accommodate 5 columns and 7 rows of robots. Each robot has a number of connectors, ranging from 0 to 4. Placing robots with connectors on adjacent sides is the mechanic by which chains are formed. It can be quite easy to get yourself into situations where there are no connectors available for new pieces or partial chains get blocked in by non-connector sides. Fortunately, there are several special pieces or earned powers that can help remedy the situation. Occasionally, pieces will fall that spread robots in either direction, explode a single robot, blow up an entire row, or drill through an entire column. You can also earn powers to automatically eliminate all bolts (0 connector robots) from the board, spread all rows out, or rearrange existing robots into different configurations. This can breathe new life into the game and possibly create combos that can drive up your score.
Through the course of play, you can also unlock a Challenge mode that offers Arcade or Time Attack modes. Arcade has 3 difficulty levels, and an extra row of robots is added to the bottom of the stack periodically until one column pushes off the screen. Time Attack offers timed play of 3, 7, or 12 minutes to rack up as many points as possible. Both provide fun alternative challenges to the main storyline. The graphics are appealing, with distinct looks for the robot types and smooth animations right down to the explosions that remove the robots from the field of play. The energy tube adorns the screen’s left side, while your time, speed, level, and other pertinent info rotate in the upper left corner. Your score occupies the upper right corner. The pause/menu button and your active powers are available in small buttons along the screen’s right side. These buttons are fairly small and easily overlooked, as we often forgot about them while playing. The soundtrack has an ethereal, spacey feel to it, which was a pleasant backdrop, especially when coupled with the various sound effects. Controls were drag-based, as you moved the current falling piece into position by dragging it where you want it. Powers were activated by tapping the corresponding buttons on the left.
Replay value is pretty good, as all modes had an element of high score chasing. GameCenter integration brings a handful of global leaderboards and achievements to earn. While we enjoyed the very gradual ramp up in difficulty that kept the speed of falling robots pretty consistent, the presence of bolts and more specialized pieces as you get further into the game really makes you work to earn your high scores. For a measly $0.99, RoboSockets is a 4.5-Dimple polished puzzler that’s worth picking up.