Robo5, a terrific 3D puzzler from Yuguosoft, is now available from the app store. Featuring a robot searching for life’s meaning and towers of blocks to manipulate in order to reach the end goal, Robo5 provides a heady challenge that will test your spatial skills.
- Appealing industrial look and feel
- Pleasant and soothing soundtrack
- Simple controls and thought-provoking level design
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
- Some control responsiveness issues
- Storyline doesn’t truly impact gameplay
- Confusing scoring rules
Through 5 worlds and 40 levels of play, you are tasked with maneuvering a robot up a large stack of varying box types to reach the top, with additional goals of speedy play, collecting objects, and efficient play in the form of moving as few boxes as necessary to win. Meeting these goals will earn one star each for a possible total of three per level. You can push and pull boxes from side-to-side and from within the configuration in order to create steps to climb as you make your journey skyward. There are a number of bonuses to capture along the way, such as sandglasses that momentarily freeze the time, temporary speed boosts, or batteries that increase you allowable number of moves. Box types also impact gameplay, such as suspended boxes that will fall if left unsupported by neighboring boxes, immovable boxes, explosive boxes, transporting boxes that automatically send you to a corresponding transporting box, and more. The difficulty increases slowly, as the first world is pretty easy to breeze through, but the subsequent worlds really make you think. As you progress through the campaign, every 20 earned stars will unlock an additional diary level that provides some additional head-scratching fun.
Graphically, the game has a nice industrial look, and box types and bonuses come in a variety of easily distinguishable skins. The robot animations are decent, and despite being a pile of nuts and bolts, he’s got character. Tapping on a box causes the robot to move to it if on the same level, climb it if he’s a level below, or hang from the edge and shimmy back-and-forth. Swiping from one box to an adjacent box will push, pull, and extricate boxes, as well as allow you to shimmy around corners when hanging. Though you cannot pan around the level, you can pinch to zoom out and get a slightly better view of the surrounding area. There are some responsiveness issues that require repeating taps or swipes to actually make them happen, but making deliberate motions usually mitigates this issue. An undo button allows you to backtrack in the event that you get yourself into a jam, and you will. The soundtrack is relaxing and pleasant, with soothing piano and new age vibes. It reinforces the casual nature of the game.
Replay value is good, as the gameplay is enjoyable and earning 3 stars on all levels will certainly require tackling certain challenges again and again. The final level of each world is also timed, so it may take a number of tries to solve it within the given time frame. GameCenter integration allows for global leaderboards and 32 achievements. There is a storyline that goes along with the game, but it has little to no bearing on the actual gameplay and could easily be removed without altering the game much at all. An enjoyable and surprisingly cerebral puzzler for $0.99 (there is an HD version that’s also $0.99 at this time), Robo5 is a solid 4-Dimple choice.