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Project 83113 Review
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Project 83113, a hybrid runner/platformer from Fabrication Games and NCsoft, is now available from the app store. Featuring a cold, industrial visual style, cleverly challenging controls, and plenty of action, Project 83113 (aka BELLE for the leet-challenged) has a little something for everyone.

Project 83113 Pros:

  • Slick and vibrant presentation with fun level designs and satisfying explosions
  • Soundtrack is relaxing and catchy
  • Controls are swipe-based and challenging, providing quick access to lots of maneuvers
  • Stars and badges to earn on each level for great replay value
  • GameCenter integration provides global leaderboards and several achievements

Project 83113 Cons:

  • Hero badge can feel impossible
  • No alternative control methods
  • Level of precision required can be frustrating

You control a mutant cat afflicted with an extra pair of paws that come in quite handy when you need to arm yourself to the whiskers while taking on a number of robotic enemies bent on turning you into feline fricassee. There are 4 worlds with 10 levels in each, the last serving as a boss battle of sorts. Each level is fairly short, requiring only a minute or two to blast through. Even so, there are a handful of helpful checkpoints spread throughout, giving you a new starting point should your fast-depleting health/energy bar hit E before you finish the level. Destroyed enemies give you energy replenishments that find their way to you like a pack of homing missiles. There are 5 weapons to use in the game, each upgradeable by converting collectible crystals into upgrade tokens. We found the first couple of weapons surprisingly effective and were content with maxing them out instead of pursuing new hardware. The gameplay is well-paced and the levels are designed to take advantage of the various maneuvers at your disposal. Your level score is converted to stars, with up to 3 available per level. Streaks and combos are the keys to big scores. There are also 3 badges that you can collect on each level: one for killing all enemies, one for finding the hidden item, and one for taking no damage, which proves to be a ridiculously difficult challenge on most levels.

Graphically, many of the foregrounds and level elements are grayscale (though there are some muted colors in the backgrounds), giving the game a metallic, industrial feel. This also allows the pink enemy fire and green energy replenishments to pop, offering a pleasing visual contrast. Enemies burst in an exciting array of colors, which lends an air of satisfaction to their destruction. The soundtrack uses a pretty chill tune that adds a lot to the experience. Controls are mostly swipe-based, and your various options are slowly introduced during the early stages. Swiping either left or right will cause you to run endlessly in that direction, unless you swipe in the opposite direction to change course or hold your finger on-screen to gradually come to a halt. Swiping up causes you to jump, while swiping down elicits a slide. Double-jumps and wall-jumps are possible by swiping up at the appropriate times, and a dash move requires a quick horizontal swipe. You can quickly dive by swiping down while airborne. You can even hover by pressing your finger on-screen while in mid-air, allowing the cat so slowly descend from above. Firing is automatic when within range of an enemy, though you can also tap an enemy for a more powerful targeted blast. It should be noted that these blasts use a portion of your energy, leaving you somewhat vulnerable. It takes some time to get used to, but it is overall a surprisingly effective and enjoyable way to play the game. We would not have balked at a d-pad alternative, however.

Replay value is pretty good, as racking up points for 3-star scores and collecting all of the badges will take some significant effort and additional replays. Using different weapons and learning when each is more effective also extends its replay value. Story bits can also be found along the way to give you a deeper understanding of the game’s backstory. GameCenter integration brings global leaderboards and nearly 2 dozen achievements into the picture. A universal app for $0.99, Project 83113 is an exciting 4-Dimple option.

Project 83113 Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-06-09T21:11:39+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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