CGRundertow UPBOT GOES UP for Xbox 360 Video Game Review

Adjective Noun Verb Adjective. Overused meme
is overused. Let’s get over that and focus on the important part: what makes a good puzzle
game. As anyone at Nintendo can tell you, all you really need is a very basic idea,
executed perfectly. Upbot Goes Up has a very simple premise: You have blocks, they move
when you press a button, you need to get them to certain places. Kinda like Boxxle, but
on the 360 instead of a Game Boy. Sounds easy, right? Not as easy as you think. For Upbot
to get where he needs to go, he’ll probably have to have some help from his friends, Leftbot,
Rightbot, and Downbot. As you may have guessed, the reason it’s
called Upbot Goes Up is because that’s the only way Upbot knows how to go. By pressing
Y, Upbot goes up, one section of the grid, pushing any of his friends what might be in
the way. Similarly, X controls Leftbot, A controls Downbot, and B triggers Rightbot.
It’s worth noting that all bots of a particular color activate simultaneously if you wish
to activate any of them, thus increasing the complexity of the puzzles. Aside from those
buttons, all you need to know is that the left bumper rewinds your last action, and
holding the right bumper resets the current puzzle. That’s all there is. The trick comes
in figuring out just which sequence of movements you’ll need to get these bots from their
starting points to their similarly-colored destinations. And there may or may not be
some tricky maneuvers to accomplish in doing so, like running a bot through one of the
chutes on the walls that transports it to the corresponding output port… potentially
turning it 90 degrees in the process. Upbot may, in fact, go left, thus breaking the paradigm
and making my head hurt. Fortunately, there’s no time limit nor is there a limit on rewinds,
so you’re welcome to experiment. You get 60 puzzles – 20 each in the easy,
medium, and hard categories – for the $3 you spend for this XBLA indie title. And for an
indie game, Upbot Goes Up shows an impressive level of polish. Admittedly, it’s a puzzle
game, so there aren’t really that many technical issues to screw up, perhaps explaining why
this genre is so appealing to indie developers. But the effects are shiny, the game runs smooth,
the music – while a bit repetitive – isn’t bad… It’s a quality little game, despite
being based on a played-into-the-dirt turn of phrase. The one thing I’d ask for in
any further versions is the one thing I wanted most after playing this game: a level editor.
And maybe the weird little devil-angel children from Bombastic. I think they’d have a fun
time here.


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