App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Escaped experiments tend to have a bad rep. More often than not, they’re depicted as mindless killing machines that go on a rampage until a slapdash squad of antiheroes – typically with only one or two survivors – puts an end to the carnage once and for all. But some escapees just want their freedom. Button Brigade does its part to give the softer side of science gone wrong, then just plain gone, its due.
A factory that produces button and segmented robot worms (for some reason) has a bit of an accident, resulting in a missing mechanized invertebrate. Players get to control said invertebrate and guide it throughout a number of obstacle-laden rooms before reaching the worm’s ultimate destination. Tapping, holding, and dragging on the screen will guide the little fella. Tapping either of the two buttons occupying the bottom corners of the screen, then a factory button (i.e. box with an icon on it), will take control of it and give players the opportunity to move it around. And, of course, tapping on these factory buttons will activate them and they’ll do whatever it is they’re supposed to do. Most likely open doors or explode.
What makes Button Brigade so interesting is the way that most of these buttons can be manipulated to solve puzzles. Sometimes it’s possible to carefully creep through a corridor filled with enemies, other times there might be the option to possess a special projectile button and blast everything out of the way. And sometimes players can just take over a rotating buzz saw button and plow through anything in their path. There are often several different ways to approach the same problem.
It’s just that once the levels start to get a bit crazier, the unresponsiveness of the controls becomes painfully apparent. Little annoyances like having to readjust movement several times to get through a gap don’t really register until they have to be performed under the gun. Then it’s mostly “spend several minutes crawling through stage, die because the worm didn’t do what it was supposed to, restart from the very beginning, repeat.” This happens often with movement because the hitbox for the touch controls is a little smaller than intuitively expected (lots of not moving at crucial moments), and because the button possession buttons don’t always register. Neither does tapping on buttons to possess, really.
Button Brigade is still a nifty game with some clever ideas and interesting puzzles, but the control issues become a bigger issue as the difficulty ramps up. They don’t make it unplayable, but getting through this button pusher will require a fair amount of patience.