App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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After Portal became the sensational star of The Orange Box back in 2007, some of the game's fans made a Flash 2D version of it for the PC and iPhone. I only played that Flash game recently and while I found it fairly fun it didn't really grab me. There was something off about its controls, the look, and the lack of what makes Portal so good, namely the game's personality, that made me grow weary of it.
It turns out that I was just waiting for something like d-capitatrix to enter my life. gamesmold's new game takes the Portal mechanic and combines it with the iPhone's tilt feature, and then adds some sexy damsel robots in distress into the mix to create a very tasty side dish for Portal fans to enjoy on the go.
In each puzzle I have to reconnect a spherical robot head with its curvy (but headless) body. To do so I have to send the head through the two portals, which I can drag across from surface to surface, as well as tilt the iPhone to help my decapitated lady cranium collect three battery packs before finding her way back to her larger half. The reward: the rescued lady robot gets up and fiercely struts into the distance. It's that whole 'you know you're watching my metal ass as I walk away' thing - or maybe that's just me.
As the game progresses through its 30 puzzles, extra physical elements are gradually introduced such as pulleys, explosives, electricity, crushers - weren't they supposed to be in Portal 2? - and so on. So even with such a limited number of puzzles d-capitatrix still keeps me hooked. Each puzzle is well designed and there is good variation throughout the game; some puzzles require a very specific path of critical thinking while others allow for more exploratory, personal solutions. Like with Portal, a lot of the fun comes from mastering the physics of elements like weight-bearing and momentum. It's also amusing to hear your robot lady complain as you leave her in a maximum speed infinite portal loop.
On a side note regards the sound, the game's presentation in general is top notch. The voice-over sounds great and the art style is slick, neat, and futuristic in a way that's appreciably distinct from Portal.
The only significant negative, except the slightly limited number of puzzles, is that in its current version d-capitatrix is prone to glitches. Sometimes my portals completely disappear off the screen, and even more often my robot head gets stuck to walls. Thankfully each puzzle can be restarted and this usually clears the error. On a more nit-picky note, I sometimes find that my mistakes make the puzzles unsolvable; my head gets stuck in a room, for example. It would be nice if the game could account for this a bit more, but that's a real minor quibble.
No more nit-picking, though, because there have been a lot of Portal-like games over the last few years so it's saying something that d-capitatrix is one of the better ones - and not just because it has robot booty. Although that is a significant bonus.