Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Odd Bot Out is a lot like its titular mechanical hero: chock full of wonderful creative spirit, but also messy and a little disjointed.
Is there anything sadder than a robot that can’t do the sole task it was built for? In Odd Bot Out players control such a robot as they guide it out of the scrap yard and back into the factory. The game is broken up into bite-sized puzzle rooms with objectives as straightforward as the clean, uncluttered visual style. They’re sort of like Portal's test chambers, actually. The game even has a kid-friendly take on that game’s snarky scientific sense of humor, although the look could use just a little bit more personality.
However, unlike Portal, these puzzles don’t revolve around a strong common theme aside from “reach the exit.” In one level players are rerouting power to open and lower bridges, in another they’re combining and moving blocks around to create pathways, and some stages feature vehicles to ride like centipedes or rockets. While the tiny individual ideas are varied and clever, after cranking through a bunch of them they start to feel a little scattershot. Players are just doing random jobs instead of becoming better at a core puzzle skill through increasingly complex iterations of the same ideas. Granted, there are some reoccurring puzzle styles and concepts, and kids might prefer this freeform, hodgepodge toy box vibe, but the overall progression feels off and in-cohesive. This also makes the handful of tougher puzzles slightly irritating since the game doesn’t gradually build up to them and only intermittently teaches players the skills they need. Changing headspaces so rapidly prevents players from falling deeper into a single, more thoughtful groove.
But at least the underlying emphasis on physics always entertains. Manipulating weight and momentum to move forward feels great and even just dragging the robot around looks like an object being subjected to actual physical forces instead of just a video game character on a screen. Watching its little legs adjust to the uneven terrain never gets old.
Odd Bot Out is a creative and whimsical puzzle-platformer. It could just use a little more focus.