It’s not easy building a game that all age groups will enjoy — it has to be easy to get into, yet challenge players and offer variety in terms of gameplay, and look good to boot. Runaway Studios decided to make their debut on Android with a game of this sort, and for the most part, have a winner on their hands.
Rescue Roby is a new physics-based puzzler that puts you in charge of helping a cheerful and quirky robot escape the factory he’s been built in, before he’s scrapped for being different. There’s a lot to do but very little to learn, which means you can dive into it right away. Let’s take a look at what kind of trouble Roby’s in.
Inside The Factory
Poor Roby doesn’t conform to the quality standards of the manufacturing facility he is made in — it seems as if he’s too upbeat to make the cut. The factory is riddled with scaffolding, crates, explosives, conveyor belts, and more that you can use to get Roby out of sticky situations. And don’t forget that the laws of physics apply here, for better or worse — which means you’ll have to be careful about how you use or fight gravity and momentum.
Each level opens with Roby in a factory room that’s set up with scaffolding, planks, crates and more, and of course a special box into which Roby needs to be placed. Tapping on the environment items causes them to disappear, which then has further consequences. So, in the level below on the left, tapping any of the wooden crates will remove them. Tapping the inclined plank on which Roby is resting will make him fall. Tapping the explosive crate will make it blow up and the blast will propel everything else away from it.
Sounds too easy, you say? As you advance in the game, you’ll find that you not only have to tap the right items but do so in the right sequence, and sometimes time your taps to set off chain reactions. There are also three gears in each level that Roby needs to touch to collect, which, in sufficient quantity, unlocks subsequent level packs.
Rescue Roby is certainly a good deal, at just $1 for 180 levels of physics-based fun. There are 20 introductory levels where you deal with just Roby, 20 more with another robot named Colonel Green, another 20 with Roby and his girlfriend, yet another 20 with a different robot and new mechanics, and a giant pack of 100 levels with multiple configurations of characters.
The first 20 levels are fun to play, while the second set with Colonel Green, where you have to get both robots into their respective boxes, is mostly hit and miss — many of the levels aren’t well designed and require you to replay just to get the better of the in-game physics rather than to solve puzzles. However, there are a few levels where Roby and the Colonel are on opposite sides of the environment and need to cross each other to get to their boxes, which are really fun. I only wish the entire game had such clever touches to keep things interesting all through.
In the next set, you have to bring Roby and his girlfriend close together, literally. This is easy enough, but collecting all the gears makes for some unique challenges. After that, you can play with a different robot who encounters new objects like magnets and anti-gravity devices. These levels are a lot more fun and unfortunately run out all too soon.
The remaining 100 levels are a mixed bag in terms of characters, difficulty and quality of level design. With games like this, players are generally encouraged to pick up various skills over time to deal with increasingly challenging levels, making for a memorable ending. Unfortunately, this large chunk of the game misses that opportunity and seems like a grab bag of levels that simply have you kill time rather than rack your brain to work out how to finish them.
Rescue Roby is by no means an ugly game — the colorful backgrounds and characters will certainly appeal to kids who need a distraction. However, you’d do best to not pay attention to the details. The illustrations and UI aren’t consistent in terms of quality, and as with the sound, could use a bit more variety to keep things from getting stale.
Is Roby Worth Rescuing?
I generally enjoy puzzlers because i often take 15-minute breaks while I work and enjoy a good game that I don’t have to invest much time in at one sitting. Rescue Roby is certainly good for this but after the Hi Tech level set, I lost interest.
Good physics-based titles let the puzzles shine through while offering mechanics that we can relate to easily. A large number of levels in Rescue Roby unfortunately have this upside down and require you to constantly replay levels to get your timing just right, which becomes tedious with such a simple game. I’d have enjoyed it more with cleverly designed levels that posed real puzzles rather than what felt like mere logistical obstacles.
I’d also have liked to see better graphics and animation, and stronger design language that carries through in the UI, characters and levels. Other than that, Rescue Roby is a fun game to kill time, and is definitely worth the price at $1. There’s a free version that you can try too, so be sure to check that out if you don’t want to spend on this just yet.