Qix may not be the most popular gaming franchise in the world, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a huge influence on dozens of products in the last few years. A lot of current-generation gaming platforms have seen remakes, sequels, or tributes to the 1981 arcade release, and CurveBot is one of the more original games to have been influenced by Taito’s classic title.
In CurveBot, you control a robot that moves its way around play fields of varying designs. When the moment is right, the robot can venture into the play field, cutting into the floor as it moves. Once it returns to the outer edge, the area that was separated by the robot’s incisions falls away. The goal of the game is to cut away at least 80% of the level’s surface, all the while outmaneuvering enemies who will interrupt your attempts to do so.
I walk the line.
CurveBot controls very simply and responsively, and we never ran into anything even vaguely resembling a technical problem. The game is a creative homage to Qix (which is acknowledged in the name of an achievement), and it also has a cute nod to an older, more popular arcade franchise in one of its levels, which features cherry power-ups and ghosts that change colors to blue when they’re most vulnerable.
The aforementioned Pac-Man stage isn’t the only remarkable thing about the game’s visuals, which can be quite unusual. Specifically, the floor textures are sometimes animated in an interesting way. The graphics are sharp overall, and the layout of the levels vary well enough to keep the game from being too awfully monotonous.
Don’t look back.
That isn’t to say the game is a thrill ride, though. It’s a pretty low-impact experience, and it’s not the most rewarding thing you could choose to play. The difficulty doesn’t ramp up very much, and there’s really no way to lose; you can only win later and with a lower score.
At first glance, the game seems like it should have puzzle elements to it, but we never had to think up a clever solution to any situation. The game has online leaderboards via GameCenter, but we expect that most people won’t feel competitive enough about CurveBot to be very invested in them. At least the achievements are fairly demanding, because otherwise there’s little reason to feel compelled to return to the game.
If you like Qix, you’ll probably have a good time with CurveBot, depending on how intense of an experience you’re expecting. If you have never even heard of Qix, it’s still not impossible to recommend. It’s got a lot of polish and it’s well-made, but the design just isn’t engaging enough to make us very excited about it.