There are a lot of puzzle games in the App Store, but very few that begin with a Nietzsche quote. From the opening moments you can tell that Robo5 has somewhat loftier ambitions than simply being the next Angry Birds. And while those ambitions aren’t exactly met, Robo5 is still a highly enjoyable and consistently challenging puzzle game.
Surprisingly, the core gameplay is ripped straight from the recent console release Catherine. Each level consists of a series of boxes stacked on top of one another, and the goal is to push, pull, and climb these boxes to reach the top of the stage. A simple premise complicated not only by tricky level design, but also by the inclusion of multiple types of boxes, including ones that can’t be moved and others that serve as teleportation devices.
Would you like me to box that up?
In addition to simply getting to the top, you’ll also be given a score based on things like how fast you completed the level and how many collectibles you managed to gather along the way. This all leads to the familiar three-star ranking system found in most other iOS puzzlers. Unlike in Catherine, in which you’re perpetually racing to the top, Robo5 is a much more laid back affair. Even the levels that do have a time limit don’t make you feel particularly rushed.
That’s not to say that the game is easy, because it isn’t. Though the first world is deceptively simple, later worlds ratchet up the difficulty quite a bit. Figuring out just how to get to the top can often take numerous tries and a whole lot of tapping the undo button. It’s easy to get yourself in a situation where you can’t move forward, though the solutions appear so obvious once you finally figure them out.
You’ve obviously never heard of the rustfish.
Following on the initial quote, Robo5 attempts to frame its puzzle gameplay with a story, though the two sections of the game feel like disconnected halves. Bits of poorly translated text reveal the plight of a robot going through an existential crisis, which is an interesting idea that’s not executed particularly well. If you do find yourself getting into the narrative, though, it provides some extra incentive to earn higher scores, as collecting stars unlocks diary entries.
Of course, it’s a puzzle game, so Robo5’s story is largely inconsequential. It’s nice that it’s there, and it provides an excuse for the delightful robotic world the game takes place in, but really you’re going to want to play this game to enjoy the mentally taxing puzzles. And in that regard Robo5 has plenty to offer.