Upon seeing the screenshots and title of Cavorite, we were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to make an awful pun about how it’s our ‘cavorite’ (see: favorite) puzzle-platformer on the App Store. Sadly, we were all robbed of such comedy gold given the quality of the game.
In Cavorite, you play as a 19th Century scientist who used his newly invented anti-gravity chemical to take a trip to the moon. Unfortunately, the beings living on the moon don’t take kindly to his visit, and he and his spacecraft are taken prisoner. You spend the game trying to re-assemble your ship and escape the alien dungeons, one brief level at a time.
Nice to meet you!
Sadly, none of the dozens of levels in the game are any challenge to figure out, at least once you know which buttons in the level correspond to which objects. Too often we were forced to fail a level just to find out which button did what, and it wasn’t rare for it to be counter-intuitive. It may have been a deliberate decision to occasionally make unexpected uses of the pressure plates that so heavily populate the game’s levels, but it just feels like the game isn’t communicating with the player as well as it should be. It gives an unnecessarily antagonistic feel to an already tedious game.
Once you understand the logic of any given level, it’s just a matter of grappling with the game’s clunkiness. The key mechanic of Cavorite is the main character’s anti-gravity solution, which can be sprayed on crates to send them floating upwards for a short time. However, we commonly found ourselves needing to restart a level because of an improbable collision that left a crate seemingly floating near the edge of a platform. There were also cases of the enemy AI being totally inadequate. In some games this is ignorable, but in Cavorite you need to use your opponents to your advantage. When an enemy won’t push a block for you because it can’t ‘see’ it for some reason, it’s maddening.
Lava burns are the worst.
What little intentional challenge there is doesn’t curve upwards in a satisfying way as you play through the game. Things get switched up a little with boss battles that punctuate sections of the game, but they’re no more exciting than the content that precedes them. We quickly found a way to cheese our way to a win when facing the first boss, and it made the experience that much more underwhelming.
It’s a shame the gameplay is such a chore, because it comes in a nice package. The pixel art has nice character to it, and the music– while not astonishing– is appropriate and pleasant. The story also has some charm, being a throwback to classic science fiction.
Cavorite does neither puzzling nor platforming very well, and it’s only difficult in the least rewarding ways. Nevermind the puzzles and obstacles consciously introduced to the player; the real opponents in this game are its controls and mechanics. Given the quality of other puzzle-platformers that have come out in recent years, Cavorite is best described as a disappointment. There’s nothing about it that’s overtly broken, but your $1.99 would be better spent on something more fun.