I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #127, and today’s game is “CannonBotGo”.
(Please note that some of the marketing materials suggest the game’s name is “CannonBot Go!!”, but I went with the game’s name in the Marketplace.)
I haven’t heard much about CannonBotGo, nor even read many reviews. That seemed strange to me, as it’s a marvelous concept, so I downloaded it and played the free trial. When the screen asking me to purchase the game, or be forced to quit, came up 8 minutes later I bought the game without hesitation. It’s a wonderful and innovative game that blends action and puzzle solving.
First, from the developer:
“CANNONBOT GO!!! One robot vs an alien invasion in this puzzle game with an action edge. Time your moves just right to release a symphony of fire and destruction.”
Each level in this game you are presented with a radio as an objective. Make it to the radio and you’ll call in an air strike that will kill all the alien invaders in the vicinity. Fail, and the aliens will call in their flying saucers and do an air strike on you, wiping out most of your forces.
What would be a simple concept if it were a platformer is made challenging by the fact that you have only one character you directly control, your CannonBot. The other characters are just window dressing, though you have to keep some of them alive to be able to progress through the levels. Each level you survey the area and decide which of your CannonBot’s powers are going to be required to get it to the radio, which include things such as boosting over obstacles, firing rockets, filling the level with water to raise objects, and more. Use these power to manoeuvre your CannonBot and destroy/move obstacles, and get to the radio. The game lets you retry as many times as you wish, which is good because the levels definitely require some experimentation to solve. That makes this game a little like a Michael Bay version of “Blow”, with what would be slow gameplay amped up to “11” via constant gunfire, airstrikes, alien invaders, and explosions.
Another reason that experimentation is required is that you need to not only figure out exactly where you need to get your CannonBot, but also when you want him there. Once you start things in motion you’ll have explosions, rising water, and other chain-reaction starting events that will mean you have to get your CannonBot at the right place at the right time. But rather than being frustrating, I found the “close but no cigar” moments drove me on to tweak the sequence of events I had ordered by CannonBot to execute, which I think is the sign of a good puzzler.
While the game didn’t end up being the game I expected, I enjoyed it more than I likely would have if it had been. 80 Microsoft Points.
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