Puzzle games come in all shapes and forms, making players think differently in order to complete the challenges in each level. Hot Chocolate Games took the gravitational route and gave a light story to the reasoning behind their new mobile game Grobo. Hitting iOS and Android tomorrow, let’s break down what they will have in store for you.
Grobo is a robot that has found himself alone. In hopes of finding out what happened to his friends, he sets out to track down life. On the way, he will find fragments of humanity, but the drive to find out the truth will take him further than he has gone before. The only way he can know where they are is to escape the silence of solitude.
Each puzzle game has an increasing set of challenges to overcome and this game does a good job at introducing each one before combining them together. Starting as simple as getting from the start to the end and finishing the game with a time-based puzzle that includes all the different aspects of the game, the build-up and difficulty increases in a fair, understandable way.
The base mechanic of the game is to change the way gravity pulls everything in the level. The only things that actually move are Grobo himself and the eventual crates that are added to the game, but changes need to be made with thought before action. It is easy to think you know where to go next and accidentally throw yourself off the map causing the puzzle to restart. They do highlight the different points that the change of gravity will send you, given that you will run into something and not fly off the map, so this is a visual aid to help when needed.
Overall, you will get challenges added slowly to make the puzzles more interesting. Crates that can be used as landing pads or pathway blockers, spike balls and electric pads that kill you once touched, laser beams that can’t be crossed through, and the combination of these obstacles. They do each have different properties though, such as the crates moving with the gravity shift or the electric pads shutting down when Grobo is standing next to them (meaning they can’t hurt you when you walk on them, but you still can’t land on them after shifting gravity).
Other than getting to the end goal computer of each level, there are the occasional ghost fragments, as I call them, for you to collect. These require their own little mini puzzle inside the puzzle to successfully collect but note that they aren’t counted unless you manage to collect it and complete the level. This will make it impossible to meet the goal movement counter of that level.
Graphics and Sounds
It is a hand-drawn game and that shows, especially in the background. It has a nice light color that doesn’t make it hard to look at while you are studying how to complete the next puzzle.
Mostly you just hear music in the game, which is fine and normal for these types of games. The sound effects are light and just there to provide ambiance more than anything. It has a basic sci-fi, tech type feel to the music that can be a little distracting at times.
Other than getting all the ghost fragments or wanting to get the highest star rating in each level, the puzzles are the same every time you do them. Not much reason to replay the game after it has been beaten.
What Could Be Better
The story itself is told in really short descriptions at the start of each level, but it didn’t feel like natural progress in the storyline itself. I feel this could have been portrayed better in numerous ways and that the route they took to tell the story seemed like it was thrown in last minute rather than giving the player a reason to progress.
A few of the puzzles were a little challenging, but overall the game felt pretty short and that it could have offered more. Almost right after blending all the different obstacles the game has together into a single puzzle, the game ends. This felt abrupt and I honestly checked the chapter log for the next level after it went back to the level map thinking I overlooked it just to find out that was the ending. Wanting more from a game isn’t much of a complaint, but in this case, it just felt like it was a chapter short of being complete.
There is no hint system for when players get stuck and that is a problem for puzzle games. Almost every puzzle game I have played has offered some sort of hint system, even if it only barely helped the player. I understand not helping them get the collectibles, but I can see people getting stuck and frustrated with a few of these puzzles and there is nothing the game offers to help them.
Grobo has some challenging puzzles but feels a bit short in length. While I enjoyed the overall style the game offers, it could have given a bit more to the players. It is certainly a fun game for puzzle fans to enjoy that will get them thinking. Overall, it is challenging, entertaining, but a bit short for my liking.