Wednesday, 19 May 2010

XBIR: A Robot's Conundrum

You are a robot. You are capable of flying, drilling Lode-runner-style when on land and pushing one block at a time. You must push a box to the target area, at the bottom.

The simplest lessons involve filling holes with another block, working out a route so the box only falls the permitted distance and taking notice of unstable platforms.

level 4 had me stumped for a minute until I realised what I was meant to do. I was forced to take notice of an 'ability' I had had all along but thus far overlooked - something I always love.
Unclear graphics. Until you learn to study the screen, bullets blend into the bg and the unstable platforms look similar to the bg.
Level 3 involved skipping half the level - something that irritated me. It seems like wasteful design to have only a few extra 'unneeded' elements. If the designer wanted to confuse us with extra elements, I feel that they should have gone all-out. Half-measures, like a stylisation that applies to only a single letter in a typeface, are more likely to look 'messy' and like mistakes.

I'm tempted to buy this (since it costs 80 pts, not the 200 alluded to in-game) but would like some assurance that the later levels will reach a reasonable difficulty without relying heavily on trial and error.

Lesson: (Level) design is much an art of subtraction as it is of addition. Unnecessary elements will only irritate.

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