I think one of the greatest additions to this generation of games has been the Indie scene. Whether you get your game published onto Xbox Live Arcade or just as a free download on a PC site, the rise of quality low-budget games has been on the rise. Recently I got to spend some quality time with one the second place at this year’s DreamBuildPlay contest. Rotor’scope is an intriguing puzzle game that takes familiar mechanics and molds them into an addictive experience. Featuring more polish than most retail Arcade releases, this game is certainly one for puzzle fans to check out.
Amazingly this quirky puzzle game actually has a background plot setting to move things along. You have arrived at the house of a famous inventor and begin to uncover the mystery of his disappearance. While there you run into Traveller, another person interested in the whereabouts of the inventor and his research. The dialogue and comic book-style scenes are extremely well done, and the artwork of the characters reminds me of a certain island featuring a primate in its name. Still the presentation and well-written story really do a nice job of laying down the groundwork for the experience.
The best way I can find to describe the gameplay is a tumbler. Think of this as lock picking in other games and you might get the picture. Each puzzle has a series of blocks that need to be connected in order to make them disappear. You can rotate the board left and right, and even flip it vertically on its head in order to make the pieces drop down. At first it seems relatively simple, but later on you are introduced to other hurdles and mechanics that continue to up the ante and create more diverse solutions. If you mess up there is an undo button that gives you one free pass to correct a mistake. The game will also let you know if you have worked the puzzle into a nearly unwinnable state.
For an Indie game the production values are simply off the charts. As I mentioned the artwork is top-shelf, but there are also other things that help it stand out. Since Indie games cannot have Achievements, the developers have created a medals system that rewards you for accomplishing things such as solving a puzzle once the game suggests you start over. You can also share your scores on Facebook via an in-game code. However, the coolest part of the package is the level sharing feature.
Creating and sharing levels is as easy as you would imagine, and there are quite a few online already that really show off the creativity of the game. It is really impressive how much dedication and work has gone into this game. If you are at all a fan of puzzle games I recommend giving this title a look. For five bucks it stands out as one of the most polished and addictive Indie games I have played thus far. This is one of the reasons I really love the idea of Community Games on Xbox Live. Rotor’scope is good enough to be a full-fledged Arcade game.
Review copy provided by publisher.