Buttons rule the world, how would you else power on your favorite Apple device?
Some games are really hard to explain due to being either so far out there, or highly innovative in concept. Button Brigade is hard to explain due to being both far out there, and being innovative in the humongous puzzle genre. It is a game that basically throws out the core foundations of any puzzler, and creates a completely new way of looking at problems. Usually you have to move something onto a button to push it for example. In Button Brigade you bring the button with you to the proper door, or function you want to perform. A timed gate might be impossible to enter when you touch the button located far to the right. Grabbing the button, and taking it all the way to the gate there is ample time to enter it.
A rewind button can be used, as a means of retrying when something has got itself messed up. It can also be used to get rid of enemies, open doors and other Jedi Mind Trick kind of antics. The further you progress in the game the more innovative the puzzle design becomes. At times even too intricate for the casual gamer, and at other times there is a discord between the slow pace of a puzzler and the quick action Button Brigade demands.
You are in control of a weird worm consisting of four white dots not completely connected. The movement is fluid, but at the same time weirdly disconnected. When ramming into something the force seems to be stronger at the end of the worm making it squirm violently. To move it you hold the screen in the area you want it to approach. Where the game gets interesting is when you have to occupy, and carry buttons. To enter a button you have to tap it with two fingers, and to disembark you tap away from it with two fingers. Either tapping it in the case of keys, bombs and rotary buttons does any action the button can perform. Other buttons that fire distance lasers, or waves you draw from the button in the direction you want to fire. Too often I have found myself accidentally disembarking, or taking off in the other direction when I have tried firing at enemy worms. This is where the game starts to struggle. As innovative, as the controls are for the puzzle elements, as cumbersome are they for the action parts.
Cheap deaths, and long stretches of puzzles to redo until you reach the hard point of a level make for a slightly annoying experience when the levels get harder. The worm lacks a life meter, and that keeps it hard to know when to retreat or when to push forwards. Enemy worms can arm themselves with buttons as well, and at times it is hard to navigate past them when the segments of the worm have a life of their own.
The presentation is a bit sparse, and both textures and effects have a DIY feel to them. Having a main menu with a couple of buttons to press is not that straightforward, as should be. I have managed to erase my save game twice by touching the x-button on the main menu. The sound is also not that exciting, albeit there is something about the quirky music that sticks with me. Overall though a slap of paint, and some polish would enhance Button Brigade quite a lot.
I really wanted to love Button Brigade after I saw the really cheesy trailer, and initially I did. Then repetitive retries, cheap deaths and unclear menu options spoiled it somewhat. I still think it is a highly enjoyable puzzler that brings a lot of new ideas to the table.
Button Brigade $2.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Axis Sivitz