I am a long-time fan of the chiptune music created by English artist Pixelh8. While not rocking it out with old school Commodore 64´s, NES and whatnot vintage electronics you can think of Pixelh8 takes on his normal persona of Matthew C. Applegate. As such he lectures about computer and music, and also codes music apps. Ocarbot is the second game from his Room 1 Studios. The first was a really cerebral block puzzle logic game called 6X9.
Ocarbot is a 2d platforming take on the sokoban block puzzle. The goal of each level is to help Ocarbot escape by means of the quite obvious door marked exit. Ocarbot is a bit limited in his capabilities, and that might explain why he is getting scrapped. An arrow to move left, and one to move right lets him shuffle about. He can also move up ladders using an up arrow. There is no way to climb down though other than falling off platforms. The gameplay is about solving puzzles, and there are little to no platforming skills required.
This is a truly cerebral puzzler, and it keeps beating me over the head. It feels like my brain wants to escape at times. When I get stuck, and boy I do, I take a couple of hours of Ocarbot rest. After not trying to force a solution I generally manage to solve it after this recess. There is no level skip option, and I have barely scraped on the fifty levels available. There is certainly plenty of challenging, and kind of cute puzzle gameplay to find within Ocarbot.
Challenges include avoiding magnets, pushing blocks to fill in holes for Ocarbot and generally finding out what to do first. It demands you to take everything in the correct order, and early on it is quite simple. When it starts to become more than ten steps you have to think ahead that thing dormant in my brain wants out. Sadly the rest of my numb grey matter won’t let it, and I fail the level. Once I beat anything it is truly rewarding.
The presentation is old school all the way with worlds made up of blocks. It doesn’t blow me away, but it has a definite own charm. The music is what drew me to it in the first place, and it is great chiptune game music with a clear Pixelh8 flair. The sigh Ocarbot makes when I fail is really fun, and sad at the same time.
Ocarbot is a hard game, and it will not appeal to everyone. To those who want a really challenging puzzler with a lot of personality you can’t go wrong with Ocarbot. Just don’t expect to be able to play it for a couple of hours straight because it will drive you nuts. Ocarbot should be enjoyed in small doses to avoid madness.
Seller: Matthew Applegate