iPad Game Review: Incoboto for iPad
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
A platformy physics puzzler that gushes with originality, personality, and style. Staving off the end of the universe was never this fun.
Incoboto is the story of the end of the universe. Your character, Inco, is the last person in a universe going completely dark. As depressing as this sounds, Inco is accompanied by the relentlessly chipper Helios, a sentient star, believe it or not. The goal of each level is to collect starpieces for Helios, but this is nowhere near as straightforward as it sounds.
At first blush, you may mistake Incoboto as a platformer, however, it is much more a physics puzzler with platform elements than the other way around. These starpieces are not simply floating around for the taking by anybody with the reaction time of a plumber. Instead, you will need to utilize the abandoned machinery of your collapsed civilization to reach them. As you progress through the levels, you will be introduced to progressively more complex puzzles involving new game elements. These elements are introduced one at a time, which keeps you from feeling initially overwhelmed. More importantly, however, they keep the game feeling fresh, level after level, as do the in-game achievements. A game like this, however, is only as good as its interface, and I'm pleased to report that Incoboto gets this right as well. Left, right, jump; That's it. The game is designed for you to play one-handed, which is a good idea because you will need your other hand to manipulate the screen in later levels.
It is impossible not to draw comparisons between Incoboto and the PC classic: Portal. Inco, our hero, wanders through the abandoned technology of a collapsed dystopian civilization, solving puzzles along the way in order to survive. While Incoboto clearly draws inspiration from this source, its puzzles are entirely original, as is its personality and graphical style. If you like to ponder, explore, and tinker, you're in luck because, not only does Incoboto encourage this; it absolutely requires it.
The graphics of Incoboto are truly delightful. Each planet you visit slowly rotates, and the technology you must master is a fanciful combination of Dr. Who and Frankenstein. The constant sense of motion really adds to the immersion factor, and draws you expertly into each level. Lastly, while a game with this theme could easily spiral downwardly into depression, Incoboto completely avoids this with its irrepressibly cute on-screen characters, which provide a counterpoint to the grim setting, and keep the game from taking itself too seriously.
The sound effects of Incoboto live up nicely to the rest of it. They tend toward the understated, as does the music, which gives the game a more relaxing atmosphere than you'd at first think is appropriate. Being a notorious disabler of in-game music, I found myself not only enjoying the music, but reaching for my headphones to soak more of it up. While the mood is definitely melancholy, Incoboto once again manages to make the game feel both poignant and sublime.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
Incoboto currently offers no in-app purchases. Buy it once, and own it all.
Incoboto is a beautiful and fun platforming physics puzzler. The puzzles are nicely balanced, the graphics beautiful, and the interface simple and clean. This one's going to be on my iPad for a long time, and I recommend it unreservedly.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful, charming, moody, and cute. As difficult as that sounds, Incoboto pulls it off.
Sound: - 5 - Good I loved both the sound and music, and even play with headphones when I can.
Controls: - 5 - Don't let the 3-button interface fool you. This is a testament of great game design, not simple gameplay.
Gameplay: - 5 - I love this game and so do my kids. It must have been painstakingly playtested because it feels perfectly balanced to me.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Be sure to listen to the whispers of fallen heroes; their advice can really help. Learn to play the game one-handed. It will help in later levels when you'll need your other hand for screen manipulation.
Release Date: February 29, 2012
Buy App: Incoboto
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