Platform Played On: Android
Developer: Freakout Games
Publisher: Freakout Games
Genre: Casual Arcade
Release Date: July 22, 2018
Well, then. Consider me super flattered! An indie developer took the time to reach out to me on Twitter and requested that I write something about their game. Wow. That’s cool! Anyway, I think Freakout Games has an excellent marketing strategy here. By reaching out to a bunch of the lesser known websites on the wild web, it’s win-win self-promotion scenario, eh. Most importantly, it shows me that they care about their game. And that, my friends, was more than enough of a reason to check out this game and give a fair babbling about on my website!
How Far I Got
I completed all 50 levels in about an hour or so. You can certainly keep going after that if you wish. The game can probably go on forever if you want it to. The night I played it, I was feeling miserable after going through a painful medical test in reality. I had also just stopped an extra long play session of the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (a big open world game I’m plugging away at during the time of this review) where an especially depressing and gruesome side quest really… got to me, man. Normally, things like that don’t bug me (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of disturbing things in that game that hadn’t really bothered me before that) but the really dark imagery in that side quest was just… awful. Anyway, checking out this simple and lighthearted casual game turned into a fun distraction from all that.
A video game does not have to be super complicated to learn, have gripping emotional narratives, have a limitless open world to wander around in, and whatnot. The most important thing a game needs to be is fun to play. And trust me, in the age of backlogs and AAA masterpieces that, and I quote: “need to play in order to be considered a gamer” (there’s a jab at a certain big time gaming site there), it’s easy to forget about having fun while playing a game. Solbot reminded me that simple and fun mechanics make for a great gaming experience too. I think even the most elitist of gamers would benefit from a relaxing casual game every now and then.
After setting up a profile (there are online leaderboards) and going through the intro story dialogue in the form of a texting conversation (cute!), you take control of Solbot on a mission to collect special energy orbs that, for some reason, help the environment by providing access to renewable energy. Our planet could seriously use some of these orbs… It’s very awesome that the developers do care about energy conservation. Each time you return to the home screen, a fun fact about energy and the environment will be displayed. Yay, learning!
The gameplay really captures the essence of what made those early Atari games capable of hooking the masses on the new gaming thing – simple to learn and fun to play with. This game is thankfully minus the crushing difficulty of those early games. Against a moving environment, you only have two controls: tap the right side of the screen to make Solbot move right, and tap the left side of the screen to make Solbot go left. That’s all you have to do! And it never got boring for me.
There are a few rules in place, of course. You need to steer Solbot into ONLY the orbs with golden rings around them. Anything else destroys you, making you use up a key item if you wish to continue. Fret not if you run out of keys, though! You can also continue using this method if you watch a short advertisement for a product you probably aren’t really interested in. It’s like a commercial that rewards you with a continue! The faster you collect the required amount of orbs for each level, the higher your score.
As you progress, Solbot changes different colours when you pass through the level gates on the screen. About every 10 levels, a new power-up is introduced, keeping the gameplay interesting. Oh, and definitely watch out for a laser trap in some levels. Those destroyed my Solbot more often than I care to admit. The game also has an upbeat guitar riff playing in the background along with satisfying sounds when you pick up shiny orbs. All nice things that add to the great fun element this game has going for it.
The only thing I can find to complain about is the ever-present ads. A small chunk of the bottom of the screen is dedicated to advertisement space. This never interfered with my game play at all, though. Plus this game is free so the developers do indeed deserve to make money through this method. You will also need to watch ads if you wish to claim bonus continue keys, or want to continue a failed run without a key.
My Overall Biased Opinion
Like most traditional (read: cranky old) gamers on the internet, I’m very weary of mobile games. The App stores for all the big mobile phone operating systems are plagued with millions of subpar cash grabs and cheap clones of popular games. In a crowded sea of hungry marketing sharks hellbent on milking as much cash as possible out of their “games”, it’s hard to find the true games that highlight the best thing about the mobile gaming platform: simple fun you can easily pick up when you’re killing time at a bus stop or something. After all, most of us in today’s world are always within an arms reach of our precious cell phones. Solbot is definitely one of these true mobile games.
Overall, Freakout Games has created something very easy to pick up and play, and provides quick entertainment whenever you have a few minutes to spare. You’ll also get to learn a few tips about conserving energy and helping out planet along the way (trust me, our planet needs all the help it can get). The game’s addictive simplicity and learning factors are also great reasons to show this game to any little ones you may have. Yeah. The ads are a bit annoying if you die a lot, but this game is free and I can’t fault the developers for needing to make income from their product. It’s also NOT freemium, which is nice to see for a change.
In closing, thanks to Freakout Games for asking me to babble about their game! I really enjoyed my time with Solbot and probably wouldn’t have had a chance to play it otherwise. I hope they find lots of success in the video game industry.
⚡Thanks for reading!⚡
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