Platform: Wii U
Sometimes you want more than a platforming experience with a certain character – instead opting to push forward by solving puzzles, rather than simply bopping enemies on their heads and calling it good. That's where a title like Tetrobot & Co. comes in, as Swing Swing Submarine and Neko Entertainment have introduced an effective little character, but changed the way you approach scenarios with him, as you work to solve situations and, eventually, get larger beings up and running, all for the greater good of the girl who invested you.
The general goal of Tetrobot is to zip along inside larger robots with your microscopic hero, eventually traversing through a series of booby-trapped levels in order to find out what ails it, fix the problem, and move along to the next one. Can it be a tireless job? Sure. But those seeking a fun challenge with their Wii U would certainly be wise to pick up on it.
The Big Machine
With each new level you approach in Tetrobot, you come across various challenges that have to be overcome, such as crossing through a field of lasers without getting fried, traveling through pipes in order to safely reach another side, and collecting little bonus blocks that will come in handy as you utilize them in later levels, whether they're made of wood or slime (Yes, there's such a thing as slime blocks).
Sometimes trial and error is the best way to get through Tetrobot, not only because you'll learn as you go along and apply your techniques to later levels, but also because you'll obtain Memory Blocks. There are three of these scattered throughout each stage, and snagging all of them not only gives you a "perfect" rating on the level, but also rewards you with a bonus unlocked level. These aren't necessary to get through the game, but they provide a nice extra goal to accomplish.
The gameplay can be tricky (especially with later levels, which require a great deal of thought), but it's never to the point of impossible, and you can always try again if something doesn't work the right way for you. Completing a level successful does require a bit of time, but you'll eventually be rewarded with more levels and a sense of completion that's – gasp! – actually worth something this time around.
Many Ways To Play
Being that it's on the Wii U, Tetrobot provides three different control schemes, although all of them work quite effectively.
First up is the GamePad. This is probably the most useful, as you'll be able to see where your little droid is at all times, so you'll have a bit more precision to work with.
Second up is using the Wii remote, which you point at the television screen and click, depending on where you want your character to go. This is a good control scheme too, but hardly a compelling argument for the return of motion gaming. It's too simple for that.
Finally, the Wii U Pro Controller allows you to move your cursor around, then click on where you want your Tetrobot to go. This can probably be the most laborious control method out of the three provided, but it's hardly a nuisance. In fact, in a way it feels a little more convenient than a Wii remote, since you don't have to annoyingly point it forward the whole time.
No matter which method you choose, you'll find Tetrobot to be precise, and quite enjoyable.
A Small Presentation, But a Suitable One
Tetrobot can't quite measure up with other Wii U downloadable releases, like the just-reviewed Stealth Inc. 2, but there's something about its level design that's an undeniable pleasure. It switches from screen to screen, and may require some memorization in order to get through, but it's charming and, better yet, progressive, so you actually feel yourself being put to work as the game goes on.
Also, the animations are kind of cute, from the lasers that pulsate across the level to the movements of the Tetrobot itself, especially when it stuffs itself in a pipe and shuffles along. It doesn't go much beyond that, but for an indie release, there's hardly any room to nitpick.
Finally, the music is a fun little collection of tunes that play in the background. You'll probably forget them as soon as the game's over, but for something that plays as you guide your Tetrobot out of harm's way, you could certainly do far worse.
This is the criteria I consider most important for reviewing Tetrobot & Co.
The visuals are simple, but effective, and the level design really pays off as you go further into the game.
Enjoyable, yet mostly forgettable, background music. Also, it would've been nice for Tetrobot to have some bleeps and bloops.
A challenging, but not impossible, puzzle affair that'll keep you coming back, especially to fully complete each level.
Replay Value: 7.5/10
Completing each level can take some time, and unlocking new ones introduces new challenges around every corner.
While Tetrobot & Co. isn't quite as memorable a title as other Wii U digital releases, there's still something quite special about it, especially if you want a character-based game that relies more on cunning and skill to get through, rather than the usual platforming tactics. Those seeking an affordable and worthwhile adventure should certainly get their money's worth here.
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