Review – UpBot Goes Up

UpBot Goes Up is the latest game from Ishisoft, creators of Johnny Platform’s Biscuit Romp,  Johnny Platform Saves Christmas!, and Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage: Extra Edition.

UpBot Goes Up is nothing like any of them. Starting life as a free online game, UpBot Goes Up is closer to Sokoban than it is to any of Ishisoft’s previous offerings. It takes the goal from Sokoban – get all the boxes onto the correct coloured spot in the level – but that’s really where the similarities end.

Rather than pushing the blocks around with a character, or even one at a time, each of the controller’s face button corresponds to a different colour of block. When you press that button, every block of that colour will move one space at once, in the direction that they’re facing. Usually they are facing the direction of the button on the controller (so Y is up, etc) but this can change if you go through a portal.

The portals move your block from one point in a level to another, and you always come out the same way you went in. This means that if the portal is at 90 degrees, then you’ll come out facing 90 degrees around. If you didn’t want to do that, you can undo as many moves as you want to get right back to the start of the level.

So, those are the mechanics, and they work brilliantly. The controls are perfectly realised and it’s incredibly simple to get to grips with. The unlimited amount of undos is a Godsend because the levels can get quite complex later one.

The game starts off simply enough, and the first twenty or so levels won’t prove too difficult. From then on, however, things pick up quickly and soon things are very difficult – in the best possible way. As well as just getting a piece to its final resting place, you may have to use that piece to push another piece around so that it can get around an obstacle, or lined up to where it needs to go. Further, you have to make sure that all of your pieces arrive at their destinations at the same time because, since pressing a button makes every block of that colour move, it’s very easy to move a block away from where it needs to go when getting another to its final resting place.

There are so many different tricks that the game plays in its levels to keep things changing, and even though the basic mechanics remain the same from the very first level, the levels rarely feel the same from one to another and everything always feels new.

This new feeling could be helped by how shiny and sharp the graphics are. Everything that clean always seems new. The music, too, is very nice and the whole thing is wonderfully presented.

There’s not really any excuse not to own UpBot Goes Up, unless you have some kind of phobia of on-screen representations of blocks. The colourblind are catered for in colourblind mode. The one button mode even caters for those with only one finger. If you have no fingers you maybe have an argument against buying it, but for everyone else, there’s UpBot Goes Up.

UpBot Goes Up is available now for 240 Microsoft Points.

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