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Droidscape: Basilica - iOS (2013)

by Kurt Kalata - September 3, 2013


Droidscape: Basilica is an interesting action-puzzler combo. Developed by Kyttaro Games for iOS platforms, the goal is to guide a bipedal robot, known as the Bishop-7, through a series to obstacles, collect keys to open doors, and reach the exit.

Each stage is divided into two parts. In the first part, time is frozen, and you need to draw a path around the stage by dragging the Bishop, which indicates the route that it will follow. The enemies all traverse set patterns, so it's a matter of studying where they move and how to avoid them. Your bot also only has so much energy, so your path has to be efficient, or at least be able to make it to recharge stations, on the longer levels.

In the second part, you take control of the droid itself via a slider, as it walks along its preset path. It can trudge forwards and backwards, and as well as change speeds. This is the "action" part, since you need to time your movements to avoid the enemies. If your device supports it, you can use headtracking to control the droid as well. It's important to remember that you can't change your path once you've started to walk around. If you need to redraw it - and you probably will for most of the puzzles - you need to restart the stage from scratch.

It's a great concept, and it works well most of the time, but it's occasionally hamstrung by imprecise controls. When playing on a iPod/iPhone, it can be difficult to precisely draw the paths you need to weave in and out of danger. Even when you do, there are paths that seem like they should work, but are doomed to failure due to flaky hit detection. A grid-based movement system for the droid would've worked to help guidance and movement more consistent. Still, these scenarios just require some creative workarounds.

The game constantly challenges you to optimize both your path drawing and your speed, and additionally rewards you for picking up optional bonus items along the way. Your ranking will net you coins, which can then to be used to skip levels and other assorted things. You can buy more coins as an in-app purchase, but it's never necessary. For the base price of $1.99, there are 60 levels, with more promised on the way, making for a meaty amount of content.

The sprites consist of stop-motion animated models, which looks incredibly cool. Given that the backgrounds are standard sci-fi grays and browns, it's not exactly a pretty game, but it is a distinct one, which the developers have dubbed "electropunk". There's quite a bit of backstory too, which is a nice touch, and the spacey music is quite catchy, especially the arranged versions of the theme music which plays during the action phases. Overall, it's a solid brainteaser, and well worth grabbing.


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Droidscape: Basilica

Droidscape: Basilica

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