Browser game of the week: UpBot Goes Up
UpBot Goes Up is a grid-based puzzle game from Dom Camus, Craig Forrester and Luke Davies that will make you feel brilliant one second and like an idiot the next. Technically, that's the definition of a good puzzle game, and UpBot Goes Up delivers it in spades, including plenty of moments where you'll likely think about giving up and closing your browser. That might not sound like fun, but trust us, it'll be well worth your time.
The premise is not difficult to grasp: Each colored block moves whatever direction the arrows are showing when you click on them. Your only goal is to get them to specified blocks. Seems simple enough, right? It is -- at least at the beginning -- but around the tenth level or so, you'll start to feel your brain wearing a little thin, and by the time you get to the last of the 32 levels, chances are your grey matter will have oozed out onto your desk and you'll be drooling slightly. That's because, as the levels progress, you'll need to start getting blocks to push other blocks, then as you get further along, you'll need to deal with environmental and game-changing blocks.
Thankfully, there are a few solid fail-safes in place. First off, there is an undo feature, so if you get through a puzzle and accidently make an extra click, you don't have to start over from the beginning. It also allows you to sort of reverse-engineer the puzzle and the mistakes you've made and helps you better understand how to get a puzzle done. At first it seems like a quirky trick that makes things a bit too easy, but eventually it becomes a completely necessary feature for testing out new tactics. Of course, if you still can't get it done, you can always just skip the level.
Graphically, you're not going to get a whole lot of flair here, but that doesn't really matter, because puzzle games are 90 percent about level design, 10 percent about everything else (including the music, which is terribly annoying -- not bad, it's just a repeating loop). So when we say the level design here is stellar, we mean the game in general is as well. Once you get into the later puzzles, you'll have to stare at the screen a few minutes before you completely understand what to do, and that's the best kind of compliment we can give to these types of games. Seriously, you'll be scratching claw marks into your head.
Scramble your brain here.