Darned Cute

As a fan of Erin Robinson’s Nanobots  and most of Wadjet Eye Games’ catalogue I had my eye on her and Dave Gilbert’s now released game, Puzzle Bots, for quite some time.  Puzzle Bots centers on the staff of inventors at a robotics factory and their tiny robotic creations.  Focused on their own personal dramas, the team of inventors are oblivious to the fact that their robots have figured out how to escape their holding cell and are exploring the building. 

Puzzle Bots uses a lot of the same concepts seen in Nanobots – a tiny team of robots make their way about the gigantic human world and each robot has a specific skill that’s used to solve the game’s puzzles – Hero can pick up and use objects, Ultrabot can push things, Ibi can swim, Kelvin has a flamethrower, and Bombchell can throw bombs. 

The designers did a good job making sure that each robot’s skill is fully utilized. In Nanobots some of the robots seemed to be used more than others who had more unusual talents. It appears that the designers took this into consideration; as an example in Puzzle Bots, the robot Ibi is useless outside of water but the designers made sure there was some sort of water in every level without being too obvious about it.

The best part of Puzzle Bots is its characters.  The team of inventors is funny and quirky and their tiny robots are too.  The quality voice actors deliver the well-written script with great comedic timing.  Abe Goldfarb, the voice of the game’s male lead, was the voice of Joey in the Blackwell Trilogy and he shines in Puzzle Bots as well.  The story is simple but works well with what the designers were trying to accomplish. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Puzzle Bots but do feel it has one failing: the game was too easy.  I’ve struggled with how to interpret my feelings on this one blemish.  I’ve played countless adventure games so it does take a lot to stump me these days and I don’t want to criticize the game simply because it didn’t make me sweat. But its simplicity is a point I can’t ignore.  While its entertaining story is largely responsible for me finishing the game in one sitting, the game flew by since I was never unsure of how to solve its puzzles. I can’t help but wonder if a bigger robot team would have affected the game’s difficultly; ultimately when approaching a puzzle with smaller pool of robot skills to choose from it was easier to narrow down possible solutions.

I almost wish I had encountered this game when I was younger so I wouldn’t have had such reaction to its lack of difficulty.  I certainly would recommend it to anyone who wants to introduce adventure gaming to their kids or hasn’t played many adventure games themselves.  Puzzle Bots is light, fun, and darned cute.  The game’s characters are full of personality.  Despite its low difficulty level, it’s a game any adventure game aficionado would enjoy and definitely a good gateway game for players new to the genre.



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