The great thing about the PAX 10 is not only being able to meet people who are passionate about making games, but are equally as passionate about the games themselves. Take for example Erin Robinson, the designer of Puzzle Bots. This point-and-click adventure game takes you on the journey of five tiny robots as they traverse the often-treacherous robotic labs. The twist here is that while you are raising sunken toy ships or trying to escape from flooded tubes, there’s a bigger story involving the inventors outside of these puzzles.
Small tasks lead to big results as the group argues, works out a twisted love triangle, and tries to solve a mystery. This all culminates in a rather light-hearted story that fits the rich environments and clever puzzles.
Having grown up with King’s Quest, Erin seems to understand both the love and heart-ache of playing point-and-click adventures and has added some elements into Puzzle Bots that some other companies should keep an eye on. Absent from the design are the action words at the bottom of the screen.
The five bots are the actions. Kelvin, for example, can heat things up while Ultrabot can move or destroy objects. Five independent characters means not having to constantly move one character around when you can simply coordinate actions between them. Pictures of the five robots appear on the bottom of the screen making it easy to switch between them without having to hunt for them in the scenes.
Finally, there’s a hint button at the lower left corner, because Erin admits that sometimes you just get stuck. By providing hints when needed, gamers can quickly continue their adventures without having to hit the internet for a walkthrough. A one-minute refresh rate keeps players from coasting through the game. More often then not, it keeps the story moving without hitting a screeching halt. Erin also assured me that most areas contain multiple puzzles that players can work on while giving some much needed thought to that one tricky puzzle that they haven't advanced past yet.
Puzzle Bots is available for PC on the Wadjet Eye website, along with a free demo.