Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Twelve Games of Christmas #11 – Puzzle Bots

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 23, 2010

I talk here about old-school style cRPGs a lot. I do miss the heady days of massive mainstream releases that were so huge I couldn’t keep up, with titles like Ultima VII and Darklands and Wizardry 7 and Eye of the Beholder getting announced on a quarterly basis. Those days, it felt like it just wouldn’t end, and there’d always be another RPG of that scope and style around the corner.

Another genre was champion during this same time period, and that was the graphic adventure. Sierra and LucasArts really kinda kicked butt around this era – the late 80’s to mid 90s – and boy was it an incredible time. The weird quirky stuff we now attribute to indies? The mainstream studios were doing it, especially with adventure games. This was the era of unusual (but excellent) titles like Loom, The Adventures of Willy Beamish, The Day of the Tentacle, not to mention the titans of the era like King’s Quest, Space Quest, Monkey Island, and Leisure Suit Larry.

While these kinds of games are all but certified dead by the mainstream games business, they have been enjoying a not-insignificant resurgence among the indies. Studios like Telltale Games have been revisiting the old genre with some new ideas. And Wadjet Eye Games have been proving – repeatedly – that great story, puzzle design, and art can still combined to yield a wonderful graphic adventures that can thrill and challenge modern audiences just as much today as they did then.

Wadjet Eye’s latest, Puzzle Bots, is a bit of a departure from their traditional fare (specifically the Blackwell series), no doubt largely due to it beingย  helmed by Erin “Lively Ivy” Robinson. The cartoony graphics and the game style are pushing a few boundaries and exploring new territory for the studio. You play five different robots, each with their own personalities and abilities. You have to guide them into working as a team through the secrets of a strange robot factory, influencing the lives of their human inventors as they go.

Here’s a trailer video:

You can download the freeย  demo and give it a try here:

Try out Puzzle Bots.

UPDATE: Made sure to give Erin Robinson appropriate credit.

Filed Under: Adventure Games, Game Announcements - Comments: 9 Comments to Read

  • MalcolmM said,

    I got this game in one of Steam’s indie packs this week. It looks interesting, I’m a big adventure game fan.

    I’ve bought quite a lot of games already on Steam’s Christmas sale. Almost all of them are indie games. It seems like only indies are making the kind of games I like to play.

  • Calibrator said,

    “While these kinds of games are all but certified dead by the mainstream games business”

    => Definitely not true (anymore) in Europe.
    There are several smaller mainstream companies like DTP publishing around a dozen or so competent graphics adventures here.
    We’ve seen a lot of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes stuff, various other thrillers, SciFi-games and fantasy scenarios.
    And this isn’t a recent development: Successful games like ‘Syberia’ and ‘The Longest Journey’ show that the market here appears to be stable. It may not sustain megalomaniac US-companies like Activision or EA with profit expectations but clever companies like TellTale Games prove that you can live with a careful budget.

    As for PuzzleBots:
    Seems to be a very cute game – from the certainly very cute games designeress (designerette?) Erin Robinson.

    But my backlog is already too high — especially after the Humble Bundle #2 (which now includes Bundle #1 and with it a slew of titles I didn’t try before) and the holiday sale at GOG.com…

  • Craig Stern said,

    As I understand it, Wadjet Eye published this, but Puzzle Bots was actually designed by Erin Robinson (http://livelyivy.com/). You should update the post to give her proper credit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Good point. I knew she’d designed it rather than Dave Gilbert, though he was also involved as a programmer. Wasn’t sure about the breakdown, but I went ahead and made a note of her leadership in the project. It’s her baby.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    @Calibrator – I didn’t really think the guys like Frogames or Dreamcatcher or the the like were really mainstream game companies. I don’t know if they’d be classified as “indie” or not, but it’s interesting to note that they are even bigger in Europe than in the U.S. (where even games like The Longest Journey seemed more like a cult classic).

    Yeah, my own backlog is getting pretty brutal too. But I really wanted to highlight the stuff Wadget Eye has been doing, and decided to do that by pointing out their latest. But the Blackwell trilogy is currently also on sale for the season.

  • Calibrator said,

    Hey, no need to excuse yourself for these kind of posts!

    Posts like this one are exactly the reason why I have a backlog in the first place – and better having a backlog than boredom! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Dave Gilbert said,

    Heya! Dave from Wadjet Eye here. Thanks for the write-up! And yes, Erin did design the game while my wife and I did all the programming.

    And I hope you don’t mind, but I have another correction of my own. Wadjet is spelled with a J. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a common mistake. One that makes me want to go back in time and change the name!


  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Man, how many times have I misspelled it over the years? Not that I write about Wadjet Eye Games that often, but I know this is far from the first time. Sorry about that. Hopefully it won’t happen again.

  • Dave Gilbert said,

    No worries. It’s such a common mistake. Even I do it once in a while. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes I think about changing the name but with six games out there’s not much point!