One man, 1000+ design sketches and 1 years round the clock sweat and tears, has produced an intriguing puzzle platformer that's blown me away in terms of ingenuity and uniqueness. You can see why Apple chose to feature the game; the magic comes from the lego style constructions with blocks, characters and other objects. Each level is short and smart, providing just the objects you need to make it to the exit. Blocks and characters can be stuck together or pulled apart, and everything in game can be stacked on top of each other, or stuck to the side of other objects to increase their abilities and usefulness. It makes for varied solutions from fewer objects, requiring true problem solving skills.

So what's the story? Odd Bot Out [$3.99] features a small wobbly robot protagonist called Odd, with a big personality, who has been banished down the garbage shoot and must now find his way back. This adventure involves traversing through 100 rooms of varying difficulty with uniquely created challenges to solve. These obstacles ahead of our robot friend include ditches that must be built over, platforms that must be reached as well as machines and characters that must be astutely manipulated.

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Exploring all the toys and erector sets within game is very satisfying. Along the way you’ll use fans, other robots, electric ramps, switches and even rocket ships which help to mix up the game play and keep each level newfangled. The challenge lies in solving how to combine and move the objects and Odd in order to maneuver him out the exit. Some of the highlights were controlling the caterpillar, walking over the heads of many other discarded robots, who seem happy to help you along, and some amazing levels with rows of fans that shoot you through the room. I've been told level 89 is one of the best where you have to scale a vertical wall by simultaneously building and climbing a staircase and also don't give up on Level 45. Not all the walls are what they appear.

One feature I found nifty is the control cubes. From these cubes you drag power cords to different machines to activate levers, fans and even rockets. Changing plug points often changes direction or function of the machine which I haven’t seen in any other puzzle games.

Odd Bot Out reminds me of the award winning puzzler World Of Goo crossed with the flat simplicity of the pattern drawing game Blek. The level design is innovative; this isn’t a simple drag and drop, you need to think out of the box, reuse objects when needed and make sure to bring objects along with you in just the right way and order.

I played through the first 50 levels in about 2 hours, and for me the coolest part of the game was how it’s structured. The level progression intelligently teaches you tricks and methods along the way as the puzzles become more complex. Many of the levels employ similar solutions used in intellectual and team building tests, the kind where you have to get multiple animals across a river with only 1 boat, or scale heights without enough blocks to manufacture steps. It is by no means a simple game, but the level progression tends to mix in an easy challenge after a complex psycological one to give you some breathing space.

How could Odd Bot Out be improved? What you can see and manipulate is centered on the cute purple robot which means it’s hard to get a overview of what’s coming up, or scroll back to grab the objects you need. The game does have the ability to be played in horizontal or vertical orientations. I found spinning the iPad or iPhone around often allows you to grab objects that were previously off screen.

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My only other concerns were the lack of tutorials or instructions when you start up the game, it took me a while to figure out how to move Odd, and to realize he could only walk up single steps but not double steps. The developer Martin Magni said he was growing increasingly tired of games force-feeding him long and tedious tutorials. So a lot of work went into making the touch controls intuitive enough that they require little instruction. One other issue was the lack of setting controls; any music or podcasts you have playing are muted as soon as the game loads.

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Martin Magni

For Martin Magni to have built the whole game on his own in year is a herculean achievement. He's done the lot, design sketches, writing the game engine from scratch, implementing a custom physics engine, drawing every piece of artwork, composing all the music, and taking very little time off. Having such a singular clear focus across design and development does have it benefits, everything feels measured, crafted and considered and you can see that every aspect of the game flows from Martin’s passions in development and encompassing vision for the game. He has said that some players are asking for even more levels, or a level editor, but that’s because they haven't seen his next secret project yet!

I’ve been really impressed with Odd Bot Out, even the lack of tutorials provided a challenge which was a puzzle in itself. The game is fresh, challenging, and the wobbly walk of our robotic hero is definitely worth checking out if you like puzzle games. I'm looking forward to spending more time with Odd and helping him reach the surface.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.gingerbeardman.com gingerbeardman

    This is such an amazing achievement. Seriously great work by the developer.

  • mzinn

    It's a masterpiece. I love this game!

  • gaymerX

    I played this game thoroughly when it first released and it's really really good.

  • dancj

    Yeah - great game. The only thing I can add is a better sandbox level once you've completed it. There is one there, but you have to walk for ages to reach the sandbox.

  • Baracus

    Yea man this is a brilliant puzzle game. A tutorial would spoil it. It's better to play and discover on your own! I played only this until I passed all 100 levels when it came out. Awesome game!

  • snoopie

    Why only 4 stars??? One of my favorite games.

  • https://www.facebook.com/rossmanbrothersgames RossmanBrosGames

    I still need to try this out, thanks for the review!

  • GiHubb

    One of the best games of this year, it's incredible what a single developer has achieved here!

  • http://scamper.com scamper

    I would buy this for those adorable little legs alone. Too cute.

  • Rawk GWJ

    The best puzzle game I've played in years. I still haven't finished it. I'm taking it slow so I can savor every last bit of it.

    I agree with Snoopie. TA should have given it 5 stars. I demand a recount.

  • Deckard74

    This game is a superb testament to believing in a project and making it come to life through pure blood sweat and tears. I bought this solely on the merits of the review, it's the just thing to support developers who have a true passion in their craft and this guy is the pure definition of that

  • rich_952000

    This was one of the last iOS purchases that I made before deciding to give this platform a break for a while. Easily worth more than the two dollars I paid for it.

  • TokyoDan

    This one guy did everything in creating this game...in a year! Makes we want to give up coding games. Even if I had studied in grade school, gone to university to get a doctorate in Computer Science I doubt that I could do that. I'm going to jump in front of a train.

    • Majojora'sMaskFan

      He was so young! Lol

  • Andrew Smith

    Just bought this based on Ben's review. Sounds like a bit of a hidden gem!

    On the subject of one-man development... I once spent over a year working 18-hour days to produce a shoot-em-up. Wrote a great engine, best code I've ever written, did all the graphics and sound, and it was going brilliantly, but the workload kept growing and growing and eventually I had to give up on the project as I was looking at another year of work. So I have a lot of respect for anyone who can not only produce a game on their own, but *manage* that production in such a way that they actually finish the game and get it to market. Well done Martin!

  • nini

    I've been stuck on level 70 for weeks because it doesn't feel like logic but chance... deft precise movement chance with an unknown variable that isn't as consistent as it thinks and often fails you at the last moment though you're sure you did it right making you do it all over again. I'm okay with four stars if only because some levels are purest evil, incentive for some but not for me.

    • dancj

      FWIW, I was stuck on this level for a while trying tricky manoeuvres, but then I tried a completely different approach which didn't require any dexterity at all and it completely worked! IIRC it's about the only level with more parts than you actually need.

  • TheGodless

    Excellent game in every aspect except for how easy it is. Besides four or five tricky levels (half of which can be beaten with a one time gimmick), most of the levels are just way too easy. After the first 50 levels blew by, I kept waiting for the levels to get tougher and tougher but it never seemed to happen. Even still, the game was so compelling that I just kept on playing to the very end. It's gotta be the legs!

  • coolpepper43

    Great review!

  • DemoEvolved

    It looks from the video like it is $2 for 10 levels then you buy more levels to proceed. Is that correct? How many levels do you get for the initial purchase

    • coolpepper43

      You get all of the levels, there is not any iap.

    • John Hargraves

      Yeah no extra cost past the first purchase, and no in apps. for the price you get the whole 100 levels, which is definitely worth the price.

  • John Hargraves

    Great review, one of the best I've read in ages. Tried the game out the other day as a result and it's brilliant. Glad I read the review first though, wouldn't of had a clue how to move the guy or how to play, game definitely needs some instructions on the first level, but awesome game and serious achievement by Martin Magni. Great to see a review about an indie developer doing well.

Odd Bot Out Reviewed by Ben Jarris on . Rating: 4