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Ranked from 3 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.
Judge feedback is anonymous and shown in a random order.
Polybot-7 was overwhelming for me. I had a hard time figuring out what was going on, even with a readme, a manual, and a dev diary.
The game is attractive but tends toward sensory overload. The very first thing I see upon starting is a flashing "MATTER WARNING." What is it trying to tell me? What are the C, E, M, CORR, TEMP, and SPEE meters? The help screen expands on the names; I'm still not sure what they do though. The manual does not cover this.
Hovering the mouse over some of the items in the world displays both a tooltip next to the cursor, and a line of details in the lower right corner of the screen. The tooltip goes away when you mouse off but the details remain, which is a bit confusing because they're right under the inventory, which makes it seem like maybe something in your inventory. Once you pick up the same item, hovering over it in your inventory does not show the same details in the lower right. Instead, you have to right-click on the item, at which point you have an entire half screen of other stats to contend with.
After examining all of the blue icons surrounding me I think I'd like to pick up a leg. So I move over it, but I seem to have picked up some light armor instead? This seems to be a pattern: I never pick up the item I move onto. I keep moving around and eventually manage to pick up all of the items, at which point I get a flashing "ENERGY WARNING" message. What does this mean? So I start off down the corridor, at which point all of the items in my inventory do a dance and reorder themselves. I have no idea what happened or why. Do the letters next to my inventory items correspond to keys to press to use them? No, apparently not. I don't know what the letters are for.
Having read the dev diary I understand a bit more about what is being attempted; something about having a cloud of potential equipment following you around. It's an interesting idea.
I love the look of the dungeon, with the line walls and the doors that open up when you approach them. However, there are detailed-looking but non-functional (I think?) things on the map, which can be confusing. Likewise, when you get damaged, there are full-screen effects (random letter glitches) that make it hard to see what the important things were that happened. Messages show up in the upper left and then disappear, and simultaneously the items in the inventory flash and then disappear, at the same time as weapon effects in the main screen. Meanwhile various numbers and graphs on the right are changing, so it is hard to know where to look to figure out what just happened. There are numerous tactical overlays that can be toggled, and a half dozen versions of the inventory display. Despite all this I have a hard time knowing what I need to do to get good.
I'm sure that if I devoted enough time to learning this I might be able to come to grips with it, although I had a similar experience with its parent game Cogmind. So I suspect I may just not be a very good player.
POLYBOT-7 Is a delightful game that takes the unique character building aspects of COGMIND and turns it up to 11.
It is very complete and polished. I bumped into a few issues when running windowed on linux (mouse cursor missing, couldn't get map panning to work particularly well) but it was otherwise just fine.
As always, the attention to detail in the UI was quite nice. The box drawing characters for walls was an interesting touch but had the unfortunate side effect of leaking information about where other non-visible walls were somewhat unappealing artifacts. I don't think this is a huge deal overall but actually made that part of the game feel a bit less polished than it actually was.
I struggled a bit figuring out how to rate POLYBOT-7, as a 7DRL, w/ regards to innovation/scope considering it's starting point. I decided to mark it 3s due to it's striking similarity to COGMIND. That's not to say I think it is bad in any way.
While I do think POLYBOT-7 is great, I found the tractor beaming a bit frustrating. I almost won a few times but found most of my runs ended up taking a nose dive when running into a parts drought and ending up with insufficient propulsion. I guess I'm not very good at it yet, but after about 90 minutes I felt like I usually just got jammed up :(
A great spin-off of cogmind. Changes the core game by making your character a magnet for whatever utilities and weapons happen to be nearby. The purge mechanic is interesting - you can occasionally purge and toss off half your equipment and hope to grab something better. Otherwise you are left running with what you have - which at some level does relieve some of the pressure cogmind has in terms of the sheer number of choices. So, a nice choice for a 7DRL. Certainly worth spending a lot of time on this one.
As to be expected from this author, the interface is top-notch and the graphics are perfect (ASCII mode for the win). Sounds effects are just the right amount - not too little and not too much.
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