The App Store is, well, it’s the App Store. It’s a mass of content that sorely needs better curation to highlight games like Clobbr from Czarcade; a unique puzzle game that is potpourii for the sewage of the App Store.
Clobbr takes a simple concept, that is really boring in its onset, and builds on it to create one of the most interesting mobile games I’ve played in recent memory. Firstly, the blue, dumpy monster (who happens to be adorable) has a personal vendetta against a hungry cat (can you blame him? Cats suck) on a quest to eat three mice. In order to protect the mice, the homely monster has a red mallet that he uses to smash a tree stump.
Hitting the tree stump causes a rock to descend to the bottom of a puzzle made up of five rows and five spaces. Stone arrows are in the spaces and need to be arranged to create a path for the descending rock — think falling dominoes, or Mouse Trap. Swiping left or right on the screen allows you to organize the rows into the appropriate order, but there is a short twenty second time limit, and even if you have are not done arranging the arrows to your liking the monster will raise his hammer and strike the stump.
The time limit is one of my major issues with Clobbr. It seems arbitrary, I would even go as far as saying it is artificial difficulty, it adds nor takes away from the joy of solving a puzzle. Honestly, it was infuriating, and lead to a lot of unnecessary trial and error.
Clobbr is broken up into five different worlds containing 20 levels each. Worlds are only unlocked when you have the proper amount of cheese. For example, if you want to get to “Shatter Shore” you’ll need ninety pieces of cheese — I hope you like Gouda. There are three pieces of cheese in each level, and “cheese chasing” was additive to my cat clobbering experience. Most puzzles can be cheated in a way, or have multiple paths for the rock to travel on the way to giving the cat a concussion. However, progression is hinged on the player completely solving each puzzle (getting every piece of cheese), and not circumventing it if they want to progress to the next world. Unlike the frivolous time limit, it doesn’t feel like fluff, or artificial difficulty, but gratifying.
“Cheese chasing” doesn’t only unlock new worlds, it also adds to your overall score that is based off of how quickly you solve the puzzle, or how many blocks were broken by the rock. But a lack of leader boards makes high-score chasing non-existent, and the only real reward is the game telling the player they did, “okay” or, “amazing”. The feature is, quire frankly, needless without leaderboards.
Clobbr also has a very slow burn for a mobile game. It takes a while to incorporate more of the interesting mechanics — I put the game down for a while, because I thought I saw everything it had to offer. However, the slow burn is necessary; Clobbr gets really difficult, but manages to tip-toe that imaginary line of allowing the player to feel brilliant. It does this by adding inventive obstacles like trampolines that causes the rock to skip an entire space, or mousetraps that cause the rock to jump directly to the bottom of the puzzle. Seeing all these obstacles come together to prrr-fectly assault the flagitious feline warrants a Cheshire grin, and this is when Czarcade puzzle design is faultless.
If you are willing to slog through the build up, the pointless, impractical time limit Clobbr is a puzzle game that can be summed up in two words: cute and clever. Clobbr is one of those rare iOS games that I actually enjoy playing, and for the price of one dollar with no micro-transactions in sight Clobbr is far from a bad investment.
[+The monster is adorbs] [+Inventive puzzle design] [+No micro-transactions hampering the experience] [-Time limit is annoying] [-Takes a while to show you its best hand] [- score chasing seems tacked on]