Project 83113 is an innovative and stylish new action platformer from Fabrication Games, published by NCsoft. It’s definitely unlike most games on the App Store, combining colorful sci-fi visuals with wicked fast, challenging platforming and oodles of robotic baddies for you to turn to scrap metal. It’s got a simple backstory that’s interesting enough, and a control scheme that’s a bit unconventional, yet intuitive and fun to use.
You are Project 83113, also known as ‘Belle,’ and you are the savior of your people, who have been enslaved by robots on some distant world. Born with four arms instead of two, I guess you’re super good at shooting, or something, because you are trained to lead your people to freedom, and quickly begin doing so. Your goal is to destroy all the shield generators that protect the robot headquarters before going in for the kill.
While they can be a little bit unwieldy at times, and might take a little practice to get used to, the completely gesture based controls are intuitive and a breath of fresh air. Nary a virtual button is in sight, save for the pause button. It’s really a much more fluid, dynamic, and action packed version of the iOS Mirror’s Edge and Captain America games, but way better. Swiping in any direction will send you off, with your basic shooting done completely automatically, freeing you up to focus on dodging enemy attacks. Slowly but surely, tons of cool moves enter your repertoire, including a double jump, quick dash, downward dash, and glide move. Should you want wreak some extra robotic havoc, you can tap to send out a power shot, which is different for each weapon you use. This takes away a chunk of your life bar, but your life bar is filled when enemies are killed anyway, so it balances out.
Beating the game will be a simple afternoon’s affair, as it’s not very long. Completing it is another matter entirely. Should you care to get perfect scores on all levels, you’ll have to make it through without taking any damage at all. This forces you to proceed cautiously and memorize enemy patterns, where before you might have just jumped, dashed, and glided through the whole level, taking as much damage as you wanted to quickly reach the end.
As you play, you’ll save up crystals, find weapon blueprints, and seek out hidden items on each level. These unlock all the extra bits, like the side-missions where you play as a slow good robot. These stealth levels are slow paced and simple, and while they’re not very compelling, they do offer a reprieve from the chaotic main game, and have great rewards. Boss battles in this game are rather interesting. There are no real bosses, per se, but rather the levels themselves are the bosses. Each one has you constantly moving through a very dangerous level doing damage to one of the shield generators, while enemies constantly re-spawn and staying still is impossible.
The visuals are stylish and colorful on this highly industrial alien world, and there is no shortage of eye popping effects. The soundtrack matches perfectly, and everything was solid. As an NCsoft game, the leaderboard and achievement network is supported alongside the usual Game Center. Some gamers likely won’t be happy with the chaotic nature of the controls, which can lead to frustrating deaths, but if you take the time to learn it, you’ll be able to enjoy quite the gem of a game with this one. Project 83113 is iOS Universal, and at one dollar at the time of this review, there is no reason not to at least check it out.