Georifters is a charming, clever little puzzle game. Across it’s campaign and locol multiplayer modes, the mechanics offer up a fun spin on 2D platformers with a dash of adversarial puzzling thrown in. I did find a couple of quirks that would interupt the flow but overall there’s quite a bit to like here.
The crux of the gameplay is that we’re able to manipulate the block-based environment in various ways, depending on which character we have at the time. Some, such as the blocks or spikes, can be moved a single space in one of the four cardinal directions by punching them, or 3 spaces at once with a charged punch. Others, like the bubbles, are stuck firmly in place. This leads to trying to navigate blocks around these obstacles to reach the goal while also fulfilling a requirement to open said goal; collect a couple of gems, or defeat a certain number of bad guys. It is initially simple to wrap our head around, but later levels ratchet up the difficulty with tight corridors, insta-kill red blocks and more. Mistakes can be undone with a reset button – sending blocks back to where they were while leaving us in our current position – but this only seems to go back one step.
In addition to the punch each of the seven playable characters offer their own unique power to help out; main protagonist Candy is able to send out a string of sticky gum to pull blocks to her, for example, while Dr. Schnoz is able to part bricks ahead of him, providing there is space to move them in to. We switch between these characters regularly throughout the campaign, with their unique talents suited to the levels ahead. Incentive to 100% a level comes in the form of unlockable outfits and cards for the player, though thankfully this is completely optional as some of the latter areas are very tough.
There’s some clever puzzle designs on show then, however it’s a shame that controlling our character feels like a bit of a slog. They move far too slowly for my liking, and their single and double jump just feels off somehow. It works, but I never really felt like I had fine control over them. Trying to line up a punch can be awkward unless we’re right next to it – I lost count of the times I tried to jump and punch upwards only to be met with thin air – and the same is true for the powers at times. Simpler levels are fine but, even though there’s rarely a time pressure, it’s all to easy to accidently squish ourselves behind a block, fall onto a red block, or send a much need gem into the abyss. Restarts are only available from the first level of a cluster of ten, meaning a critical mistake near the end necessitates a full replay. The campaign also goes on for ages. With 300-odd levels to beat, there’s a lot here, but I’m also not convinced that there’s enough variety here to warrant such a massive stage count. Even half of that would have been plenty, though even early levels start to show the cracks when ideas repeat. There is even a whole section where we play the same basic level ten times is a row, just with slight alterations on the hazards within the same layout.
The campaign can be played in co-op, and if you’ve a willing partner I highly recommend it. Not only will some of the puzzles only be solvable with a partner, but it can make things easier as only one of you need to reach the end goal. In fact, I played a handful of levels in solo-co-op; I’d switch between controllers, and use both characters powers to clear the level. Lives are shared, and if one players takes the last life then it’s up to the remaining player to survive to the end on their own. It would have been nice to see the dead player come back even with just one life on a new screen, but alas, ’tis not the case.
A suite of multiplayer modes are here too, revolving around collecting the most gems, or simply being the best at manipulating the ground around you. Again, I only had chance to try these out in a solo-co-op fashion, but it certainly looks like it’ll provide a good few evenings of fun, provided someone has been through the 300-odd stages to unlock all the characters. Speaking of which, they’re a funny looking bunch, all exaggerated features and colours. The writing in the campaign is sickly sweet, with a good few puns thrown in. It’s passable stuff, though much like the character control feels too drawn out even in its short cutscenes.
There’s certainly a charm to Georifters, from it’s sickly sweet visuals and audio to the at times clever use of its mechanics across the campaign. Said campaign is far too long though, made all the more elongated by some stodgy controls that make the action feel far more unresponsive that it actually is. Fun for a few hours and when we can have mates over again, but we were stuffed long before clearing our plate.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.