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BOOR REVIEW

Uncover the secrets of Eden! Hop into the challenging, stylish world of BOOR, developed by 'Bandland Indie' where you possess unique powers and must use them to uncover the truth behind the rogue AI. Play through over 70 puzzles, and help set the humans free!

BOOR review

INTRODUCTION

BOOR is a puzzle platformer game developed by Daniel Moreno and published by Badland Indie, which features stylish 2D graphics. The game was made available on Steam on the 14th of February 2017. You play as a small girl who has the mysterious ability to create copies of herself and has become stranded on the dystopian, technological land of Eden. As you play through over 70 puzzles you must find your way past the ever present robots and AI watchers, and uncover what is really going on in Eden.

BOOR is available on Steam store now for £3.99!

BOOR review - Welcome to Eden

STORY

It is clear from the very start that your character is stranded in the center of a highly advanced facility, with what appears to be an ever present force watching you. Not much is known about what happened in Eden, but judging by the large presence of robots, and the constant mention of the AI 'BOOR' which was built originally to help serve humans; it can be established that something didn't go to plan. 

The story develops from there, slowly unravelling the mystery as to what has happened in the world of Eden, whilst always keeping enough information hidden, to ensure you are always craving the next piece in the metaphorical puzzle. The story remained gripping and engaging for most of the games run time, only losing pace towards the end. Sadly though it does leave the player with some unanswered questions and doesn’t quite land the final story beats.

BOOR seems to draw certain parallels with games such as Portal, which you can’t help but to think of when you realise a large AI has taken control of a facility and is ‘testing’ humans to an extent. However, this does not do the originality of the game’s story much justice, as it is a unique tale in itself.
 
BOOR review - BOOR's true potential

GAMEPLAY

The game’s puzzles began with some simple platforming at the start but ramped up quickly to highly complex, challenging tasks, that often required your attention to be split between two different areas at once. The ‘multiplication’ ability possessed by the protagonist is utilised fantastically, with many of the puzzles forcing the player to use the clones in varying ways.The game’s puzzles began with some simple platforming at the start but ramped up quickly to highly complex, challenging tasks, that often required your attention to be split between two different areas at once. The ‘multiplication’ ability possessed by the protagonist is utilised fantastically, with many of the puzzles forcing the player to use the clones in varying ways. The clone can be used to simply push a far off button or to get through otherwise impassable objects, but they can also sometimes be used to swap bodies with the original girl, teleporting her to the desired location. As the puzzles get harder, the ways in which you have to use your clone get more and more creative.

I found the puzzle’s themselves varied largely in difficulty, with none being overly hard or easy. The occasional room nearly broke my sanity, only for me to then realise the solution was relatively clear in hindsight, usually requiring smart, well-timed usage of the players multiplying ability. The multiplication itself was a very unique and satisfying element, that brought the game much of its charm and lent itself well to creating complex solutions to puzzles. 

The few times the game did nearly bring me to the breaking point, however, were the ‘boss’ levels. Periodically the player was forced to fight a large AI Robot, who used a flair of attacks in a repeated sequence to try and defeat the player. This sounds relatively simple and by the book, but it is made highly tedious by the girl dying in one hit, with the game then throwing you back to the start of the level. These sections are frustratingly unforgiving, especially in contrast to the formulae proceeding it, where death would only take you back to the beginning of a puzzle room, which by comparison is far less progress lost. Although somewhat tedious, these sections do well in breaking up the gameplay, which can begin to feel repetitive after 20 or so similar puzzles.

BOOR review - Multiplication ability

The other mild frustration I had was with the controls and the distinct lack of information telling me what they were. It was easy enough to find out from the menu, but adding a simple button prompt for the multiplication ability in the first level would have saved some mild confusion. I chose to remap the buttons personally, and there is no option for mouse controls, however, the game plays very well with a game controller also; so this is more down to personal preference. 

Some pieces of the tutorial are given via terminals in the game, however, I found myself on a few occasions playing around with new items in the environment, or new ways of using my multiply ability, in order to figure out new mechanics. Most were easy to figure out in one go, but some towards the end did have me scratching my head a little more. In one sense this is a great way to really dive head first into the game and play it to it’s fullest. On the other hand, though, some people may find this method a little frustrating, especially since the genre is mostly filled with games that guide the player more. 

Amazingly there are also mini games within BOOR, found on terminals throughout the game, these act as nice intermissions and change up the game style for short amounts of time. Collectables are also present for any completionists, achievement hunters or fans of hidden secrets. They are very well hidden, and in a similar sense to Limbo (another stylised dark 2D platform game); they usually take a little bit of problem-solving and creative thinking to find.

BOOR review - The first encounter

GRAPHICS AND AUDIO

Graphics

Graphically BOOR is gorgeously stylised, with a clean, simplistic colour palette, creating a clinical, robotic atmosphere from the very beginning. The cool greys contrast beautifully against the bold red used on the main protagonist’s coat and is also used throughout to highlight points of life, such as shrubberies, water, or the few other humans you meet on your adventure. The red was at times also used in a similar fashion to Mirror’s Edge when highlighting certain blocks that need to be cleared, or obstacles needing to be tackled. There were a couple of occasions where a soft blue was also present in the background, but only when the player is outside, adding further to the contrast between the calm relaxing outdoors, and the more claustrophobic test environments. The fact that each environment is hand drawn makes the graphical beauty of the game even more impressive. 

Audio

The audio and soundtrack perfectly accompanies the stylistic choice of graphics and helped alert the player to a change in the environment, with a subtle change of tone or note. The music is purposely calm when outdoors, only to become a touch more frantic, and sinister inside the facility. I think the use of an electronic style of music was a fantastic choice for BOOR and matches the story beats perfectly, creating a futuristic, yet focused atmosphere.

With there being no dialogue in the game the audio becomes even more important and plays an even larger part in setting the scene and creating tension. BOOR succeeds at this on every occasion, with the tone adjustments being subtle but noticeable enough to change the mindset of the player.

BOOR review - Uncovering the truth

CONCLUSION

BOOR is a stylish, incredibly well crafted Indie game, that on the surface seems to take a lot of inspiration from outside sources, but it doesn’t take long for it to shine in its own way. Aside from a few frustrating difficulty spikes, and loose end with the story; the game is a fantastic puzzle platformer, and definitely a hidden gem of the genre. 

I would highly recommend giving this game a try if you're a fan of puzzle platformers, and like a good challenge. It's a beautiful 2D journey into a dark mysterious land, and its unique mechanics will keep you entertained throughout your adventure. 

PROSCONS
+ Beautiful graphics– Lack of narrative payoff
+ Great use of audio– Questions left unanswered
+ Challenging puzzles– Difficulty spikes within boss levels
6.7
Fair

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