Factotum 90 is a puzzle game developed and published by TACS games on February 10th 2016. The reviewer provided his own copy for this review.
Have you ever considered what would happen if you were stranded in space with your ship crippled by an asteroid, life support systems failing and strange organisms appearing around the ship? Have you ever considered how you would deal with such a situation if you only have the remote control of two droids to try to rectify this rapidly depressing situation? Wonder no longer, as Factotum 90 is a puzzle platformer that places you in this exact situation. Controlling two walker droids you will need to traverse the ship to fix failing life support systems and get yourself home!
What I enjoyed:
It takes two to tango: I like puzzle games. I admit it, I do. I enjoy being stuck and trying to figure out something for it to finally click. The feeling of satisfaction and pride can’t be beaten as it gives a sense of mental pride followed by a sense of relief. Factotum 90 uses a tried and tested formula of clearing levels by reaching an exit point. It does this by utilizing a two character method and whilst both characters share identical abilities the puzzles arise from being in two places at once. Essentially it is a game whereby one droid clears a path for the other and vice versa. Without the two droids there just wouldn’t be a game.
It’s just right: The biggest pitfall puzzle games fall into is their difficulty. Too hard and people lose interest. Too easy and it’s not a puzzle game. Factotum 90 gets the balance just right. Puzzles take a little amount of thought with the odd tricky one thrown in. I never felt bored or overly stressed from getting stuck and had some ‘ooooh’ moments when I solve something particular tricky (I’m looking at you level 16).
Bridges and bombs: As you progress through the game you will encounter new tools to solve new puzzles. It starts out early using pressure switches to move platforms but soon progresses to teleporters, bomb blocks and bridges made out of light. In the later levels combining all of these together can prove for some taxing moments which is exactly what a puzzle game should be about.
I have dual monitors!: Many games utilize multiple characters whether it be two, three or four. The norm is to switch between characters with the camera panning to the newly controlled character so you can see what’s happening. Factotum 90 does it differently with a permanent dual display giving you an overview of both characters permanently. Switching is as simple as pressing the Y button and allowing for multiple perspectives is a nice addition. Unfortunately there is some wasted space in the bottom half of the display.
My Full Wallet: Even without the current sale price the game is reasonably priced for the content. A nice example of game developers not being greedy. Hopefully they reap the rewards.
What I disliked:
The Menus: Games need a simple menu. It has to be effective and pleasing on the eye. It has to be easy to navigate. Unfortunately for Factotum 90 it took me a while to figure out the menu controls using the d-pad as the analogue sticks won’t work. Even when I had figured it out it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing; a small annoyance.
The Story: Whilst there was nothing wrong with the story per se, I feel like a little bit more could’ve been done. Your journey is narrated by an unnamed crew member giving bits of advice and overview as you progress but something more than ‘point a to b to do x’ wouldn’t of been hard to implement.
Speedy Gonzales: I wish Speedy was in the game I truly do. Perhaps another slight nitpick but I got a bit frustrated with the speed of my walkers. If I knew where I wanted to go I would rather just get there instead of a long wait while my slow droid hobbles along. Just let me run a bit quicker … please.
The Grind: As a completionist and an achievement hunter, achievements matter to me. Unfortunately Factotum 90 features no story achievements and offers up only active grinds for repeating actions a set number of times. Something for reaching the end of the game would’ve been appreciated, even if it stopped people quitting at level seventeen (out of thirty). At least it was an incredibly easy and fast 1000gs. Just a boring one.
Blocks!: This is also a bit of a nitpick. Graphically the game isn’t up to much and you can tell it’s a low budget title. Luckily puzzle games are about the gameplay and Factotum 90 manages superbly. It just would of been nice to have a little more polish and some round edges.
Overall Factotum 90 is a solid platforming experience that ticks all the right boxes. Any negatives I could find were minor compared to the gameplay and in a puzzle game how it plays rules the roost. Set at a great price point it’s hard to argue a reason not to pick this up.
Score: Buy now.