Cavorite falls into that trap of being a ported-over iPhone game that just doesn’t work on the big screen. Whereas on a touch screen it’s a little time-waster to have when you’re in line at the corner store, I certainly can’t see myself playing Cavorite for very long on my Mac. The levels are confined and restrictive, the gameplay feels unoriginal and doesn’t develop, the levels are pretty easy and the controls haven’t ported well either. That, coupled with a handful of glitches and bugs, makes Cavorite a sub-standard platformer-cum-puzzler. Well, at least it looks good.
Cavorite is a magical substance that reverses gravity on any particular object you cover it with. Unfortunately, its creator has been kidnapped whilst undertaking a trip to the moon and is now held captive inside their alien base. But thankfully, you brought along enough Cavorite to get you out of this place, you just need to get past the lasers, conveyor belts and aliens first.
You do this by using your endless supply of Cavorite on blocks which causes them to float up into the air. You can use them as hot air balloons by holding onto their metallic surface to get to higher parts of the level, or you can use them to activate switches which help you get to your objective. Blocks are really the only thing you can interact with in your environment, with the other objects serving more as obstacles. Aliens that push blocks, collect ship parts (which you need) and that threaten to kill you, animals and spikes and others are a few of the obstacles you will face. Lasers and conveyor belts are among the better features but they only appear later in the game where the challenge starts to ramp a little. But it’s a shame they weren’t exploited more. Instead, it feels like Cavorite has only put its foot in the door of the possibilities that could have been. Varied level designs and creative challenges could have done Cavorite a world of good.
But that doesn’t prevent Cavorite from being enjoyable. The bugs, loose controls and limited playing field do. All of Cavorite’s levels are limited to a screen. It could have benefited from some more open level designs that span more than the confined space currently provided. In doing so, there’s much more room for some interesting level designs and challenges that just aren’t apparent at the moment. Plus Cavorite’s claustrophobic nature lends to some navigational issues. It’s easy to get stuck in a level because you can’t pull a block out of a corner or it won’t fit through a gap exactly its size. Plus, the whole ‘hang onto a cube as it floats up into the air’ mechanic is tricky to steer.
Probably the most game-breaking problem with Cavorite is that after around 5 retries the game prompts you to skip the level. But no matter whether you decline the offer or not, the game goes to the liberty of skipping it anyway. Of course this is merely a glitch that can probably be easily rectified, but nonetheless it’s darn annoying!
But what I still love about Cavorite, even after playing through it, is its visuals. I know complementing a game for its ‘retro’ graphics can be seen as another way of saying they’re are outdated but Cavorite really shines with its 8-bit textures that have a certain charm about them. The sound isn’t too shabby either with even a glimmer of professionalism here and there.
Bugs can be hunted down and eaten and other small problems can be scrubbed off Cavorite’s pixel-perfect surface but in the end, it will still only provide some light and short-lived platforming entertainment. It doesn’t do a lot to challenge your brain (only your patience) and overall it isn’t going to make a lasting and memorable impression on you, especially when compared to the high tariff set by other similar titles already available on the Mac App Store.
Publisher: Cascadia Games
Price: $2.99 – £1.99
Description: A Promising Puzzle Platformer that Doesn’t Give Enough
Pros: Beautiful retro graphics, some good ideas, perfect for some cheap, shallow fun.
Cons: Does not really push its ideas, feels limited, some bugs, a bit temperamental, loose controls.