A perfect illustration of this principle is the control scheme for Cubetractor
, where six buttons do all the work. It mainly comes down to four buttons, mapped to the arrow buttons. You'll move the hero character with these controls, and use one other button to trigger the tractor beam that pulls cubes toward you. Having to think about pulling rather than pushing keeps this from feeling like a 2D shooter. You'll learn to navigate around the level fluidly with the arrow keys, target cubes by facing them, and then pull them toward you while making sure to quickly get out of their way. After a few levels this becomes second nature, but it does feel novel at first. Like most throwback or classic arcade games, Cubetractor
is not very forgiving, so expect some slaps-forehead moments as you pull cubes into yourself because of poor timing.
Timing is everything, but once you master the controls, you'll focus more on following the exploits of Endroi, the game's so-called "happy-go-lucky quadrubot," and just enjoy the flow from level to level. If retro games are your thing, you'll burn through the available levels and come away wanting more. Sure, you don't get epic adventure and role-playing, or the satisfaction of growing a criminal empire in Vice City, but Cubetractor satisfies the basic urge we all have as gamers: We love to explore and use our imagination in a way that tests our skills just enough to make keep things challenging, without distracting us from the feeling of exploration and fun. Recommended.