Size: 646 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
For a game that so openly sets out to appeal to the hardcore gamer, Cyber Protocol sure plays a lot like a classic mobile game.
Despite the cyberpunk aesthetic and nods to retro gaming culture, this is a classic block-sliding puzzler through and through. Swap out the palette for something cuter, and replace the pounding electronic soundtrack for something a little more zen, and you’d have yourself a classic iOS time waster from a decade ago.
Not that we mean to complain in any way. Cyber Protocol might be a relatively simple block-sliding puzzler, but it’s a banging one all the same.
You’ll grasp the basics straight away. Slide your finger in one of the four cardinal directions and your little puck will zip off in that direction, only stopping when it hits one of the solid blocks that frame each mazy 2D level.
There’s a level exit to get to and various coins to pick up en route. Because of those inherent movement limitations, you’ll need to think ahead and plot out an often quite convoluted path to the exit.
Adding further complications (and no little interest) are various hazards and enemies, which must be avoided through timing and careful planning. Special blocks might send your puck pinging off at a right angle, or solidify and thus fundamentally alter the flow of the level.
Developer RedDeerGames keeps these fresh elements coming, turning a simple spatial puzzler into an ever-intensifying assault course. It’s truly engrossing stuff.
This is aided by the aforementioned neon-soaked aesthetic, which is simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic. Cyber Protocol’s gaudy mazes evoke Pac-Man, or rather the 2007 revamp Pac-Man Championship Edition.
We were quite surprised to learn that Cyber Protocol had initially launched on home consoles. For one because we’re usually quite up on these things, but mainly because it feels so very natural playing it here on an iPhone (or iPad). Everything about it screams mobile game – or at least, what very good mobile games used to be like.
The odd animated cut scene is really the only hint at Cyber Protocol’s console origins. It’s slick alright, but also honed to a fine point. You’ll blast through one of these 100-odd levels in between bus stops, or sneak one in when your boss/teacher isn’t looking.
Cyber Protocol will be very familiar to anyone who’s been gaming since the start of the iPhone era. While there’s nothing inherently new here, however, it’s a superb example of the block sliding puzzler format.