Cobalt is a 2D action shooter from Swedish studio Oxeye. Though I call Cobalt a 2D action shooter, it is really hard to categorize this game. It is also a platfrom brawler puzzle game. It looks very “indie.” and seems influenced by mid 90s – early 2000s slow motion gunplay. The game is flying under the “hype” radar due in large part to it not being marketed as a game published by the creators of Minecraft, Mojang. Perhaps this was done because there are no similarities between the two games. The fact that the game doesn’t standout when one looks at screenshots or videos of the game doesn’t help either. This really is a game one has to see in motion to appreciate. Whatever the cause is, it is a shame because Cobalt is a fun title worth a gander.
Cobalt has been in develop for about four years, and it shows in the deep, yet accurate controls and the varied, fast paced action. There is a lot in this game. The single player campaign has the player take on the role of a mysterious cyborg stranded on an even more mysterious planet. The multiplayer, both local and online, allows players to play with friends in a wealth of coop and versus modes. The combat in this game is very impressive. The amount of weapons and their types impressed me. It features some typical guns, but also has melee weapons and ‘throwables’ (from grenades to boomerangs). The weapons allow for varied combat as well as giving players options on approaching obstacles.
The controls are spot on. Oxeye provides players with multiple control presets that can be selected from the options menu. This is important as the action is fast paced and pulling off the more advanced techniques requires precision, timing, and reflexes. The sound in this game is solid with music that fits the game well and that sounds amazing. The animations, while simple, are great.
It is the little things this game does that really hooked me. For instance, when the player has reached max speed, the android’s shoes light up. This serves both as an indicator for the player for long jump and as an awesome cosmetic effect.
The physics in this are very well done as well. Momentum matters a lot, especially later on in the game. You will want to keep moving and find ways of not coming to a complete halt of losing said momentum. Objects interact with each other how one would expect them to. I still remember the first time I blew up part of a wall with a grenade so I could pass. Part of the debris (the rest of the wall) fell and crushed me. I just sat there holding that “L” to my chest realizing how silly it was of me to not see that coming. You have to think while playing Cobalt.
There isn’t really much this game does poorly for what it is. As you progress, death becomes constant. The enemy placement in this game is horrible. It seems random or malicious and it results in a lot of unpreventable deaths to the player. I am all for difficulty in games. I dig the sense of accomplishment after overcoming a daunting task. This game doesn’t really give me that. I usually am still annoyed even beating the tasks through trail and error. I figure this happened because the difficulty was not genuine. Instead, the player is presented with certain death at times. It doesn’t help that the respawn system is this game’s huge glaring weakness. Expect to respawn surrounded by enemies only to die immediately again.
Cobalt is a very simple game on the surface with tons of depth and fun. It has a tutorial mode that shows just how far the rabbit hole goes with this title, while still leaving things for the players to find out on their own. A prime example of this would be the active reload feature.
Cobalt is packed full of replay value, especially if you have friends to play with. The arcade mode has both challenges and speed runs for the purists out there looking for to test themselves. I played this game with a controller, but from the feedback I read online I can say it works just as well on a keyboard and mouse. Cobalt is available on Xbox One and Steam.
While not not flawless, there is certainly way more good than bad. The issues the game has are not enough ruin one’s overall fun with this game. Cobalt accomplishes something few games seem to able to. It has as much depth as the player looks for in its gameplay. This may not be the next Minecraft in terms of widespread appeal and easy of play, but it is an amazing title partially because it does not try to be the previously mentioned things.
This review of Cobalt is based on a digital copy for the Xbox One and Steam which was provided by Mojang.