Hands-on with Refactor, the physics-based platformer

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The guys at Nextgen Pants are working on a title called Refactor, and I got a chance to play through an early build of the game with lead designer Bob Webb.

When you first look at the game, right away you can see that Tetris plays a big part in the overall look, but once the it continues, you see that it goes deeper. There are no voiceovers and little dialogue, but the story plays out nice as you take the role of an imperfect puzzle piece that navigates through a factory. The game has nice dark, cold, and robotic feel to it, with your small puzzle piece shining through. The light that emits from your cube is also your health indicator as you traverse through the stage.

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An interesting part of the game is that the levels themselves can be rotated and moved around, creating somewhat of a new level and even opening areas that were once locked. Just like the old games like Metroid and Castlevania, you’ll find yourself backtracking through the levels once you’ve twisted and moved them around.

From what I’ve played, the game pays close attention to the sound, from the noise that your puzzle piece makes when rolling on the hard ground, to the things in the background losing sound if the player shifts a section of the level disconnecting something from power. That’s just some of the small details I’ve noticed while playing through the first zone.

The demo wrapped up with a boss battle that felt straight out of the old-school classic catalog. It took some time to learn the pattern of the boss, but once you learned them, it was just about getting the rhythm down at that point. Three hits later and the giant-size, factory-themed robot was put down, making the small cube the hero.

Even in the beta stage, Refactor is shaping up to be an interesting blend of Metroid-vania and Tetris. The game has no solid release date, but you can look out for it on Steam and the PS4.

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