A sci-fi puzzler with a futuristic mechanic of its own.

Droidscape: Basilica could be like nothing we’ve ever played before.  Whether this results from its head-tracking gameplay, stop-motion animation, or surprisingly in-depth backstory, at least one feature of the futuristic action-puzzler is bound to resonate with players.  More likely, all the promising pieces will work together to create a symphonic swell of iOS gaming bliss greater than the sum of its parts, but we still want to discuss those parts anyway.

Set in the far distant future of 4057, Droidscape: Basilica tells the story of Aetherion, the sole remaining Chronomancer of the Guild of TAL.  The TAL’s members previously controlled and managed the manipulation of time from within the space station Basilica, until a corporate takeover resulted in the guild’s annihilation and Aetherion’s imprisonment.  While players will technically be put in the role of Aetherion, he and they will be controlling a worker droid named Bishop 7, guiding it through the Basilica in an attempt to free our human protagonist and reclaim the station for the Chronomancers.

This already extensive plot far exceeds the standard expectations for a mobile game, sounding more like a Philip K. Dick novel than an app store summary.  And there’s plenty more where that came from: developer Kyttaro Games has provided a 31-page overview of Droidscape: Basilica on their website, with over half of this treasure trove dedicated to the game’s rich mythology.

While the story has already sucked us in, the gameplay will need to keep us there.  Droidscape is a level-based puzzler that requires players to plot out Bishop 7’s path through a variety of hazards and then actually walk him through it.  In addition to sidestepping armed enemies, our noncombatant droid will need to collect gems, keys, and other items that allow him to unlock doors and progress further.  While this sounds fairly standard for the genre, a number of innovations—like the tactical inclusion of a health bar—promise a unique puzzle-solving experience.

Droidscape: Basilica

One of the major innovations that will affect how we look at Droidscape (literally) is its use of “HeadTwister” tracking technology, which allows players to finish levels completely hands-free.  Via the front-facing camera on newer iOS devices, players can control Bishop 7 simply by moving their head.  For players with older hardware or an attachment to their fingers (also literally), standard touch controls will still be available.        

All of this will be experienced through brilliant stop-motion animation of clay sculptures designed by visual artist Hariton Bekiaris.  With a gritty-yet-colorful style reminiscent of Prime’s Quest, watching the clay creatures come to digital life could prove as engaging as solving the puzzles themselves.

The many promising features of Droidscape: Basilica will be put to a cumulative test when the game launches later this month.  We’re practicing nodding in anticipation.