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The machinations of frustration
If you were a little robot, trying to lead a band of your homeless brethren to a new land, where you and everyone you know would live for the rest of your mechanical lives, would you try to make this quest as easy as possible or as difficult as you could? And now, say you were a game developer, creating a game to be purchased on the Playstation Network. Would you want to make this game fun for all, or too difficult for anyone to play?

If you answered the latter to either of those, you might enjoy TerRover. Supposedly a puzzle game, TerRover is more like an excuse to throw your controller at the screen. You play as a robot, going from planet to planet (imaginatively named "Lava Planet," "Ice Planet" and so on), trying to collect screws and doodads until you get to the end of the level, where you set off a beacon your fellow robots can follow. This simple premise could have been the beginning of a great little time-waster, but due to impossible controls, it's nothing but frustration.

The game's physics are absurdly loose. Either TerRover doesn't move far enough, or he moves too far, too fast. The levels, which are relatively short, feel like marathons because it'll take you ten minutes to move half a foot. And once you do get to move, you'll inevitably end up either stuck in a pit, exploding on spikes, or experiencing some other kind of misfortune that will set you back. Granted, you don't get pushed back too far, and the levels aren't too long anyway, but you'll definitely find yourself trying to get past the same obstacles over and over and over and over and over. It's not pretty.

What is pretty, however, are the stylized graphics, with wonderful color schemes. My favorite were the areas where it looked like you were riding on clouds (complete with fluffy cloud physics to go along with it). Unfortunately, you'll begin to hate your surroundings because you won't be able to make it through them without dying repeatedly.

There's no way you'll get everything there is to find in any given level on the first try. For one thing, you'll clenching your teeth just to get to the goal, and for another, as the game progresses you'll be able to upgrade TerRover's chassis with new abilities, so when you go back to previous levels, you'll be able to access new areas. But with controls as unworkable as these, why would you want to?

I don't think TerRover is a terrible idea, just a cute game saddled with half-cooked controls. Perhaps a sequel can solve the problems this game presents, which, as it stands, is enough to keep anyone from enjoying it. Skip It.

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