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Cefore Early Access Review

Can We Scan It? Yes, We Can!

Cefore is a small, physics-based puzzler developed by young indie studio Pixelz Games. In it, you take on the role of Baro, an interplanetary construction worker tasked with the collection of alien data for the continued survival of humanity. The title is still in early access, and it appears that Pixelz is taking a mechanics-first approach, which means the story is only so much pretense for the real meat of the game, the puzzles. Each level asks you to scan all the alien data cubes by corralling them into the radius of your transmission antenna using various tools ranging from explosives to hot air balloons. Each level only allows you a certain amount of uses for each tool, so efficiency is key.

The puzzles themselves start off easy and slowly build in difficulty as you acquire more tools with which to solve problems. Being constrained to the first world in the early access build, the puzzles never stump you for long. Most of the time, it is more challenging to end the level having used all the resources available rather than coming in under the cut. Worse, the title is very short. It took me a little over an hour to see most of what it had to offer and to unlock most of the cosmetic items currently available.

That isn’t to say Cefore is bad...

...Even if the ten dollar price point is a bit steep for the content on offer. Each level provides you with more than enough tools to play around with the physics of the game and come to your own conclusions as to how to solve them. I highly encourage you to try connecting a block to itself with a steel girder. The result, while unintended, is both comical and useful. There was one level in particular where I would have had to reset had I not discovered that interaction in one of the many experimentation rooms between levels.

Further cementing this focus on the exploration of a certain set of mechanics are the sandbox mode and its shareable counterpart, the level editor. Both provide you with the tools to create your own physics playground with the same materials that make up the developer created levels. Selections are limited currently as the level editor is only available in the beta test branch, but if Mario Maker and the Portal 2 level editor are anything to go by, the community can come up with some amazing designs.

As the title is in early access, there are some technical issues in the current version. Level 3, in particular, refused to complete once I had collected all of the data blocks, forcing me to restart that level and solve it again. Further, my antivirus protested loudly when I tried to launch the beta build. With enough finagling, I was able to convince Avast that this executable was not a threat, but I can see this being a large barrier to players enjoying the true potential of Cefore.

6

The Verdict: Good

Cefore is a charming if short, physics puzzler. It plays more as an exploration of a mechanical sandbox rather than a brain-bending challenge, though those who want such an experience are free to make it through Cefore's built-in, Steam Workshop integrated level editor. While there are a few technical issues to work through before it leaves early access, none are so egregious as to detract from the overall enjoyment of the game. If you have ten dollars to burn and are willing to buy early access, pick it up for a lark and see for yourself.

John Gerritzen
Written by
June 25, 2018
Published in Strategy

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John Gerritzen is a programmer by education, author by hobby, and game critic by occupation. While he usually favors RPGs, he will play anything that engages him narratively or mechanically. When he's not playing games for fun or profit, he's usually reading or watching anime.

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