Have you ever wondered what happens inside your PC? BOTI: Byteland Overclocked will take you on a journey through its components.
BOTI: Byteland Overclocked begins to see the light in 2021. The project was born from a game jam entry, where it earned first place and the special art award at Epic MegaJam 2021.
From this initial prototype, Untold Tales and Purple Ray Studio give life to a colorful and uniquely styled 3D platformer. In BOTI: Byteland Overclocked we control a small robot who will have to go through the components of his computer and avert its imminent crisis.
It’s My First Day
Boti is the latest arrival inside the computer and, first of all, he will have to undergo an internship. In terms of gameplay we are faced with the game’s tutorial. Once this path has been overcome, our hero finds himself in what is the central HUB of the game. From this we can both visit our house and access the various areas of the game. I will delve deeper into these aspects in the following chapters, now let’s continue with the incipit of the plot. In the HUB we meet Kernel, the highest authority of the entire computer, and he will give us our first mission.
The system is struggling with its tasks and to solve the problem we have to overclock the CPU.
Obviously things don’t go right. Once the task is done, the whole system goes into crisis and the firewall stops working. The whole system is invaded by malware, glitches and worms. As if that wasn’t enough, Kernel has mysteriously disappeared. It will be up to our hero, supported by the two assistants One and Zero, to resolve the situation.
Boti’s Abilities: Game Mechanics
From the first tutorial phase we are introduced to most of the mechanics that will accompany us throughout the game. ON/OFF switches, buttons, the classic moving and bouncing platforms. Even some enemies who, temporarily defeated, will help us reach higher heights.
Our unwitting hero already has several skills that allow him to have good mobility right from the start. Boti already has a double jump, a glide, a flying slam, a forward dash and can even attack in close combat. The latter three cannot be spammed and have a slight animation commitment. It also has a scanner with which it can analyze the surrounding environment, useful for identifying secrets. The mechanics are important already from the central HUB. The game is full of collectibles and secrets, and the HUB is full of them too.
As the adventure continues, our hero will acquire another skill: a magnetic grappling hook. Thisskill will be declined in subsequent levels to give different uses to the same mechanic.
There are important items that, once token, give Boti a boost in jumping and speed.
Basically what provides variety is the construction of the levels with collectibles and environmental elements.
Level Design and Collectibles
BOTI: Byteland Overclocked includes 8 playable levels in addition to the prologue.
The game shapes the world and levels based on the abilities of its protagonist. Boti’s great mobility is integrated into linear-looking levels which however contain collectibles and alternative routes.
There are several collectibles: BotCoin, Special Crates, Kernel Recordings and music trophies. The first three are simply well hidden in the levels while the musical trophies must be won. Each level has a musical slide in which we must at the same time avoid obstacles and take all the boxes of different colors. If we manage to get them all we will receive a trophy. By collecting them all we will get a special skin. The idea of being able to repeat the section as many times as you want without starting the level all over again to get 100% from the path is good.
Using the scanner and the camera are essential if you aspire to completionism. There is no shortage of hidden paths, breakable walls and small puzzles like that of robot cats. Honorable mention are some panels which, once found, allow us to collect new skins for Boti. The collectibles are well hidden but at the same time there are clear clues to finding them. In this the game design is intelligent and well done.
Level Design, Rhythm and Secondary Paths
As I said, the rhythm of the levels alternates various situations ranging from platforming to combat, to the solution of small puzzles, even optional ones. The magnetic grappling hook is available in different ways and the various skills are interlocked with each other to make the paths more complex. Although the main path is quite simple, getting to the collectibles requires more effort. Dying trying to reach them is easy. Luckily the checkpoint system is very generous and even restores any lost hit points. Especially in the last levels, timed or intermittent platforms, environmental dangers and monorails to slide on will be the order of the day.
There are also sections with a hovercraft. As much as they break the monotony, they are still difficult and not very intuitive to operate.
The battles are simple and secondary to the exploration, decidedly less demanding. Even the boss fights (I won’t say anything else to avoid spoilers), are either gimmicks or puzzles – platformers to solve. In both cases they are pleasant to play and look at.
You even get to put all these elements together in the climax moments of the game.
Boti, Bit e Bytes
This topic, even if it is part of both level and game design, deserves a separate study.
Bits are essential to progress through the levels, as well as the fundamental currency of the game. During the game we will find circuits that we will have to activate at the cost of Bits in order to proceed further. The levels are full of this currency which can be collected by breaking boxes or Zip files. Collecting Bits is one of the fundamental activities of each level, so we will have to accumulate as much as possible. Having the most Bits will give us a better rating once we finish the level and will allow us to make purchases.
In fact you can return to the HUB whenever you want, here you can spend the accumulated Bits. The HUB is expandable, you can build purely aesthetic sections or others to train in the musical challenge or the hovercraft race. Expanding the HUB gives access to distant and special areas, all to be explored and with their collectibles.
The HUB will become our world from which to choose whether to explore the surroundings or leave for one of the game’s levels. Boti’s house allows us several actions to do at the cost of Bits. Improve the protagonist’s characteristics: life points, ability to attract Bits and scanner width. In addition you can invest Bits to randomly unlock new images or skins for the protagonist.
Aesthetics and Attention to Details
BOTI: Byteland Overclocked is developed in Unreal Engine 5. The graphic is the best part of the title together with the stylistic aspect.
Purple Ray Studio have been able to create a colorful world with a simple and never banal style. We are inside a computer and the levels represent the various components. The levels are rich in detail and their aesthetic recalls the cyber world with anthropomorphized components. Their characterization is very accurate and although they are peripheral they are very strong aesthetic elements. We will find trees or digitalized or robotic fauna, or workers busy carrying out tasks. The interactivity of the levels and creatures is remarkable. We can hit these NPCs to see their reactions, read some dialogue strings or break most of the objects. The sound sector itself is pleasant and makes the adventure flow. There is also no shortage of comic skits from the inhabitants of this world, or special quotes. For example, one of the co-protagonists who will help us solve this crisis: detective ColumBot.
Last but not least are our two companions Zero and One. Two little bots with a completely opposite behavior. One serious and calculating while the other impulsive and almost childish. In addition to being pleasant company with their bickering, they also help us by warning us when we are near an enemy or collectibles.
My Two Cents
BOTI: Byteland Overclocked is an interesting and certainly well-made title. Its strong point is the style and design of the characters and levels. The game, as Untold Tales says, is a “light hearted 3D platformer” and should be taken that way. The game delivers what it promises, giving the player several hours of fun and exploration.
Of course, there is no shortage of flaws. Small flaws in the physics engine and some inaccuracies in the management of certain skills can sometimes compromise the most complicated actions. The plot is a pretext for the adventure and the gameplay itself, although solid, is basic and never too challenging. The character upgrades themselves, as interesting as they are, don’t make a difference given the basic ease. Said that, if you are looking for a 3D platformer with a nice look, not challenging but well made, BOTI: Byteland Overclocked is the one for you. And I’m sure it will also make you laugh.
BOTI: Byteland Overclocked
- Good character design
- Minimal but beautiful style
- Solid platforming level design
- Good soundtracks
- Fun to play
- Inputs are sometimes squishy
- Small flaws in the physics engine
- Some inaccuracies in skills management
- Maybe too short