When I was younger, I used to play a lot of 3D platformers. Games like Rayman 2, Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Donkey Kong 64 were played back to back several times. So you’ll understand I always had a soft spot for this genre. The first time I saw footage of Boti Byteland: Overclocked, I was intrigued. The 3D environment looks great, and reminds me of those early 3D platformers I used to love. Together with the classic gameplay, I was up for a great nostalgic throwback. But to be honest, although the game was fun to play, it left me with a sour taste in the end. Let me explain why…
The story of Boti Byteland: Overclocked is set inside a computer. You play as Boti, a freshly made databod, and his two companions, One and Zero, who are sent on a journey to overclock the system by their master, Kernel. This leads to an inevitable system meltdown and the disappearance of Kernel. It’s up to Boti and his companions to prevent viruses, bugs, and glitches from destroying the many components in the Computerworld.
The journey takes you through various components of a computer and each of these level environments looks absolutely astonishing. From sewer-like levels to big modern cityscapes and the beautiful beach line, all filled with lots of NPCs that resemble small capacitors, and platforming segments. The levels have a lot of details like beautiful waterfalls, plants, boxes, and other lively decor.
I noticed that my gaming PC, which is several years old, had a hard time handling all the details. But that wasn’t the only issue; the game itself had major performance problems. Several times, especially in one particular level, my FPS dropped from a steady 60 FPS to only 9 FPS! It was so bad that I had to open the menu to restore a steady 60 FPS, just so I could make a jump without losing momentum before it dropped again. I’m pretty sure this had to do with poor optimization or a memory leak, as it happened very randomly. It didn’t matter if I was in a large room with lots in it or small areas with nothing but a few boxes. It’s unfortunate, because the game really looks fantastic.
Anyway, let’s move on from the performance issues because there is more to the game than just that. The overall gameplay is pretty good, with a few minor exceptions. The levels are brimming with platforming segments that cleverly utilize the fact that you’re inside a computer. I’ve been jumping on both smaller and larger chips, navigating CD-like platforms that tilt in response to your movements, and encountering various other mechanics. In some parts, I manipulated platforms using a magnet ability or moved objects to specific spots to progress. Further into the game, I found myself ziplining down cables with the same ability. There was even a section reminiscent of Guitar Hero, where I had to descend a slope while hitting colored notes.
These were fun little segments that provided a nice change to the overall platforming, but there was one thing I didn’t like. There were some hoverboard segments that I was not very fond of. The hoverboard was a pain to maneuver. Instead of moving smoothly through the water, I was mostly hitting walls and traps, which led to unnecessary deaths. In my opinion, these could have been left out or better implemented.
But it’s not just platforming the game has to offer. Throughout the levels, you have to collect bit pieces that you need to progress in the game. At certain points, you need to hand in those pieces to raise a bridge, platform, or any kind of pathway forward. But you can also extend the hub world with it, this opens up new places to go. The hub world is a lively place that connects all the worlds together. It is also the way to replay levels for a 3-star rating and to collect any items you might have missed. These collectibles consist of botcoins, chests, and kernel tapes. They are not very hard to find, but they entice you to go off the beaten track and are fun to look for.
Fun but not hard
Next to all this platforming and collecting, you also have to fight off the viruses and bugs. There is a variety of enemies to battle, but they don’t pose too much of a challenge. Besides the smaller ones, you have some boss battles. I fought a giant bull that you had to knock down by shooting its legs with cannons while avoiding bomb-like creatures. Or the time I had to fight a ghost-like creature while avoiding disappearing floor tiles. They were fun to play but not really hard. And this was a feeling I had throughout the whole game. The game itself is not really difficult, and if you’re new to the genre, it’s a nice way to learn your way around it. But for old-timers like me who grew up with challenging platformers like Rayman, it could be a bit of a letdown.
If we take a look at the soundtrack in Boti Byteland, it has some nice up-tempo techno and house beats. The music really adds to the overall experience in a great way and fits the different worlds perfectly but can become a bit repetitive. The voice acting is pretty decent; I wasn’t very fond of the voices for One and Zero (your companions), but the rest was okay
With Boti Byteland, you will get a decent platformer. The environments are absolutely beautiful and fun to explore. However, it’s sad to see the game struggling with performance issues. Apart from some sluggish segments, the platforming is really well done. The controls are spot on. But, if you’re like me and you enjoy a challenge, Boti Byteland might be too easy for you. On the other hand, if you’re new to the genre, it’s a nice game to take your first steps into it.
+ Beautiful environments
+ great controls
- hovercraft segments
- performance issues