Roofbot by Double Coconut and Koreez is a tricky game to review. On one hand, it’s cute, well designed, highly atmospheric and satisfying to play. On the other hand, its in-app purchase model left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, tainting my experience with the game.
Roofbot is an isometric grid puzzler, in which Roofie the Robot cleans up his roof by dropping colored objects into their respective holes, eventually finding his way to the level’s exit. The game’s hook lies in its tile-dropping mechanic, which adds an element of strategy and difficulty to the game. When Roofie moves to a new tile, the previous tile drops away, leaving the player to find a specific path that will allow them to progress. As a lifelong Q-Bert fan, this mechanic had me hooked from the start, and with the addition of fans and warp tiles, the game gets better and better as the levels progress. From top to bottom, the graphics are stylized and pleasing to the eye, with the protagonist cutely sporting a spinning green flower on his head, occasionally taking selfies and playing the ukulele. Roofbot’s backdrops are somber, futuristic, and highly immersive, topped off with a calming, albeit repetitive soundtrack. My only qualm with the presentation is the robot’s name – Roofie – which could be interpreted as a cringe-worthy drug reference. I truly hope that the reference was unintentional.
I was quite enjoying my time with the game, until I reached Level 40, when I made an unfortunate discovery. There’s a hint button in the top right-hand corner of the user interface, which can be tapped when the player is in need of a suggestion. As the game encourages players to tap the button when they’re struggling, these hints become part of the natural flow and progression of gameplay. By the time I reached Level 40, I had only used four or five hints, but I grew curious about one detail: every time I used a hint, a counter on the hint button dropped by one. I grew suspicious as to what might happen if I used all my hints. After all, Roofbot is a paid game, so they wouldn’t lock hints behind a paywall, especially after introducing these suggestions as an acceptable course of action when the player is stumped or struggling. Or would they? So, in the interest of discovering the truth, I mashed on the hint button until my hints ran out. Once I hit zero, I pressed the button again, and lo and behold:
An in-app purchase screen appeared, confirming that the developers had locked additional hints behind a paywall. To add insult to injury, the price tag on these hints is quite high, starting at $1.39 for 2 hints, all the way up to $69.99 for 120 hints. I’d happily drop a dollar or two on upgrades to the game, such as new characters or additional levels in a future update, but for hints, which I’ve been trained to use freely? No thank you, Double Coconut.
At its core, Roofbot really is an excellent puzzle game, but its frustrating monetization scheme holds it back from greatness. If the game was free to download, in-app purchases for hints would be an understandable inclusion, but premium titles ought to be fully playable without additional paywalls. Should the developers at Double-Coconut rectify this monetization structure, I’ll happily rethink my review. But in its current state, I can’t recommend downloading Roofbot for $2.99, unless you can breeze through its 100 levels without using up your hint quota.