Incoboto is set in a galaxy that’s used up and burnt out, so it’s the task of your tiny explorer to travel across the wilderness of space restoring light to the darkness. It’s a game about universal heat death, in other words, but it’s surprisingly sweet with it.
As you rekindle ancient fires, you’ll be bringing motion back to this dormant landscape, too, since most of the starpieces you’re hunting for, as you leap from one 2D planetoid to the next, require you to muddle through increasingly complex physics puzzles in order to snare them. There are electrical nodes to send seesawing between buzzing connection points, there are explosive fuses to lob, and there are all manner of portals, grapples, jump pads, and tractor beams to use in concert. In truth, Incoboto’s fiddlier challenges often grind against the understated loveliness of the art, with its grinning suns and silhouetted machinery, but the game’s fragile prettiness provides just enough forward momentum to keep you going whenever a level tangles itself up in drawn-out set-pieces.
With incessant dialogue boxes and the option to tweet every other scrap of text you come across, this second iOS outing from Fable designer Dene Carter has picked up some of the worst habits of smartphone gaming. Its controls suggest it’s also learned from the best, though, with much of the fun managed by a single finger as you prod to run and swipe to jump. Incoboto’s puzzles dip into busywork a little too often for it to be the classic that you’ll wish it was, perhaps, but this is still atmospheric, economical and brimming with self-assurance.