Kosmokrats is a physics-based puzzler set in a fictional Russia during the Cold War. Let’s have a Quick Look and see if it’s any good!
There’s always something that I find fascinating about puzzle games that are based around physics. It’s the kind of thing where I feel like even failing can be fun – and Kosmokrats fits that bill nicely. Set in an alternative universe in the middle of the Cold War, you play as a Russian potato peeler who finds himself quickly out of his depth.
The game has you piloting a drone that’s helping to build spaceships. You have colour-coded magnetic panels to line up and voxel shapes to piece together. They clunk nicely when you bounce into them, and they float realistically when you throw them around. The drone itself controls nicely, and everything has a good sense of weight to it. But while inertia is your friend; gravity is not.
You’re assembling these spaceships in orbit, meaning they are technically falling towards the planet. So as well as matching the pieces, you need to complete the building within a very specific time limit or they (and you) hurtle to the ground and burn up.
The story is a lot of fun, clearly taking notes from other Cold War era games like Papers Please. Although Kosmokrats is just silly enough to avoid becoming quite so depressing. It also has branching narratives with (apparently) 12 different endings. Quite an impressive feat for a small developer!
The puzzles are good, with a good range of shapes to manipulate, but the difficulty is all over the place. Your drone has very limited battery power, meaning you can only lasso and drag for a while before you have no choice but to physically push the pieces around. The strength of the physics is also my biggest complaint, because pushing isn’t nearly as much fun as pulling the items around, nor is it as accurate. So it means that as the pressure to complete the mission increases, your actual ability to do it decreases. Maybe this is intentional, but with no option to restart the mission once you’ve started, it’s very easy to find yourself going down a different story arc than you might have intended.
In Soviet Space Game, Plans Change You!
There are modifiers that change the way the game works or the way that certain systems behave. Some of these are story-based so I won’t spoil them here, but some are little gameplay augments. Like increased drone fuel or fewer colours of connectors for a few missions. There’s quite a few that pop up as choices in the story, but the one that you’ll have little control over is hunger. Hunger has very little effect here except that your mission preview no longer shows any colours. You might think that’s not a big deal, but when you’re dealing with a short time limit and a large number of pieces, that preview is invaluable. You can fight off hunger by buying a meal, but of course that uses credits that you might want to spend on other things.
So far, most of the things I’ve bought have no actual in-game effect. A motivational poster, some wallpaper. But it’s possible that some of the later (more expensive) items add extra mechanics as well. They’re expensive enough that I’m already tempted to try and fight through the hunger to buy them!
Go Space Force!
I’ve only played a few hours of Kosmokrats, but I like it. If your brain is faster than mine when it comes to assembling weird-shaped puzzles, you should have your pick of story beats. Or if you like messing with physics and enjoy when things go hilariously wrong, you’re gonna have a good time. And if you like watching bad things happen to communist generals, maybe you should speak to a professional, but you’ll probably enjoy the game too.
Where to Buy Kosmokrats
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