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I feel like this is a game that you need to either get your hands on yourself, or see it in action to really understand what it's all about. I think the bigger focus is on the arcade and multiplayer as somewhere you'll be getting the most fun, online, with friends, or with bots. If that's where your heart lies with this I do think you'll get enough bang for your buck at full price.
Where Cobalt differs from other platform games, is in the multi player aspect. Here we have a horde mode style game, a capture the flag mode, and a death match free for all that reminds me of Playstation's All Star Battle Royale! Fast and fun, that is when the frame rate doesn't suffer due to some lag or if the server doesn't boot you out. This marks what is otherwise a fun online mode, but the single player game makes up for the shortcomings in the multiplayer mode. I disagree with some reviews elsewhere that say it looks as if the multiplayer was bolted on in a kind of what the hell, we may as well do it mood. It's fun and amusing and makes a change from all of the CoD clones out there.
It's a likeable game, and it feels fantastic to play when you nail an extended combat encounter with a chain of flawless shots, deflections, rolls, slides and aerial skull punches. It can be a touch imprecise, especially when trying to time a shot while rolling or throwing an explosive, but sometimes your failures can be just as entertaining as an unbroken display of acrobatic death.
Cobalt is an instant classic for side-scrolling brawlers. The combat is varied and addictive, the mechanics sufficiently complex to satisfy dedicated players, and the competitive modes can entertain all sorts of fans. Throw in the pretty fun story mode as well as the support for the Steam Workshop, through which players can devise their own maps, and you have a great investment.
Cobalt is a resourceful game stained only by a controversial artistic direction. An indie gem that, between single-player and multiplayer, gives everything and does it well.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Cobalt could definitely use a bit more documentation or a more fleshed-out tutorial to explain the many systems it throws at you from the outset, and the gameplay never feels as tight as, say, Super Meat Boy, but it's full of its own weird, clunky charm and certainly has a high skill ceiling for those interested in mastering it. Imagine R2-D2 in Mark of the Ninja – that's Cobalt.
For a game with such novel and simple mechanics, they're a bit too hard to get to make it a casual battle couch game. The story never grasped me entirely, and although it's mildly enjoyable, it never gets much better than that.
While the game's story campaign may have a linear progression, there are different ways of handling encounters, navigating the environment, and controlling the pace you progress at.
There's a pretty good game buried somewhere inside Cobalt, obscured by layers of poor balancing and technical glitches. The energetic combat and fun weapons make multiplayer a neat pick-up-and-play experience, but the bungled and buggy story mode just doesn't cut it. Cobalt left me feeling blue.
The multiplayer is fine if you can find people to play with, but it doesn't save the experience. If this shipped without a campaign, it might have benefited from it, but as it is now, even the good part will probably be forgotten soon enough.