Here’s a little morsel for the puzzle-fiends among you to chew on. Bit Rat: Singularity is a standalone ‘teaser’ for a larger planned cyberpunk story by new studio Bucket Drum Games, but a full-featured and remarkably clever little game in its own right. An AI (you) has gained sentience in the basement of a large corporate tower, and begins testing its reach, extending paths to spread itself through the tower. Naturally, hacking and corporate intrigue abounds.
In mechanical terms, Bit Rat: Singularity initially looks like a simple block-rotating game in the vein of Pipe Dream, but there’s a surprising amount of depth to the game thanks to a variety of carefully considered and interlocking gameplay systems. Take a look at the game in action in the trailer after the jump.
While the trailer above may make the game look a little simplistic, there’s a surprising amount of complexity to it. While your goal within each level is simple – connect a data path from your starting server to the exit point – you quickly end up juggling multiple mechanics, including which rooms are powered, which generators are active and how much load they’re under, which rooms are accessible to the temporarily hackable human beings (controlling them is a process which the AI finds distasteful, if necessary) wandering around the complex and more. As you can only rotate tiles that are both powered and within your existing data network, you’ll often have to plan ahead and strategically break routes in order to re-path through them from a different angle later.
While early levels in the story mode (a pleasingly cyberpunk story of an AI gaining sentience and deciding to go for a bit of a wander) offer plenty of wiggle room, things ramp up quickly and before long you’ve got to plug and play your way through some intimidatingly complex systems where the only way out requires several layers of forethought. Mercifully, the game offers an unlimited undo function, allowing you to roll back moves. Without it, Bit Rat would be nigh unplayable, because all it takes is a single tile twisting in the wrong direction to not only break your carefully constructed circuit, but render the level unbeatable. With this feature, it becomes a far more enjoyable proposition, although my pitiful brain-meats are already starting to feel a little strained even relatively early on in the campaign.
I’m already curious to see what developers Bucket Drum Games have planned for the universe they’ve established here. Singularity is only the prologue chapter of a larger narrative, after all, and introduces what feels like a surprisingly complex world, even if we only see it from the dispassionate eyes of an AI as it passes through. While I can sense that I’m soon to splatter against the glass ceiling of my own intellect’s limitations playing this, Bit Rat: Singularity seems like a pretty good way for puzzle fans to while away an afternoon, especially at the (literally) cheap-as-chips price of $2 over on Itch.io.