ReCore – Review

Platform Reviewed: PC
Platforms Available: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Armature Studios, Comcept, Asobo Studios
Release Date: September 13, 2016
MSRP: USD: 39.99. Php. 1,850.00

ReCore is a bit of a nostalgia trip for me. While there have been a good amount of action platformers through the years, most of them are side-scrollers. This does remind me of the yesteryears of gaming where all I had was a Playstation 1 as a means to amuse myself. I want to say that the game has an interesting premise, but an empty world and lines of busy work does no good in my book.

I have always had a massive dislike for busy work, an empty world I can overlook especially if the setting is a barren desert, but unnecessary busy work brings out a lot of ire. Before the long form rant breaks out, let us look at what ReCore is.


You are put into the shoes of Joule Adams, who is one of the shift teams assigned to the terraforming of the planet imaginatively named Far Eden. As to why you are there, Earth was left uninhabitable by a disease called the Dust Devil Plague and it was decided that it is best for humanity to seek a new home in the stars. To be the backbone in building the perfect new home for humanity, robots called Core Bots were utilized for the massive terraforming work needed to make Far Eden habitable. You wake up from cryo-sleep and everything is amiss. Terraforming progress has halted and most Core Bots are now hostile. Time to set things right! You pick up your rifle and with your trusty robotic dog companion Mack are off to do so.

Well, I am sorry to break it to you, but you lack Prismatic Orbs, yeah that one is not going to do. Now, you go running around and get some. While you’re at it, level up, pick up blueprints, go find resources, ad infinitum. As a platformer, ReCore is basic, but it does it very well. The “dungeons” you go into are pretty bare bones linear experiences, but the puzzles in them are pretty entertaining. There is challenge in them, but as I like to say it falls flat afterwards. There is no real navigation in needed, only precise use of your exo-frame’s double jump and dash features. Do not get me wrong, they are pretty decent dungeons. The kicker though in all of this is each dungeon’s goal is exactly the same, for that matter the only reason why you are running around is the same: you need more Prismatic Orbs.

So what does this Prismatic Orb do? It is the key to actually progressing through the game. Glorified gates blocking your progression. This makes you explore the world, and yes, this is why it is an open world. It is not as rewarding as it sounds though, there are no secrets in the sand, just Core Bots, resources, the occasional tablet adding more flavor to the narrative and more sand. Open world sort of is a stretch though as it was a linear experience with the illusion of freedom. This is not even the limited freedom we get with most open world games, it is a true illusion. The desert plays tricks.


I did mention this was an action platformer, but the action is not that complicated. With just simply holding down your right mouse button, you are automatically locked onto your target and it just becomes a case of matching the colors to be able to deal damage or more damage. Okay, there is some depth in the form of crowd control as the enemies can get pretty numerous and they do hurt with their various attacks. There is also the ability to extract the cores of the hostile Core Bots, which is a pretty cool game of tug and war. You also have your robotic companion/s to assist you in combat bringing varied abilities to different situations. Then it just repeats over and over again and gets dull, but I do see the point in being more puzzle over shooter. Brain over brawn.

The robot companions are the highlight of the game, yet they are perhaps the second biggest bane with the first being Prismatic Orbs. Improving them constantly I can live with, it is progression after all and getting a bigger better robot is always cool, but they feel disposable as heck. I mean Joule has affection for them, but as the player there is nothing. They are mere tools to be used, and even at that it gets annoying. You are limited to bring two of them at a time, and there are various progress gates that require one of the unique abilities each of the varied robots have.

So say you walk into a place that needs to be dug, that is Mack the Dog’s job, but I do not happen to have him at this moment. Time to walk back to a teleportation pad and change who comes with me. So you spend your time walking, sitting in a loading screen, walking, interacting with a menu, walking, sitting at a loading screen, walking and then finally clearing this hurdle. That is a lot of unnecessary work.


Adding a bit of insult to injury on how many times you look at a loading screen is the length of it, even on a solid state drive. It is by no means as slow as loading Battlefield 4 on a hard disk drive, but it has a noticeably long load time none the less. Performance wise it is very smooth, but consider that the game ran on a computer with an Nvidia GTX 1080, it might be a bit overkill on a game that uses Unity. The visuals could have been better, such as better texture resolutions and anti-aliasing.

The best way to explain ReCore is that it’s a game that has the fundamentals of an action platformer nailed, but just to add more “purpose” is walled off at every turn by a progress gate. Give me my fetch quests, I would kill 15 robots, as long as I do not ever need to see a Prismatic Orb ever again.

This review is based on a review copy provided by the developers/publisher.