These may be the droids you're looking for.

I’ve played through so many Lemmings-like games at this point that I can’t tell you if I’ve actually ever played Lemmings. I point that out only because this Lemmings-like game, Quadroids, is not one I’m going to forget any time soon.

The comparison draws from you helping what appear to be chibi android robots get from here to there. I’m not sure of the purpose of that, as it’s not clear what here and there actually are. But the droids have to do it, and they have to die along the way.

The trick isn’t just sacrificing the droids to the numerous hazards, it’s that you’re separately controlling more than one of them at a time, and across multiple areas. The screen is split into quadrants, and you’ll have to navigate multiple droids through them at the same time.

Sound impossible? It’ll often feel like that, but at least the controls are simple. The droids move on their own, and you just need to make them jump. Each quadrant gets its own button: L for top left, R for top right, ZL for bottom left, and ZR for bottom right. (The empty lavender circles in these screen captures will help you remember when they’re not generic press assets.) You can reassign these, but I think the setup is just fine. Regardless of the buttons you decide to use, you just need to hit that button to make a droid jump while in that quadrant.

There are many elements that add complexity to this task. Training your brain to follow the droids into their new screen is tougher than it sounds. Get used to the phrase, “Wrong button.” Of course, all kinds of obstacles must be avoided, too. Or not. Some must hit. The first head-scratcher I had involved a jump I couldn’t make until I realized that if I run a couple droids into a set of spikes, I can jump off their dead (deactivated?) bodies to reach the ledge I needed.

In other words, trial and error is an important part of the process. Reaching the end of a level requires you to (a) figure out how to get there, (b) practice and fail at getting there, and (c) getting there. But even then, you’re not done. Reaching the end will advance you to the next level, but are you a completionist? If so, you’ll want to get there in a defined set of time using less than the defined set of moves. You’ll also want to collect some objects along the way. This means you’ll be repeating pretty much every level until you’ve achieved all objectives or just moved on.

The latter will often be the case when playing by yourself, as simultaneously controlling so many moving parts in so many areas will cause your brain to cramp. Many levels are forgiving, allowing you to contain a droid in an area where it just bounces back and forth while you concentrate on getting the other to safety. I often had to rely on that in order to proceed.

Quadroids does something great, though, by letting you play with up to three others in local co-op. Using separate controllers, each of you can take one section and its button. When a droid or droids enters your area, that player is in control. I had much more success when doing this with my son. Each of us took two sections, and that eased the difficulty enough for us to successfully chase the side goals…for a while, anyway. With over 100 levels to complete, there are some later ones I wouldn’t attempt without four players. Scores are not sent to the leaderboards if you’re playing co-op, but I couldn’t care less about that. “He was #1 on Level 78 of Quaroids” is not something I’d place on my tombstone.

Graphically, Quadroids mimics the appearance of mid-’80s video games, and I think that’s about perfect. The bright colors set against dark backgrounds makes it easy to focus on the action. The techno ambient music is calming, but also forgettable.

I don’t know that I would be interested in playing Quadroids through to completion by myself. Because so many of the levels require pin-point execution in addition to simply figuring out what to do, they can be frustrating enough to push players away. When playing with others, however, I found the game to be much more approachable. And funny, really; the game’s quirks and comedic deaths are more enjoyable when shared with other players. Playing with others also amplifies the need for “one more try,” something a game like this really requires to be successful.

So, if you view Quadroids as a party game, I think it’s easy to recommend at its meager $12.00 asking price. It’s not one you’ll be playing for hours per session, but it’ll be worth keeping around to run through a half dozen levels at a time.