Quadrilateral Cowboy

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Quadrilateral Cowboy Game Poster Image
Intentionally confusing puzzler tests ideas behind gaming.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Tough to say what message truly is, other than inviting players to rethink what they expect from video games.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main characters are small collective of thieves, hackers who, although adorable, are breaking law, going to great lengths to steal artifacts, items from all over world.

Ease of Play

Simple to learn; harder to understand, fully grasp what game is asking of you, how to do it. Implores you to experiment, muck around, figure things out at every turn.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that QUADRILATERAL COWBOY is a downloadable puzzle game, but not in the conventional or obvious sense. Puzzles are less about combining items in the right order and more about exploiting your knowledge of video game conventions to pull off each ridiculous heist. There's no questionable or controversial content to be found.

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What's it about?

In QUADRILATERAL COWBOY, you play Rhombus the Kid. But instead of playing a gunslinger, you play a hacker with an old modem who, along with his crew of riders, plans heists where the goal is to get in, get out, and avoid detection. All of these heists are conducted with your modem and new "state-of-the-art" portable computer, which lets you manipulate cameras, doors, and other parts of the levels.

Is it any good?

It's hard to sum up this confusing puzzle game as being either good or bad, because it's both strange and oddly satisfying at the same time. There's a warm and goofy charm pervading every moment of the game, which is a true feat since this is a video game about computer hacking. But this game is also very challenging. It strives at every turn to be surprising and challenges you to do things you wouldn't think were possible in a video game. For example, one of the earliest missions gets you accustomed to how hitting a key on your keyboard freezes time to let you manipulate your entry point on the level. The game just throws you into a level, and it's only by stumbling into this feature that you discover you can poke around and find every camera and door that can be hacked. That also means you'll eventually figure out the order in which they need to be hacked, and then you proceed with your quest.

As mentioned above, if this sounds strange, that's because it is. QC is for people craving something a little different. You'll spend a lot of time feeling lost, confused, and attempting Hail Mary actions to see what you can stir up and get into. This is what QC is actually all about: pushing you in both directions and seeing what you decide to try. But whether you enjoy it and stick with it is completely up to you. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the throwback or "retro" aesthetic is so popular in video games. Why wouldn't you want things to look as "impressive" or as realistic as possible? 

  • "Hacking" in video games is a popular convention, returned to time and time again. What is so thrilling about having mastery of this skill? Is it important in real life? 

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Blendo Games
  • Release date: July 25, 2016
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions

For kids who love puzzles

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