Boti: Byteland Overclocked PC Review

Boti: Byteland Overclocked is a stellar adventure with a friend, but less so alone.

By Fragnarok, Posted 15 Sep 2023

There isn’t much public information about Purple Ray Studios. They are based in Warsaw, Poland, and gained notoriety at the 2021 Epic GameJam. Boti: Byteland Overclocked is a continuation of that jam entry. Publisher Untold Tales has a more pronounced history. They specifically help launch games that have narrative or world-building hooks. This includes the Switch release of the sci-fi RPG Gamedec and the Arise adventure game series.

The world of Boti: Byteland Overclocked takes place inside a computer. But instead of physical chips or code, the realm is depicted as a lush island world. The inhabitants are various mechanical robots tasked with various forms of labor. You take control of Boti, the latest bot assigned to the region. They are a courier whose job is to collect bytes and other loose data. They are overseen by the old and wise Kernel and assisted on the field by two floating testing programs: One and Zero.

Boti: Byteland Overclocked|Purple Ray Studios|Untold Tales

You can also summon a second Boti to serve for multiplayer. This is an exact copy down to cosmetics but has no story presence or reason. This second avatar can also be removed at any time. By default, drop-in, drop-out online multiplayer is turned on, so it is possible for another person to randomly show up unless disabled.

During orientation, Kernel complains that everything is moving too slowly, including the rafts allowing the bots to traverse safely without getting wet. One and Zero themselves coerce Boti to head to the island’s tower and forcibly overclock the entire system. This winds up shutting down the firewall and letting in numerous rogue viruses.

Boti’s actions are all available from the start of the game. They can double jump with the space bar, dash with the left shift, attack with the left mouse button, and scan with the right mouse button. This inferred sense shows which beings are hostile and objects that can break to find items. The right mouse is also a slam attack, used mostly to press large buttons. This can only be done from the air, though the default controls make it possible to scan when you mean to slam.

Q and E can also be used to push and pull objects at a short distance, mostly boxes and buttons. However, this can also be used in multiplayer to send shove around the other characters, either to send them up ledges or just as a means to mess around. There seem to be typos in the game's text, where “push” and “pull” are often swapped, leading to confusing instructions.

Boti: Byteland Overclocked|Purple Ray Studios|Untold Tales

The platforming in Boti: Byteland Overclocked is solid; you will easily land and reach your intended location without retrying. Some ledges do require dashing and double jumping to make it, but there aren’t too many challenging obstacles. Many of the levels are designed for methodical precision - typically stopping to turn the camera and puzzle out a route. This does, unfortunately, mean that there isn’t always a sense of quick momentum like you’d find in Wavetale.

Other sections are dedicated to speed: several portions contain data-filled halfpipes courses where Boti gains a bonus when raiding a certain pattern. This is similar to the Audiosurf series but with gradual sliding instead of snapping into positions. This does mean it is rather hard to dodge obstacles in the middle of a lane, requiring you to drift or jump before you even process the danger. These courses can be rerun for more rewards, so there is an incentive to start over.

Enemies are varied but typically not very threatening. The most numerous are guard bots that have a wide swipe but can also be destroyed in one hit. There are also shock bots that shock when approached. They themselves cannot be destroyed, but once stunted, they will transform into a temporary jump pad. There aren’t really boss fights, but more large environmental hazards. These enemies tend to stay in place, are invincible, and send out projectiles while you solve a puzzle to triumph.   

Boti: Byteland Overclocked is heavily focused on collecting data and other currencies. Most areas are blocked by data storage, where you must deposit a set amount of megabytes. This starts at a reasonable 100 MB but then gets progressively larger.

Boti: Byteland Overclocked|Purple Ray Studios|Untold Tales

You are never presented with enough bytes by just following the story - you will need to stop and explore around for side objectives, hidden caches, and alternate routes. These collectively lead to a major surplus of data, which instead may cause you to blaze through the main campaign. For example, the next story beat may require 250 MB, but you have nearly 3000 MB due to getting sidetracked.

The inventory is also shared in multiplayer games. This can result in the other player wandering off, collecting data you may have never seen or know about. They can use whatever currency to clear puzzles, buy cosmetics, or heal lost life. To limit this a bit, both characters need to stand at a door to open it.

The online multiplayer is a bit of an afterthought without many quality-of-life features. Lobbies do not show where the other player is located, their objective, or overall progress in the story. Joining up with them is just a crapshoot on what is happening. Additionally, there is no game chat function or other means of communication. Your best option is to emote or jump around to get their attention.

Still, multiplayer seems to be a major draw of Boti: Byteland Overclocked. The intent seems to be to play through the game multiple times with an array of different players, both locally and online. This is also a means of showing off any costumes you have acquired. Some of these skins are found in secret caches, while others are won from side objectives.

Boti: Byteland Overclocked|Purple Ray Studios|Untold Tales

Playing the game again is also a means of prolonging the gameplay. Due to the low amount of challenge and no higher difficulties, it is likely you can complete Boti: Byteland Overclocked in five hours or less. Still, with additional secrets and rewards, there is more to explore than just the main scenario. To some degree, it feels like the zones were made first with their many nooks to explore, and the story was built around these locations. 

The voice acting is good but not amazing. Kernal and other story-related bots have strong personalities and offer some break from the tedium. However, One and Zero are more one-dimensional. Zero is cold with a dry delivery, while One is meant to be annoyingly bubbly. This may have been fine if they were just in cutscenes, but their ambient dialogue repeats too often. You can only endure so much of One shouting “One Hundred Percent!” until just shutting off voices entirely.

The music is fitting for the computer-themed setting. It is relaxing and techno-sounding but never really interferes with the gameplay or mood. The music mixing is a bit low, even when all of the sliders are equal. It is recommended that you lower both sound and voices so that the music isn’t drowned out.

Boti: Byteland Overclocked can look very impressive on high settings (there is no ultra). Zones are crisp with reflective sheens on both the robotic characters and open water surfaces. The focus on open seafronts does have some similarities to the visuals of SCARF. Particle effects also help sell the feeling of being inside a computer. Sadly, things look far worse at medium or low settings. Textures tend to take the biggest hit, with some tutorials becoming completely unreadable. Graphical settings are also mostly presets with the extra option of toggling RTX and vertical sync.

Boti: Byteland Overclocked|Purple Ray Studios|Untold Tales

The impressive visuals come at a major cost, though. Boti: Byteland Overclocked is very performance-intensive on GPUs and memory. Even with the latest hardware, you may find the game eating up nearly 90% of both processes. It is highly recommended to shut off all other programs while playing. Additionally, there can be random bouts of slowdown.

There are some bugs, mostly due to menus and other interactions. Being in the options menu is meant to pause the game. However, the action can suddenly unfreeze, leading to being attacked or moved while changing settings. There also isn’t a confirmation popup for most menus, including the possibility of accidentally exiting the entire game with one click.

At other points, doors and portals might not open, though this is typically fixed upon reloading. Boti: Byteland Overclocked is rather generous with its saves, and you will often be in the exact same place when loading. Additionally, there is a menu option to become unstuck or respawn at any point.

Boti: Byteland Overclocked isn’t a massive grand adventure but a short and sweet romp through more concise levels. You should treat it more like the 3D stages of Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time than an open sprawl like Super Mario Odyssey. Unlike those single-player games, Boti: Byteland Overclocked is very much balanced around two-player functionality. If you do have a friend to play with, Boti: Byteland Overclocked is a great purchase. But for those wanting to go solo, it might be better to wait to see if updates or changes will come in the future.

Kurtis Seid (@KurtisSeid)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Untold Tales
Developer(s): Purple Ray Studios
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Platformer, Exploration, Computers, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 2023-09-15

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