Review – Kosmokrats

When we look at videos of astronauts, we can’t help but feel amazed at their prowess. They’re basically building gigantic space stations in the most inhospitable of environments, where one minuscule failure can result in everybody dying the most horrible of deaths. It looks like the most complicated task possible, but Kosmokrats makes it look so completely easy on the other hand.

Build it properly, or off to the gulag with you.

Kosmokrats takes place in an alternate version of 1980’s Soviet Union, a reality in which the Soviets were actually sending people to live in elaborate space stations, living their lives and doing their part in order to make Mother Russia the first superpower to colonize new worlds and eventually win the coveted Space Race once and for all. You are the responsible for assembling these space stations, a competent drone pilot who used to work as a potato peeler until like five minutes before the beginning of the game. 

You assemble these space stations in what I can only describe as “space Tetris with wonky physics and momentum”. You move your drone around the stage, looking for pieces to connect together (they are marked with matching colors), and it’s your job to either push a piece towards the other one, or use a tractor them to pull it alongside your drone. Meanwhile, you gotta avoid obstacles, like cosmonauts floating around like idiots, and make sure not to “throw” a piece with harsh force, or else you will damage your station and lose points as a result.

Hey, buddeh!

To be honest, the gameplay is pretty basic and it never truly excites. At the beginning of a level, you will be told what to build, and it’s up to you to figure out how to connect each piece as quickly as possible, all while avoiding as many unfair obstacles the game feels like throwing at you at any given moment. The physics are intentionally wonky, turning the game into a slightly annoying experience at times, with your drone acting as if you were building a space station atop a frozen lake. The game can be summarised as a series of puzzle instructions and tight time limits that become frustrating and repetitive pretty quickly.

I didn’t mind the gameplay that much, as you can see, but I certainly liked Kosmokrats‘ presentation. It’s a goofy, light-hearted and puppet-like rendition of exaggerated Soviet propaganda, with everyone sounding like a stereotypical drunken Russian, threatening you to cut off your potato supply and sending you to the gulag whenever you do something wrong. I loved how every character looked like South Park‘s portrayl of Canadians, as well the excellent voice acting, which even included some bonafide stars in its cast, such as British actor Bill Nighy, known for roles in Love Actually, Hot Fuzz and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I don’t think these recruits will find this new station a very welcoming home.

In short, Kosmokrauts did not wow me at all with its shallow, repetitive, and intentionally clunky physics-based gameplay, but it oozed so much charm with its goofy visuals and superb voice acting, that I decided to keep on playing just to be greeted with some exaggerated Russian accents and dumb puns. Hearing Bill Nighy doing some silly Soviet-era impressions was more than enough to make me play an extra handful of annoying rounds of Tetris in Space before getting too fed up to keep going.


Graphics: 7.5

While the actual puzzle sections aren’t visually impressive, the goofy cutscenes featuring puppet-like characters are just way too charming to be ignored.

Gameplay: 6.0

A jigsaw-assembling simulator with the added inconvenience of having to deal with momentum-based physics, contrived time limits, and lots of obstacles. It’s fun at first, and certainly unqiue, but it got repetitive after a while. The physics are definitely too annoying to deal with.

Sound: 9.0

A good soundtrack in its own right, but the real star of the show is the voice acting, which even includes some familiar faces, such as Bill Nighy.

Fun Factor: 6.0

I was amused with its unique concept at first, but I can safely say that I eventually kept playing Kosmokrauts not for its gameplay loop, but because I just wanted to experience more of its silly presentation.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Kosmokrats is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Kosmokrats was provided by the publisher.