To date, Mojang has enjoyed remarkable success almost exclusively from the strength of one game — Minecraft. The Microsoft-owned Swedish studio is about to test its luck with its next major game though, finally setting a release date for the delayed Cobalt.
The side-scrolling action game, developed by three-person studio Oxeye Games and published by Mojang, will launch on Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 on 2 February. It'll set you back $19.99 “or equivalent”, although UK specific prices haven't been set yet.
Cobalt was originally set for release around October 2015, but was held back at almost the last minute because Oxeye said it was “buggier than we're comfortable with”. The delay has not only allowed for those kinks to be worked out, but for the console launch to arrive simultaneously with the PC version. It also means the game dodges the glut of releases vying for Christmas purchases.
Despite the Minecraft connection, don't expect it to be anything like the open-world sandbox. Instead, Cobalt offers a blend of run-and-gun combat and fast-paced 2D platforming with cartwheeling cyborgs, upgradable weapons, and slow-motion gameplay mechanics that let you punch enemy fire right back at them. It also packs in an eight-hour story campaign, and multiplayer modes including “capture the plug”, deathmatch, survival, and the Counter-Strike inspired TeamStrike, where each player only has one life. Oh, and tameable space hamsters, of course.
Will Cobalt be the new Minecraft? No, almost certainly not — but only because Minecraft is a certifiable phenomenon. This is aiming more for the competitive gamer, with the real draw being its potential for long-term post-release versus play.
If you can't stand to wait just over two weeks to get your hands on it, you can buy the alpha version — which Oxeye admits is “remarkably dated” — for PC now. Anyone who's purchased the alpha will get an upgrade to the full Steam version upon release.