Robbotto is an arcade platformer akin to classics such as the original Mario Bros. Powerdown all enemy robots in each level to move on to the next (and there are 100 levels, so that’s a lot of robots to powerdown).
Disclaimer: Review code was provided by JMJ Interactive (via Terminals). However, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are solely our own.
To powerdown an enemy robot, you’ll first need to electrify them by shooting them with an electric shock by pressing the Y button, and then spray them with water by pressing the X button (It’s a simple equation: robots + electricity + water = robot down). It may sound simple enough, but the challenge certainly presents itself the further you get.
Once all enemies are defeated, you can go back and collect points from each of the enemies before proceeding through the warp zone to the next level. While trying to get the highest score is a staple in arcade games, it is highly unlikely that you’ll beat all 100 levels without losing all of your hearts at least once, because you lose your entire score when you do. This certainly makes the score system outdated and practically pointless.
Your little robot feels smooth to control and moves at a rate that is easy to grasp. However, the falling speed feels airy and leaves you vulnerable to attacks and collisions. The gameplay remains simplistic as there are no power ups throughout the game or upgrades of any kind. On the other hand, there are no power ups or upgrades, which keeps the gameplay dull and repetitive.
There is a two-player co-op mode that would ideally create more fun. However the mode is incredibly frustrating as one character must do the electrifying and the other do the spraying. This dynamic creates unnecessary frustration and a pure headache to play. On the bright side, you get six hearts instead of three; that’s nice!
The variety of enemies you encounter increases as you progress though the game, but they lack creativity in design. But we’re talking about gameplay here, and you’ll be taking on robots who revive other powerdowned robots, robots who drop land mines and an impressive amount of other enemies with various abilities.
On every tenth level, there are boss fights that present a decent amount of challenge. You may need to use your wit when approaching some of them, and they become incredibly difficult towards the end.
There were some cheap death moments where it seemed that the hitbox detection was a little off, which clearly caused for some frustrating moments.
We unfortunately came across a glitch where our little robot friend got push inside of a wall. We managed to get out of the put, but not without some frustration and awkward jumping.
We also had the game crash on us, but only once. However we learned the hard way that the game doesn’t autosave, and only saves when you actively click ‘Save & Quit’. Playing the first 23 levels wasn’t as fun the second time round.
Robbotto’s earlier levels perfectly ease you into the game. There is a quick tutorial to teach you the controls, but you will learn more by doing as you proceed through each level.
The levels in Robbotto are made to be bite-sized; they are able to be completed within a single minute. This style of gameplay is always perfect for the Switch in that they make for quick gameplay that you can easily pick up and play on the go.
Some of the level design towards the latter portion of the game can be truly ingenious, sometimes to the point of frustrating. What we mean by this is that these levels mix up the gravity mechanics (meaning that you’ll fall to a different side), and while that is clever (and it certainly must be praised as so), it can be difficult to adjust when you’ve have over 60 levels to get use to a certain way of falling.
Graphics / Art Design
It’s pretty obvious what JMJ Interactive are attempting to achieve in regards to the art design for Robbotto. Classic arcade games that Robbotto has drawn its inspirations from have a clean-cut pixelated style, and this game wishes to recreate that aesthetic whilst providing more variety in color and presentation.
The positives that can be drawn from this art style is that it makes it easy for the player(s) to determine enemies and obstacles, whilst presenting a colorful and aesthetically pleasing experience. However, the art style has been done to death! It certainly isn’t unique and may turn buyers away as they can easily chalk it up to many other games with a similar artistic approach.
The main character and enemies lack any sort of imagination, being bland and basic. The challenge is in the level designs and how they can make these characters as awkward as possible for you to move around them, but even the levels certainly lack artistic creativity.
Music / Sound Design
The music in Robbotto is done in a classic retro chip-tune style, which is what you’d expect for a game such as this. The music fits the mood of the game well, but it’s never anything special, and can sometimes feel slightly tedious with its consistently slow tempo.
The music also doesn’t change between levels, so it can become very repetitive. It only shifts when you get to boss levels, which only then does it pick up in tempo and create tense moments.
Final Score 54%
Robbotto’s classic arcade gameplay accurately replicates that of the past, but doesn’t do much beyond that. Its lack of originality ultimately leaves it as a game that can be easily overlooked when scrolling through the eShop. Robbotto’s gameplay is adequate as an arcade platformer, but without upgrades or powerups to mix up the mechanics (aside from shifting the gravity a little in the occasional level), Robbotto is repetitive and dull. Lastly, the glitches, crashes and hitbox detection issues ultimately dampens an already mediocre experience.
Will you be picking up Robbotto on Switch? Let us know in the Comments section below.