A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to take a closer look at a preview build of Good Robot. The outlook was positive, but there is always room for improvement. A lot can change in a few weeks, but for a game this usually just means a few stability improvements or a few little extras. Good Robot went into digital storefront on April 5 and we have another chance to review the game. We pick up where we left off and this time it’s for the review.
Rogue genre with robots
The roguelike genre has exploded in popularity and Good Robot tries to capture this in a simple way without too much fuss. The home screen only has a few options and pressing the home button immediately throws the player into the first level. The goal is simple: try to kill as many robots as possible and reach the end of each level unscathed. As in any other roguelike, game over screen means the player loses all his progress and has to start over. But that doesn’t mean we’re dealing with a complicated game here. The WASD buttons allow to move the robot horizontally and vertically and with the mouse it is possible to indicate where the robot will fire its weapons. The player has two weapons at his disposal at all times. A primary and secondary weapon, which can be activated with the left and right mouse buttons. The first few enemy robots you encounter are easy to destroy and immediately drop green credits, which can be used to purchase new weapons, upgrades and various hats.
Each level has a start and an end, both of which contain vending machines where upgrades and new weapons can be purchased. Which color machine you will encounter is random, making it regularly a challenge to encounter the right colored machine at the right time. The color of each machine determines whether it will only sell upgrades, weapons or hats. Each time the player completes a level, he or she has the option to choose what the next level will have in store. The variation is indicated by simple colored icons; green are smaller but larger amounts of enemies, orange or red means more dangerous enemies, the money and power icon indicate that there will be more money to be found or that the environment will be dangerous. These levels are the preparation to collect as many upgrades as possible in order to finally successfully defeat the bosses. These robots have their own levels and by defeating them it gives the player access to new environments and levels. The simple setup makes it easy for everyone to pick up, resulting in a challenging game where everyone tries to get as far as possible and collect the highest score.
Good Robots, Bad Robots
The basics of Good Robot are very entertaining, but the fact that the game was made by a smaller developer is noticeable in the finish and details. During the start-up of the game it can sometimes take a long time before the entire screen is covered and everything works. This creates a less finished impression and can potentially scare players. Graphically, this isn’t the most beautiful game, but at least it tries to go for a consistent art style. The animations, explosions and design is minimal and this is a shame. The core of a roguelike is repetition and the levels are so similar that the player has little sense of progression. The different weapons that the player encounters determines how easily you can get through each level and success often plays too big a role here. The wide variety of weapons is interesting, but it works against you if only a select group of weapons are effective against the various enemies in the game. The music, however, is very decent and gives the game a futuristic touch.
Good Robot can be purchased for around eight euros in the Steam store and this is on the high side for the quality of the game. The game manages to offer enough hours of fun for this amount, but few players will play this game for more than a few hours. There are plenty of other roguelike titles out there of much higher quality for the same price these days.
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