Robonauts from QubicGames studio comes to the Nintendo Switch. A console where e-shop is already kind of flooded with plenty of 2D smaller titles. This is sometimes a double-edged sword where on one hand, the shop can become oversaturated with similar games, on the other hand, the devs need to make their games stand out from the crowd. This usually leads to innovation, new gameplay elements, visuals and other. While I can't say that Robonauts is innovative in its gameplay elements, the game is certainly fun for what it is. So let's break that down.
Robonauts is available for purchase on the Nintendo game store.
Starting Robonauts you are greeted with a surprising CGI cutscene where the titular Robot is blasted into space and crashlands on a desert planet. He meets up with another robot called El Supremo who plays the role of mission giver/narrator. The setup is essentially only a backdrop, an excuse for the arcade shoot-em-up style of the game.
The game features three modes of play. Singleplayer, which is self-explanatory. Cooperation which enables you and another player to go through the single-player campaign together locally. Last but not least game mode is the Hunting Grounds which is essentially the versus mode where you and another player locally compete for points.
Singleplayer and cooperation can be played in casual and hard mode and feature 12 levels of increasing difficulty. Taking control of your Robot, you move left and right along planetary bodies and are able to jump to other, adjacent planets, picking up power-ups along your way that are dropped by destroyed enemies. The goal of each stage is to clear all the enemies and reach the teleporter. The game ups the ante a bit by adding some defense objectives, but it all boils down to blasting enemies. And there is a nice variety of those. Ranging from simple turtle like ones, to flying ones, dinosaurs, other robots and even giant worms. They generally keep you on your toes due to the sheer variety of things attacking you from all directions.
Your robot auto-aims the nearest enemies letting you focus on platforming and avoiding enemy fire. This makes the game a bit easier than I would have liked and I found hard mode to be a must if I want to have any sort of challenge. Power-ups felt underwhelming since I finished certain stages by only having the default weapon equipped. The fast/low damage weapon vs slow/strong spread weapon didn't make much of a difference, especially since it would only last for a short while before running out of ammo. A bit more impactful were the secondary weapon power-ups, which are essentially different types of grenades. They packed a bit more punch but were a bit difficult to aim until you get used to the curvature and gravity of the planetary bodies on which the battles take place.
There is a simple achievement system in the game that feels like its there only to lengthen what is otherwise a very short game. Playing through all the modes on the hard difficulty, you can finish everything in around 2-3 hours. The game works best for a quick fix when carrying your Switch around or playing with someone not much into gaming because the game is really simple to play. And it can certainly be fun if used in such manner.
VISUALS AND AUDIO
As you can see in the screenshots, Robonauts is visually pretty attractive game. As far as indie titles go, it's nothing special, but the way it all comes together in terms of visuals, music and the theme of the game makes it feel much better than it actually is. From the moment you enter the main menu you are greeted with an energetic soundtrack that bleeds over to every level of the game, making the action feel totally electric. The whole thing looks great and plays smooth playing on either the tablet or docked.
There were numerous times where I wanted to stop playing but the visuals and the music kept me going. Overall the game exudes a certain uniqueness in its presentation that is certain to keep me coming back for those 5 minutes of fast-paced arcade action every now and then.
Robonauts is a small game that does what it sets out to do. It will provide you with short bursts of visually gorgeous and simple arcade gameplay along with a great soundtrack. Going into it expecting anything other than that and you will set yourself up for disappointment.
Some of the mechanics certainly feel half-baked and I wouldn't mind if the game was a bit longer and offered a bit more bang for my buck but I still had fun with it, especially in the multiplayer, despite the lack of difficulty.
|+ Simple and fun gameplay||– Very short|
|+ Visuals and soundtrack||– Lack of challenge|