Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Indie Game Review - Mr Robot

Mr Robot is a pretty amazing game. You play Asimov (default name – you can change it to whatever you like), a little robot on a big ship, voyaging to a planet which can be colonised when planetfall is reached and the cryogenically suspended human crew members are woken up. Until then it’s up to the robots, led by the ship’s master computer HEL, to keep things running smoothly. However, something is going wrong – and what’s worse, something’s going wrong with HEL...

You start off performing basic tasks designed to get you acquainted with the game’s controls. The controls are fully customisable but you shouldn’t need to change any of them; the game can be played using mouse, keyboard, or a combination of both. The graphics are gorgeous and very well animated; the ship you’re travelling on is full of richly detailed rooms, with the once popular but now seldom-used isometric viewpoint used to great effect. Half of the game is a Head Over Heels style isometric platform puzzle game, and a very good one at that. The other half is a futuristic Final Fantasy style game, with battles played out by “ghost” programs in the circuitry of hostile machines, with your ghosts looking like they’ve just come off the set of TRON. All the features of an RPG are there; you gain experience and level up, you can find or buy items, weapons and armour to help you, etc.

The game also has a good plot, which is advanced at a nice pace as you play the game. The challenge level is about right – going through the main quest isn’t too difficult (though it’s not a pushover either), while getting hold of some of the more awkwardly-placed items will require a lot of practice and skill. The platform part of the game works well with quite a bit of variety of things to do, and a few tricky puzzles requiring some grey matter usage as well as a bit of keyboard or mouse dexterity. The mouse control works surprisingly well, in fact sometimes it seems even better when you have the inertia switched on.

I had to wonder while playing this if the scriptwriters of Wall-E had played it before writing that wonderful animated movie’s screenplay; your robot is reminiscent of Wall-E, the plot has similarities and there’s even a computer called EVE in Mr Robot! The intro is very atmospheric with nice graphics that somehow looked hand-drawn and excellent voice-acting. There’s good quality music throughout, and despite the bright and cheerful graphical style, there’s a real undercurrent of menace in the plot and some of the characters.

You’re not going to complete Mr Robot quickly, it’s a long-term challenge and a very enjoyable one at that – which you may well just come back to after completing it just because it’s a lot of fun. It has that rare ability of drawing you in immediately and then refusing to let go your attention of weeks afterwards. The combination of isometric platformer and turn-based RPG is not something I’ve really seen done before (or really considered as viable), but it works brilliantly.

If I absolutely had to find something to criticise about Mr Robot, I’d say that maybe it is a little to linear – but that’s nitpicking. It’s a great game and a worthy addition to anyone’s PC game collection.

[For slightly older gamers (which includes me...when I say older, I mean old enough to have owned an 8-bit computer when they were first out), it has the added advantage of bringing back retro memories of Head Over Heels, Quazatron, the early RPGs and TRON. Even without the nostalgia factor it’s a great game though.]

You can buy Mr Robot over at MoonPod Games.

My rating is 10/10 - only the second time I've ever given full marks to a game reviewed on this blog - it's just good in so many ways.

CaptainD's PC Gaming Blog


EEbEE said...

Wow Dave

This game looks epic.

CaptainD said...

It really is good. The other two games by MoonPod are looking nice too, but to me this one is easily the best.

Google+ Followers