A Robot Pronounced Dead.
Retro style games are all the rage these days, and I suppose they have been for years now. Whether it’s the Tokyo RPG Factory’s I am Setsuna or Square’s mobile Final Fantasy Dimensions (among a hearty list of others), gamers love the nostalgia of games that, aesthetically, remind them of titles from their childhoods. For me, action RPGs styled after games like Illusion of Gaia catch my heart every time. In A Robot Named Fight, players are greeted with a pretty faithful metroidvania action platformer that looks like it flew right out of a SNES. The question, as always, is: Is it any good?
The idea of A Robot Named Fight is to put players in a procedurally generated map in a roguelike metroidvania set up. As you progress through the game, you’ll find yourself equipped with weapon upgrades, stronger weapons, and power ups that make battling the endless enemies and bosses a scoach easier. Area designs are pretty intuitive and the controls work seamlessly with the game. In a product like A Robot Named Fight, controls need to be tight, or you’ll end up dead more often than not. Here, your robot is capable of making high and long jumps in order to reach the next destination, and aiming in every direction (except down, that’s a bit touch-and-go) works smoothly. Any damage taken from platforming was typically my fault.
Combat in A Robot Named Fight was consistently fun and, at times, challenging. I utilized my Xenoblade Chronicles 2 pro controller (I hate the joycons) while playing and found it to work extremely well. Using the triggers allowed me to shoot at angles, allowing for easier strategizing mid-combat. My biggest complaint with the gameplay had little to do with combat and more to do with level design. While each “life” produced a new (but often very similar) map structure, I found that many of the areas always had low ceilings. After the course of numerous deaths, I eventually got used to banging against the roof, but it did hinder my particular dodging skill set.
Aesthetically speaking, A Robot Named Fight is a blast of retro 16 bit gameplay. For nostalgic gamers, it’s the perfect touch to this style of game. On top of the pixelated visuals, however, A Robot Named Fight features over the top gore and violence. Everything you destroy explodes into a few large chunks of meaty bits, and most of the enemies are pretty grotesque to begin with (you’re basically improving their appearances once you disintegrate most of them). As your weapons are upgraded (or as you pick up new gear), the visuals change to fit your gun. For example, one time I picked up a flame upgrade to my blaster, and the enemies I killed burned before exploding. Likewise, the rocket launcher I found on my first play through did exactly what you think it would.
Finally, sound in A Robot Named Fight ticks off all the same nostalgic boxes. It’s midi soundtrack bings along like games of old, and the sounds of weapons, enemies, explosions, deaths, etc. hold that tinny SNES sound that most of us have come to love. Still, if you’re not super into music or don’t care much for the nostalgic value of midi files, A Robot Named Fight doesn’t particularly hold any memorable tunes. They’re fun, sure, but they won’t leave a lasting impressions, especially when compared to the rest of the game.
If you feel like your Nintendo Switch has been neglected (much like I do) since the launch of Super Mario Odyssey, you might find something to enjoy within A Robot Named Fight (especially since the eStore holds quite a few terrible titles; be wary). The roguelike/procedurally generated aspect of the game will keep it continuously fresh if a bit difficult, but you wouldn’t be interested in this game if it were easy. The gameplay is tight and works well, the game performs admirably on both a large screen TV and its portable mode, and the retro aspects of the entire game make it a keeper. It’s price of $12.99 on Steam and the Nintendo Switch eStore means it packs a lot of value, too. Even for those of us who aren’t gifted at metroidvania style games, A Robot Named Fight never shuts you completely out, and as a roguelike intends, never keeps you down for long.