Tested with Robots! (Wii U) Review

By Lex Firth 28.01.2015

Review for Tested with Robots! on Wii U

Tested with Robots! contains one of the most promising ideas of a recent indie platformer, putting the player in the role of a robot who's testing this very video game. With a plot narrated by the robot's control program, and the corpses of the robot's brethren littering the stages at points where the player has died, there are some genuinely interesting design choices at play here. It's ironic, then, that this game was definitely due for more testing.

It's important to get one thing out of the way first: Tested with Robots! is not a good game. In fact, it borders on unplayable. The game moves sluggishly, lacking the fluid motion present in more accomplished platformers, and while the gameplay is as simplistic as a game can get to begin with - run from left to right and jump over obstacles - such basic tasks are insurmountable due to the game's terrible control scheme.

Rather than simply tapping the A button to perform the genre's staple action, getting the robot to jump is a case of holding down the button to charge up the jump's height and releasing it at the right time. Combined with sluggish, laggy movement, this is insanely difficult, turning even the first stage into an incredible challenge. There is no way for players to actually estimate their jump height; it relies on excessive knowledge of the game's mechanics or, more likely, pot luck. There's also no way to change the arc of the jump once the button is released, making accidental leaps into spike pits unavoidable and numerous.

Screenshot for Tested with Robots! on Wii U

The graphics fair no better than the gameplay, sadly. It's difficult to decipher whether the aim of this game's aesthetic was minimalism or whether it came about as a result of laziness; the latter is certainly more apparent here. The robot wiggles around levels adorably, pushing the boat out as far as two frames of animation - enemies are not so lucky, static sprites of stickmen, which are, frankly, laughably bad. The action entirely takes place on a grey background with a solid black floor to run around on.

The worst thing about Tested with Robots! is not its appearance, or even its painful gameplay choices, but its potential. The idea of playing as a video game testing robot, clogging up spike pits with corpses, while traversing insanely difficult courses, has a lot of promise, but the game sadly never lives up to its unique foundation. At no point does this game feel like it should have been released in this state, from the lack of detail or animations within the graphics, to the simply unplayable jumping mechanics.

Later levels start to reveal how great this game could have been. Conveyor belts, platform switches, and even the excellent mechanic of buttons, which briefly power off seemingly impassable waves of enemies, slowly appear, and the product as a whole starts to make sense. It's not hard to see where the game's creator was aiming to go with Tested with Robots! and that makes it all the more sad to see how it turned out. Perhaps with a little more time and attention spent on making sure it played as well in practice as it did in theory, this could have been a downloadable diamond in the rough, but unfortunately the game is too poorly designed to be recommendable to anyone.

Screenshot for Tested with Robots! on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

1/10
Rated 1 out of 10

Awful

It's a cruel, cruel irony that a game about rigorously testing a video game should turn out so poorly. Perhaps this is a premise that can be revisited in the future with fresh eyes in order to design a much more enjoyable product, because it's a shame that something so interesting ended up so impossible to recommend.

Developer

M.R. Games

Publisher

M.R. Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  1/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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