Can a game be too hard? If you ever play Robox, you may think that to yourself. The game places you in the gears of a little box-shaped robot, dropped from a spaceship with a mission to explore a bug-infested planet. However, like a mechanical Samus Aran, landing on the planet causes such a blow that you lose all of your abilities and have to get them back over the course of your trials.
Robox is a Metroid-style side-scrolling platformer; you explore three different lands, each with their own unique enemies and features. Each land has six to seven levels in which you have to shoot your ways through enemies while finding amber and gears in order to gain new abilities. The game uses the Wii Remote on its side, with the 2 button being jump, and the 1 button eventually being shoot. The D-pad is used to move left and right as well as to duck underneath some areas and enemies. Other abilities earned are attributed to the Wii Remote’s other buttons and motion controls, and true to the Metroid model these new moves open up new, previously inaccessible sections of the game.
Unlocking your powers is not quite as easy as just collecting them, however. In a neat twist, you must venture inside your little robot and complete puzzles to gain access to your helpful new tricks. The 60 amber pieces that you can find contain bugs that live inside your robot’s body, and each different bug’s special ability must be exploited through unique platform/puzzle sections to regain your forgotten moves. These bugs are controlled by pointing your Wii Remote at the screen, selecting your bug with the A button, and using their special ability with the B button. You can also call other bugs towards you with the 1 button, and organise them with the 2 button. It’s a clever little section that offers a nice break from the platforming, and can be accessed at any time by pressing the ‘-’ button. Getting the amber and gears isn’t an easy task, however, and some will have you backtracking to previous levels with your new found abilities to reach them.
One of Robox’s major appeals is the way it looks: gorgeous. The hand drawn visuals bring a uniqueness to Robox, with the character doing his own little dances when you stand in one spot after putting down the controller, and plenty of detail in the backgrounds. The enemy designs are a mixed bag though, with some generally just being giant insects that don’t really jump out at you.
The levels are filled with said enemy bugs and beasts and, the basic slugs aside, each is difficult to defeat, although it doesn’t necessarily seem because they are meant to be tough, unfortunately. You can only shoot the way you’re facing, meaning flying enemies can be a pain, especially since jumping out of the way can result in the same trauma as merely standing there waiting to be hit. Another annoyance is the need for pixel perfect jumping on certain platforms; it can appear that you’ve completely landed on them, but then you may fall off all the same.
Occasionally, Robox will break from the platforming action; the inside-your-robot sections mentioned earlier, but also in more combat-based ways. In some sections your robot will jump on the back of a giant bug, allowing you to point your Wii Remote at the screen for some on-rails shoot ’em up action. These parts are a welcome break from the norm, and can be challenging in their own right. You’ll also have to take the time to take on tricky boss fights, each of which requiring some thinking and use of the different abilities to reach their hit points.
The basic gameplay is good, although there are problem with avoiding enemies and landing on platforms at times, which can get incredibly frustrating. On the other hand the puzzle solving sections with the bugs you find are quite fun.
A great looking game with lovely 2D visuals, and there’s a good deal of variety in the different worlds.
The background music evolves as the gameplay changes, while the sound effects do their job well.
This depends on how much of a hardcore gamer you are. If you’re willing to push past the frustrations and collect everything, Robox will last a while; if not, then once you’ve complete the game you probably won’t want to play it again.
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Robox tries to be a good Metroid-esque game, but it falls short in the fact that, for the average gamer, it can get frustratingly hard. If you like challenging 2D platformers with a twist of adventure and shooter, Robox may be for you, but if not, you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.
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I won the game from the cube competition. I was sooo excited after watching the trailer. Unfortunately it was frustrating from the very beginning.
The spiky plants have the same dull colour pallette, to begin with I constantly walked into them. The first time I wasnt even sure what was hurting me.
The flying bugs are annoying since you can only shoot forwards. Often I would jump to avoid them only to collide in their circular path. Shooting itself was dull.
The music in the first level began to subconsciously annoy me until I finally realized and muted the TV. After 2 hrs I stopped playing. Because it was free I didnt feel like I had to force myself to enjoy it. I was bored and frustrated.
I played the demo today of cavestory and what a difference. The shooting mechanic is amazing. Felt like gradius or any of those old school flight games. Ending up with a crazy over the top gun. And shooting upwards made flying enemies a pleasure to battle.
The enemy design is so simple, yet it has real character. In robox, the enemies are really boring.
To sum up. A game with promise marred with poor decision after poor decision. Poor enemy desing, poor platforming, poor combat, repitive music, poor fx sounds.
I agree with what you said there, but I didn't think the music was so bad.
But yeah, the game just doesn't work the way it should sometomes and it gets to the point that it's just frustrating to play, but you can get through it, it just feels like a really big piece of work.
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I thought the music was pretty excellent myself, very metroid-esq.
The games insanely hard, but its not so bad when you start getting a few upgrades. Still more challenging them 99.9% of games out there though.
I also strongly disagree the platform and enemys are poor designed. The platforming is very varried and well done - constantly full of new ideas right upto the end. (theres sections with a stone dragon in the sky thats pretty cool....hard...but cool)
The enemys meanwhile, only have one critical flaw for me, and thats no damage reflection. The design and movement I thought was fine. (I ran into the flying things all the time, and thats annoying....but the fact their flight path wasn't predictable and easy to dodge is a -good- thing).
Anyway, I made a video review if anyones interested;
(And I feel really proud of actualy getting to the end of the game )
Please give our little random review show a try;http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...
I dont know how you could like anything about the game. You ran into every problem I did. Around the 13minute mark of your vid You were battling the flying bugs whilst dodging spikes on the floor. you jumped to avoid the bugs but they flew into you. You walked into the spikes and that hurt you. You died by jumping ontop of another bug that wasnt visible until you fell down.
I forgot about the swinging plants that are always placed at a platform you have to jump onto. All the hits are cheap. Your video reminded me of the other poor decisions. Boulders that fall when you jump forward. Destroying random rocks that grow plants. (which reset when you go too far)
These things dont make a game hard in a good way. They exploit the fact that I never designed the game. 2D scrollers that are hard challenge your reflexes and ability to make quick decisions. This game was just awful.
I would totally disregard your closing comments.
If you like a challenging hard core game that pays tribute to sidescrolling platforming games from the snes and nes days opt for the pending meatboy or cavestory. They challenge your gaming skills i.e reflexes and decision making. You will die over and over but with a sense that the deaths were avoidable if you had approached the level better.
This game throws every cheap hit at you over and over and death is unavoidable unless you know whats coming up ahead.
I absolutely hated the demo. It was annoying, boring and confusing.