Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Robot Bros. - 1.99 (108km Studio)

Robot Bros. is the new puzzle platformer from 108km Studio, a small indie studio founded in 2010. The goal of the game is to get all 3 stars in each of the levels, and then make it to the exit. 4 of the 5 robots all have a different ability, while one has no abilities. One can drop a certain number of ice blocks in a stage, another can throw fireballs to get rid of ice blocks, there’s a robot with a rocket pack, and finally, a robot that can make portals. Throughout the levels, youaregiven chances to change which robot you’re controlling, by hitting the robot icons at the top of the screen, kind of playing like Babylon Twins.
One pretty major gripe I have with Robot Bros is the controls. You can’t drag your finger from the left button to the right button and have your robot change directions, it will just keep moving in the direction you were first going. To change directions, you need to pick up your thumb, and press the arrow. Also, if you try and use a power in the air, which you can’t, but pressing the button will bring your robot to a halt, and make him drop straight down. The jump button is sometimes unresponsive as well. There’s some minor animation gripes too, like the rocket pack robot can change directions in the air, but he’ll fly backwards instead of turning around, and it seems like the fireball robot is the only robot that has a decent ability animation, bringing his arms back, and flinging the ball forward does look pretty cool though.

It would have been nice if all of the robots had as much detail as the fireball robot does. The rocket robot seems to fly up backwards when you first take off if you‘re pressing a directional button, and it takes a second for him to start going in the direction you want him to go after that. There were also a couple of levels in the game where some ice blocks would disappear and end up half way across the level, this also happened with my characters twice while playing. It would also be nice if once you got one of your characters to the end of the level, if the game automatically switched to one of the other characters in the level, instead of making you hit one of the robot icons. These are some issues that should be taken care of pretty quickly if you ask me.
The game is not very challenging. You’re able to zoom out in each of the levels, seeing almost the entire level. The objective pretty much stairs you right in the face after you see the whole level, meaning the only challenge is really just making it through the level while struggling with the controls. It took me about an hour and half to make it through all 36 levels. I really think the developers could have done a lot more with the game, especially considering they have a robot that can make portals! Right there should scream extra challenging. But I couldn’t help but feel let down. The graphics aren’t too bad, but could use some polishing up, and I didn’t experience any lag or crashing. There’s no in-game music, except for little clips after you beat a level, orwhen you die, which kind of bothered me, but I’m a sucker for game music.

In Robot Bros, the idea is nice, but it seems like there could have been some more attention to details. Mainly with the controls. But for the companies first platformer game, it does show promise. I’m giving Robot Bros 3 out of 5 stars, with the hopes that some updates can make this a game that controls well, gives it more levels, with more of a challenge, some in-game music, and squashes the bugs. GameCenter or OpenFeint support and some achievements would be a welcome addition as well. If you are a puzzle platformer fan, it’s not too bad of a game to pick up. It did keep my attention throughout most of the game, and it’s only $1.99, and is Universal. There really is a lot of potential here, but it seems that that’s all it has right now.


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