Developed By: JMJ Interactive
Published By: JMJ Interactive
Category: Arcade, Action, Multiplayer
Release Date: 8.16.18
From indie developer JMJ Interactive comes Robbotto for the Nintendo Switch. It’s a fun 8-bit styled throwback action platformer that’s more fun to play with a friend. According to its product description page on the Nintendo store, it’s about two maintenance robots named Robb and Otto (get it?) trapped on a star cruiser with hordes of malfunctioning robots. That’s not really made clear anywhere in the game, but whatever. The story’s really not a big part of the game’s appeal.
Jumping and Shooting
Robbotto is not a complex game. Each level requires the player to defeat every enemy on the screen. The enemies are on platforms, sliding along the walls and ceilings, or floating on a rail. Players take the role of a plucky robot and they disable enemies by first shooting them with an electrical charge and the blasting them with water until overload and shut down. Getting hit by any enemy or their projectiles costs you a life, run out of lives and it’s game over. You gain points by completing levels and beating enemies, and every 25,000 points you get an extra life. Simple, like I said. Every ten levels there is a boss fight, and that’s where some more strategy is required, but honestly it really is just more of the same.
There is a boss rush mode that can be unlocked by completing the base adventure mode, which is a neat extra. The boss fights are the most interesting levels, so it’s great to have the option to just go through them if you want to replay a little. There is also a multiplayer option that allows you to play either mode with a friend. Robbotto is a lot more fun to play with a partner. While the basic gameplay is solid, it’s not especially varied. Having a friend playing with you can ameliorate the monotony of the core gameplay. That’s not to say the game gets overly boring, but after a bunch of levels you can just feel like it’s time to play something else.
Did They Release This For the Right Nintendo System?
Robbotto looks like it’s straight out of the NES library, or maybe the very early SNES era. It has a very sharp pixelated graphical style that should pull on the heartstrings of any retro game fans. The character sprites are fairly detailed considering the old-school influences, especially Robb and Otto. I mean, they’re the same sprite with different colored eyes, but it’s a detailed sprite. The bosses are well-designed too. The backgrounds and platforms are a little bland; usually just some blocks in front of a starscape. It fits the NES vibe of the game’s visual style, but it doesn’t really scream “we’re on a spaceship” and it just looks kind of generic. Still, it’s a good-looking game.
The music is a fun and plucky electronic score that again has an old-school vibe to it. The sound effects are the familiar plinks and plunks of the 8-bit era, and yet somehow when you hear them you know that one means an enemy is jumping and one means shots have been fired. Overall, Robbotto’s audiovisual style should be a treat for any retro game fans.
Robbotto has no touch or motion controls, so you can play it docked or undocked as you prefer. I found the single player mode more satisfying in the Switch’s undocked configuration, but preferred playing the multiplayer mode in the docked configuration. I find multiplayer games more fun docked just in general, since the Switch’s screen is a little small for too many people to huddle around. Or maybe my friends and I could all stand to lose a few pounds. I don’t know.
TL;DR: The retro styling is a welcome blast from the past built on top of a solid, if a tiny bit repetitive, game.