Yet Another Great Gaming Review by 'JHardin1112'
Robox is visually stunning and is a throwback to 2d platformers of old.
A review by JHardin1112.
Game - Robox
Version - WiiWare
Time Spent Playing - 8 hours
Obtained - Review Copy courtesy of Dreambox Games
With the resurgence of 2d platforming games making waves on the Wii evidenced by instant classics such as; New Super Mario Bros Wii, Kirby's Epic Yarn and Donkey Kong Country Returns, it is no wonder that other development studios want to cash in on this simple concept. In the case of Robox, developer Dreambox Games hasn't quite succeeded in making a smash hit, but they have the potential to do so with future games.
You start out the game as a probe dropped from your ship to research an alien planet. Upon crashing to the ground your circuitry is damaged and you can only walk left and right. Within a few steps your body shuts down from the damage and the view goes from the outside world directly into your internal circuitry. From here you are directed to take control of a little electric based creature and move him to a damaged circuit in need of repair. Once you complete this minor task, power is restored and gameplay resumes back to the main view of the world. As you progress through the game you will spot various amber rocks, which upon collecting will earn you the little creatures which are essential to repairing more of your circuitry and thus allowing you to progress further. These creatures come in four types, Big, Electric, Small, and Sticky. The Big allow you to progress through barriers, Electric bridge connections on wiring allowing current to flow, Small can jump and navigate through tubes, and Sticky will connect broken wires for Electric to traverse. As you progress further into the internal circuitry of your character you will also collect Documents that you see. These documents will give you not much, but just a little more story to go on.
Gameplay and Controls
Robox is controlled by holding the controller sideways. Pressing 1 will fire your weapon and pressing 2 will allow you to jump. While the controls are fine, they are limited. Players can move only left and right and are able to perform a single jump, and crouch to get into small places. You can shoot 3 bullets at a time but are only able to shoot left or right. The limited direction in which you can shoot will cause problems at times, because there are certain enemies whose attack patterns are angled and they will attack you diagonally. As you progress through the game you will unlock other control abilities such as the classic "double-jump" and also the "ground-slam". As expected the double-jump gives access to previously inaccessible areas, and the ground-slam is necessary to trigger events which will allow you to progress to new areas. Missing from Robox is the inclusion of a map, instead you will find at the end of a section a green arrow pointing in the direction you need to go. While this sounds practical and nice it is not, because by the time you reach the green arrow you already know where it is that you must go next. Obviously the map is not necessary but it would have saved on time and frustration, that is all. Also, there are only save/teleport points at the beginning of every level and just a handful of checkpoints located throughout each of these levels. When you reach a save point, your energy is replenished and you can choose to save the game or teleport to an earlier section of the game. The problem I had with this is that the save points are few and far between. You start off the game with only 3 bars of energy. Once you take 3 hits, you must restart from the last save point or last checkpoint you reached. It took me almost 8 hours before I even found enough material to increase my energy by 1 single bar. In order to increase your energy you must find scattered throughout the game, gears. Once you collect 3 gears you will increase your energy. I died many times, only to have to start back over from the beginning of a level due to limited energy and sparse save and checkpoints. This can be seen as a deterrent to players or the proverbial throwing down of the gauntlet. For this gamer, Challenge Accepted!
Visuals and Sound
The sound/music of Robox leaves much to be desired. The music was not bad, just repetitive. Also, while the music was quiet, it adds to the sense of isolation and loneliness as you explore the alien world. The sound is minimal and honestly a little annoying at times. Every time you kill an enemy they will disappear in a flash of light as they literally squeal. The first few times this happens it is impressive, but these past 8 hours I have gotten tired of the death squeal. Where I am truly impressed the most with Robox are the visuals. The visuals are very pleasing to the eye and quite stunning to look at as you roam the levels. From detailed mushrooms, ferns, patches of grass, creatures that look like boulders in the ground that rise to attack you, the environments are lush and filled with detail. The backgrounds are also very impressive and it looks like Dreambox games put quite a lot of effort into these visuals. I personally have not seen such a visually impressive game quite like Robox in some time and on WiiWare no less. Kudos to Dreambox games for the stunning visuals. When it comes to the WiiWare games, some developers should take notes from Dreambox games in regards to visuals.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Robox is definitely not a game for everyone. In fact, I believe that Robox was designed with hard core gamers in mind. You will be challenged, you will be frustrated, you will die, but you will have fun. And as you experience all of these feelings, don't forget to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5
Robox is visually stunning and is a throwback to 2d platformers of old. If you decide to make this purchase, enjoy the visuals as you don't see these too often. And while I took some issue with the numerous deaths which led to repetitious gameplay, slightly imperfect controls and sparse save points, You may find the challenges to be refreshing. I fully intend on going back and completing this game to the end when I have some free time. At 1,000 Wii points, Robox is worth the challenge.
Our thanks to 'JHardin1112' for his first 'WiiWare' review!