Robots Under Attack
Developer: Dmytro Derybas
Publisher: Dmytro Derybas
Genre: Arcade, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: 7
Release Date: 14/01/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
A Flat Start That Never Recovers
They say never judge a book by its cover, and I suppose never judge a game by its title would be the gaming equivalent. A name like Robots Under Attack, for me at least, calls for action and violence. Yet the reality behind the name was something different.
Yes, there were robots, and yes there were explosions, but think less Sylvester Stallone and more Kevin Costner. It was a slow, actionless game that played out over a short period made to feel much longer through the repetitive nature of the game.
Simple but Effective Visuals
While we will discuss the gameplay in a few minutes, the look and feel of Robot Under Attack is one that works. It is simplistic, almost childlike in the way it is drawn. Yet, it works. I mean this with no negative intent, but the game is a rather simplistic one, lacking in any true difficulty, so it makes sense for the art design to be simplistic.
I must applaud the developers for trying their best to get creative with the level design. Again, they were simple yet refined in the way they worked and how the different parts would chain together. The result was a smooth experience, albeit an uninspiring one.
Rudimentary Yet Effective Gameplay
I keep harking back to the simplicity of the game, but at its core, that is precisely what it is. The level designs were clever, and well thought out in their simplicity, portals, buttons, bombs and exploding oil cans, but there was never a point that I felt challenged by what I was doing.
I cannot help but think the game would have benefited more from offering a different method of obtaining different arrows, making the game more challenging before rewarding you with a new arrow. This could then be used to make the next few levels easy before increasing the difficulty until you earned the next arrows.
The two boss battles in the game were equally simplistic. You couldn’t die. You were given plenty of arrows to make the kill and never was there any threat of time pressure or urgency. There were no phases or degree of difficulty beyond waiting for the sprite to appear back on the screen again.
I applaud all indie development efforts, for often these games are labours of love, and that at times makes it hard to be critical of games. Yet, I need to be fair with my thoughts and the comparisons I make. This game just didn’t cut the mustard. Even the inclusion of some sort of storyline, a cohesive narrative that at least explained the robots. Even now I have no idea why we were just murdering robots who seemed incredibly peaceful and never once made a move against us.
Earn Coins to Buy New Bow Designs
You get awarded money for each level you clear, with bonuses for getting the gold star on each level and for each arrow remaining.
Now for a while, I just assumed that this was a means of giving you a score. It wasn’t until I was almost 75% of the way through the game that I noticed the SHOP option on the game’s homepage. Here you can buy new bow designs and colours. It’s not much, but it is a nice touch that allows for a modicum of customization.
As Much Enjoyment as a Game of Football
Having played Robots Under Attack once I can safely say there is no urge or need to fire it up again. The game can be played through with gold stars on every level in about an hour and a half. It’s an okay game. Yes, it’s repetitive, and no it doesn’t challenge the players, but it does give you enough entertainment for an hour and a half. Just like a mid-table end of season game of football, this game plays it safe. There’s nothing to win, but also nothing to lose. It’s simply a time filler.
I do believe that there is a glimpse of future potential from this developer, and just because they played it safe this time, it shouldn’t hold them back from taking it a step further in the future titles. The game ran well, there were no glitches or bugs, despite the different level mechanics. Solid yet sadly forgettable.
I was left with a distinctly hollow feeling after playing Robots Under Attack. Eighty levels completed in less than two hours and nothing about the game felt taxing or entertaining. Once you had played the first half a dozen levels, you had played them all.
The difficulty grading was frustrating too. Not in its gradient, but rather in its absence. I expected the levels to grow more difficult the further you progressed. Especially as it gave this impression on the overview of there being eight levels each with ten stages. However, this was not the case. The gradient was nonexistent. Some were more complex than others, but there was no cohesive curve to things. Most levels were completed in one go, and the worst was about half a dozen mainly due to me rushing it in an attempt to challenge myself.
Robots Under Attack was underwhelming, essentially completed after the first level and lacking any real charm or draw.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy your copy of Robots Under Attack from the Nintendo eShop today.