A Robot Named Fight! is a Rougelike Action game that puts you in the metal shoes of a bot trying to save the world from an eldritch abomination. With subtle, dark humor and fun gameplay, it’s a game that brings to mind platformers of old.
Spiritual Content: You fight against a creature that appears to be an elder god of the H.P Lovecraft variety.
Violence: Blood and gore. The enemies are fleshy bags that are unsettling.
Positive Content: It is a story about saving the world, even if it’s a world populated by robots. Self sacrifice is an important theme in the story.
Do you have a hankering for the high level of difficulty of old school games from the late 80s and early 90s? Then A Robot Named Fight! is for you! A Robot Named Fight! is a platformer that was inspired by games like Super Metroid, and it feels like it in the best way. The game itself isn’t long, but the mechanics will keep you coming back.
The last hope of all of robot civilization is you. A moon sized, fleshy monster has descended from the sky, bent on destroying all of robot kind. Its army of hundreds is ready to tear you apart, cybernetic limb from cybernetic limb. That’s the simple story the game gives you. And for a run-and-gun type game like this, it really works. The character’s motivations are simple enough to understand, and there aren’t a lot of twists and turns to make things complicated. The game essentially tells you just enough to know why you’re shooting everything that moves, and that’s enough.
The graphics and music aren’t spectacular, but they have that Super Nintendo, 16-bit aesthetic that is common in indie games of this type. The world you’re brought into is stylized and interesting, and there’s enough variation in levels that playing doesn’t get boring.
The gameplay of A Robot Named Fight! is harder to talk about. It’s a lot of fun and feels natural and responsive, but on a condition. The game is really optimized for use with a controller. After the first five minutes I spent with this game, I dug into my closet and pulled out my old gaming controller. It was a much better experience than playing with the keyboard. For the purposes of this review, I did switch back and forth between the two, and while eventually using keys felt better, it never quite met the ease of a controller. The game is still playable with a keyboard, and is still fun and engaging, but if you have a controller, it’s a noticeably better experience.
A Robot Named Fight! doesn’t have any outstanding bad elements to it, but boy can it get frustrating. The game’s Steam page boasts, “Prove your worth with true perma-death,” on its features list and right away that should be a red flag. This game is not for casual play. If you lose all your health in this game, you die. And you have to start over from the beginning. And you lose everything you collected. There are a few save stations gathered throughout the game, but they’re only good for one use each.
This, combined with the roguelike structure of A Robot Named Fight!, can make the game extremely frustrating. Each run is different, meaning some will go well and some will be horrible. The types of rooms that spawn are random (though I noticed similarities between room shapes over multiple playthroughs) and the power-ups you collect are also randomized. There will be runs where you get powerful upgrades to your gun, and runs where you get a move that lets you crouch and move. The more you play the game, the more power-ups you collect, but a simple mistake means you lose them all. And thanks the the procedural generation, you aren’t guaranteed to find the power-ups you liked again.
The challenge isn’t so much the monsters you face, because most most of the enemies die in a few hits and have predictable behavior. Yet the roguelike structure of the map and the fact that you are only given one life means this game is unforgiving. It’s more the thoughts in your mind that one mistake can mean losing everything that enhances the difficulty. This is one of those “throw your controller at the screen” type games.
Though it can be frustrating, it also works the other way. In A Robot Named Fight!, progress means actual progress, and more importantly, feels rewarding. Knowing that death has consequences means that finding cool upgrades or kiting an enemy in just the right way feels like a mastery of the game. Shooting a wall in just the right place to find a secret room with a tool that will upgrade your health is gaining a precious resource that feels important.
I wish there was a casual mode of A Robot Named Fight!, but that’s not what it is trying to be. If you like games that are challenging and fun, this game is one for your library. I’d be a bit hesitant to call this a must-buy if you don’t have a controller, but even with just a keyboard, there’s a lot of fun and replay value to be had here. The game has great atmosphere, fun gameplay, and the frustrations that come with it are worth the victories. And at a price of only $10, it’s worth the experience.
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